View Single Post
Old September 11 2012, 01:18 AM   #49
Navigator_NCC2120's Avatar
Location: Sol 3
Re: Gaping Hole of Troiyus

Gary7 wrote: View Post
Speaking of dilithium crystals, the technology as depicted always annoyed me.

memory alpha wrote:
Dilithium, also known as radan, is an element, a member of the hypersonic series, mostly occurring as crystalline mineral. It was used to power the warp drive systems of many starships. Dilithium regulated the matter/antimatter reaction in a ship's warp core because of its ability to be rendered porous to light-element antimatter when exposed to high temperatures and electro-magnetic pressures. It controls the amount of power generated in the reaction chamber, channeling the energy released by mutual annihilation into a stream of electro-plasma.
So, it's described as a power source and yet also a regulator of matter/antimatter reaction in the ship's warp core. This seems ambiguous to me. As I see it, one thing serves as a power source and another regulates the power consumption/reaction; never both with one thing. But in TOS, the concept doesn't ever seem to be very clearly defined, or ends up being contradicted by later episodes.

I always felt it should be that the dilithium crystals amplify and control the matter/antimatter reaction and that some radioactive material is used as the fuel. In fact, several episodes have quotes referring to "fuel". For instance in "The Doomsday Machine", Spock says "We can maintain this speed for only seven hours before we exhaust our fuel, but it can refuel itself indefinitely." Fuel implies a consumable substance, so where crystals are concerned I'd expect him to say "before we exhaust our power."

Anyway... I'll bet the crystals are too complex to replicate, which is why they couldn't be "manufactured" at will.
The warp drive was down at that point and they were running on impulse engines. So they were not using dilithium crystals.

Courtesy of website:


SPOCK: It's closing fast on the Constellation.
SULU: Standing by, sir.
SPOCK: Commodore, I suggest
DECKER: Kirk pulled us out of there by distracting it. Now it's our turn. Fire phasers. (they do) We did it! Hard about. Give me some distance.
SULU: We're moving away, Commodore.
SPOCK: This machine seems to have a programmed defensive sphere. Any energy source entering that field is subject to attack.
DECKER: Mister Spock, status report.
SPOCK: Warp drive and deflectors will be out for a solar day. Repairs proceeding on transporter and communications.
SULU: It's closing with us again, sir.
DECKER: Maintain speed and distance.
SULU: It's sucking in space rubble from those destroyed planets. Refueling itself.
SPOCK: We can maintain this speed for only seven hours before we exhaust our fuel, but it can refuel itself indefinitely.
DECKER: Then we'll have to fight it now before it gets any stronger.
SPOCK: Illogical. We cannot destroy it. Therefore, we cannot save Rigel. We must transport the Captain and the others from the Constellation and escape this thing's subspace interference in order to warn Starfleet Command.
PALMER: Mister Spock, we've pierced the interference locally.
SPOCK: Can you raise Starfleet?
PALMER: No, sir, but I've got ship-to-ship communications back. Picking up Captain Kirk.
SPOCK: On audio, Lieutenant.
KIRK [OC]: Enterprise. Enterprise, come in.
DECKER: Mister Spock, I am still in command. I will speak for this ship. Enterprise to Kirk.

Navigator NCC-2120 USS Entente
Stokely: In an insane society, the sane man must appear insane.
Harvey Holroyd: Where'd you get that?
Stokely: Star Trek. [leaves the room]
Harvey Holroyd: [to himself] God, I miss that show. (Source: "Serial", 1980.)
Navigator_NCC2120 is offline   Reply With Quote