How To Make A Tardis?

22 06 2012

When danger is about, Doctor Who may appear. Throughout all his adventures through space and time his most trusted and loyal companion is his Time Machine. Wherever he goes the Tardis is usually not far behind, it has helped him to get out of many situations and in most occasions into trouble in the first place. Now to many it may just be a big blue box, and it is but it is also a lot more than that, out of all his equipment, it’s the Doctors most magnificent. So if you fancy building one for yourself, keep reading as I delve into the more complex side of the Doctor’s Time Machine.

Tardis (Time And Relative Dimension In Space) is a special piece of equipment built by an advanced extra-terrestrial race known as The Time Lords on their home planet of Gallifrey. The Time Lords as their name suggested were experts in Time Travel and Time Perception. Their Time Machines were built to allow them to travel back and forth in time to any planet but more to observe than to intervene but this was sometimes allowed. While the history of the Time Machines themselves are a bit sceptical it is clear that the Doctors machine was not the first. The Doctor’s Tardis is a TT 40 Type Mark 3. Now the TT could be like the Model T in which it does not mean that there was a T or an S like it goes alphabetically, it is just a name given to the model to allocate it and show how it is different to another model but we can tell from the Mark 3 that there have been 2 other versions of the TT 40 beforehand. It is stated that it does not really belong to the Doctor because he “unofficially” borrowed it, in fact it belonged to a Time Lord before the Doctor called Marnal who is believed to have been a renegade like The Doctor so the characteristics of the Doctor were already planted before he took control of it and so it suited the doctor to the ground. Because of the fall of Gallifrey it is hard to know what the current type of Tardis is like but it is apparent that the TT 40 Type Mark 3 is obsolete so with a more advanced model it makes it easy to suggest that the problems with The Doctor’s Tardis may have been fixed.

So if we were to build a Tardis we would have to build it in a certain way. If we were to build it like a house we would start by building the outside first but in case of building a Tardis this would be quite tricky because the outside of the Tardis can be any shape at all. If we wanted it to have the same shape and image wherever we went we could simply design it and then build it but we would need the right material. It has been shown over and over again that the Tardis can withstand an attack from almost anything. In series 27 episode 1 the doctor mentions that the doors were able to hold off the hordes of Genghis Khan. Later on in the series the Doctor tells Captain Jack to close the doors because there will be a draft in a minute meaning that when the ship explodes the debris will fly in. So it is clear that a special material is used but the door can easily be opened and closed so how do you prevent harmful force from entering but somehow let friendly forces in and out. It is unlikely that Validium was used because it is described as a material that should not have left Gallifrey and so even if it was used it would be used possibly as a prototype and then if a problem was detected they probably would have removed it. There is mention of the use of a key to let people in and out but what about for those who do not have a key. Well there is the possibility that the Doctor is a key and while he is there people can come and go as they please but still there needs to be a reason why friendly forces can come and go as they please. Well one possibility is the idea that there could be a Psychic Computer embedded into the machine which could read the heart of a person and could tell what kind of person they are. If it was able to read what a person’s intentions were and saw that they were good it would let them pass while keeping harmful intentions out, one issue of this though is that because it is a Time Lord machine it would possibly let Time Lords come and go as they please even if they had harmful intentions because it was designed for the Time Lords to use in mind. If a system like this was to be used though it is unlikely that it would be mechanical because the human heart does not work like computer data and so a living natural part will be required in order for it to work properly.

If we wanted to keep the ability to change shape we would need to build the Tardis with a different material. The Doctors Tardis does not work properly because its Chameleon Circuit broke. The Chameleon Circuit would allow the Tardis to change shape where it went, so if it was to land in the desert it could turn into a pyramid and so as such would not draw attention to itself, however the chameleon circuit broke when it landed in the 1960’s and so it took the shape of a police box and stayed that way. The Chameleon Circuit is so-called because it works like a Chameleon, however Chameleons change colour slowly and so for the Tardis one to work it would have to change before it landed in order to conceal itself a lot better. The circuit would need to know all the information before the Tardis landed and so it would possibly go in a certain order possibly like this:

  • Start (A1)
  • Location Decided (A2)
  • Information on Location Gathered (A3)
  • Location Information Processed (A4)
  • Best Outcome for Location decided (A5)
  • Generate Outcome (A6)
  • Land Tardis in Location (A7)
  • Finish (A8)

If a Chameleon Circuit was installed into the Matrix of the machine, a solid outside would not be possible and another material would be needed. One suggestion would be to use Time Lord Cells or Time Lord DNA. Much like how when a Time Lord regenerates and changes face, it would be reasonable to use the DNA of a Time Lord to change the shape of a Tardis. The control of these would be tricky for a mechanical machine and may require the use of electronic cells like blood cells to give commands to the other cells. Another possibility could be the idea of small robots that link together. This sounds more plausible due to the Tardis being a mechanical machine not a living breathing creature. Small robots could link together and when they got orders from the Chameleon Circuit they would link together in a different pattern to create that shape. However each robot would be given their own independent order for their location so they know where to go and prevents the robots having to fight over the same location but this order probably won’t be given until A5 is complete, When the orders are given at A5 the robots start to take shape, when A6 is complete the Tardis shape will be complete.

Before we talk about the inside of the Tardis, we should take a look at the invisible bubble around the Tardis. When the Doctor takes Donna into outer space (The Runaway Bride) and shows how the world was put together he has the door open and so somehow they are still able to breathe. This is a piece of evidence that we can see that there is more to the Tardis than both meets the eye and attached to it. This bubble could protect the occupants from dying in case of the door being opened. Also in the Christmas Invasion when the Sycorax start talking from their own language to English this could show that this bubble is also able to help those who have not been inside the Tardis understand other languages, this bubble could be a major life support system for the Tardis as a whole. The idea of a bubble is just a theory but there are strong suggestions pointing towards it and if we were to understand other ideas of other unknown life support in the Tardis we could better understand this theory and possibly prove that it is more than a theory or even figure out how to produce a bubble.

The Tardis is not all about the outside, most of how it works is done on the inside. If we wanted to build a Tardis we would need some method of control, this would come in the form of a central console. When the Doctors Tardis is flying through Space and Time it is always shaking about, however in a later episode of Doctor who when several people are using it, it is more stable and the Doctor hints that it was designed for several people to use. This suggests more about the Time Lord’s culture as these vehicles could have been used as a form of transport for several occupants, this could hint towards the idea of Time Lords being like missionaries or the Tardis’s being used as a form of transportation. However with this current model things like this could be improved and so fewer people may be required to pilot the machines themselves. Later models of Tardis could be made where only one user is required to pilot it. The way the central console is designed though suggests that they are difficult machines to pilot and even if it came down to one steering wheel other items may need to be addressed while driving the thing (much like an Aircraft Carrier). I am not suggesting that there is a Space Highway Code but the Tardis is a sophisticated machine and as such would require a lot of attention to run. The central console is more than just a form of control though, it could be the brains of the machine as well because all the commands are sent from it and so while it is more advanced than a PC it could work a lot like it. This also suggests why the inside of the Tardis is so big because it needs a lot of hardware in order for it to work and so requires the space for it to store all these important systems.

It has been known for the inside of Tardis to change as well, but if the Chameleon Circuit is broke how does it do this, well why would the inside need to hide itself. The interior design has mostly gone unchanged except for a few bits here and there. In terms of huge change this has rarely occurred with only doctors 4, 7, 8, 9 and 11 having some obvious changes. In terms of the 4th doctors it has a slightly more renaissance or library look about it where it looks more like something from earth or similar culture than its usual look. In terms of the late 7th doctor and 8th doctor it is clear he may not have had a companion and so he may have programmed a change just so he can amuse himself when he is alone. When it comes to doctors 10 and 11 it was a rustier look and untidy but then it became slightly more modern and clean almost like a high-profile architects work with the 11th doctor. There is not much suggesting how or when this happens but one suggestion is that it takes place when the Doctor regenerates but this would mean it happens all the time. It could be that the Tardis has its own life-cycle and needs to regenerate every so often in order for it to work at its best. How it does this is another matter. If it was to regenerate the inside of itself it could once more use the robots from the Chameleon Circuit but work on a different circuit so it does not confuse the 2 or it could possibly use Time Lord DNA to regenerate itself. If it was regeneration that causes it could this mean that like a Time Lord it has a lifetime on it and so eventually the machine would die as a whole? Much like how a Time Lord has 13 lives could this be the same for The Tardis. Seeing as the Tardis is almost indestructible though it could show why it has not changed when the doctor has and so the Tardis has more life in it than the Doctor (or any Time Lord for that matter). In other cases of it being able to change its interior it could be that the Doctor likes to do a bit of DIY every now and again or maybe he requests an interior change from the command console (or even hires a crew of Cybermen decorators).

The Tardis’s real magic trick though is how it is bigger on the inside than the outside. If you were to walk into such a big room from a small box you would be surprised and could possibly faint from the shock. It is an interesting question to answer but it is relatively simple. Now I am going to use an Idea from an episode of doctor who to explain.

Let’s put it like this, if you had a Big box and a Small box. If you wanted to put the small box inside the big box you would not have any trouble. But if you wanted to put the big box inside the small box you could encounter a problem, because it can’t be done. You will need to find a way of shrinking the big box or growing the smaller box. You could increase the size of the small box by placing it inside an air tight containment area and then remove the area forcing it to expand. Alternatively if you were able to shrink the big box and put into the small box, the small box could be the containment field but you have the problem that once you remove the air the big box will only grow to the size of the small boxes perimeters. The only really feasible way of making something big fit inside something small is distance. If a big object is seen from a far distance it gets smaller and so if we had a big box and a small box and we kept the small box with us but moved away from the big box, the big one would fit inside the small one by a matter of eyesight and distance. The question is how do we connect them?

People living in Big cities like London use a human system of the Tardis. In London it is called The Tube. The Tube allows people to travel long distances in a short space of time, a time shorter than walking the distance. Each station is a destination in London. Now imagine that 2 stations in London are the Tardis. For example if we were to take a relatively Small station like Seven Sisters which is a rail link to towns and areas outside of London as the outside of our Tardis and then take a Big station like King’s Cross St Pancras which is another rail link but has connections with the whole country and Europe as the inside of our Tardis it is easier to understand. The door or link between boxes for our Tardis would be the tube train system tunnels. The idea is that the inside of the Tardis much like our big box is in a completely different location to our small box which is close by. It is possible that inside the Tardis Blue box is nothing but white space and that the door is a very short tunnel to another location in the universe. This short tunnel would take the form of a portal/teleport of some kind, the most likely case being a wormhole which means the inside of the Tardis could be in a different galaxy or be a galaxy by itself which means it could be as big as it wants to be.

So we know how to build the solid side of the Tardis in the form of its interior and exterior but what about its functions as travelling through time and space. Well if it is to travel in a physical form simply through space then it would be easy for it to move in physical form because all you need to do is just steer it around obstacles, but how do we make it move at all. Well, let’s return to the bubble theory. The idea of a bubble allowing it to move through Time and Space means that you are moving the bubble and the bubble only because it is around the Tardis and so the Tardis goes with it. The bubble could have a zero gravity energy which means it could go in any direction while in physical form, that is, if it has a physical form. When you add time to the mix it gets a little bit trickier. You need to ask the question does the Tardis exist? When the Tardis leaves the location it is occupying, it disappears and so it begs the question about existence because if it is there, then why does it disappear, like a mirage. One possibility is that the Tardis is nothing more than the space form of Data. When you send a message (or e-mail if you will) across the internet you are not sending a solid piece, that message is turned into a series of 1’s and 0’s. When the e-mail reaches its destination the 1’s and 0’s will turn the data back into a readable format using a special coding language. There are several coding languages and they will process data in their own way. It is not just emails, when you are typing away in Microsoft word you are not typing onto a sheet of paper you are actually writing out a simplified code base where even the letter A is actually a combination of 1’s and 0’s and that is all it really is but using the code base within Word it takes the form of an A, it is not until you print it out onto a sheet of paper that it takes a physical form but once again that physical form does not begin until the data has reached the printer and it starts printing. When it comes to travelling through space and time, when the Tardis leaves the planet and it disappears, this is it turning into data and then as it travels through space and time it exists in a non existant way, as it can’t be seen. But then when it lands it uses an on board code to transform its data form into a more physical form.

After examining the evidence a Tardis sounds doable as long as you have the correct resources and tools but processing these resources would be the hardest part. If it was feasible it could take forever and I do mean forever. You could spend your whole life to build one and you may not even finish it. The main problem we have is that we still really don’t understand the Tardis and we may never do. It won’t be until we have a full and proper understanding that we can really make a shopping list of what we need but as Dr. Jim Al-Khalili suggested;

“but who knows, maybe the Time Lords on Gallifrey know something we don’t”.

– Dr. Jim Al-Khalili, Doctor Who Night 1999




One response

20 03 2013
Latest Blog Milestone – Two Hundred And Fifty Posts | Numb3r5s's Blog

[…] How To Make A Tardis?  This post goes in-depth into the ideas behind the machine that is piloted by Doctor Who, it was […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: