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Old January 8 2013, 03:14 PM   #7
Re: TOS Enterprise - function of warp nacelles' caps?

Either you deflect or you attract, but you can’t do both at the same time
I wouldn't be so strict. A good snowplow collects snow from a large area, even if the ultimate purpose is to throw it aside to some distance from the plowpath...

An incidental observation on the concept of using ramscoops for propulsion: the Robert Bussard concept stumbles on Newtonian resistance from the gathering of the interstellar fuel via coupling it electromagnetically to the scoop. But in Star Trek, the stuff could be hauled in gravitically, using a tractor beam - and we know that those aren't quite Newtonian. A tractor beam appears to exert forces on its target all on its own, without imposing equal and opposite forces on the ship creating the beam. Basically, such a device would be very useful in collecting interstellar matter for fuel, and could even pull the entire starship forward by suitably adjusting the force coupling between the matter and the ship.

However, I'd forget all about that aspect of the Bussard scoop. The name would live (in infamy?) even if the originally intended application were long forgotten, and be suitably perverted just like any piece of real-world technojargon. Scooping for the sake of clearing a path would still be scooping, and compacting it for disposal would still be ramming, even if there was no intent to collect fuel let alone apply it on propulsion.

Timo Saloniemi
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