- "There are computational errors in every Jump. The further out you Jump, the greater the error. Jump past the red line and it may be almost impossible to find your way back."
Jump limits are most likely the result of a combination of factors including:
- The power available to a vessel to maintain a stable wormhole.
- Local gravitational forces (such as nearby planets, etc.) which must be compensated for at either end of the Jump
- The overall mass of the vessel itself
- The accuracy and detail of data concerning the emergence zone at the far end of the jump.
The Red Line would appear to be defined within the overall safe operational tolerancies of Colonial FTL technology, given that it can be exceeded if required. However, the potential for damage to, or complete disabling of, Jump drive systems is possible from frequent, repetitive Jumps, as indicated in "33."
When attempting to escape the Cylons after their devastating attack on the Twelve Colonies, and with the future of 50,000 survivors on his hands, Commander Adama orders a Jump "beyond the Red Line" to the Prolmar Sector. Given the nature of Colonial technology and vessels, it is possible this particular limit reflected the overall capabilities of the Fleet as a whole, and may not represent the maximum distance over which Galactica herself might be capable of Jumping.
Cylon FTL Jump technology is more advanced than Colonial technology. As such, the Red Line for Jumping with a Cylon ship (from the small Raider to the gargantuan basestar) likely has a much greater margin for error, enabling the Cylons to accurately plot Jumps for much longer distances. While the actual distance between Kobol and Caprica is not specified, Kara Thrace is able to take a captured Raider from the vicinity of Kobol to Caprica in a single Jump (Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part I). Because of their advanced Jump technology, the Cylons may have had more exploration time in space, gleaned from their 40 year exile, allowing them to place more accurate navigation plots in their computers that avoid hazards unknown to the Colonials.
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