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Memory Alpha
Real world article
(written from a production point of view)

For planet of the same name, please see Terra Nova.

Enterprise investigates the mystery of a lost Earth colony whose inhabitants disappeared decades before. But that doesn't mean they left.



Terra Nova colony, surface profile

The abandoned Terra Nova colony

The crew of Enterprise NX-01 is heading towards the planet Terra Nova to investigate what happened to the long lost colony. Helmsman Ensign Travis Mayweather is the most excited to visit, as he has been fascinated by the colony since his childhood.

Act One[]

At lunch, Captain Jonathan Archer informs Sub-commander T'Pol about the colony. Terra Nova was the first Earth colony outside of the solar system, after New Berlin on Luna, Utopia Planitia on Mars and a few asteroids were colonized by Humans just in the Sol system. The colony was referred to as "The Great Experiment" and Earth had lost all contact after a couple of unfriendly transmissions. It turns out that the colonists were opposed to a second wave of Humans going to live in the home they struggled to build.

Enterprise NX landing party on terra nova

The landing party exploring the colony

When Enterprise arrives at the colony, the crew finds no one, only a ghost town, built from disassembled components of the SS Conestoga, the vessel that transported the colonists for nine years to the colony. The site also has a low level of radiation that would be harmful to Humans in the long term. A landing party composed of Ensign Mayweather, Sub-Commander T'Pol, Captain Jonathan Archer, and Lieutenant Malcolm Reed is dispatched, going down to the planet in Shuttlepod 1. After Reed notices some rustling in the forest, the crew converge at a cave entrance. Archer and Reed head into the cave to investigate. The two make an unfriendly first contact with strange humanoid figures, resulting in Reed being shot with a projectile weapon and being taken hostage. Archer is forced to exit the cave, and Mayweather, T'Pol and Archer scramble back to the shuttlepod, where T'Pol reveals that the inhabitants in the cave are actually Human beings.

Act Two[]

Phlox and Archer taken hostage

Archer and Phlox taken hostage

After returning to Enterprise, Archer calls a briefing in the ship's situation room. Trip Tucker reports they know where Reed is, but he is too deep for the transporter. Also, the geology is unstable, with the Humans forced to live underground and hunt for food. They start to tactically assess the positions of the Humans and Reed, but Archer is insistent at finding a way to communicate with them, especially since they are Human. He orders T'Pol and Tucker to continue investigating the geology and Hoshi Sato and Mayweather to get information from their transmissions. He asks chief medical officer Doctor Phlox to accompany him back to the colony. They return alone, unarmed, to try to build trust with the residents. Speaking out into the forest, two of them approach and take them underground.

Archer shows Nadet Enterprise

Archer shows Nadet Enterprise

There, they are taken to Reed, who is alive but with a wound in his leg. One of the Humans who seems to be a leader approaches, and reveals they speak a certain kind of English. They accuse Archer and his crew of wanting to finish the job they believe earlier Humans did to them, including the "poison rain" and "gutting" the adults. Archer explains it wasn't Humans, but, rather, the radiation. It appears they also don't know they descended from Humans. Archer asks them to prove their friendliness. The doctor offers to take Nadet, an elderly Novan, to Enterprise to treat her lung cancer. The leader agrees, but insists he comes with them and Reed stay there. Reed consents, so Archer agrees.

Act Three[]

Nadet in sickbay

Nadet learns the truth about her sickness

In sickbay, Phlox starts a deep scan of Nadet and explains calmly what he's doing and finding out. While Phlox works, Archer tries to show them pictures of the colony before the radiation. The man, Jamin, calls them lies and demands he turn off the pictures. Archer reluctantly agrees and leaves. He joins T'Pol and Tucker on the bridge to learn that a large asteroid is what caused a debris cloud in the planet's atmosphere.

Athan makes music

Athan makes music

Meanwhile, Reed tries to talk to his guard by admiring his weapon and body armor and asking for a lavatory. The guard refuses to answer and simply starts eating. Seeing Reed looking at his food, he asks if his "belly is hollow" and slowly gives him some digger meat. With Reed's comment that the meat is undercooked, the guard reveals that he believes Humans are weak. Soon, however, the mood turns calm as the sound of music fills the cavern.

In Archer's ready room, Sato and Mayweather play back the last transmission from Captain Mitchell of the Conestoga. It was intended for Earth, but due to the debris in the atmosphere it wasn't received. It turns out that, when the asteroid hit the planet, the colonists erroneously concluded that Earth was taking the colony back by force, prompted by the threats made by Mark Logan, opposition leader to more colonists. The ensuing radiation from the impact left only the children surviving, which led to three generations with the most rudimentary of education and a hatred for off-worlders. With this insight, it becomes clear why the Novans are still suspicious, even when Phlox offers his help.

Novans in the situation room

Nadet and Jamin, not eager to listen to Archer

Phlox later discovers that, though the lung cancer is eliminated, the water supplies of the underside have recently been poisoned by radiation and that could lead to the colonists' descendants' extinction. Phlox cannot treat this, and the surface will continue to be irradiated for years. Archer then decides to convince Jamin and Nadet to leave, knowing it will be difficult. Indeed, Jamin doesn't believe anything. Archer tries to get through to Nadet by showing her a photo taken of a young girl named Bernadette Fuller and her mother Vera before the asteroid hit Terra Nova. Archer seems to be getting through to her with the photo. However, Jamin believes Archer has simply found a plan to take their home from them, accuses him of lying and demands the captain return him and his mother back to their home.

Taking T'Pol aside, he expresses his frustration. She suggests that the Novans be relocated, by force using stun grenades, in caverns in the southern hemisphere where there is no radiation. She points out that there is a culture the Novans developed for years, and Archer should not destroy it by encouraging them to come back to Earth and live like them. Archer finally agrees and, back in Shuttlepod 1, explains the new location and asks Nadet and Jamin to at least talk about it with the others. They appear to finally agree to talk to their people about the idea.

Shuttlepod 1 dropping below the surface of terra nova

Shuttlepod 1 dropping below the surface

When they return to the planet, Shuttlepod 1 is engulfed in a sinkhole and plunges eight meters below the surface.

Act Four[]

Akary trapped

Akary trapped in the well

Still able to contact Enterprise, Archer reports what happened. Jamin demands Archer open the door, and Tucker suggests it's safe, based on their location. Once out, Jamin requests Archer's phase-pistol to break through rock, and Archer reluctantly hands it over after he threatens Reed's life. On the way, Archer, Jamin, and Nadet hear the screams of a Novan named Akary. Archer and Jamin scale a large well to get to him, during which Archer nearly falls, but is pulled back up by Jamin. The two finally make it to Akary, but he is trapped by a large tree trunk. After both being unable to lift it off Akary's broken leg, Archer demands his phase-pistol back from Jamin and is able to slice the trunk in half with the beam. The rescue of Akary helps build trust between Nadet's son and the captain. When they finally reach the other Novans, Nadet insists on telling them what awaits them and they finally accept the relocation plan, avoiding extinction.

Mayweather and T'Pol talking about earth history

The senior crew is talking about their mission

Afterwards, in the captain's mess, Archer, Tucker, T'Pol, and Mayweather eat dinner together and discuss the recent events with the colony. Archer suggests that Mayweather write the official report for Starfleet, as he was the most eager crewman on Enterprise to visit Terra Nova.

Log entry[]

Memorable quotes[]

"I'm not familiar with the early years of Human space exploration."
"Really? Every school kid on Earth had to learn about the famous Vulcan expeditions."
"Name one."
(after long pause) "History was never my best subject."

- Tucker and T'Pol

"Asking favors of the Vulcans usually ends up carrying too high a price."

- Tucker, to T'Pol

"My experience with Humans is limited, but I've come to learn that they are quite resourceful."

- T'Pol, to Captain Archer

"I promised my dad I'd see this place someday."

- Mayweather, seeing Terra Nova on Enterprise's viewscreen

"If those aliens killed the colonists they could kill Malcolm, too."
"Those weren't aliens. They're Human."

- Mayweather and T'Pol

"I'm leg broke!"

- Akary

"If these are the descendants of the original colonists, they've never seen other Humans before. Maybe, we look as strange to them as they did to us."

- Archer, after realizing who the Novans really were

"How are you holding up?"
"Not badly, all things considered. But I really wouldn't mind getting this bullet out of my leg."

- Archer and Reed

"You Humans tried to gut our go-befores when they lived on the overside. Now you're trying to gut us!"

- Nadet

"Ever heard of Judge Crater?"
"Disappeared in the early 20th century. How about Amelia Earhart?"
"1937. Never found a trace of her. A lot of people spent years – decades – trying to figure out what happened to them. But neither of those mysteries holds a candle to Terra Nova. And we solved it!"

- Mayweather and T'Pol

"Giant rocks falling from the sky, shale! It's all shale! Take us back!"

- Jamin

"He speaks in shale."

- Athan, saying "He lies"

"What the hell do you think this is, a slave ship?"

- Archer, to T'Pol

Background information[]

Production history[]

Story and script[]

  • Scenes 51 – 54 of the script were not filmed during production of this episode. (Call sheets)
  • Scene 11, planned to be filmed on Monday 13 August 2001 on location, was also not part of the episode. According to the description on the call sheet, this scene features Travis Mayweather inspecting the communications tower of the colony and hearing a hawk. (Call sheet)
  • Scene 25, planned to be filmed on Tuesday 14 August 2001 on Paramount Stage 9, should have Archer and Reed finding graves of Novan children in an underground tunnel. The set description on the call sheet is "Int. Underground Cemetery". This scene was also not part of the episode. (Call sheet)


Vince Deadrick, Jr

Stunt Coordinator Vince Deadrick, Jr. with stunt actor Steve Blalock during production

  • Stunt Coordinator Vince Deadrick, Jr. was pleased with the amount of space that the stunts for this episode were given. He later reminisced, "We had Scott [Bakula] dangling from a ledge, and we had him on a cable, which was great. We had some meat there." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 138 p. 42)
  • For the stunt climbing scene near the end of the episode, stunt doubles Vince Deadrick, Jr. and Steven Lambert as well as actor Scott Bakula were stunt rigged. Responsible for the stunt safety in these scenes on the set were stuntmen Mark Ginther and William De Vital who had a set call at 10:00 am. (Call sheet)
  • This episode had one day of filming on location. On the fourth day of production, the Polsa Rosa Ranch in Acton, California, was used to portray the surface of Terra Nova. As usual, Lisa White was the location manager. (Call sheet)
  • Guest actress Mary Carver was the only cast member who had a company pickup at home and had not travelling on her own to the studio. Jolene Blalock was also picked up and brought to the set on the day of filming on location. (Call sheets)
  • On Thursday 9 August 2001, the second day of production on this episode, second unit filming took place on Paramount Stage 18. (Call sheet)
  • On the third day of production, Friday 10 August 2001, a pick-up shot in engineering for the episode "Fight or Flight" was filmed on Paramount Stage 18. This shot is scene 82 in the episode and included Connor Trinneer and background actors. (Call sheet)
  • On the sixth day of production, Wednesday 15 August 2001, a second unit meeting took place at the Cooper Building, room 205, 10:00 am. (Call sheet)
SS Conestoga colonist 9

The cameo of Michael Westmore

Cast and characters[]

Props, sets, and costumes[]

Terra nova colony concept sketch

Eaves' sketch of the Terra Nova colony


Special and visual effects[]

Shuttlepod approaching a planet

The shuttlepod scene

SS Conestoga

The CGI model of the SS Conestoga



  • In a 2011 interview, Brannon Braga cited this as his least favorite episode from the entirety of Star Trek: Enterprise. "There happens to be an irony there. It was about finding a lost colony of Humans, but it was boring and it was unfortunate that it was such an early episode," Braga critiqued. [24] He also described the installment as "terrible" and one of several first-season "mediocre scripts" which were an attempt to "go after something" and which were visually improved to a "great" extent by the cast and production crew. Braga concluded by calling it, "Not a bad concept, but not […] a good episode." ("To Boldly Go: Launching Enterprise, Part III: First Flight", ENT Season 1 Blu-ray special feature)
  • This episode achieved a Nielsen rating of 5.1 and was watched by a total average of 8.35 million viewers. [25]
  • In Star Trek Magazine's "Ultimate Guide", this episode was rated 1 out of 5 arrowhead insignia. (Star Trek Magazine issue 164, p. 78)
  • The unofficial reference book Beyond the Final Frontier (p. 360) comments about this episode, "The first major misfire of the show, 'Terra Nova' isn't really about anything, and the big revelations are never anything but predictable. Perhaps it's because the 'first Human colony' is presented so pessimistically, but the whole episode just feels wrong."

Video and DVD releases[]


The VHS cover including "Terra Nova"

Links and references[]


Guest stars[]


Uncredited co-stars[]

Stunt doubles[]



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geologic depression; geology; ghost; ghost town; girl; glass; glass (container); glyph; go-before; grandfather; "Great Experiment, The"; green; groundbreaking; "grown one"; guard; gun; gutting; gutting room; habitable; hail; hand hold; handrail; hand scanner; head; headline news; healthy; heel; hell; helm station; hemisphere; historical archive; history; hole; holster; home; hostage; hostile; hour; house; housing unit; Human; hunting; ice cube; iced tea; idea; identity; illness; imaging chamber; immunity; impact crater; impact fracture; infection; injection; insect; interstitial tumor; investigation; iron; irony; irradiated; island; isotope decay; jar; journey; judge; June; kid; kill; kilometer; lamp; landing party; landing site; launch bay; lavatory; leg; leg-broke; lemon; lethal; level; liar; lieutenant; life; light year; Logan, Mark; log transmission; lunch; lung cancer; lymphatic system; male; malignancy; man; map; Mars; meat; medical kit; medical scanner; medical supply; medical supply cabinet; medicine; memory; message; meter; microcellular decay; microscope; millirad; minute; mister; MK-33; MK-34; monitor; moon; mother; mountain; music; mystery; name; napkin; navigation; network; New Berlin; north; northern; Novan; Novan musical instruments; NX-class; obstruction; officer; "off-world"; one-way trip; operations division; orbit; overside; PADD; paper towel; parent; path; perimeter; phase-pistol; photo; photograph; physician; picture; pistol; pitcher; planet; planetary surface scan; plate; pocket knife; pod; Pod 1; poison; poison rain; port hatch; price; projectile; promise; protest; proximity scan; pulse; puzzle; quake; question; radiation; radioactive cloud; rank pip; reading; regolith; relation; relocation; remnant; report; respiration; restraints; rig; risk; river; rock; roof; rot; rust; sandwich; satellite dish; scale; schematic; school; school kid; sciences division; science station; scope; second; secondary systems log; section; sensor resolution; settler; shale; shelf; ship; shovel; shuttle; shuttlepod; Shuttlepod 1; Shuttlepod 2; sick; sickbay; sickness; sir; situation room; skeletal system; skin; skull; sky; "Sky Ship"; slave ship; soil; solar system; son; south; southern; Space Agency; space exploration; species; SS; stable; Starfleet; Starfleet Medical; Starfleet uniform; starship; status report; stun; stun grenade; sub-commander; subject; subsurface scan; success; sunrise; sunshine; supplemental; surface; surface radiation; surprise; survey; surviving; synthesize; table; tactical station; teaching; tectonic analysis; Terra Nova; Terra Nova colony; Terra Nova Expedition; thermo-shock; thoracic scan; thousand; threat; thruster; time; ton; tool; topography; town hall; trace; Tracey; track; transmission; transmission log; transporter; trap; Travis' dad; treatment; tree; trip; Trip; Trip's grandfather; trunk; tuber; tumbleweed; tunnel; turbolift; undercooked; unnamed food; unnamed Humans; unnamed moons; unnamed Novan food; unnamed Novan tools; unnamed ornithoid lifeform; unnamed planets; unnamed star system; unnamed colony vessel; Utopia Planitia; vessel; view; viewscreen; Vulcan; Vulcan expedition; Vulcan scanner; Vulcan ship; Vulcan uniform; wall; water; wave; weapons fire; weekly; welcome mat; well; wheel; window; woman; wood; world; writing; year; yellow; zipper

Script references[]

cemetery; Conestoga-type; grave; gymnast; hawk; panel; Romaiya

External links[]

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