Altair IV, is a
fictional planetfeatured in the 1956 MGMclassic science fictionfilm " Forbidden Planet". This fourth planet orbiting the star Altair, 16.7 light-years distance (98 trillion miles) away from our Sun, is a rocky, terrestrial world. It supports Earth-like life due to its oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere and an approximate Earth gravity field. The planet is home to philologist Dr. Edward Morbius, Ph.D. ( Walter Pidgeon), the final survivor of the ill-fated " Bellerophon" expedition of some 20 years prior, and his daughter Altaira ( Anne Francis). The one other inhabitant is the "Remarkable Gentleman", Robby the Robot.
Per Dr. Morbius, Altair IV was once home to the
Krell, a technologically highly advanced, nonhuman civilization, before they suddenly annihilated themselves 2000 centuries ago. It was visited by the United Planets Cruiser C-57D, captained by Commander J.J. Adams ( Leslie Nielsen), with Executive Officer Lt. J.P. Farman (Jack Kelly) and ship's physician Dr. C.X. Ostrow ( Warren Stevens), with a crew of sixteen. The ship was dispatched to the fourth planet in the star system Alpha Aquilae, as a relief mission to search for colonist survivors of the lost "Bellerophon" expedition.
Unlike the novel version, discussed below, the 1956 Forbidden Planet movie version did not mention the "time-squeeze" effect in the C-57D's journey, with its flight requiring only about one year on board ship (as stated in its dialogue, " 378 days in hyperspace "). The movie version did not specify event dates beyond A.D. 2200.
* The novel by
W.J. Stuartis based on the film, and approaches the story as chapter narrations from the viewpoints of each of the main characters — Commander Adams, Dr. Morbius, and ship's medical officer Dr. Ostrow.
* In the story, the saucer-shaped C-57D Cruiser is launched in A.D. 2371 on its 10-year voyage (one year ship-time, due to "time-squeeze" effect of its quantum-gravitetic drive). Traveling at "670 million miles per hour — more than the speed of light!" in the flight to the Altair star system, the ship arrives in A.D. 2381.
* Prior to landing, preliminary findings reveal the
gravityto be 0.897 of Earth's, with the oxygen level 4.7 [%] richer. On the ground, ship's engineer Chief Alonzo Quinn notes that broken pieces from nearby blue-gray stalagmiterocks were lighter than pumice, but harder than granite. The planet's soft, heady atmosphere, lit by turquoise sunlight, is described as being so full of oxygen, a breeze would be felt, even when there wasn't one. Areas of the desert ground around Morbius' home are covered by a gold-hued grass, and there are green-gray mountains and deep blue water rivers in the distance. Nearby trees and plants appear somewhat Earth-like, except for color, shape and foliage. At night, the planet's two moons reflect turquoise light onto the distant mountains, giving them a copper color.
* The United Planets Cruiser returns to Earth in A.D. 2391, and Cmdr Adams relates the remarkable story — and delivers Robby the Robot.
Other references to "Altair IV"
* Altair IV is mentioned in the
Stephen Kingnovel " The Tommyknockers", as the location to which a child is sent.
Altair 4is the designation for the lunar lander in the Orion 19mission, tentatively scheduled for A.D. 2020.
* The movie images and subtitles from 1999 and 2006 Forbidden Planet movie DVD releases.
* 1979 CINEFANTASTIQUE Magazine Double-Issue (Volume 8, Number 2 & Volume 8, Number 3) — Article: "MAKING FORBIDDEN PLANET" by Frederick S. Clarke and Steve Rubin.
* Forbidden Planet Screenplay Draft -
May 14 1955.
* 1956 Forbidden Planet novel by W. J. Stuart (published by Bantam Books)
* [http://www.solstation.com/stars/altair.htm Altair System summary]
*IMDB 1956 "Forbidden Planet": http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0049223/
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