Robert Comsol wrote:
Isn't there one approach that answers more questions than raising new ones?
Undoubtedly. My experience, though, suggests that collecting together all the speculations in one place clears up one's thinking on the subject. That's all I was trying to do in my previous post.
Your latest speculations in the Romulan BoP thread, you made an interesting proposal suggesting that each nacelle (in the dual-concept only) had a different charge (+ versus -) to enable the creation of a warp field.
That's not what I meant. I meant that a coil *segment* would be alternated from extreme positive electric charge to extreme negative charge. The speculation was that, with the right material, if properly energized, an extreme shock from one electric charge to the other might create the needed "warp particles", whatever they are. (I speculate they're a kind of tachyon.)
One would then shock the segments of a warp coil at different times, with different relative frequencies and at different states to shape the emitted a pattern of warp particles, thus changing the shape of the pressure on surrounding subspace, dictating the shape of the warp field. The precise pattern of excitation between different segments --both within a single nacelle and between separate nacelles-- thus would dictate the shape of the field and, therefore, your direction of travel and speed.
One thing that left me wondering was how to create different charges as the plasma source seems to be essentially the same.
Assuming you had two M/AM reactors (one for the port, one for the starboard nacelles) wouldn't it be easier to have each M/AM reactor output to be "charged" at the source for either port or starboard nacelle applications?
You're right that the total particle charge of the plasma created by a 1:1 M/AM reaction would be neutral, with the same number of positive charges as negative. Thus, it would be necessary to sort through and separate the different charges before sending them to your warp coils.
In this model, the M/AM reactor spits out a pulse of particles containing a soup of charges. These are fed through a sorter that separates the particles in their separate relevant piles. Then they're mixed together to make several pulses of particles, each of exactly the right state --as calculated by the computer-- for a very specific warp coil segment. And finally the different pulses are directed to their respective segment. This is done several times a second and when everything goes right, you have a warp field shaped to order.
Note that I constructed the above sentences so that it doesn't matter what kind of charges are important, be they electric, nuclear weak, nuclear strong or something we don't know about yet. They are created en-mass, separated out, remixed to perfection and injected into the coil.
This makes a good argument for having the TOS reactors in the nacelles: after all that massaging, the particles do not have far to travel and the reaction time is reduced. And TMP and TNG could have decided that a centralized source of particles was easier to control.
It also explains why starships need such immensely, rediculously powerful computers. The calculations needed for this would be far beyond what we are capable of now, in the immediate future or in the next 30 years --even if we knew how to formulate the question... And I'm quite optimistic about the calculating capacity of the future.
...Anyway, this is the model I had in mind when I made the above comments. I hope that makes sense.