Re: TOS Enterprise - function of warp nacelles' caps?
Considering all of the recent theoretical concepts about a "real" warp drive - there would be a build-up of charged particles along the leading edge of the field and those particles could be a serious threat to any life present in a system such a ship entered.
While Matt didn't know anything about that back in the 1960's - to me, he looks rather prescient. Maybe they clear those particles off of the field and send them on through to the back end of the field to bleed off into space harmlessly?
"I've always said you can get more with a kind word and a two-by-four than you can with just a kind word." - Marcus Cole, Babylon 5