C.E. Evans wrote:
I often wondered why Riker didn't separate the ship in "Final Mission". He acted as if the ship couldn't be in two places at once.
Let's see: Picard's shuttle is missing and there's a highly radioactive barge threatening a world. What does Riker do? Split the ship? No, unthinkable. He proceeds to focus on the barge, towing it through a solar system and asteroid belt, coming within mere seconds of exposing over 1000 people to lethal levels of radiation instead of separating, sending all non-essential personnel and civilians into the saucer to scan for Picard while the stardrive tows the barge (as it had everything they needed for that mission).
That kind of boneheaded stupidity seems like court-martial material. If his timing was off by a few seconds, the entire ship would've been dead or dying from radiation exposure with Data as the lone survivor to testify to Riker's epic moment of stupidity.
The real problem with "Final Mission" is that they totally ignored Newtonian Physics.
If there is no net force on an object, then its velocity is constant. The object is either at rest (if its velocity is equal to zero), or it moves with constant speed in a single direction.
So as soon as the Enterprise had managed to get the barge out of the gravitational pull of the planet, they could have left it to coast to the Sun as for the asteriod field if it crashed into an asteriod so what the danger to the planet was none. They didn't have to tow it through the asteriod field.
Wasn't it a case that they needed to tow it through the asteroid field because the barge's hull integrity had been earlier compromised and it would otherwise have fallen apart?
Or perhaps they needed to make course corrections so the barge wouldn't hit any asteroids.