Gotham Central wrote:
Isn't Federation space in the 24th century about 7000 ly across? Its seems kind of absurd for the expanse to comprise nearly a third of what would become the Federation.
Even worse than that, there is quite a lot of evidence to suggest that the core of the Federation is much much smaller than that - in the order of three digits - maybe 90 light years to 200 light years - and that the larger figure only encompasses very isolated members.
Because of the way in which the Federation develops (i.e. by application, rather than conquest), it probably does not have traditional boundaries like a nation state on Earth - rather it is a very loose spread of distant colonies and outposts.
This would explain why in TNG and DS9, the ships are able to get from one end of the Federation to another in short periods. If the warp scale is correct, it cannot be larger than 90-200ly, with loose members up to 8,000ly away.