Farscape Encyclopedia Project

Assessing the Scale of a Metra[]

The benchmark for the length of a metra is the Peacekeeper Command Carrier, described by Rygel as being "over a metra long" (3.21 "Into the Lion's Den - Wolf in Sheep's Clothing"). This places the Command Carrier as being within one to two metras in length; anything lesser or greater would make Rygel's statement nonsensical (while a vessel two or more metras in length would still technically be "over a metra long," it would be more likely for an individual to state it was "over two metras long" in such a case).

Thanks to the close approach of Moya to the Command Carrier in the previous episode (3.20 "Into the Lion's Den - Lambs to the Slaughter"), a good approximation can be made of the relative size of Moya to the Command Carrier, as well as the relative size of Moya to the surrounding Pantak-class Vigilantes escorting her. Relative to the smaller Vigilantes, Moya appears to be about a third again as long.

Based on the shadow cast on Moya by the Command Carrier's frag cannon rail, it's clear that the portion of Moya in shadow must be at most as long as the rail is wide, and is likely actually much shorter than the width of the rail. Using this shadowed portion as a minimum, however, suggests that the rail is approximately 1/2 to 2/3rds the length of Moya in width.

A fairly good top-down view of a Command Carrier presents itself in (1.07 "PK Tech Girl"), which suggests a carrier-length-to-rail-width ratio of about 12:1 (not accounting for perspective, and using very, very rough size estimates). Going with ultra-conservative figures across the board, this suggests that Moya is about 1/6th the length of a Command Carrier. A slightly more liberal approximation, estimating Moya to be at most as long as the rail is wide and going with a length-to-rail ratio of 13:1, suggests that the carrier is over 13 times as long as Moya.

Moya's length then becomes the deciding factor in all of this. Crichton states Moya to be "really big" (1.01 "Premiere"), but that's not particularly helpful or scientific. However, the same episode also provides a very explicit size comparison between Moya and a Peacekeeper Prowler, the size of which is fairly easy to estimate. The Prowler appears to be a little under 1/2 the height of Moya's docking bay, which has been shown to also accommodate craft like the (presumably) larger Marauders and Transport pods.

Judging by visuals from "Premiere", the docking bay comprises about 1/6 of Moya's overall "height", and Moya's length-to-height ratio is about 8.5:1, based on visuals from (1.19 "Nerve"). This suggests a ratio of not less than 102:1 for Moya's length to the height of a Prowler. The same episode shows John standing alongside Aeryn's Prowler, where he appears to be only slightly taller than it (accounting for landing gear). Ben Browder is 6'1", so a conservative estimate of Prowler height might be 5'.

Pulling this all together (still awake?), we have the following bare minimums:

  • Crichton's height: 6'1"
  • Prowler height: < Crichton's height (5'?)
  • Moya's Bay Portal Height to Prowler Height: > 2:1
  • Moya's Overall Height to Bay Portal Height: ~ 6:1
  • Moya's Overall Length to Overall Height: > 8:1
  • Command Carrier Rail Width to Moya's Overall Length: > 2:3 (> 1:1?)
  • Command Carrier Length to Rail Width: > 12:1
Length of Moya:
5' * 2 * 6 * 8 = 480' (146.3 m)
Length of Command Carrier:
5' * 2 * 6 * 8 * 2/3 * 12 = 3840' (1170.4 m)

If all "greater than" estimates are increased by just one, the following figures result:

Length of Moya:
5' * 3 * 6 * 9 = 810' (246.9 m)
Length of Command Carrier:
5' * 3 * 6 * 9 * 1 * 13 = 10530' (3209.5 m)

As such, the proper length of a metra is almost certainly greater than 1.2 km and probably greater than 3.2 km.

I'll try to do a more thorough and precise analysis once I get home from work.

--McC 17:05, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

It's also worth noting that Moya is listed as being ~1.5 km long in the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in Seattle, Washington (source). If this is true, then all of the above estimates careen upwards tremendously. Again going with the 13:1 ratio of carrier-to-Moya length, this suggests a length for the command carrier at somewhere around 19-20 km, and even at the much more conservative 8:1 ratio, that's still a length of about 12 km, suggesting that a metra may itself be in the neighborhood of 10km. --McC 20:00, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

It should be mentioned that in What Was Lost Part II the probes were able to be placed 600 motras apart quite easily and the characters appeared not to be forced to move too quickly. Even if we suggest that some of the travel time wasn't shown, given due to the magnetics all the events must have taken less than an arn (from when they arrived back on the planet, to everything they did, to finally setting up the probes) this puts a limit on how far a metra could be. Average human (and presumably alien) walking speed is supposed to be four and a half kilometres an hour. Given the apparently short amount of time actually taken to walk the 600 motras this indicates a metra is definitely less than a 10 kilometres and probably closer to one kilometre.

I was just watching Suns and Lovers and it sounded like (roughly twenty minutes and eighteen seconds in) Moordil told Aeryn to continue walking for another 300 metras. Clearly all evidence indicates that a metra is much larger than what would make this make sense (here a metra would need to be about a metre). Can anyone reconcile this? 14:20, May 5, 2010 (UTC)
I've just taken a look at the episode and you're right. I'm afraid I can't reconcile this. A cheap explanation would be that there are different types of metra (in the same way degrees can either mean Celsius or Fahrenheit). However it seems clear that it's just a case where the size of a metra hadn’t been nailed down so it was used inconsistently. CleverAndKnowsIt 12:32, February 9, 2011 (UTC)


In season 4, episode 3 "What was lost part 2: resurrection", John says that the probes (devices needed to fix the magnetism problem on the planet) must be 600 metras apart. But then Chiana and Ju are able to walk that distance in an apparently short time. 10:12, May 25, 2011 (UTC) Actually, they had to be 600 motras apart. This was defined as just over half a metra, suggesting if metra is a kilometre then a motra is a metre. Since, by the above calculations we can safely assume a metra is below 10 km, this suggests 600 motras is between 600m and 6km.CleverAndKnowsIt (talk) 03:37, September 27, 2017 (UTC)