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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old April 25 2010, 02:31 PM   #1
plynch
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Nacelle rear spheres: conjectures.

A. Apologies if this is addressed previously on TrekBBS.

B. I usually hate in-universe conjecture, but was watching an ep last night with now you see 'em, now you don't, spheres at the rears of the nacelles. So I thought I'd ask if the contuinity-crazed among us have any explanations.

I have none other than modelmakers or Jeffries thought they looked better (debatable).

But do YOU have any conjecture as to what they are and why they sem to be so jettisonable and replacable?
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Old April 25 2010, 02:35 PM   #2
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Re: Nacelle rear spheres: conjectures.

plynch wrote: View Post
A. Apologies if this is addressed previously on TrekBBS.

B. I usually hate in-universe conjecture, but was watching an ep last night with now you see 'em, now you don't, spheres at the rears of the nacelles. So I thought I'd ask if the contuinity-crazed among us have any explanations.

I have none other than modelmakers or Jeffries thought they looked better (debatable).

But do YOU have any conjecture as to what they are and why they sem to be so jettisonable and replacable?
They're not jettisonable or replaceable. What you're seeing is re-use of stock footage of the 2nd pilot version of the ship from WNMHGB to save money in post production f/x. That's why in TOS-R they remade the shots so that you consistently saw the version of the ship you were supposed to be seeing.
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Old April 25 2010, 03:20 PM   #3
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Nacelle rear spheres: conjectures.

As a little kid watching TOS reruns, I used to wonder about this. I thought maybe the balls were hollow covers that would perhaps rotate up into a hidden slot exposing the 'vents' for when the ship used it's warp engines.

Twently years wiser and...it's stock footage reused from the pilot
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Old April 25 2010, 03:44 PM   #4
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Re: Nacelle rear spheres: conjectures.

The spheres were inflatable and the nacelle spikes were retractable. Actually, I'm surprised that I've never seen some talented fan do a CGI rendition of the Enterprise transforming between its two forms.
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Old April 25 2010, 06:11 PM   #5
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Re: Nacelle rear spheres: conjectures.

I, too, would prefer to milk the impressive and lovingly done visuals of TOS for their sweet maximum of lactose content (except perhaps when the visuals are really subpar, as in "Doomsday Machine"). Which means I unconditionally accept the rear spheres and fore spikes as retractable.

The spheres already appear on all the United Earth Starfleet ships seen in ENT, including the modern Enterprise, the older Intrepid, and the lifting body ships accompanying the latter in "The Expanse" and "Twilight". They're absent from the conjectural Daedalus, tho, as well as from the ships of STXI.

In TOS, the spheres are "retracted" in very specific situations - namely, when the ship approaches or orbits a planet, due of course to the nature of the stock footage.

One possible theory: the spheres do things to the putative exhaust of the warp engines, perhaps filtering it for better stealth. A civilian survey ship like Daedalus doesn't need that stealth, and perhaps the STXI Starfleet also prefers not to block its tailpipes in a manner that might cut on performance. Also, the ships that do have spheres need to open them every now and then for purging - and what better time than just after dropping out of warp but before settling to standard orbit around a planet?

As for the forward spikes, many fan sources have speculated on a "deflector" functionality. Perhaps again something that's useful when entering a star system or approaching a planet and its outer atmospheric layers or magnetosphere, but not generally needed? Or then something related to purging the engines...

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Old April 25 2010, 08:23 PM   #6
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Re: Nacelle rear spheres: conjectures.

KingDaniel wrote: View Post
As a little kid watching TOS reruns, I used to wonder about this. I thought maybe the balls were hollow covers that would perhaps rotate up into a hidden slot exposing the 'vents' for when the ship used it's warp engines.

Twently years wiser and...it's stock footage reused from the pilot

Yup, I thought pretty much the same thing as a kid. The spheres were used for orbital velocity, while the vents were seen when Enterprise sailed off at the end of the ep.
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Old April 25 2010, 09:34 PM   #7
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Re: Nacelle rear spheres: conjectures.

Warped9 wrote: View Post
They're not jettisonable or replaceable. What you're seeing is re-use of stock footage of the 2nd pilot version of the ship from WNMHGB to save money in post production f/x.
Well, yeah. I was assuming we knew that.

That's always my answer: IT WAS A TV SHOW.

I was trying to be fanboyish, I guess, and see if people had any mental gymnastics to make sense of what we were seeing.

And they do, apparently: retractable!

The spikes sure seem to be darkened over in TOS footage, don't they? I give the production a mulligan on them, since they seem to have TRIED to make the old footage consistent with the new.
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Old April 25 2010, 09:43 PM   #8
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Re: Nacelle rear spheres: conjectures.

I always thought they were simply the gigantic BALLS one needs to travel at warp speed!

(Sorry. I've been cruising the Caption Contest threads today, and they tend to degrade my sense of propriety. )
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Old April 25 2010, 10:22 PM   #9
Mytran
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Re: Nacelle rear spheres: conjectures.

Perhaps the balls are always there, covering the vent. However, due to the translucent substance they're made from they're sometimes opaque, sometimes transparent - it depends on how the light falls.

Now, anyone care to have a stab at the changeable impulse vents?
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Old April 25 2010, 10:27 PM   #10
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Re: Nacelle rear spheres: conjectures.

Maybe they're the location of the Finney pod.
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Old April 25 2010, 10:33 PM   #11
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Re: Nacelle rear spheres: conjectures.

Now how should we explain variable height of the bridge dome?
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Old April 25 2010, 10:37 PM   #12
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Re: Nacelle rear spheres: conjectures.

Green Shirt wrote: View Post
Now how should we explain variable height of the bridge dome?
Hydraulic lift kit. What do you think those flippy switches on Kirk's chair are for?
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Old April 25 2010, 10:45 PM   #13
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Re: Nacelle rear spheres: conjectures.

Captain Rob wrote: View Post
Green Shirt wrote: View Post
Now how should we explain variable height of the bridge dome?
Hydraulic lift kit. What do you think those flippy switches on Kirk's chair are for?
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Old April 25 2010, 11:56 PM   #14
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Re: Nacelle rear spheres: conjectures.

I don't mean to highjack this thread, but I've been itching for a long time to find a place to comment on this topic.

When I was a kid in the '70's, I remember seeing the "different" images of the TOS Enterprise. I assumed that the nacelles had different modes, which cause parts of them to shift or retract, thus changing the appearance. (This never explained the change in the color of the front-end of the nacelles, though.)

As I came to accept that we were actually seeing two or three different versions of the Enterprise model, each representing a different era, I accept this as another subtle form of discontinuity (the limited production values of 1960's TV FX).

More recently, a different view, somewhat revisionist, came to mind. Maybe the read spheres were there all along, but the "cheese grater" structure was added to cover over top of the spheres. I assumed that the "cheese grater" acted as a filter or stabilizer for the warp engines; these were likely used in the early days of the Constitution-class starships as an improvised refinement. By the TOS years, warp engines had been refit with built-in refinements that allowed the ship to run faster and more smoothly. With the built-in refinements, the "cheese grater" filtering technology was no longer necessary. These appliques were removed, and the refit nacelles were somewhat shorter. (I know they don't look that way, but I assumed that either the overall length would go down or the removal of the filters would allow the refit engines to stick out the back more.)
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Old April 26 2010, 12:56 AM   #15
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Re: Nacelle rear spheres: conjectures.

I just assumed they were reusing stock footage. Probably helped along by the fact that I'd already gone through "The Making of Star Trek" and "The World of Star Trek" before TOS hit a regular syndication time slot of weekdays at 4pm in Denver (before that, it was hit or miss on any random Saturday). So I already knew about many of the weirdness of production, including the whole matter of there being two pilots that bore little resemblance to the regular episodes.

But then, I was always an overly observant and analytical kid. Never believed in Santa Claus, either.
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