Ridley Scott’s new movie Prometheus takes its name from the film’s starship, which carries the story’s doomed crew out into space on a mission of discovery. That mission of discovery turns into a disaster and what the crew of the Prometheus finds may be humanity’s end. Prometheus isn’t a name Ridley Scott uses lightly.
It is of course a reference to the Prometheus story in Greek mythology in which a god named Prometheus gives man fire, and ends up spending the rest of his existence bound in eternal torture while man misuses his gift to bring about his own destruction. But the name Prometheus has an equally doomed legacy in the world of science fiction. Ridley Scott’s starship isn’t the first named Prometheus and that name, in every case, has been applied to a ship on a mission of death, destruction, doom, mistakes, and needless death.
Here are four other fictional starships named Prometheus. All of them found failure out amongst the stars.
EAS Prometheus (Babylon 5)
The Babylon project was the galaxy’s last best hope for peace, created in the shadow of an Earth/Minbari war which never would have happened at all if not for an Earth starship named Prometheus. In the year 2245 an Earthforce Hyperion-class heavy cruiser, named the EAS Prometheus, was the first to encounter a Minbari cruiser. The Minbari approached the Earth ship with their gunports open, which in their culture was meant as a sign of respect. The Prometheus’ captain, one Michael Jankowski, misinterpreted their actions as a threat. He ordered his crew to open fire on the Minbari cruiser, killing their leader Dukhat, and plunging humanity into a war which would bring it to the brink of extinction.