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Old September 13 2012, 08:47 PM   #16
JoeZhang
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Re: I thought Vulcan was supposed to be a high G planet

Christopher wrote: View Post
But it's reasonable to assume that its gravity isn't much higher, because Vulcans still have a humanoid frame equivalent in height and build to humans.
It would have to be virtually the same - even minor differences would have an high impact on the evolutionary development of the species (there was a great BBC documentary on this very subject a few years ago but sadly it is not available online).
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Old September 13 2012, 08:53 PM   #17
CorporalCaptain
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Re: I thought Vulcan was supposed to be a high G planet

JoeZhang wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
But it's reasonable to assume that its gravity isn't much higher, because Vulcans still have a humanoid frame equivalent in height and build to humans.
It would have to be virtually the same - even minor differences would have an high impact on the evolutionary development of the species (there was a great BBC documentary on this very subject a few years ago but sadly it is not available online).
Hang on just one second.

You can't seriously be making inferences about Vulcan's gravity from the humanoid frame of Vulcans, can you—a frame which is astronomically unlikely for the Vulcans to have had in the first place, "Hodgkin's Law" notwithstanding?

Why not 1.4G?
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Old September 13 2012, 09:26 PM   #18
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Re: I thought Vulcan was supposed to be a high G planet

Of course, realistically, aliens wouldn't be humanoid at all. But it doesn't pay to approach these as black-and-white questions. Yes, it's a work of fiction, but it's one that's generally made at least something of an effort to justify its conceits. Roddenberry's original series proposal and bible stated that the Enterprise would preferentially visit worlds whose gravity, atmosphere, climate, etc. were fairly close to Earth-normal, as a justification for why the "alien" characters they met were so humanlike and the environments they visited were so much like a studio backlot or a Los Angeles-area hillside or desert or park. It's about striking a balance between plausibility and necessity -- using human actors and Earthly locations for lack of an alternative, but trying to justify it scientifically to the extent that one could.

Why not 1.4g? Because that's high enough that human characters would be noticeably affected by it and would be likely to remark on it, neither of which is the case in canon. What we see onscreen is that Vulcan gravity is not noticeably an issue for humans; therefore the logical conclusion is that it's fairly close to Earth gravity. Even Mandel's 1.251g might be a bit steep.
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Old September 13 2012, 09:47 PM   #19
CorporalCaptain
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Re: I thought Vulcan was supposed to be a high G planet

Christopher wrote: View Post
Why not 1.4g? Because that's high enough that human characters would be noticeably affected by it and would be likely to remark on it, neither of which is the case in canon. What we see onscreen is that Vulcan gravity is not noticeably an issue for humans; therefore the logical conclusion is that it's fairly close to Earth gravity. Even Mandel's 1.251g might be a bit steep.
OK, now this is fair.

Note on notation: According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_gravity, one standard gravity is often written as g, although they claim that usage is incorrect. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth's_gravity clarifies the notation as correct, though (allowing two different senses of it).

The Memory Beta page at http://memory-beta.wikia.com/wiki/Vulcan_(planet) depicts Vulcan gravity as "1.4 G", with a capital G. Looks like that is nonstandard.
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Old September 13 2012, 10:15 PM   #20
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Re: I thought Vulcan was supposed to be a high G planet

Yes, the capital G in physics notation is generally used for the universal gravitational constant, 6.67 x 10^-11 Nm^2/kg^2. (And I remembered the numbers off the top of my head but had to look up the units. I'm out of practice.)

As for the mixed messages about g, I think what it's saying is that the proper label for the standard gravity at the Earth's surface is g-sub-0 or sub-n; but a g (sometimes rendered "gee") is a unit of acceleration equal to the standard gravity, which is 9.8 m/s^2. If you're a jet pilot and you do maneuvers that subject you to an acceleration of 98 m/s^2, then you've experienced 10 g of acceleration -- or you've pulled ten gees, more informally.
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Old September 14 2012, 07:25 AM   #21
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Re: I thought Vulcan was supposed to be a high G planet

It is aeronautics that gives us the capital G for the multiples of the 9.81 m/ss acceleration or its associated force, regardless of the writing conventions of national or international systems of units. That is, a jet fighter's turning ability is more often described as +7G than as +7g.

But conventions vary. The "gold standard" Aviation Week & Space Technology is consistent in its use of lowercase in expressions such as "g-forces" or "+2.2g", while otherwise observing the Imperial system of units and its writing practices (no fear of confusing it with "gram", then!). But even AW&ST speaks of G-LOC (acceleration-induced loss of consciousness), which certain medical magazines in turn call g-LOC. Basically any "popular" publication on aeronautics is going to go with the uppercase G for describing accelerations...

I honestly can't remember - has Star Trek ever used "gee" for acceleration in any context?

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Old September 14 2012, 07:39 AM   #22
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Re: I thought Vulcan was supposed to be a high G planet

Timo wrote: View Post
I honestly can't remember - has Star Trek ever used "gee" for acceleration in any context?
Yes. For example, from Once Upon a Planet [http://www.chakoteya.net/startrek/TAS017.htm]:

SCOTT: Bridge to Engineering deck. Gabler, what's the problem down there? We've got zero G's on the Bridge.
There are a variety of instances, actually. One Google search that locates some of them is to Google with
site:chakoteya.net zero g
as the search string.
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Old September 14 2012, 02:11 PM   #23
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Re: I thought Vulcan was supposed to be a high G planet

There's also the line often heard in the "status reports" background audio in the second pilot and many first-season episodes: "The gravity's down to point eight!" It's likely that they implicitly meant 0.8g, 80% of the Earth's surface gravity.
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Old September 14 2012, 02:25 PM   #24
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Re: I thought Vulcan was supposed to be a high G planet

Yup - I was asking more about the use of the specific term "gee" in dialogue, but the fact that Kirk's ship regularly suffered reduced gravity is of interest as well.

I wonder if we're really supposed to be thinking our heroes are under the influence of 0.8 Earth gravities? It could be that the "gravity is down" situation only prevails on some other parts of the ship.

Constant low gravity is always difficult to fake convincingly. I recently watched "Moon", the 2009 flick about the lone helium miner, and that was pretty elegant. The hero moved fairly Earth-normally, out of supposed long experience, but was shown effortlessly lifting great weights and on occasion jumping with a bit more spring to his step than one would expect. Moondust flew in great arcs unhindered by air resistance. Nice and smooth - but Moon gravity really shouldn't allow for normal walking, no matter how careful you are.

Point eight gees might, though.

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Old September 14 2012, 02:31 PM   #25
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Re: I thought Vulcan was supposed to be a high G planet

Yeah, but in that line we never get to hear how they express it out loud, whether they say point eight gees (or point eight gee) or point eight gravities (or point eight gravity). Saying "gravities" is also done [e.g. http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...d.php?t=418638, "Could people survive at two gravities?"].

---

Just as an aside, in TAS: Jihad, they say [http://www.chakoteya.net/StarTrek/TAS014.htm]:

KIRK: ... Spock, how long since you've worked out in null-gravity combat exercises?
Then, they say "null-gravity" instead of "zero gee" (which of course has no bearing on the point eight chatter).
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Old September 14 2012, 02:47 PM   #26
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Re: I thought Vulcan was supposed to be a high G planet

One may speculate on the differences of zero, null and microgravity...

Microgravity is something that only concerns the eggheads who want to know precisely how things behave in freefall. None of our heroes should use that term when talking about spacewalks or spaceflight, really.

It would be fun to interpret "null gravity" as the artificially induced state of freefall, that is, the negation of natural pull with technology, and "zero gravity" as the absence of pull. Starships would typically have "null gravity" if things started to float around when the ship remained in motion, as freefall would be an unnatural way for a starship to move. But the immobile DS9 might have "zero gravity" when Melora turns off the gravity plates. I doubt the terminology is in any way consistent in Trek, though. Oh, well.

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Old September 14 2012, 02:54 PM   #27
Christopher
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Re: I thought Vulcan was supposed to be a high G planet

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
Yeah, but in that line we never get to hear how they express it out loud, whether they say point eight gees (or point eight gee) or point eight gravities (or point eight gravity). Saying "gravities" is also done [e.g. http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...d.php?t=418638, "Could people survive at two gravities?"].
Just two different ways of saying the same thing, one an abbreviation of the other. It's like a doctor saying "ccs" instead of "cubic centimeters" (or "milliliters," which are equivalent). So that strikes me as a trivial distinction.
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Old September 14 2012, 02:59 PM   #28
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Re: I thought Vulcan was supposed to be a high G planet

I thought Timo's question was whether "gee" was what was said in dialog.
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Old September 14 2012, 03:03 PM   #29
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Re: I thought Vulcan was supposed to be a high G planet

Yup, and thanks for the pointer to the TAS episode. It's well known that Trek is full of references to varying levels of gravity, including onscreen reduced-gravity scenes - it was the specific expression that intrigued me.

...On a similar vein, do we ever hear our characters speak of "EVA" as opposed to spacewalk?

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Old September 14 2012, 03:13 PM   #30
Christopher
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Re: I thought Vulcan was supposed to be a high G planet

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
I thought Timo's question was whether "gee" was what was said in dialog.
And I don't see why that's a significant question. Like I said, it's just the difference between using a spelled-out term and using its standard abbreviation. It's not like this is some arcane usage.
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