Re: Imagine the Enterprise, over again!
It is damn difficult, because Trek cast a shadow over what came after it, albeit perhaps not as much as Star Wars. So I think you throw up the NASA stuff on the "don't wall," but perhaps you also throw up the saucer/nacelles as well. OTOH, since the OP posits no ST in the 1960s, maybe you end up with them anyway.
And you look at things like the newest tech and science know-how to determine what your ship could look like and how it could work (i.e., perhaps it is constructed of metamaterials
and uses a form of Alcubierre drive
And do you keep the aviation nods that MJ included?
Very good points... I think the hardest part is that the Enterprise is so iconic. If we ditch the saucer and nacelles, I worry we won't have something recognizable, at all.
yep, Aviation nods definitely.
My first thought was to simply take a saucer, fuse a fuselage, and then attach nacelles using wings for pylons.
I know that it can't be that simple.
A major consideration is just how advanced the engineering is.
Are they advanced enough to the point that aesthetics can come before function, and thus the ships are as much a form of art as they serve a purpose?
Or is the technology still primitive enough to a point where form follows function, and thus aesthetics is the last thing thought of during the design process?
I think that the differences in shape between, say the vessels depicted in Star Trek and Babylon 5, I cannot help but think illustrates this in a microcosm form, and not just because they are from completely different television series, but also because of technology. Earth Alliance in Babylon 5 namely lacks shield and artificial gravity technology, which the Federation has, even though the two series exists in the relatively same time period.
The differences between the Constitution class, and the more sculpt-like Galaxy class further illustrates the part that technology plays in determining how a ship will look.
Seeing as how the prevalent current theory seems to indicate that warp propulsion would use ring shaped unit(s), my current idea is using that, attached to a fuselage via a pair of wings, or even by an additional dorsal and ventral set of tail fins. The command hull would still be saucer shaped, fused directly to the fuselage, due to how great a shape it seems aesthetically, aerodynamically, and space-wise.
A triangular or an oval shape, or deviations thereof, could also work aesthetically as a command hull.
A more primitive technology might use a sphere shaped command hull instead, due to having even more room in it's influence, and being an efficient shape pressure-wise.
The sublight forms of propulsion could be placed on/in the command hull, or in the wings and fins (or both).
Another consideration to take into account is how volatile the power source is, and whether or not the forms of propulsion are hazardous, and if so, how much.
Will the power source and/or warp drive need to be easy separate from the inhabited parts of the ship?
This might determine how much the sections of the ship are all fused and integrated with one another.
This might also determine where most of the living quarters on the ship are.
Our understanding of how a warp drive might work could shape the look of the inside of the propulsion unit. For example, the Casimir Effect might be an essential part of the mechanism, which theorizes enough negative energy needed to warp space could be done by using two parallel plates.
If I understand the theory, the idea would be to place a pair of plates nano-meters apart, and then rotate the two in opposite directions, really fast like. This gives me the idea of these plates being rings instead: one outer, larger ring, and one smaller, inner ring, rotating in opposite directions at very high speeds. This would create the warp field.
Very good points. I'm thinking level of tech would be closer to TOS than Bab5... form should still follow function, but with some aesthetic thought put into it. I definitely don't want the thing to be a flying sculpture.
I like your ideas for the Casimir Effect Engines... we could have something like that for nacelles. two or more rings rotating, in a structure that looks vaguely similar to a warp engine, but hollow all the way through.
Those things would need to be away from the habitation areas, in case of failure and/or radiation. Definitely no red glowing domes on the things, either... maybe some stuff going on inside, though.
Keep going, guys.