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Old October 3 2011, 09:20 AM   #16
Timo
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Re: TOS Enterprise Question...

I'm with Cary here in that the practical execution of the rectangles could tell us something about their in-universe purpose. Not through the underlying techniques of execution, tho, but through how the techniques end up looking on screen.

As pointed out, the four things are in fact three plus one. Thanks to the different ways of accomplishing them, three of the four symmetrically placed things are brightly lit while one is essentially unlit, asymmetrically and without in-universe rhyme or reason. This would be odd for a sensor emplacement, as our heroes never comment on a blind spot in their sensor coverage!

The rectangles are a bit unlikely to be marker lights for the ship's extremities, either - there are plenty of blinkies and beacons for that purpose already (and these tend to be working fine in the shots). However, if a lighted fixture instead indicates a lighted space beyond, it's pretty natural to think that sometimes a space might remain unlit, especially if it serves no crucial function 24/7.

It's clear that Starfleet maintains no "lighting discipline" and doesn't require shuttering even for instances of stealth (say, "Balance of Terror") - and conversely that shuttering isn't forbidden or subject to the CO's personal supervision. Okay, so we do see Kirk personally open a shutter in "Mark of Gideon", but that's a casual move rather than a command decision...

Large windows looking directly up are fairly "useless" because TOS features basically zero scenes where something would be located directly above the ship (the scenes in "Catspaw" or "Requiem for Metusaleah" would have been a bit outside the parameters of the starship designers, I think!). However, these might be useful docking aids during starbase layovers. Since those are scheduled events, it would be quite plausible for the crew to redecorate the underlying utility spaces into skylighted discoes, pool rooms and whatnot the moment the ship clears Earth orbit - and pretty natural for them to create four different "deep space entertainment" interiors, one of which permanently has the skylight shuttered or at least dimmed. (Essentially, then, I'm with Tin Man and Admiral M here on the designed nature of those spaces, while raising the possibility that they serve other functions besides the designed one and for this reason are sometimes lit even in deep space.)

Similar logic (not airtight, only the "better-than-the-nothing-we'd-have-if-we-didn't-have-this" sort) might be applied on the bow roundels of the saucer. Since we see (the middle one of) them blinking rhythmically in the early episodes, during an orbital departure scene, it's a bit unlikely that there would be a habitable space beyond them (save for a space disco having an orbital departure party!). A sensor system could go on and off rhythmically, though.

However, TOS-R and ENT offer us a "both and" option here. When the Defiant sits idly docked in "In a Mirror, Darkly", somebody or something can be seen moving behind a bow roundel, indicating its transparency and porthole function. But that doesn't mean there wouldn't be sensors there. Quite possibly all the lit features have crew-accessible spaces beyond; it's just that the partial unlighting of the quartet of rectangles indicates spaces that do not need to be lit when "operating", while the flashing of the roundels indicates spaces whose lighting depends on machinery operating.

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Old October 11 2011, 09:12 PM   #17
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Re: TOS Enterprise Question...

I've always thought the four square panels were large windows possible over rec areas of the ship so crew could look outside at the stars other stellar wonders, I feel that the crew would get bored and go space crazy not looking out of a window.? So it would be a meeting place so they could relax and enjoy the stars. IMAO
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Old October 12 2011, 12:33 AM   #18
Cary L. Brown
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Re: TOS Enterprise Question...

Nero's Shadow wrote: View Post
I've always thought the four square panels were large windows possible over rec areas of the ship so crew could look outside at the stars other stellar wonders, I feel that the crew would get bored and go space crazy not looking out of a window.? So it would be a meeting place so they could relax and enjoy the stars. IMAO
And it just so happens that we have two two-story recreational rooms seen in the series (redresses of Engineering) which are ideally suited towards this purpose. There's the gymnasium, and there's the auditorium (where the Karidian Players performed). Now, we can also have a TMP-style "rec deck," and some form of sports facility, and that would pretty much cover all four, and all four make perfect sense for a ship the size and complement of Enterprise.
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Old October 12 2011, 03:39 AM   #19
Captain Robert April
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Re: TOS Enterprise Question...

I believe I said that about four posts back...
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Old October 12 2011, 03:54 AM   #20
Cary L. Brown
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Re: TOS Enterprise Question...

Captain Robert April wrote: View Post
I believe I said that about four posts back...
And I've said it dozens of times, and was agreeing with the overall sentiment again.
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Old October 13 2011, 02:47 PM   #21
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Re: TOS Enterprise Question...

Now, we can also have a TMP-style "rec deck," and some form of sports facility, and that would pretty much cover all four, and all four make perfect sense for a ship the size and complement of Enterprise.
I'd still keep the "TMP style rec deck" where Probert wanted it, right behind the bridge at the ship centerline. After all, "LTBYLB" claims that it is three decks high, not two! Plus, such a location would serve the "LTBYLB" plotline well, as our two clowns with their ability to remotely shut down turbolifts would then be hiking down stairwells directly below the bridge, running around the center of the saucer in search of the next well down. (Little would they realize that they could use the multi-deck Rec Room as a shortcut!)

Since that one is explicitly Rec Room 3, yet in "Charlie X" we hear of Rec Room 6, we should probably not limit ourselves to thinking in terms of just four rooms! Let's assign the four saucer rim squares to, say, Rec Rooms 1, 2, 4 and 5 because there is no conflicting info on those, and then place Rec Room 6 on the forward part of Deck 3 because we know its deck from "Charlie X" - and Rec Room 3 on the aft part, going down three decks to reach Deck 5 of both "LTBYLB" and "Trials and Tribble-ations" fame.

If we desire, we can then add a ceiling window rectangle to Room 3, too - it just happens to be shuttered by that yellow thing that's so prominent on the aft bridge superstructure of the TOS ship!

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Old October 14 2011, 03:19 AM   #22
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Re: TOS Enterprise Question...

Neat idea, sky windows in a rec room. I like it!

In an arboretum it could add an extra touch of realism, as part of a nighttime setting.
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Old October 14 2011, 09:29 AM   #23
Timo
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Re: TOS Enterprise Question...

Why would an arboretum need a window? Trees and flowers probably hate a direct view of space! Permanent three-kelvin night is not "realistic", nor is a ten-second day that's a hundred times hotter than any on Earth...

Much better (for the plants and for those using them for recreation) to bury the garden deep inside the ship, where the environment is stable, and then provide the walls and ceiling with entertaining visuals - not just starscapes but landscapes or more complex art as well.

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Old October 14 2011, 02:48 PM   #24
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Re: TOS Enterprise Question...

Oh, I oh I don't know. My romantic side was getting carried away I suppose.

Direct sunlight would be harmful for people too, so they would filter out that anyway. The environment under these windows would always be regulated, and the stars would just be a view that wouldn't contribute much radiation and any heat to the ship's environment under any circumstances (only enough visible radiation to see things would be allowed through, and no other wavelengths).

Of course, the arboretum wouldn't need the window for the sake of the trees; why would you assume that I would think it would? The window would only be for the benefit of the people in the first place. In addition, the arboretum on the TMP Enterprise did have side facing windows to space. I was extrapolating from that I suppose.

But the artificial sunlight in an arboretum would waste the view to space at least half the time. Like I said, I suppose I was just getting carried away with the idea of a walk in nature under real stars.
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Old October 14 2011, 03:35 PM   #25
Cary L. Brown
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Re: TOS Enterprise Question...

CarbonCopy wrote: View Post
Oh, I oh I don't know. My romantic side was getting carried away I suppose.

Direct sunlight would be harmful for people too, so they would filter out that anyway. The environment under these windows would always be regulated, and the stars would just be a view that wouldn't contribute much radiation and any heat to the ship's environment under any circumstances (only enough visible radiation to see things would be allowed through, and no other wavelengths).

Of course, the arboretum wouldn't need the window for the sake of the trees; why would you assume that I would think it would? The window would only be for the benefit of the people in the first place. In addition, the arboretum on the TMP Enterprise did have side facing windows to space. I was extrapolating from that I suppose.

But the artificial sunlight in an arboretum would waste the view to space at least half the time. Like I said, I suppose I was just getting carried away with the idea of a walk in nature under real stars.
And there we have the only practical purpose for such windows, I think. Human psychology. Big "skylight" windows would serve as a means to combat claustrophobia. (On the other hand, it would be really rough on agoraphobics, wouldn't it?)

Now, the argument for these being windows to science bays is not unreasonable, but there is one major counter-argument against that. Why would you design your science hardware so it all faced in only one direction? This seems to be to be a fatal flaw in the idea of these being skylights for sensor hardware.

But for human psychology, "the sky overhead" is a big deal. At the very worst, with the lights dimmed, you'd be able to see the stars. And this would give the crew the opportunity to see interesting sights (nebulae, planets, etc) as well.

These windows would serve very little "functional" purpose, except from a psychological standpoint, I think... which is why I feel so certain that this is what they must be.
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Old October 14 2011, 04:45 PM   #26
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Re: TOS Enterprise Question...

Lots of neat ideas in this thread for what those "thingies" might be.

Here's another one to add to the mix: subspace radio transceivers. We never really knew where Uhura's extraship comm traffic was conducted through, did we? Why not there?
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Old October 14 2011, 06:29 PM   #27
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Re: TOS Enterprise Question...

Wingsley wrote: View Post
Lots of neat ideas in this thread for what those "thingies" might be.

Here's another one to add to the mix: subspace radio transceivers. We never really knew where Uhura's extraship comm traffic was conducted through, did we? Why not there?
It's entirely possible, though I have my own take on the subspace subsystem.

To me, on the TMP ship, the dark inset ring around the B/C deck superstructure is the main subspace antenna. A similar structure, inside of the hull, existed on the TOS Enterprise, just not exposed. I also put the "Star Trek V" ballroom at the front of the B/C deck superstructure, adjacent to this... which explains why the emergency transmitter would be in that location.

For the TOS ship, I have main communications at the front of B-deck, with the main antenna being an ovoid ring near the deck, ringing the entire deck.

This is how I explain why that part of the ship is shaped like a separate section... it's shaped by the requirements of the antenna.

I also treat the two little red arcs on the aft underside of the saucer as some form of antenna... likely the "backup communications" subsystem.

That's my personal take on this... but of course, all we know about "subspace radio" or real is what it does, in-story, so nobody else has to accept this. I can't support it, except as described above.
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Old October 14 2011, 08:34 PM   #28
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Re: TOS Enterprise Question...

^ Another interesting theory.
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Old October 14 2011, 09:03 PM   #29
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Re: TOS Enterprise Question...

Cary L. Brown wrote: View Post
...

Now, the argument for these being windows to science bays is not unreasonable, but there is one major counter-argument against that. Why would you design your science hardware so it all faced in only one direction? This seems to be to be a fatal flaw in the idea of these being skylights for sensor hardware.

...
Yeah, I'm still in the sensor bay category. The saucer itself acts as a huge platform placing the equipment at the widest possible separation capable on this structure. These particular sensor act together as widely placed elements of one huge long range sensor. All have to be pointed at the same target but need to have some space between them to function correctly, for whatever reason. Why be limited to one direction? You aren't, really. It turns out the whole ship is quite capable of maneuvering to whatever attitude is required to face these things at any given target. (After all, RL space telescopes, Hubble, et al are similarly limited in direction, but maneuver to aim the lens.) The only occasion where the ship's orientation might perhaps limit such a set-up would be in a combat scenario, in which case, there are larger priorities than long range scanning.

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Old October 14 2011, 09:32 PM   #30
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Re: TOS Enterprise Question...

Albertese wrote: View Post
The only occasion where the ship's orientation might perhaps limit such a set-up would be in a combat scenario
  • And except when it's in warp.
  • And except when the impulse drive is on (which while arguably omni-directional through the use of shields, something I'm not entirely convinced of by the way, in any case isn't ideally so).
  • And except when you need to scan things in two different directions.
  • And except when any number of other reasonable scenarios might apply.
All have to be pointed at the same target but need to have some space between them to function correctly, for whatever reason.
On the other hand, this, an arrangement of sensors spread out like the VLA, to increase the effective resolution of the sensor array, is a reasonable proposal. It would effectively create a dish the size of the saucer, which is the surface of the ship with the greatest area.

Thus, this array would be for high resolution scans; but other arrays should point in other, variable directions, so the ship wouldn't be all the time blind in those directions.
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