I'm a big fan of a TV show called Stargate
I've watched every episode of Stargate and Stargate Atlantis
so far (as of September 2006), many of them multiple times.
Based on the series, I've built some understanding on how the
gates supposedly work.
Based on this understanding, I've came up with a few
ways to intentionally misuse the gates.
- Joel Yliluoma
Stargate is a networking stellar transportation device.
of the network, designated by coordinates
has a Stargate, which is capable of both dialing to another
Stargate and receiving a call 
In the most basic way of usage, the caller dials
Stargate to the destination address
, and a wormhole
forms between the two gates. Material may be freely transmitted
via the wormhole in one direction only
]. Radio waves can
be transmitted in both directions.
]: The node of the network does not necessarily need to be
a planet. The gate may be orbiting a planet or even aboard
a ship currently in travel between stars (not in hyperspace).
]: And a few other things, as explained later in this document.
]: The material is actually transmitted as energy.
Yes, Stargate is fiction. The word "facts" here refers to things
some of the Stargate episodes have established, instead of things
that are based on pure speculation.
Stargate is a circular device, which consists of a supercomputer,
an event horizon
generator, a wormhole generator and
a subspace communication device.
Stargate is capable of harnessing power from a wide variety
of energy sources, especially electricity.
The exact amount of energy required is not known, but it has
been shown that the regular size stargate can be powered up
by a natural lightning (1x10, "Torment of Tantalus") or a
storagehouseful of army lorries (2x21, "1969").
It has also been explained that the amount of energy required
is exponentionally proportional to the diameter of the gate
(10x03, "The Pegasus Project").
Stargate uses superconductors, which means it can store
energy for a long period of time.
It has also been indicated that the gate can be dialed once
without external power after an incoming connection (todo: reference).
Stargate contains a supercomputer which is capable of
processing the enormous amount of information required
by material transfers.
The supercomputer can be interfaced with a device called DHD (dial home device
or a similar dialing computer, or it can be dialed manually by rotating the disc
with physical force (see SG1 1x10 (The Torment of Tantalus.
(The physical dialing method is not possible with the discless
gates found in the Pegasus galaxy.)
The protocol used to interface the supercomputer implements
hundreds of security measures to ensure a safe transmit.
It also allows to access the more lowlevel features of the
gate, such as the subspace communication or the event horizon
Stargate transmits objects in discrete units. This means that if you shove
a long object into the wormhole, it will not emerge from the other side
until the entire object is submerged in the event horizon, even if the
object doesn't move for 30 minutes.
This is made possible by the enormous amount of memory within
the stargate: it stores the energy signature
needed to construct the object) within the superconducting
buffers of the gate until it can safely dispose of the data.
It is not known how big objects the gate can store.
Exception: In the case of thin objects, such as ropes (see 1x10
(The Torment of Tantalus) or staffs (see 3x06 (Point of View,
the object may be transmitted partially if the power to the
gate is abruptly cut.
The event horizon
The event horizon of the stargate has nothing to do with the event
horizon of a black hole.
The term "event horizon" refers to the fact that it's the point
that when crossed, stops the time completely for the object. It
turns an animate object to inanimate or back.
The event horizon is an edge that separates two different forms
of material existence.
Anything that is pushed to the event horizon will be stored in the
memory of the stargate as energy, and similarly the event horizon
also can reconstruct material.
The event horizon is not just a technical apparatus. It's a physical
phenomenon. It allows a partially submerged object being pulled back
from the event horizon, instead of the object breaking in pieces.
Stargate uses subspace communication to query whether a stargate
exists in the target address and whether it's busy. It also uses
the communication for software updates. (See SG1 7x09 (Avenger 2.0
Stargate coordinates consist of 7, 8 or 9 symbols.
7-symbol addresses are the dominant type of stargate addresses.
Seven symbols is enough to address every one place in a galaxy
with a certain precision.
When a remote galaxy needs to be dialed, an eighth symbol may
be added to the address. However, dialing a remote galaxy needs
an enormous amount of energy.
Every stargate seen in the serie contains a ninth slot indicating
the ninth dialed symbol, but so far we haven't seen any reference
to it being ever used. Therefore, there are no facts about this item.
(Apparently, information about the ninth chevron will be given in
the Stargate Universe series that is scheduled to premiere in 2008.)
The construction of the addresses
The stargate addresses consist of coordinates
to an area of space (the coordinates are not names of Stargates),
where there may or may not be a Stargate.
The last symbol of the address somehow indicates a point of origin
which is vital for the address to function properly.
There are various ways to express a stargate address.
Each symbol of the address comes from a set of 36 symbols.
- Star constellations (graphical way)
- Syllables (spoken way)
- Base-36 integer (computer way)
Most of the stargate users refer to addresses using the graphical way
-- that is, drawing the symbols on a paper or selecting them from
a computer screen.
The gatebuilders (ancients
) also used the spoken way.
Because there coordinate system consists of only 36^6 different
values for an entire galaxy, it means that gates within certain
proximity of each others can not be dialed separately. One of them
will receive the call.
It is not possible to dial from/to the hyperspace
(faster-than-light method of space travel).
Because of motion of objects in galaxy (stars shift positions over
thousands of years), very old stargate addresses may not work
straight away without first compensating for planetary shift
It is speculated that the six first symbols of the address work as anchors
specifying the points where the actual address is triangulated in between.
How the transfer works
Material transfers using a Stargate only work in one direction:
from source to destination. To transfer the opposite direction,
the gate must be dialed again.
It is not certain where this limit comes from. To me, it seems like
a limit of the program ran by the stargates, but according to the
wormhole book written by Samantha Carter in one of the episodes of SG1,
it is a feature of the wormholes themselves.
Notably, electromagnetic waves travel to both directions.
It is not known whether the gate transmits the waves, or if the
waves propagate literally via the wormhole.
Also, in the episode SG1 2x16 (A Matter of Time), gravity effects
from the receiving end of the wormhole reach Earth backwards.
The reasoning for this is not explained anywhere else in the serie.
Mode of transfer
A stargate transmits material as energy.
For why it does not transfer mass instead, list of possible reasons includes:
- It would render the wormhole physically unstable.
- Should the wormhole disengage prematurely, the payload would be forever lost
- The safety of the transferred item could not be guaranteed (environmental hazard)
It is not known which kind of energy the stargate transmits.
- Stargate travellers may sometimes collect experiences of the travel, such as that the travel was "rough".
- In SG1 5x05 (Red Sky), a wormhole going through a star introduced an element (molecyles) to the star.
Barring these exceptions, we can assume a stargate sends the
material as data.
A stargate sends material in discrete units.
This means that until the travelling object is fully submerged in the
event horizon, the gate keeps the object (or rather the data required
to reconstruct the object) in its memory (buffers
If there is an object partially submerged in the event horizon,
the gate will not close the wormhole, until either
- the power runs out (see SG1 1x10 (The Torment of Tantalus
- the 38 minute limit is reached (see SGA 1x04 (Thirty-eight minutes. 
If the object is partially submerged in the event horizon of
the sending gate, it may be pulled back.
The receiving gate also acts the same way: it will not start emerging
the object until it has received all the data about it. This means that
it will store the object in its memory until it receives a confirmation
from the sending stargate that all data has been sent (essentially a command
to start emerging the object). The command may also come from a DHD
(see SG1 5x14 (48 Hours.
Presumably, when the stargate stars sending the data,
it may not keep a copy of it.
]: If the wormhole is about to close abruptly, the sending gate will send
the data to the receiving end in hope the receiving end will construct the object.
However, if the time limit is reached or the receiving end runs out
of power, the data (the traveller) is forever lost.
Very little is known of the numerous safety measures (security protocols)
implemented by stargates, but at least the following features are known to exist:
- Preventing wormholes that traverse through stars (5x05, "Red Sky")
- Preventing redialing of a closed stargate when an object is still unemerged (5x14, "48 hours")
- Preventing shutting down when an object is only partially emerged (3x18, "Shades of Grey")
Also, it seems that the stargates are designed to be reliable and durable.
Presumably however, stargates can be forced to ignore any
and all of the safety measures.
Stargates can be built in different sizes. Smaller gates need less power
than larger gates. Most gates are built in a standard size large enough
for a van-size "puddlejumper" spaceship to pass through the gate, but
smaller and larger gates have been seen.
- In 3x15 (Pretense), the Tollans have built a stargate of their own design (possibly in cooperation with the Nox), slightly larger than the standard ancient gates.
- In 5x03 (Ascension), a descended ancient builds a small single shot stargate with materials ordered through the Internet.
- In 9x06 (Beachhead), the Ori attempt to construct a "supergate", an extremely large gate capable of transferring entire spaceships through the gate. The gate requires so much power that it needs to be powered up by a black hole. In a later episode, such gate is seen in action.
Because the stargate contains enough memory to store big objects
such as van-size spaceships, it can be used as a space-effecient storage.
Activate the stargate without forming a wormhole. Shove stuff into
the event horizon. Shut down the gate.
The stuff will be stored in the stargate's memory practically indefinitely,
because the memory is superconducting and doesn't lose its charge even
in million years.
Any time you need the stuff back, activate the stargate again without
forming a wormhole. The stuff will be ejected from the gate (at the same
speed it was stored there). (See SG1 5x14 (48 Hours
One-way time travel device
(Note that this has nothing to do with the solar flare trick
used in the SG1 4x16 and 2x21 episodes.)
If you use the stargate as a storage room, you can store also animated
objects, such as people, there.
As soon as the objects cross the event horizon, their time stops.
They will not age in the gate's memory.
You can store your dog to the stargate and get him back 60 years
later and he doesn't even understand that time has passed.
This technique was used used in SGA 1x04 (Thirty-eight minutes)
to suspend the injured until medical aid would be available.
If an enemy attack would be imminent, create a small bunker for the
stargate and install a computer there.
Program the computer to automatically extract the people from the gate
after a period which is assumed to be enough for the hazard to be over.
The people are safe from environmental hazards when they are stored
in the stargate. The hardest thing is to ensure that the gate actually
will eventually let them out.
The storage room is easily converted to a garbage disposer, trashgate.
Simply wipe the memory after you have stored the stuff there.
Wiping the memory is easiest done by dialing somewhere.
Or you can just shove the disposable stuff to the event horizon
of an incoming connection. The standard programming of the stargate
will discard everything that is pushed there.
Or, you can push the disposable stuff in the unstable vortex,
"kawoosh", that forms when the gate is dialed.
An execution device
Executing people is easily done by tossing them to the trashgate.
Because the gate is programmable
(see SG1 episodes 7x09 (Avenger 2.0), 8x17 (Reckoning, part 2),
4x06 (Window of Opportunity, there are many ways to create a
- Tell the gate to not discard the sent item when it emerges from the gate at the other side.
- Patch the gate to ignore the messages from the receiving gate and continuously resend the same object over and over again.
- Dial to multiple addresses at the same time and send an object. It will emerge from all of them.
You can easily make clones this way.
Infinite energy source
We have seen that energy sources, such as Zero Point Modules, can
be sent through the stargate. This means that they can be copied
too. By copying the same ZPM over and over again, you'll never
run out of energy.
Demonstratedly, stargate allows copying of energy waves
(see 8x17 (Reckoning, part 2.
However, copying of material is a more complex question.
To construct material, you need a huge amount of energy,
as expressed by the well-known E=mc^2 formula.
Where would the target stargate create that energy from?
If the stargates can not copy material, they are somewhat
closer to unsafe than safe.
But they can still be used as energy generators. They convert
any matter to energy, thus trash-to-energy conversions are
A very basic way to transform objects using the stargate would be to
flip them. Make right-handed people left-handed. Simply emerge them
from the event horizon mirrored.
The stargates employ some kind of subspace communication.
This is established in two episodes.
- In episode 4x06 (Window of Opportunity), one gate dialed a couple of nearby gates simultaneously.
- In episode 7x09 (Avenger 2.0), a stargate scientist created a virus that caused software changes in all stargates of the galaxy.
Presumably, the subspace communication could be piggybacked
to allow nearly instant communication between any parts of
the galaxy without establishing wormholes.
The unstable vortex, "kawoosh", can be used to destroy any
material. By building a large enough gate and dialing it up,
it can gobble even entire spaceships or cripple them unusable.
- In episode 2x03 (Prisoners), prisoners "escape" through the kawoosh, leaving only smoking stubs in shoes behind.
- In episode 10x03 (Pegasus Project), the effects of a supergate kawoosh is demonstrated.
Weapon of astronomical destruction
By dialing a gate to another gate that is in proximity
of a black hole, enormous mayhem can be caused.
- In episode 4x22 (Exodus), a blackhole-dialed gate sent into a sun causes the sun to go supernova, leading into the destruction of an entire solarsystem.
- In episode 5x05 (Red Sky), a wormhole traversing through a sun introduces a foreign element in the sun, disturbing its nuclear reactions, altering the composition of its outputted radiation. However, the catastrophe was eventually averted.
This is not exactly a feature of the stargates.
According to SG1 episodes 4x16 (year 2010) and 2x21 (year 1969),
a wormhole that passes behind the sun exactly at the moment a solar
flare appears, will take back to the same stargate in the past (or
This is obviously ripped from Star Trek.
By dialing a gate to another gate that is in proximity of a black hole,
the gravitational effects of the other end can be translated to the
dialing end, including the distortions in the flow of time.
- In episode 2x16 (Matter of Time), SGC experiences strong time dilation as they accidentally dial to a planet in an unstable orbit of a black hole.
This is different from "one-way time travel" described earlier in this
document, in that this technique translates the effects of time dilation
to the surroundings of the gate without stopping the time flow entirely.
By dialing the gate such that the wormhole spans across a black hole
and then shocking the wormhole using a strong explosion directed at
the wormhole, it is possible to redirect the wormhole into a paraller reality.
- In episode 9x13 (Ripple Effect), SG1 teams from multiple paraller realities are stranded in a single reality because of a tampered wormhole.