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Old May 8 2013, 09:39 PM   #79
C.E. Evans
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Re: Saucer Separation

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?
Pulling was the thing tearing the barge apart...
That's what I meant by the barge's hull integrity being earlier compromised. The initial attempt to move the barge via remote control thrusters failed, which led to its hull integrity collapsing and the subsequent decision for the Enterprise to tow it herself.
...not pulling would have been better. But the shields of the starship were needed to prevent further damage from asteroid impacts. No technique was mentioned that would have provided additional structural integrity to the barge, and indeed Star Trek in general lacks such a technique AFAIK.
I think enveloping the barge in the Enterprise's shields was done to reinforce its hull integrity. Otherwise, they could have stuck to the original plan of the Enterprise clearing a path through the asteroid field (except with the barge in tow); there was mention of the barge needing to be shielded through the asteroids originally.
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They still could've moved to a safe distance while the thing coasted to the asteroid field, then jumped back in with the tractor beam limiting their exposure.
But it would have fallen apart before it reached the asteroid field. The Enterprise's shields were the only thing keeping it together long enough for it to coast on its own into the sun.
MacLeod wrote:
What difference would it make if the barge hit an asteriod, it appeared as if the asteriod field was far enough away from the planet that any raditaion resulting from the impact would have any impact on the planet.
This was really an environmental allegory about the safe disposal of dangerous chemicals. Sending the ship into the nearby sun was the best way to permanently get rid of the barge full of deadly waste without having it blown up and leave an irradiated zone in an inhabited system.
Yes but the radiation would have dissapted somewhat, besides as they got closer to the sun background radiation levels would have been rising. Besides all they needed to do was remove the immedite threat, tow the barge out of the gravitatonal pull of the planet. Leave it go on the search and resuce mission, and return later to dispose of the barge.
Actually, we don't know how long it would have taken the radiation to dissipate to safe levels. It could have taken years, decades, or even centuries for all we know. In any event, it was long enough of an interval that our heroes couldn't just leave it out there to dissipate on its own.
Besides they didn't need to tow it all the way to the field. Once they got it going, they could have disengaged the tractor beam and reinitialised it closer to the asteriod field.
Unfortunately, that still wouldn't have resolved the issue of needing to get the barge through the asteroid field as quickly as possible. I think if the situation was one where time wasn't of the essence, they probably would have come up with a different plan, perhaps even retrying the original one of attaching thrusters to the barge.
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Last edited by C.E. Evans; May 8 2013 at 10:20 PM. Reason: left out "was one"
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