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Old July 6 2013, 09:31 AM   #1
Fleet Captain
ZapBrannigan's Avatar
Location: New York State
Boldly Go but Look Where You're Going

Does the Enterprise need a telescope?

I've been thinking about the telescope that Franz Joseph put in the Physics Lab, just below and behind the Bridge. What are the practicalities if this were a real starship that we launched to the stars?

You wouldn't use it while still in our own solar system, because better views are already available from 23rd century astronomy, which presumably has bigger space telescopes than the Enterprise can carry.

There's also an issue, while you're in the solar system, of the sun blocking your ability to see a chunk the galaxy. To see everyplace you might go without waiting months, you'd have to use your warp drive to fly halfway around the sun. But again, regular astronomers are way ahead of you anyway-- they already have those views on file.

So maybe your ship goes out to point in deep space that's no closer to one star than another. They're all just points of light. You stop there and survey the stars you might visit to see which ones have planets in the habitable zone (not too hot, not too cold). Saves you a lot of wasted trips, right?

But it also takes a long time, just sitting there in the middle of no place, waiting to see if a star dims because a planet is crossing in front of it.

The survey could take years.

And similar work has already been accumulated by astronomers back on Earth. All you have to do is ask them for it.

And you've got frickin' warp drive. You can pop over to these solar systems and see them up close faster than your space telescope, starting from scratch, can spot the transit of planets in front of stars.

So should the Enterprise even carry a large telescope?
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