So, I hit the jackpot yesterday.
I stumbled across this site
, where the blogger posted some fantastic reference drawings of the Enterprise-B
version of the ship which appear to be highly, highly accurate. He doesn't seem to know where they came from He speculates they were model drawings for "Generations," but that doesn't make a ton of sense to me; they look more like the results of an in-depth analysis of the model, maybe around the time she was auctioned off.
Among the gold nuggets present there:
Looks to be completely accurate. Woot. That'll come help in rendering that area. Also confirms the location of the mounting arm inside the pod from below.
The Librarian wrote:
I personally think it's some sort of sensor, possibly connected to the advanced warp drive. While the grill does sort of look like a terrestrial radiator, its ridged nature would actually make it a pretty horrible radiator in space because the ridges would just radiate heat onto each other. The Ambassador retained it in a smaller form, and presumably by the time the Galaxy came around it was once again unnecessary.
Great points and I'm inclined to agree... perhaps these are "flow sensors" of some sort.
The Librarian wrote:
Moving antimatter around would be inconvenient for the horizontal core, unless it's right there in the flat part directly underneath the hump. There's no particular reason it has to be down in the very bottom of the ship, especially since the cut-in takes up so much space (which is why I don't think the deuterium tank is down there either). The matter is less of a problem since it doesn't vaporize the entire ship if something goes wrong and pumping around cryogenic fluids is a relatively mild inconvenience.
Robert Comsol wrote:
I'd go for Option 4. The humpback has qualities of the deuterium tanks envisioned for the Enterprise-D, though I'd imagine the antimatter pods to be located in the bow part of the humpback.
Generally, I'm beginning to think that having the warp core in the humpback is an even bigger liability than having a long power transfer conduit.
Robert Comsol wrote:
But regardless, I think any theory needs to be compatible with this screenshot from ST III
, and the images we could see before (didn't we see part of a vertical intermix shaft?)
GREAT CATCH, thank you! I had completely forgotten about this. Previously, I had thought of this shot
from TUC that seems to happen aboard the Excelsior
, but it's not completely clear.
We see the Excelsior
hit with a torpedo and the bridge crew thrown around, then cut back the the Enteprise
for Uhura's reaction and see the hull burn of the Excelsior
on the Enterprise
bridge screen. The next scene is crewmen running down a hallway closing a blast door, and then the engineering room door coming down, but it's unclear whether we are still on the Enterprise
or back on Excelsior
. I've always assumed Excelsior
, simply because the Enterprise
wasn't hit immediately afterward. OTOH, it's possible that this is just the result of earlier hits.
regardless whether we saw the Excelsior
warp core or not, it doesn't make much sense to me to have a TNG style warp core on the Enterprise
but not the Excelsior.
Back to TSFS, we definitely see a divider section in a TMP-style warp core on Excelsior
there. If we wanted to, we could pretend it's not "really" a TMP style core, but I think we're still stuck with some form of vertical core component.
Robert Comsol wrote:
The TOS references in "The Apple" and "The Savage Curtain" only suggested the discarding of the warp nacelles while in "That Which Survives" the ejection of the "engineering core" in the engineering hull seemed to be the solution if all else failed.
On the Excelsior it would appear you could do both if the necessity ever arose. You jettison the humpback matter-antimatter module and/or the warp nacelles.
I have long thought the same thing. The Excelsior
's design is actually highly modular.
So I think I've whittled down the contestants to two:
Option One, the Classic:
Advantages: traditional, straightforward, lines up with deflection crystals
Disadvantages: long PTC, doesn't make tons of sense for a TNG-style core
Option Two, the vertical Crazy Eddie:
Advantages: short PTC to engines, potential ease of access for repairs and modernization
Disadvantages: short core height possibly implausible for such a big ship
Option Three, the Sternbach:
Advantages: easily suits the TNG-style core and TMP core, keeps reactor out of the saucer, allows for potential easy upgrades and plausibility via engineering hull chasm
Disadvantages: requires the lower bay to not just be a shuttlebay and convoluted PTC strurcture might negate the shuttlebay altogethe
Surprisingly (especially to myself) I seem to be leaning towards Option Three,
but I'm still drawn to the simplicity of Option One.
By the way, I realized in more closely examining some photos of the TSFS vs TUC version of the ship that to properly align with the original (undisputed) deflection crystal, the core actually needs to be shifted forward slightly, like this:
That's not a new image, it just happens to closely match Option Five.
I can't help but feel that getting caught up in a TMP-style vs. TNG-style argument is going to end up being counterproductive. Any resemblances between 2290s and 2360s cores might appear closer than they actually are.
Still, what do we know about the TMP core? We know from Mr. Probert that it was essentially envisioned as a big power transfer conduit, without reactions actually occurring in it. This could tell us that there were reactors either in the nacelles or in the secondary hull somewhere, and the same might apply for Excelsior
However, Mr. Sternbach postulates on the Voyager
's similarly styled core that the whole core is an intermix chamber lined with dilithium, with reactions occurring throughout. It's interesting to think that the TMP-style design might not fully utilized its potential, later being fully fulfilled on Voyager
I think, also, that during this era hull separation was not considered to be a standard operating procedure, and therefore it would probably be acceptable that the warp core wouldn't work anymore if the ship separated.
So, what are our possibilities?
- TMP style warp core in the Enterprise-A and Excelsior, ignoring the reuse of the TNG core, where the TMP core is just a PTC and the reaction happens in a specific, central location not seen onscreen.
- TMP style warp core in the Enterprise-A and Excelsior, ignoring the reuse of the TNG core, where the TMP core actually is the intermix chamber, lined with dilithium a la Voyager.
- TNG style warp core in the Enterprise-A and Excelsior, indicating a potential shift in technology during this time, possibly pioneered by Excelsior.
- TNG resembling warp core in the Enterprise-A and Excelsior that mostly works like the "swirl" core (# 2) but also has a single, central reactor chamber in main engineering.
It's probably worth noting that the engine core of the 80-year-old Hathaway
, which was a mothballed contemporary of Excelsior
, pretty clearly
seems to have a proto-TNG core. (I don't believe we saw the red PTCs leading away from it though.)