Alien: The galactic map of "Alien"

leading from

a. O'Bannon's star map

Glimpse of the original map drawing from Memory: The Origin of Alien

A diagram with the online script shows a starmap of the territories where humans have explored.  As we know the Nostromo in its return journey has not reached the rim of "The Outer" which is 108 light years in diameter, or 54 light years away from Earth, and the area is separate from the inner circle, Earth Vicinity which is an area around Earth , 32.6 light years in diameter which equals 10 parsecs (this has been a popular distance for people to make charts listing the stars within the area local to Earth in past years.) 
 It contains 37 star systems and 4000 planets. (In Memory: The Origin of Alien, the original starmap drawing is shown. We might assume that Dan O'Bannon created it)

'The Outer' rim based upon the map from the Alien script
(Using 50 lightyears from Earth map by R Powell)

"The Outer" contains 1650 Star Systems, 46 like our sun, and over 20,000 planets. The distance from "The Outer" rim to Earth Vicinity's rim is 37.7 lightyears. 
In Dan's original script, Roby suggests that they should "get on the radio to the exploration authorities", and with radio signals traveling at the speed of light Standard states that it will take 75 years to get a reply back.  
The questions here, might assume either he is saying that the exploration authorities will respond to them from the rim of Earth Vicinity or are they really near Zeta Reticuli and expect to send a signal to planet Earth directly?

b. Reference to the Betty and Barney Hill abduction case

By the map of "The Outer", since the Nostromo has not reached the rim of this area but is supposed to be near it, it has roughly 20 light years to go before it gets to Zeta II Reticuli. In the movie the star system was only again. 
However it is likely that O'Bannon included it as a landmark in deep space as a reference to the Betty and Barney Hill abduction case that was being talked about a lot in the 1970s because of this booklet called the "Zeta Reticuli Incident" by Terence Dickinson published 1974. 
It was about the incident that contained essays by such notable people such as Carl Sagan making his point of view known (see virtual copies: and about the likelihood that a star map seen by Betty Hill was correct or not that showed a similarity to the positions of Earth in relation to Zeta I and II Reticuli
The booklet contained a table that listed all known stars within a radius of 54 light-years that are single or part of a wide multiple star system, which were then the 46 nearest stars similar to the Sun
Here we have the mention of the the 54 light years radius. Terence Dickinson used the '69 edition of the Gliese catalogue, which logged stars up to 22 parsecs (71.75599772 light years) out,

Incidently a TV movie about the Betty and Barney Hill abduction experience came out in 1975 called The UFO Incident, starring James Earl Jones and this was from a time when not that many were known about.

Another thing of note about this incident is the idea of a star map that Betty Hill had seen and did her best to reproduce, and would enter the public consciousness.

c) Co-ordinates for the source of the transmission
In O'Bannon's early draft and the revised final draft from June to October 1978, it was decided that where the source of the transmission being planetoid was to be found at Ascension: 6 minutes 32 seconds, Declination: -39 degrees 2 seconds. 
If we used that as coordinates looking at the sky from Earth, we find nothing there, although we find that it's between the areas of the constellation of the Phoenix and the sculptor. 
What might have been the idea behind the co-ordinates? 
Or was this supposed to be where it was in relation to the Nostromo with the ship at the centre?

Glimpse of pages from the Dan O'Bannon's script Memory as seen in Memory: The Origin of Alien

d) A star that could be named
Going back further in the development of the script, in Memory which was started in 1971.

As shown in the documentary Memory: The origins of Alien , Dan originally used Sirius which was about 8.7 light years from Earth and very well known in different ways, then crossed it out and changed it to Deneb.

Deneb found its way the Star Trek series in the 1960s, but the star was 2,616 light years from Earth.

Later Epsilon Aurigae was mentioned in Joe W. Haldeman's story "Hero" in 1972 the magazine Analog that would be part of the novel The Forever War in 1974, and this star is known to be about 1,350 light years away from Earth or at least over a thousand.

A character, Submajor Williamson utters the words "Aleph Aurigae, the first collapsar ever detected, revolves around the normal star Epsilon Aurigae in a twenty-seven year orbit. The enemy has a base of operations, not on a regular portal planet of Aleph, but on a planet in orbit around Epsilon. We don't know much about the planet, just that it goes around Epsilon once every 745 days, is about three-fourths the size of Earth, and has an albedo of 0.8, meaning it's probably covered with clouds. We can't say precisely how hot it will be, but judging from its distance from Epsilon, it's probably rather hotter than Earth. Of course, we don't know whether you'll be working. . . fighting on lightside or darkside, equator or poles. It's highly unlikely that the atmosphere will be breathable-at any rate, you'll stay inside your suits. "

The phrase "We haven't even reached the outer rim yet" in the Alien movie was one of these later additions to the script as well, and perhaps it came about as the further away from Earth that the nearest star of note seemed to be.

By 1974, Zeta II Reticuli would have been established as a star of great public obsession in discussions about stories about alien abductions. 
Some would be celebrating, perhaps in an underground culture ways of thinking while others would be out to debunk it by whatever means they had, and it would always remain stuck to the mythos of the Alien series.

Analog, June 1972 featuring Hero written by Joe W Haldeman

1 comment:

  1. Updating the page after more information in the documentary "Memory: The Origins of Alien"