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Fail Safe

05.17 Episode 105 (#4968)
Airdate: April 5, 2002

An enormous asteroid is spotted on a collision course for Earth, threatening all life on the planet in a matter of days. A naquadah-enhanced nuclear warhead would be capable of deflecting it, and the damaged cargo ship left behind on Revanna is the only viable means of delivery. The ship is repaired, and SG-1 arrives at the asteroid just hours before it reaches the fail-safe position. However, the ship's approach is at too great a velocity, the thrusters are ineffective, and to those on Earth it appears the ship has crashed, as it barely manages to come to a stop within a deep crater.

As O'Neill and Teal'c set the bomb outside the ship, the asteroid enters a meteor shower against which the ship's damaged shields offer no protection. The hull is breached, and Carter and Daniel must seal themselves within the escape pods until repairs can be made. Carter's analysis of the asteroid's anomalies shows that its powerful gravity is due to a core made almost entirely of naquadah. The asteroid was sent by the Goa'uld as part of a scheme to destroy Earth by circumventing the Protected Planets Treaty. Furthermore, SG-1's bomb will cause a naquadah-enhanced reaction that will ignite Earth's atmosphere and boil the oceans.

O'Neill and Teal'c must now deactivate the bomb, however the keypad has been damaged, forcing a manual override. The asteroid reaches the fail-safe position, and SG-1 is out of time and options. In a final gamble, Carter expands the ship's hyperspace field to encompass the entire asteroid, taking it out of normal space long enough to ride it through the Earth, appearing on the other side. The gamble pays off, and the Earth is spared, but SG-1 has lost all power, and is left drifting in space, until they are approached by a Tok'ra cargo ship offering assistance and a way home.

Written by: Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie
Directed by: Andy Mikita

Guest Starring: Colin Cunningham as Major Davis, Gary Jones as Technician, Teryl Rothery as Dr. Fraiser, David Bloom as Spellman, Greg Anderson as Webber, Michael Teigen as Telescope Guy, Kristen Williamson as Jalen

Reference: Asgard, Asgard High Council, Asteroid, Paul Davis, Freyr, Hall of Wisdom, Holographic Projection, Hyperspace, Jalen, K'tau, MALP, Naquadah, Protected Planets Treaty, Revanna, Ring Transporter, Spellman, Teltac, Tok'ra, Webber


Destinations & Inhabitants

Asgard High Council, K'tau

Destinations & Inhabitants


Destinations & Inhabitants


Destinations & Inhabitants



  • The asteroid was first spotted by an amateur astronomer. It had an irregular shape, was about 137 kilometers in length, and was located in Cassiopeia, declination 61 degrees, 6 minutes, right ascension 2 hours, 48 minutes. It was traveling in a highly atypical path, well outside the plane of the solar system, and on course to strike somewhere in the Arctic Circle. It would wipe out all life on Earth in 11 days, 16 hours.
  • The fail-safe position is 39 minutes before impact, after which it would be too close to the Earth for the explosion to deflect it.
  • The asteroid's core is composed almost entirely of naquadah, making up about 45% of the total mass. Naquadah does not occur naturally in the solar system. Therefore, it was probably a Goa'uld set-up to circumvent the Protected Planets Treaty by destroying Earth and making it look like a natural disaster.
  • The only way to stop it would be with a nuclear weapon, which would be enhanced by the naquadah, probably to the force of a small nova, and at the given distance from Earth would be enough to set the atmosphere on fire and boil the oceans.
  • SG-1 expanded the cargo ship's hyperspace field far beyond its usual envelope to encompass the entire asteroid, taking it out of normal space long enough to avoid the collision with Earth, thus riding it through Earth. To the outside observer, it would disappear on one side of Earth and reappear on the other.
  • The most powerful warhead ever developed carried 1200 naquadah-enhanced megatons, equivalent to one billion tons of TNT. Its deactivation code was: 03310310.


  • I've seen this movie. It hits Paris. [O'Neill]
  • Let's just say Jack made a reference to Freyr's mother. [Daniel]
    We'll discuss Colonel O'Neill's diplomatic shortcomings later. [Hammond]
  • If it comes right down to it, we can detonate it right here. What's our position? [Carter]
    Well, personally, I'm against it. But if you want to know where the ship is, we're about five meters above the surface at the bottom of the crater. [Daniel]
  • Aw, come on. We came, we saw, we planted the bomb, we had a little fun with a meteor shower, we went home. It's a great story. Isn't it? [O'Neill]
  • This close to Earth, it would probably be enough to set the atmosphere on fire and boil the oceans. [Carter]
    Okay, this was not in the movie. [O'Neill]
  • Carter, I can see my house. [O'Neill]
  • I'm confident... Me too... As am I. [Daniel, O'Neill, Teal'c]


  • Kids: 1
  • Cameo: Michael Greenburg's dog Emaline in the opening scene
  • Injuries:
    • Carter: electrical shock and blow to the head
  • Popular Culture References:
    • Armageddon, Deep Impact, Asteroid...
      • I've seen this movie. It hits Paris.
      • Okay, this was not in the movie.