A Gundam Nucleus (GN) Drive (aka solar reactor, solar furnace) is a powerful energy system within Mobile Suit Gundam 00 designed to give a mobile suit a significant advantage in combat. Invented by Celestial Being, the technology was later reverse-engineered by the Innovators and Linear Train Industries to create the GN Drive Tau.
Description & Characteristics
A GN Drive is a semi-perpetual generator, scaled for installation in a mobile suit, which harnesses the byproducts of baryonic decay as an energy source. Like every other power source, a GN Drive has a limited moment-by-moment output; however due to its very nature a GN Drive will continue to supply power for a theoretically infinite period of time, so long as the GN drive is not pushed to breaking limits.
Within the context of mobile suit combat, it affords a unit the benefit of an inexhaustible power supply. The non-existent heat signature of its internal processes, combined with the GN Particle emissions, give any unit with a GN Drive a potent mix of stealth and ECM characteristics; neither the GN Drive nor any thruster emissions can be seen by infrared sensors and the GN Particles scatter radar and disrupt long range communications.
GN Drives were developed in total secrecy by Celestial Being, who zealously guarded their monopoly over this powerful technology. Every member of Celestial Being will go to great lengths to protect the secrets of the GN Drive's workings, up to and including the sacrifice of their own lives if necessary. Due to its complexity in creation as well as the concern that more Drives will increase the probability of technology being leaked, only 5 GN Drives were created and parts of their engineering secrets were omitted, even to Celestial Being engineers. As a result, under normal circumstances not even Celestial Being could successfully recreate a new GN Drive should a solar furnace be lost in combat. However, that problem was resolved after Celestial Being engineers and Veda pulled their resources together and rediscovered the secrets of GN Drive tech and began limited production of new generation GN Drives.
The GN Drives for the 00 Qan [T] are known as GN Drives 6 and 7, hinting that the previous GN Drives might have been named similarly, from 1 to 5.
- The flywheel system is a system of funnels that spin throughout the GN Drive. They absorb the photons within the GN drive power plant by spinning the funnels inwards and spewing GN Particles through the vent of the GN Drive outward. Thus creating a high propulsion system.
- GN Generation Furnace
- One of the core components of a GN Drive, the GN Generation Furnace harnesses energy to produce GN Particles.
- Stability Control
- The Stability Control is the "brain" of a GN Drive, regulating the Drive's output. It is likely where the software and mechanisms for GN Repose, Trans-Am itself and the GN drive burst mode are to be found. This is also the likely location of the Black Box, as it could be reasonably assumed that it would always stay with the GN Drive.
- Topological Defect (TD) Blanket
- The TD Blanket module is the special key component used in the five GN Drives. Its true nature is unclear other than that it is the key to an infinite source of energy, similar to a carburetor. What is known, however, is that a GN Drive is unable to harness topological defects for energy without a TD Blanket.
- Only a select few Celestial Being engineers know the technical aspects of the TD Blanket (ex: Chall Acustica, Ian Vashti, Linda Vashti), which were kept secret even from Veda. This component prevents other factions from creating a true GN Drive of their own, as it can only be manufactured in the gaseous upper atmosphere of Jupiter. This requirement means a TD Blanket takes considerable time and resources to develop, and it's absence in the GN Drive Tau design is the reason they can be mass-produced. The topological defect can release an unlimited amount of GN Particles over time.
- Black Box
- The black box was a hidden system within the GN Drives. The box sat silent while it waited for a signal from Veda, or more precisely, the cessation of a signal. The black box became active for the first time once Veda reported the murder of Aeolia Schenberg. Interlocks, put in place to prevent the activation of Trans Am were removed and the world, still reeling from Celestial Being and the Thrones armed interventions learned what it truly means to face a Gundam. In addition to enabling the Trans-Am system, the black box delivered a final message from Schenberg, granting his blessing to the Meisters as the true guardians of his vision, as well as data that would enable the creation of the Twin Drive System. 
The theory behind the GN Drive and its initial design were created by Aeolia Schenberg more than 200 years before Celestial Being revealed itself. While Aeolia was the one who created the base theory of the GN Drive, it would not be until years after his death that Celestial Being's scientists discovered that the GN Drives were impossible to create as designed without Jupiter, which was needed for its massive gravity well. The GN Drive's blueprints were stored within Veda's files except for the knowledge and design of the TD Blanket, which was presumably handed down from each head engineer to their successor. Aeolia also kept the designs for the Trans-Am and Twin Drive Systems in hidden, inaccessible files as trump cards should something interfere with his Plan's progress.
Roughly 130 years after the formation of Celestial Being, a crew of scientists was publicly sent on a manned mission to Jupiter, although the official reason for the expedition is unknown. After the arduous journey to Jupiter, the group devoted 20 years to the manufacturing of the GN Drives. By that time, nearly one third of the crew's members had been lost. After their completion, the GN Drives were sent back to Earth via unmanned capsules.
After the launch, one of the scientists killed the remaining members, ejected every data terminal he could find, and set the satellite on self-destruct sequence. In 2225, two men from an unknown space exploration team discovered the surviving remains of the satellite and found a purple Haro, which possessed data that presumably led to the research and development of the GN Drive Tau.
80 years later, the existence of the GN Drive and GN Particles would be revealed to the world when Celestial Being began armed intervention.
It was not until almost 200 years after the first plans were drawn up that the GN Drives were deployed and used on the Gundams. As the technological development of the Gundams progressed, so was the GN Drive control system used on them, as well as the chassis design of the GN Drive. Up until the Third Generation, the GN Drive chassis that were used on the Gundams were large and encompassed a large section of the torso. Celestial Being also struggled with finding a suitable control system for the GN Drive that would bring them good performance. The First and Second Generation of Gundams both had experimental control systems, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. By the Third Generation, Celestial Being had developed a new control system that is presumably superior than its predecessors. All Third Generation Gundams also utilize exactly the same GN Drive chassis internally(see ejected Nadleeh Drive Chasis) although the protruding object from the rear that covers the Drive differs with each unit.
By the 3.5 and 4th Generations, Celestial Being had greatly improved their GN Drive chassis technology by miniaturizing it to a small size. This is due to them reverse engineering the Drive chassis technology from the Tau Drives who have adopted this since their appearance. This is done by reducing the size of the surrounding parts that stabilize the core, which is now compact enough for the solar furnace to be placed in a self-contained unit; which is already used by Tau Drives since their appearance. This miniaturization allows the GN Drives to have more specialized roles since they can be easily mounted in a lot more places. Some examples are Cherudim which is for quick Bit Charging, Arios for easier sharing of particles with GN Archer and 00 Gundam for defense and speed purposes.
In between AD 2307-2312, the performance of the four GN Drives has been vastly improved upon over their previous incarnations. It is unknown whether this is due to actually upgrading its core components, advances made to better handle the GN Drive's output or a combination of both.
After the defeat of the Innovades that called themselves Innovators, Celestial Being lost two GN Drives in the battle between Exia and 0 Gundam. as well as a third loss from Seraphim's destruction by Reborns Cannon. By 2314, Celestial Being (with the help of Veda/Tieria and left-over data from Innovators), successfully reverse-engineered the GN Drive technology. Through research and development, Celestial Being created a new generation of GN Drive that's more compact and has greater particle generation output. They were also designed after the Twin Drive System; the result being that the drives have synchronous particle generation capability and can physically combine with each other's cores to generate particles at uncharted levels.
In preparation for the future, Celestia Being scientists and engineers led by Linda Vashti traveled to Jupiter to create brand new GN Drives; likely from the schematic data given to them by Tieria. When the team arrived at Jupiter, they restarted 6 optical camouflaged ships/satellites that were already there from the previous deployment. The GN Drives are created by attaching a particle accelerator to the back of a ship. The ship then is plunged into Jupiter where the topological defects that will be used by the GN Drives were harnessed. These topological defects are then sealed up and a particle control mechanism is added, with this the GN Drive is finally complete. In the case of these two newly developed solar furnaces, they were made specifically for matching in the Twin Drive System and was capable of generating a more powerful quantum resonance field. The new furnaces would later be installed in Sestuna's new unit, the 00 Qan[T]. One other thing that is special about these two GN Drives is the fact that because of technological advances, the time needed to create the GN Drives appears to have been significantly shortened, explaining how the 00 Qan[T]'s drives could be built on such short notice. This shortened development time span may have possibly been passed on to the future GN Drives used on units such as the GNW-100A Sakibure .
Fifty years later, AD 2364, true GN Drive technology has been mastered by the ESF. It was never clarified whether Celestial Being released this technology or if the ESF merely closed the technology gap. Circumstantial evidence suggests that Celestial Being and the ESF reconciled and shared data on the development of GN Drive technology. Data about the new generation of mass-produced GN Drives is unknown; it's only presumed that the drives are more powerful and more efficient than its predecessors. It is known however that the Sakibure mobile suit of that era does possess the ability to use quantum teleportation which implies a more powerful GN Drive.
The names below are given to the suit a particular GN Drive is symbolically associated with, due to the absence of known technical names. "Destroyed" indicates confirmed destruction while "Status Unknown" depicts a suspicious status that has not been confirmed via any source as of yet.
- 1. "0 Gundam" Drive: Destroyed: Last seen on 0 Gundam ACD; destroyed by Exia R2 in 2312.
- 2. "Exia" Drive: Destroyed: Last seen on Exia R2; destroyed by 0 Gundam ACD in 2312.
- 3. "Seraphim" Drive: Destroyed: Last seen on Seraphim; destroyed by Reborns Cannon in 2312.
- 4. "Harute" Drive: Status Unknown: Last seen on Harute, shot by ELS beam in 2314, as Harute is destroyed, it is presumably destroyed as well.
- 5. "Zabanya" Drive: Functioning as of 2314
- 6. "00 Qan(T)" Drive #1: Functioning as of 2314
- 7. "00 Qan(T)" Drive #2: Functioning as of 2314
- The subject matter of the number of surviving GN Drive was one of continous retcon after the end of Season 2 and before the release of the movie. Initially, Mizishima stated that all GN Drives survived due to a special internal GN Field mechanism before retracting that statement at a later date and noting that they aren't all necessarily safe. An early chapter of 00V Senki mentioned that one GN Drive was lost during the final battle against the Innovators but a later chapter later mentioned that both 0 Gundam's and Exia's was destroyed (bringing the destroyed number to two, though not mentioning the total destroyed count). Later on, the Final Mechanics book confirmed the destruction of Seraphim's GN Drive, bringing the final total number of confirmed destroyed GN Drives to three (from the original batch of five).
Articles & References
- GN Drive on Wikipedia.org
- TD Blanket on Wikipedia.org
- GN Drive Mechanical Illustration on Photobucket.com