Mirren Audax wrote:
Food for thought: perhaps the USS Valiant was the same class of vessel as our new friend the USS Kelvin?
aridas sofia wrote:
Whether they are rings or nacelles, I see them as negative energy induction circuits that act as an antigravity "blanket" around the ship, protecting it from being crushed out of existence by hypergravity singularities fore and aft that create and extinguish what in effect is I guess, something like a stable wormhole. In the case of the 1701 nacelles, these singularities are contained in the domes forward and aft.
Obviously this changes dramatically with the TMP nacelles. We can discuss that subject some other time, if you like.
I like your thinking on the nacelle evolution; in TOS, the nacelles were always kind of big "rockets" that pushed the ship so fast that it was able to break the "time barrier" and travel faster than light. Apparently impulse engines could also push you to at least lightspeed (if you watch episodes like "The Doomsday Machine"), but since they weren't run off of the matter/antimatter reactors it took more fuel and wasn't as economical as the m/a reactors.
By the time of TMP and "warp cores" (which replaced the various warp reactors on starships), apparently the nacelles were more like giant emitters rather than giant rockets - in this case, emitting a field that "warped" space rather than just going really really fast to break the "time barrier." That's why they don't really have a front or a back, and just glow blue (emitting the warping field) on the sides when travelling faster than light.
That's just going by TOS tech, though - the later shows developed their own explanation(s) for warp travel. As for the Phoenix...well, B&B really didn't put a whole lot of thought into that, apparently, so I just exclude the whole fiasco.