First, let me just say how impressed I am with how this thread has evolved. Going back over the technical and historical details of "Where No Man Has Gone Before", "Space Seed", STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT and STAR TREK ENTERPRISE has revealed some interesting tidbits, arguments and points-of-view.
Back to my O.P. for this thread:
In "Where No Man Has Gone Before", the Starship Enterprise encounters a battered recorder-marker from the Valiant.
The Valiant was obviously a manned starship, presumably with a crew of some size. We know that seven crew members were killed by the Valiant's encounter with the negative-energy barrier at the Galaxy's edge. Then one crewmember somehow was revived, pulling a Gary Mitchell. We know the captain was worried, and eventually either ordered or contemplated ordering the ship to self-destruct.
We can assume, therefore, that the Valiant was large enough to house at least a crew of eight, and possibly significantly more. If ENT is any guide, the upper end of the Valiant's crew size was less than that of the NX-01 Enterprise. Archer's ship was supposedly state-of-the-art of its time and no ship design had been so ambitious up to that point. (a century later after Valiant) So I'm assuming Valiant could not have a crew the size of Archer's Enterprise (83).
I seem to remember some images from the Star Trek Encyclopedia in the 1990s.
Does anyone have access to that Encyclopedia? I'd like to see images of what the Valiant might have looked like.
Has anyone else imagined the Valiant?
My original intent was to start a discussion about the Valiant, (the ship itself) with technical and historical issues obviously being interwoven into the discussion.
This thread has evolved into more of a discussion about STAR TREK history and how the various subsequent post-TOS series have retconned "what happened back in the 21st century". While this thread-within-a-thread is extremely interesting and fun for me and for everyone else who's been participating, it seems to have taken on a life of its own in my absence. (My aged MacBook Pro recently died an unexpected and sudden death, and it took me several days to acquire this new iMac I'm typing on) So from my perspective, this thread has really surprised me, but also seems to have left me behind.
Let me try to start catching up:
Also it would be interesting to know what Sam Peeples (who wrote WNMHGB) and the TOS writers thought in terms of the galaxy's shape and size. Certainly at best they only had a 1960's understanding of the Milky Way and not our current understanding from more than forty years of research since.
Interesting question about 60's understanding.
From my 1968 printing of the Columbia Viking Desk Encyclopedia:
"Milky Way system, the GALAXY which includes our sun. It comprises c.50-200 billion stars in the form of a disk; at its greatest diameter is c.100,000 light-years; thickness c.10-16 thousand light-years. Solar system is c.30,000 light-years from center. Position of earth permits observation of numerous stars appearing to form white pathway (rim of our galaxy) commonly called Milky Way."
Also, it does take "days" to go from star to nearby star at warp elsewhere in Trek. Go from FTL to STL, and this distance in lightyears will translate to a trip duration in years - and the distance from a star to its not-quite-closest-neighbor does tend to be less than ten lightyears.
Also, "years" is a valid expression for "decades"... Although there would be some poetic harmony in the "days"/"decades" pairing, too.
We know that warp speed to actual speed is variable in TOS. Slow actual speeds in system near stars and planets and fast between star systems. ~1,000 LY per day for "Obsession", "That Which Survives" and "Breads and Circuses" are quite reasonable going between systems.
As to Kirk's log entry:
Captain's log, Star date 1312.9. Ship's condition, heading back on impulse power only. Main engines burned out. The ship's space warp ability gone. Earth bases which were only days away are now years in the distance.
The reason I think it is an interesting indicator are based on several things...
1. He compares the time difference between "days" to "years". A 1,000 LY trip in days is on the order of 400,000c. If impulse was limited to sublight, it wouldn't be "years" but "thousands of years" like how he compared the trip to the Andromeda Galaxy in "By Any Other Name".
2. The Enterprise's five year mission has enough food to last a crew of 430 for five years (surprise!) according to "The Mark of Gideon". If the flight home is at sublight, they'd run out of food and Kirk's log entry would reflect their dire situation.
3. In "Miri", Kirk says, "We're hundreds of light years from Earth, Mister Spock. No colonies or vessels out this far." This would suggest that Earth colonies and likely bases were limited to a radius of 1,000 LY from Earth. If that's the case and if Earth is 20,000 LY to the rim according to 1968 thinking then the nearest Earth base is roughly 19,000 LY away. That's a pretty long trip home!
I quoted the above passage from blssdwlf
because it dovetails so perfectly with what I had said on page #2 of this thread:
First, back to one of my original questions: I just wanted to insert into this thread that Warped9 did a remarkable job with a thread he started in May, 2011
Second, I would say "the impossible has happened" was Kirk's way of saying that Earth / the Federation assumed the Valiant had been destroyed and that the odds of finding any remains in the vastness of the intergalactic void were virtually nill.
Third, I do not have a problem with a Warp 1-capable vessel making to the galaxy's edge in a relatively short period of time (months or years instead of decades). It all depends on how you formulate warp velocity relative to the speed of light. If you use Cochrane's Formula from "Star Trek Maps", which assumes environmental factors affect that velocity, just as trade winds and ocean currents can affect modern aircraft and ships, then it is entirely possible even a low-warp starship, given the right course, could make it there much more quickly than if a faster starship took a different route. ("Maps" also suggested "slingshot effect" dangers from doing this as well.)
Where I break with "Maps" is the cause of this particular interstellar trade wind. "Maps" ties "Cochrane's Variable" to mass and gravity. I would tie it to subspace's relationship to dark matter and dark energy (TNG's "In Theory"). I assumed that the Valiant followed a dangerous trail of dark matter and/or dark energy to beyond Delta Vega, enjoying the remarkable velocity. But then the dark energy manifest itself as a magnetic storm they were unprepared to deal with, and the wild ride became too much for them to handle.
I know some people either like "Maps" or don't like it... while others simply don't acknowledge it at all because it is not officially "canon".
I enjoyed "Maps" (published about the same time as TMP was being released in theaters) because its details (especially its listing of planets, plus its graphical content) was obviously closely matched to the "canon" content of TOS and TAS.
's posting from page #9 of this thread, quoted above, underscores an obvious canon recurrence throughout the STAR TREK franchise: warp speeds vary relative to the speed of light. There are numerous instances (especially in TOS and TNG) that underscore that a warp-capable space vessel, even one traveling at only Warp 1, can travel major interstellar distances in weeks, months or only a few years; not decades, centuries or millennia. This kind of amazing velocity is not constant throughout the STAR TREK Universe; "Maps" suggests that these velocities only occur under the proper conditions.
Quoting from the "Introduction to Navigation: Star Fleet Command", an attachment-booklet included in "Star Trek Maps" (Bantam, 1980) page 6:
1.3 Warp Speeds
The classic Wf3 x c = v formula (where Wf3 is the warp factor cubed and c is the speed of light, or about 300,000 kilometers per second) has often been used to determine faster-than-light velocities; but it is obvious that this formula is insufficient if we consider that starships have visited the galactic center, approximately 30,000 light-years distant, (a trip that would take thirty years, even at warp factor ten, using this formula).
As Zephrem Cochrane pointed out in 2053, actual warp speeds relative to the speed of light may be calculated bu multiplying the warp factor cubed by a variable that accounts for the curvature of space in a fourth dimension by the presence of mass; subspace, a continuum in which a vessel under warp drive travels, is not curved in a fourth spatial dimension, and therefore offers a linear "short cut" between points in our galaxy. This variable, called Cochrane's factor and sometimes indicated by the greek letter chi (x), can be as high as 1,500 in dense dust and gas clouds and as little as 1 in the intergalactic void. It is larger near massive objects such as stars and black holes, as space is curved around such objects to an even greater extent. For practical reasons, warp drive is not used in the vicinity of massive objects, as the disproportionately high warp speeds tend to produce a "slingshot effect", catapulting a starship out of this space-time continuum altogether. Between galaxies, where negligible matter exists, space is not perceptibly curved, and the short cut afforded by Cochrane's factor disappears. Warp speeds attain their "ideal" (Wf3 x c = v) values, and the transit time to the Andromeda galaxy becomes thousands rather than hundreds of years.
The correct warp factor formula is therefore expressed as x Wf3 x c = v, where the value of x varies with the local density of matter. This variable, somewhat analogous to the winds or ocean currents in sailing, explains why interstellar distances may sometimes be traversed at greater speeds and in less time than shorter distances. Accordingly, a navigator must take into account any variations in the density of matter along a given route before he is able to estimate the arrival time at his destination.
This passage goes quite a distance in explaining why spacecraft in the STAR TREK Universe are able to travel significant interstellar distances while typically travelling at Warp 1 to Warp 3. In "Friday's Child", there is the following exchange:
SULU: At best, a freighter might travel warp two.
SCOTT: I'm well aware of a freighter's maximum speed, Mister Sulu.
And, indeed, throughout most of STAR TREK's various series and movies, high warp factors are only accessible to starships-of-the-line, and then only reserved for emergencies. Ships usually cruise along at speeds of Warp 4 or less. ("The Corbomite Maneuver") And the most common command to leave orbit is either "Ahead warp factor one" or "warp factor two", not five or seven.
It is my supposition that the Valiant was one of several early Earth starships launched shortly after the "Flight of Cochrane's Phoenix"/"First Contact", and that these crude vessels, in combination with probes like Friendship One, were more or less blindly exploring space following courses that capitalized on the "trade winds" of Cochrane's factor. (This would be before the Vulcans urged Earth's authorities to curtail such perceived over-reach.) So Earth probes and manned ships started seeking out x
-friendly courses through deep space, and this is no doubt part of why the Valiant was lost. (NOTE: ENT's "First Flight" made it clear that, prior to the NX Program
Earth ship ever reached Warp 2; this echoed a similar sentiment in "Broken Bow")
Where was Valiant headed? It's not clear, but there are a couple of obvious objectives that an over-ambitious Earth space program might foolishly shoot for:
1: Delta Vega (this is in close proximity to where the Valiant wound up, and apparently a previous probe could've detected the planet's desirable mineral deposits)
2: a dark matter / dark energy halo shrouding our galactic arm (if we revise the Cochrane's factor concept from "Maps" to assume a strong relationship between warp velocities and the effect of dark matter / dark energy on warp engine technology, it might make sense to naive, over-reaching humans to seek out an unusually strong presence of this mysterious phenomenon to try to capitalize on it; this might also explain why the Enterprise's warp engines shut down when they came into contact with the Dreaded Negative Energy Barrier (D-NEB).
I agree with others in this thread that it seems unlikely that the magnetic storm mentioned on the Valiant's "black box" would be responsible for sweeping the ship hundreds of parsecs. It also seems silly that the ship only made it out here because of a freak mishap with a wormhole. (There is no evidence of that.)
Instead, it seems much more logical that the Valiant followed probes sniffing for lithium/dilithium or other minerals or more likely dark matter/dark energy and they got more than they bargained for.
As for the S.S. Valiant herself, based on the material in this ep and subsequent loosely related inferences about warp speed, starship technologies and so on sprinkled throughout TOS, it would seem we can assume these things about the ship:
1: crude, perhaps SPACE: 1999-esque modular space vessel; this would give Valiant at least some familial connection to the DY family of spacecraft.
2: unlikely her flight crew relied upon suspended animation, but they could have carried extra personnel on-board in this fashion.
3: based on what ENT indicated, Valiant probably had a non-suspended flight crew significantly less than NX-01 Enterprise's 83, and based on the recorder-marker's "black box", she had well over 8. So we can assume anywhere from a couple dozen up to maybe 50.
4: as suggested by FIRST CONTACT and "First Flight", Valiant employed Cochrane-style crude warp nacelles, probably designed by Cochrane himself.
5: The Valiant's maximum speed was certainly less than Warp 2.0, and she probably cruised along typically at Warp 1.0.
6: It is at least possible (and plausible) that Valiant and other early Earth starships of the 2060s were responsible for deploying deep space probes like Friendship One.
7: Earth of the post-Phoenix era was brimming with optimism, ambitious space plans, and over-reach, which resulted in at least some of these early space missions going awry (Valiant, Conestoga, Friendship One, etc.)
At this moment, I would like to thank aridas sofia for starting a similar thread called "S.S. Valiant Appearance" over in the Trek Art forum on TrekBBS
. This is a little closer to what I was originally driving at. Neat images over there, BTW.
Now I'll have to get back to reading and digesting the rest of this thread. I only made it as far as page #9.