Crazy Eddie wrote:
That still doesn't explain how a ship like Voyager would immediately default to a mission of exploration the moment their ASSIGNED mission is completed. If nothing else, it establishes that in the absence of specific orders from Starfleet, every starship IN the fleet has a standing imperative to explore space and collect detailed data on anything and everything they encounter and to continue to do so even when that information serves no conceivable military or strategic benefit to the Federation or to the ship itself.
Um, when most of the galaxy is still unknown, any military will explore. It's what we do when we don't know what's out there and we don't have a mission to hand. Military or strategic benefit don't enter into it. We don't do so much now because we've already explored this planet.
[/quote]Moreover, we have learned from dialog in DS9 that it is fairly common on Starfleet vessels to be equipped with science labs and amenities for civilian researchers and staff. That, again, is another feature Starfleet ships have in common with full-time research vessels and is not
shared with their military counterparts: with a few highly notable exceptions, every
starship can function as a research platform, but not all of them are suitable for combat.[/QUOTE]NOBODY had a science ship back in the age of sail, and navy ships still managed a lot of science. You're mistaking the Calypso for a contemporary of the Victory or Constitution. If we still had much planet to explore, our warships today would find some space for labs. But with instant communications and a fully charted world, we don't need more than survey gear (ok, visual navigation gear, but it can be used to survey) and meteorological gear, an oil lab, and sickbay, plus nbc gear. Starfleet is sometimes in instant comms range, often out of it, and therefore needs more of that stuff to hand because they can't send pictures and samples back to a lab for someone else to look at.