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In the science fiction television series Stargate Atlantis, the spin-off of Stargate SG-1, Atlantis (Milky Way Gate address: , Pegasus Gate address: ) is a city-sized starship located in the Pegasus galaxy. Atlantis serves as the base of operations for the main characters, from which they explore other planets through the Stargate. According to the mythology of the show, the city was built by an advanced race known as the Ancients, and is the basis for the ancient Greek accounts of Lost City of Atlantis.
Atlantis was built millions of years ago
by the Ancients. The city resided in Antarctica on Earth until five to ten
million years ago, when a deadly plague prompted the Ancients to relocate it
to the Pegasus galaxy. There, it served as the Ancients' capital as they
built a new system of Stargates and seeded many worlds with humans. However,
the Ancients' activities gave rise to a powerful new species, the Wraith.
With their vastly superior numbers, the Wraith drove the Ancients from their
holdings until only Atlantis was left, defended by its powerful shield and a
network of armed satellites. The Wraith
laid siege to Atlantis for years; The Ancients submerged the city for
protection but, unable to see a path to victory, eventually chose to return
to Earth through the Stargate. There they merged with the native human
population, and their accounts of Atlantis gave rise to the classical myth
of the Lost City. Atlantis itself lay on the ocean floor, empty and dormant,
for ten thousand years.
The Lost City of the Ancients is first
mentioned by Daniel Jackson in the season 6 finale of Stargate SG-1, "Full
Circle". In the episode, he directs SG-1 to a tablet that mentions Atlantis,
and tells them that there are powerful weapons there capable of defeating
Anubis. The search for the Lost City continues through season 7 of SG-1, and
although the team finds the Ancient outpost in
Antarctica, the location of Atlantis itself remains a mystery. In the
Stargate Atlantis premiere "Rising", Jackson discovers that the Stargate
address to Atlantis contains eight symbols, meaning that it is in another
galaxy. The multi-national Atlantis Expedition, led by Dr. Elizabeth Weir,
is formed to investigate the city, with the knowledge that they may be
unable to return as they cannot bring Earth's sole ZPM with them.
Atlantis is a huge, snowflake-shaped platform covered in skyscrapers; at the center is the central spire, the tallest building in the city. The central spire contains the main control room, referred to as Stargate Operations (also called the Gate Room), and the Stargate itself. Rapid access throughout the city is provided by a network of transporter rooms. The underside of the city contains the massive engines that propels the city through space, as well as the docking point for an Ancient outpost.
According to Visual Effects Artist Bruce Woloshyn, the model of the
city of Atlantis, when they first built it, was over four million
polygons - feature film in size. There is thus a lot of detail that
they can back up, allowing the city to look really nice, even from
an extremely close view. Also, most of the city is modelled, not
textured, which allows for the details to move when the city is
Many sets used for Atlantis (and also SG-1) are actually part of a massive sound stage which was built for almost 2 million dollars. This large stage is used for rooms like the brig, several balconies including the ones with the grounding stations or other interior parts of Atlantis. If they require outdoor views they use green screens to hide parts of the set. Also some sets of Atlantis are part of the set which was used for Blade: Trinity, for example the bridge seen first in "The Storm" or the infirmary in "Michael".
|AUXILLIARY CONTROL CENTER|
This is a large room in the underground of the city. It
allows people to control the city if the main operations center is
unavailable. From this room a person can, for example, use the
communications system or power up the city's star drive.
Rooms equipped with cages in the middle, consisting of
horizontal bars re-inforced by powerful force field, used to lock dangerous
people away. The Atlantis expedition used the brigs several times to
imprison captured Wraith and Genii.
Like the Ancient outpost in Antarctica, Atlantis also
contains a control chair. It is used by Sheppard to control the city's drone
weapons in "The Siege". It is also used to fly Atlantis in "First Strike",
"Lifeline" and "Enemy at the Gate".
Atlantis houses two known conference rooms, both below
the Gate room, that allows the leadership to discuss important matters. The
smaller one is used for only a few people, and it contains only a large
triangle-shaped table with chairs. Another bigger one, which contains a
longer table, is used for large meetings in which many people can take part.
Each of these rooms can be accessed by multi-panel doors.
|DRONE WEAPON STORAGE ROOMS|
These are large rooms in the underground of the city that house the Drone
weapons of Atlantis. The rooms are filled with large honeycomb-like racks in
which the inactive drones are stored. It is quite possible that the Drones are
directly launched from these racks. Although only the drone storage room of
Atlantis' sister city was seen, it is quite possible that Atlantis' room looks
At the end of the 1st season, the city's drone supply was exhausted, when Major
Sheppard used the few remaining drones to destroy the wraith darts. Later
in the series in the episode the
Tower, the city secured what appeared to be thousands of drones, if not
A room that allows access to the Ancient database in the
form of holograms. In "Rising", it plays a message from the Ancient Melia
describing their history in the Pegasus galaxy. Sheppard uses the room to
show Colonel Everett the galactic tactical situation in "The Siege". In "The
Pegasus Project", Daniel Jackson and Vala Mal Doran use the room to search
for information about planets where the Sangraal might be hidden. The
Ascended Ancient Morgan le Fay poses as the teaching hologram she originally
invented in order to give them the information. The room is relatively
power-intensive and so is used sparingly.
The gate room of Atlantis is a large two-floor room nearly on top (only the
Puddle Jumper bay lies higher) of the central tower of Atlantis that houses the
Stargate and has many exits to leave in different directions. The Stargate is
located on a large platform which has space for many people. Right on the
opposite side of the Stargate a large stair leads to the upper floor that
houses the operations center, Dr. Weir's office, the conference rooms and
several balconies to look down on the platform. Thus it is easy to keep an eye
on the Stargate and the surrounding area. The ceiling above the platform
contains a large panel to the Puddle Jumper bay from which the Jumpers are
moved automatically from and to the gate room. They have also put more Ancient
control units in the control room since their arrival at the city.
An empty room which is used by the personnel to train.
This room is often used by Teyla Emmagan, John Sheppard and Ronon Dex.
Atlantis has several medical facilities, (though it is
unclear if the Ancients originally used them for medical purposes, or if the
Atlantis expedition simply chose to use these rooms for their own needs).
These rooms house many different medical devices, most of them from Earth,
but some left over by the Ancients. The rooms also hold possibilities for
medical and biological research. The primary medical facility is a large
room meant to watch over several patients. There are additional facilities
(including an adjacent room) where people can recover, as well as a single
room for treating only one person while other people can watch from above
through a large glass fašade. The medical facilities were under the command
of Dr. Carson Beckett, though after Beckett's death, he was replaced by Dr.
The main puddle jumper bay in Atlantis is a two-story
facility, located atop the central tower. The jumpers can exit either
outside through a portal in the roof, or into the control room to travel
through the Stargate. The design of the jumper bay changes after the season
3 episode "The Return", in which Sheppard's team destroy much of the upper
central spire. "The Return" also shows that there is another jumper bay
accessible from the ocean underneath the city.
Atlantis houses a vast number of laboratories, which the
Ancients used to conduct many different experiments. Over time, the Atlantis
expedition stumbled upon a number of these. These laboratories have
contained an energy creature, a nanite virus, a stasis capsule containing an
alternate version of Elizabeth Weir, a human advancement device similar to a
DNA resequencer, a zoology lab, and a device that creates explosive tumors.
Since Atlantis is a city designed for use by the general
population, and not the military, there is presumably enough room for
thousands - if not millions - of inhabitants. Some quarters are rather
small, lacking much free space, and can only house one person; others are
bigger and provide more room.
A large hall located halfway up the central spire, where
Atlantis personnel can eat or socialize. It has a spectacular view of the
Weir's office: A large office which is connected through a short gangway
to the operations center and which provides a sight on the gateroom. It is
used as Dr. Weir's personal office as well as a meeting room for small or
unofficial meetings, most times between the Atlantis senior staff.
When Atlantis resided on Earth in
Antarctica, it was docked with an Ancient
The bottom tower that is under the water in Atlantis which can be seen in many
episodes on the monitors in Atlantis appears to be the Ancient outpost which is
left behind when an Ancient city ship leaves the planet it was originally on.
This is shown in "Rising (Part 1)" in the beginning and much more
clearly visible in the episode "Progeny". A new outpost can be
constructed as was done with Atlantis as shown by Atlantis having a replacement
one after the original was left on Earth.
The encountered outposts, the Ancient outpost in Antarctica
and the one on Proclarush Taonas, were powered by a single ZPM and had a
compliment of drone weapons and a control chair. The outposts were protected by
a shield similar to the one on Atlantis, except much smaller. The shield had
been activated on Proclarush Taonas, but eventually the shield failed and left
a dome of hardened lava behind.
The main control room of Atlantis, located in the central
tower, contains all devices and control consoles to operate the city. Here,
the DHD of Atlantis is located (and the only one which can make a connection
with Earth, as it has a special control crystal to do so) as well as
controls for the Stargate force field, city-wide communications, external
communications, energy systems, multiple sensors, access to the Ancient
database, the city's shield and much more. Later, a console (found to be a
biometric sensor) is found and installed in the operations center. In the
direction of the gate room, the center is enclosed with a glass fašade and a
balcony, which allows the people to watch the gate area. Lastly the room
provides access to the Puddle Jumper bay and a balcony at the backside.
|ZPM OUTLET ROOM|
In this room the ZPM's which power Atlantis are connected to the city. To
connect the ZPM's they must be inserted in one of three slots in a large
triangular-shaped device which is located in the middle of the room. The ZPM's
can then be controlled by a console near the device.
The city holds many secrets and technology far in advance
of that mastered by the human expedition. In regular use are the
transporters to move people and objects around the city and the
Puddle Jumpers docked in Atlantis. The city has
not been fully explored due to its size, and search teams are finding new
rooms and technology every day.
|COMPUTERS - ANCIENT DATABASE|
Atlantis holds a vast database of Ancient knowledge. Even
with all the hard drives the Atlantis expedition brought with them, and the
use of an efficient compression codec invented by Dr. McKay, only about 9%
of the translated database could be stored. The database holds a collection
of Stargate addresses for both Pegasus and the Milky Way, information about
the Wraith and the Iratus bug, information about other species, and much
scientific research (including zero-point module research, work on
ascension, weapon schematics and notes on space travel). The database also
has an incredible ability to back up data, so deleting it is difficult. The
database can be accessed through many database terminals in the city.
The main defense system of Atlantis is its energy shield,
without which the city is surprisingly fragile. While the shield can
effectively hold back almost any threat, it consumes so much power that a
ZPM is required to activate it. In "The Eye", McKay uses the energy of
multiple lightning strikes to briefly power the shield. The Ancients once
extended the city's shield over much of the hemisphere in order to protect
the native life against a coronal mass ejection from the planets star. In
"The Siege, Part 3", the Atlantis Expedition links the cloaking generator of
a puddle jumper to the city's shield generators, converting the shield into
a cloak. This is used to fool the Wraith into believing Atlantis has been
destroyed, and is used in subsequent episodes to hide from the Wraith. In
"The Return", the Atlantis team modifies the shield generators to emit a
replicator disruptor wave.
The primary weapons of the city are drone weapons, which require the Ancient
control chair to fire. At the time of "The Siege", Atlantis has only a few
dozen drones left, which are all used in defending the city against the
Wraith. The city's drone supply is replenished from the stores of another
city ship discovered in "The Tower". The SGC also installed multiple
railguns, machine guns, and SAM missile emplacements during The Siege,
however, these weapons have not been featured on the show since, so it is
unknown if the weapons are still fitted. Jumpers are also used in the
defense of Atlantis. In Brotherhood, three Jumpers are dispatched to destroy
a Wraith Dart and in Lifeline, multiple, if not all, the Jumpers are used to
launch drones to clear a path in an asteroid belt for Atlantis to go
through. Although it was mentioned in The Gift that the Atlantis Expedition
had "uncovered a number of defensive weapons systems beyond the shield" none
of these have appeared on the show to date.
To protect the city from lightning, the city is equipped with lightning rods at
the highest points of the city, which channel the electricity to four grounding
stations, which then dispel the energy into the ocean. However, during a
powerful storm that threatened Atlantis, Rodney McKay and Radek Zelenka devised
a plan to reconfigure the grounding stations so that the energy could be
diverted to power up the city's shield. To do this, the rods that usually
directed the energy into the ocean needed to be separated; this was done by
entering the code 031547 at each station's console. All the stations had to be
configured this way, or insufficient power would be generated.
In any case, the plan was also extremely hazardous, as the electricity would
have to be channeled along the corridors of the city to the power generators,
potentially electrocuting anyone not in the shielded city control room.
However, despite an attempted takeover of the city by the Genii, the plan was
Like all Ancient City Ships, Atlantis is powered by three Zero Point Modules,
though most systems can function with just one installed in the Power Vault.
The Atlantis Expedition has installed a series of naqahdah generators, which
are sufficient for basic systems. The city also has solar power generators
that can power minor systems. Power is distributed throughout the city via
conductive conduits lining the walls of every corridor. The city will
automatically power up sections when people enter them, and can also make
some system adjustments to compensate for low power.
Atlantis' stardrive allows the city to achieve orbit and travel between
galaxies via hyperspace. To protect its inhabitants during flight, the city
is equipped with inertial dampeners. The city is flown from its Ancient
control chair. The power requirements of the stardrive are enormous. In
"First Strike", the Atlantis Expedition is able to launch the city with a
single ZPM by adding additional power from an Ancient geothermal drilling
station during the first few minutes of lift-off. However, Atlantis runs low
on power before it reaches its intended destination, due to damage to the
power distribution system. 30% of the total power requirements are consumed
within the first few seconds of flight. In "Enemy at the Gate", Atlantis
uses a dangerous and experimental wormhole drive to travel to Earth nearly
The city is equipped with several types of sensors: first
the long-range sensors, which allow Atlantis to scan distant star systems.
These sensors also enable the inhabitants to detect any ships that are on
their way to the city, and thus be warned. This set of sensors ran in the
background and was discovered months after the arrival of the expedition.
Another set of sensors are the internal sensors, which display detailed
plans of the city and life-forms in it. Although it can distinguish between
organic and energy life forms, it cannot differentiate between organic life
The third set of sensors are the biometric sensors that
scan the city for irregularities in biometric rhythm. If people of different
species are in the city, the sensors detect them. These sensors were
discovered by the Atlantis expedition about one month before the arrival of
the Wraith. However the biometric sensors need a lot of power so they were
ordered to only scan the gate room.
The transporters are the primary means of transport to
move quickly between different parts of the city. They are small
chambers and if someone enters, a console opens in the back and reveals a
map of the city with blue lights that display the location of the other
chambers. To be transported to another chamber a user only needs to press
one of the blue lights at the target location. Afterwards the people in the
chamber are transported to this location in a blinding flash of light. This
system functions in a similar manner as the Ring Transporters which doesn't
come as a surprise since both systems were invented by the Ancients. The
chambers also function as elevators to move people up and down in the same
structure or building.