RSS iconTwitter iconFacebook icon

The Trek BBS title image

The Trek BBS statistics

Threads: 139,203
Posts: 5,404,400
Members: 24,758
Currently online: 573
Newest member: ashlynnbrooke80

TrekToday headlines

Retro Review: Time’s Orphan
By: Michelle on Aug 30

September-October Trek Conventions And Appearances
By: T'Bonz on Aug 29

Lee Passes
By: T'Bonz on Aug 29

Trek Merchandise Sale
By: T'Bonz on Aug 28

Star Trek #39 Villain Revealed
By: T'Bonz on Aug 28

Trek Big Bang Figures
By: T'Bonz on Aug 28

Star Trek Seekers Cover Art
By: T'Bonz on Aug 27

Fan Film Axanar Kickstarter Success
By: T'Bonz on Aug 27

Two New Starship Collection Ships
By: T'Bonz on Aug 26

Trek Actor Wins Emmy
By: T'Bonz on Aug 26


Welcome! The Trek BBS is the number one place to chat about Star Trek with like-minded fans. Please login to see our full range of forums as well as the ability to send and receive private messages, track your favourite topics and of course join in the discussions.

If you are a new visitor, join us for free. If you are an existing member please login below. Note: for members who joined under our old messageboard system, please login with your display name not your login name.


Go Back   The Trek BBS > Misc. Star Trek > Trek Tech

Trek Tech Pass me the quantum flux regulator, will you?

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old January 7 2013, 05:09 PM   #1
Robert Comsol
Commodore
 
Robert Comsol's Avatar
 
Location: USS Berlin
TOS Enterprise - function of warp nacelles' caps?

Being relatively new to the Trek BBS I don’t know if this issue has already been discussed in-depth.

I’m in need of some feedback to help me to determine what the TOS Enterprise’s matter-antimatter reactor number 3 (the one in the engineering hull suggested in “That Which Survives” which I assume gave birth to the one-warp-core-only concept later featured in TMP and the subsequent TV series) might have looked like to represent it accurately in the TOS Enterprise deck plan project I embarked upon:
http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.ph...14#post7499314

Since I ever first saw TOS I’d always wondered what function the rotating lights at the front of the two warp engines might actually have.

Back in 1988 I made an unannounced phone call to Walter Matt Jefferies, but apparently caught him unprepared and didn’t get the clear answer I had hoped for (it wasn’t until later that I learned that as the production designer his foremost task was to make it look impressive and not necessarily have all the answers regarding the “in-universe” functions of all the ship’s components).

While I was doing research during the "Constitution Class debate" I came across various remarks and design intentions of Matt Jefferies concerning the warp engines / pods / nacelles.

He felt the warp engines to be volatile and hazardous in nature and therefore designed them in such a fashion that these kept some safety distance from the other ship’s components.
In addition, based on his aviatic WWII experience, he felt that the warp engines could be replaced / exchanged once worn out (which I believe happened between “Where No Man Has Gone Before” and “The Corbomite Maneuver”, and I also think that different warp engine appearances could be a major design characteristic that originally distinguished the 16th Federation Cruiser design series from the 17th... With the original TOS Aurora in “The Way to Eden” we witnessed a familiar, yet different warp engine design: http://tos.trekcore.com/hd/albums/3x...edenhd0002.jpg).

Kirk’s comments in “The Apple” (“Discard the warp drive nacelles if you have to, and crack out of there with the main section, but get that ship out of there!”) and “The Savage Curtain” (“Scotty, inform Starfleet Command. Disengage nacelles, Jettison if possible.”) apparently support Jefferies’ original warp engine removal / replacement concept.

Of course, none of this provides any clues to the actual function of the rotating lights behind the warp nacelles’ bow caps (other than to make these look cool and impressive, of course).

Theory # 1: rotating lights behind nacelles’ caps are part of the ship’s deflection system

A look at the evolution of the VFX model of the USS Enterprise shows that the original “pilot” Enterprise (i.e. “The Cage” and “Where No Man Has Gone Before”) featured crimson red and unlit nacelle caps with a spike pretty identical to the one of the main sensor at the bow of the engineering hull.

These could have been additional sensors to triangulate with the main sensor which then became obsolete once technological advances enabled the main sensor to perform this function without the extra support of two additional sensors (compare to the TOS Aurora from “The Way to Eden”, two sensor dishes at the front of the nacelles substituting the lack of a main sensor!).

The Making of Star Trek clearly identifies the bow of the engineering hull to hold the ship’s main sensor-deflector and the TOS version of “The Paradise Syndrome” visualized one strong deflection beam against the moon-sized asteroid emanating from a (yet) unseen location (according to TOS-R the main sensor-deflector).

Does this mean there is no more need for the nacelles’ caps to provide additional deflection? The TMP Enterprise’s new main sensor deflector featured an illuminating effect that went from red (high temperature) to blue (very high temperature), indicating a link between the deflection performance and a visual lighting effect.
Furthermore, in one of the Jefferies interviews I came across, he explicitly described the ship’s deflectors to grind obstacles in the flight path to non-hazardous dust particles / space matter.

Apparently, the “counter-clockwise” spinning lights of the nacelles’ caps could appear to perform such grinding effect and according to Jefferies’ “identification by association” motto (published in the Star Trek posterbook interview conducted by Doug Drexler in the 1970’s) could indicate that the nacelles’ caps add deflection power to the main deflector (put simply: they no longer support the main-sensor deflector with scanning but deflection power).

However, if we assume the USS Constellation from “The Doomsday-Machine” to share the same design as the Enterprise, this doesn’t seem credible considering the episode's dialogue:

Washburn: “We made a complete check on structural and control damage, sir. As far as we can tell, something crashed through the deflectors and knocked out the generators. Somehow the antimatter in the warp drive pods has been deactivated.”

The original VFX footage clearly reveals that the warp nacelles’ caps have imploded or exploded – they have gone: http://www.flickr.com/photos/birdoft...57619514479789

(this is only one of many original film cells the “bird of the galaxy” is sharing with us. Great vault of rare TOS photos, check it out!)

There is probably a difference between knocking out the (shield) generators or obliterating these. The damage report rather suggests the shield generators of the Constellation to have just been rendered inoperative by the alien planet killer but not completely destroyed.

Theory # 2: rotating lights behind nacelles’ caps are matter-antimatter reactors

According to multiple TOS dialogues the TOS Enterprise appears to have three matter-antimatter reactors of which two are located in the warp nacelles which also contain antimatter pods (apparently the TMP Enterprise was a technological revolution reducing three of these reactors to merely one “warp core”).

However, if the nacelles’ caps of the Constellation were matter-antimatter reactors why didn’t Washburn report their destruction in his structural damage report or had the exterior visuals already confirmed their destruction abundantly?

Alternately, this was no longer necessary, as without antimatter there’d be no further use for any matter-antimatter reactor aboard the ship, intact or destroyed.
“Deactivation” – in the context of antimatter – possibly suggests that the antimatter particle charge and quantum spin had been reversed by the “exotic” planet killer back into normal matter (fuel for the impulse engines, at least? ).

Theory # 3: rotating lights behind nacelles’ caps are antimatter generators

Personally, I don’t subscribe to that theory, because and according to Scotty you “can’t change the laws of physics”, and in this particular case I don’t believe it’s sufficient to simply refer to the infamous Heisenberg comensators (“How do they work?” “Very well!”). The energy yield of antimatter is only the same as you put into it (i.e. to reverse particle charge and quantum spin).

I believe the stem of the orbital mushrooms (“Spacedock”) seen in the movies and TNG to consist of hundreds of fusion reactors, working day and night to produce miniscule particles of antimatter to refuel the ships arriving in spacedock, but to picture this kind of antimatter generation technology aboard a starship is at least beyond my imagination.

Of course, the context of “The Doomsday-Machine” will allow that explanation: First, the planet killer targeted the Constellation’s antimatter generators to destroy these, next he rendered the remaining antimatter aboard the vessel inert to deprive the Constellation of her fighting capabilities.

Theory # 4: rotating lights behind nacelles’ caps are an essential element of the warp drive

Put in its original context and first time viewing of the 1960’s one should first remember that one decade before Star Trek first aired, “Forbidden Planet” had been – in a manner of speaking – the “2001-A Space Odyssey” for the science fiction generation of the 1950’s. There are many accusations of Star Trek plagiarism at the expense of “Forbidden Planet” but I’d like to think that Gene Roddenberry rather wanted to convey to science fiction (convention) audiences, well aware of “Forbidden Planet”, that Star Trek was going to be a similar approach to gather interest and support.

United Planets Cruiser C-57 D featured a rotating, red glowing hub at the bottom of its saucer shape, not too dissimilar from the TOS Enterprise’s warp nacelles’ caps. It remains a little inconclusive whether that hub’s main function was to propel C-57 D through normal and hyperspace or simply to generate the energy necessary to do so (because the hub continues to rotate during planetary landing until touchdown on Altair IV).

Similar to the deflector visual effect the later Enterprise starships also featured (lateral) visual effects at the warp nacelles, so it seems this theory can’t just be dismissed, yet.

However, “The Doomsday-Machine” suggests otherwise: Right from the very beginning the bridge crew of the Enterprise (and Scotty?!) gets an unobstructed, clear visual of the Constellation’s exterior shape and condition, yet Scotty’s first intent aboard the Constellation is “to have a look at those engines” and he then reports “the warp drive is a hopeless pile of junk. The impulse engines are not too badly off. We ought to be able to do something with them.”

If the warp nacelles’ caps were an essential part of the Constellation’s warp drive, Scotty should have noticed that it’s a hopeless pile of junk the first time a visual of the ship became available.

Thus, the warp drive can apparently work, even if those caps are missing, but Scotty’s further examination revealed that the warp drive components had suffered severe damage.

Theory # 5: rotating lights behind nacelles’ caps are “Bussard” ramscoops to attract / collect free-floating hydrogen particles from space as fuel reactant for the matter-antimatter reactors

I deliberately put this theory in last place. While I assume this is the most popular one, I unfortunately feel this is the least likely one (i.e. for the TOS Enterprise).

The major reason against the Bussard ramscoop theory, IMHO, are clearly the two starship designs suceeding the TOS Enterprise, i.e. the TMP Enterprise and the USS Excelsior.

None of these two designs feature any visual effect at the front of the warp nacelles. According to the official TMP Enterprise blueprints the front of the Enterprise nacelles’ is a space matter / energy “sink” (rather sounds passive than active), the front of the Excelsior nacelles is a casing that appears impermeable.

Add to this, that Matt Jefferies intended the TOS Enterprise to have as little protruding external elements as possible (tainting his creation with weathering effects is therefore an expression of disrespect and/or ignorance - in my strictly personal and biased opinion), but strangely enough included these four rings behind the nacelle cap element, which do protrude forward: http://www.cloudster.com/Sets&Vehicl...rise/ent21.jpg

I think it’s fair to say that the allignment of these rings is compatible with the concept of a space matter / energy sink and the TMP Enterprise instantly appears like a natural evolution (thanks to the opportunity of just having one warp core within the engineering hull, freeing space at the front of the warp nacelles).

In summary I believe Theory # 2 is the most likely one, but I may have overlooked another option and could be wrong. Feedback much appreciated.

Bob
__________________
"The first duty of every Starfleet officer is to the truth" Jean-Luc Picard
"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."
Albert Einstein
Robert Comsol is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 7 2013, 05:54 PM   #2
Timo
Admiral
 
Re: TOS Enterprise - function of warp nacelles' caps?

In terms of "weak onscreen evidence", I trust a computer screen or two in the early movies would have reproduced Franz Joseph's related graphics, which designate the forward domes as "sinks" for a sink/source type drive system. Alas, no such readouts have been identified as having made it all the way to the movie screen so far, and the text would be illegible anyway.

In the otherwise complete lack of direct evidence, I'm forced to point towards the very direct dialogue evidence ("Samaritan Snare", ST:INS) that the identical-looking features in the TNG era are indeed Bussard ramscoops. What such ramscoops actually do is a different matter, and onscreen evidence on that is extremely vague in good and ill. We know the scoops can blow out hydrogen and suck in dense volatile gases from a nebula, but both appear to be exceptional procedures going against the design intent of the devices.

Since the red domes are not a mandatory component of starships and shuttles, but are only found on about 80% of them, I'm tempted rule out a fundamental role in warp drive outright. However, it is curious that all warp nacelles in Federation ships seem to be installed so that their forward ends protrude, even when other parts of the nacelle may be quite extensively covered or buried (say, the Defiant or Steamrunner classes. Indeed, if nacelles are buried or turned into cowlings, all the more effort is made to establish red domes at where the forward ends should be.

Hence, I'd argue that we can trust that

a) the devices are called Bussard ramscoops for certain, even on Kirk's ship (or that's what Riker would call them on Kirk's ship even if 23rd century terminology differed)
b) they thus probably "ram" and "scoop" something, although not necessarily the way Robert Bussard originally intended,
c) they absolutely need to be located right in front of the warp coils for that, and
d) while they don't need to glow red, or be particularly large, they nevertheless are vital for warp travel.

For the latter argument, let's look at the visuals. Many of the cheaper TNG nacelle solutions (marker pens on miniatures, hexagon shapes on shuttlepods) have relatively tiny forward ends that never exhibit a glow. The TMP style of warp nacelle has narrow grooves but does exhibit a red glow in some DS9 visuals of the Miranda class. And when the E-D shuts down warp power generation for dilithium maintenance in "Skin of Evil", the red ramscoops go dark. This does not happen in connection with emergency plasma venting such as in "Eye of the Beholder", or when Kirk's ship goes to silent mode in "Balance of Terror" in TOS - but the domes do become a bit dimmer in the TOS-R version of those events...

It wouldn't be difficult to claim that the intensity of the glow is a factor of energy levels, then, and that the ships and craft that seem to lack the glow might be running the system at low energy levels. Would that make it a non-vital system, when Kirk in the movies manages to avoid cranking it up? Perhaps we could actually argue it's a nice-to-have extra on basis of this very fact: ships don't need to run the system hot, but modern ships can afford to even when they don't need to.

The four arguments (or the first three already) would seem to rule out your favorite #2, because it's difficult to reconcile that with the name "Bussard ramscoop". However, a deflector or "snowplow" system could very well be called exactly that, and it might be that warp coils are extremely sensitive to particle bombardment when actively messing with subspace, whereas the rest of the ship is not particularly sensitive. Antimatter generation or warp propulsion could make use of "scooping" as well, but I'd rule out #3 because antimatter could be created anywhere (and is known to be stored elsewhere on Kirk's ship, too) yet the red domes are invariably in front of the warp coils. #5 I'd rule out on the same basis.

My clinging onto the rather blatant connection between TNG dialogue and cross-series visual unity thus drives me into favoring either #1 or #4, with #1 the subjective winner.

Timo Saloniemi
Timo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 7 2013, 06:08 PM   #3
Timo
Admiral
 
Re: TOS Enterprise - function of warp nacelles' caps?

...Apropos, there is an aviation analogy that might be thrown in for sheer levity. Even an aircraft propelled with advanced engines such as turbojets, turbofans or ramjets can still feature a small propeller or two. These are run on reverse, making use of "ram air" (that is, the flow of air past the plane due to the plane's own motion) to run a generator to create electric power or hydraulic pressure.

Rotating gadgetry located in front of the warp engines could thus be something of an "identification by association" thing, a way to suck parasitic power out of the ship's primary means of motion. Not actual motion, of course, but the subspace flux or whatever at the "sink" end of the warp coil set. Perhaps the rotors rotate as space itself flows in - and can wholly incidentally also be "autorotated" for moving more physical things such as gases in and out if the need arises?

Not as good a match for the Bussard ramscoop terminology as #1 or #4, but perhaps workable, as "ram" and "scooping" are featured. In a manner completely unrelated to Robert Bussard's brainchild, unlike with #1 and #4, but perhaps the Trek gadget is named after Felicity Bussard instead?

Timo Saloniemi
Timo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 7 2013, 08:52 PM   #4
StarCruiser
Commander
 
Location: Houston, we have a problem...
Re: TOS Enterprise - function of warp nacelles' caps?

Considering all of the recent theoretical concepts about a "real" warp drive - there would be a build-up of charged particles along the leading edge of the field and those particles could be a serious threat to any life present in a system such a ship entered.

While Matt didn't know anything about that back in the 1960's - to me, he looks rather prescient. Maybe they clear those particles off of the field and send them on through to the back end of the field to bleed off into space harmlessly?
__________________
"I've always said you can get more with a kind word and a two-by-four than you can with just a kind word." - Marcus Cole, Babylon 5
StarCruiser is online now   Reply With Quote
Old January 8 2013, 01:49 PM   #5
Robert Comsol
Commodore
 
Robert Comsol's Avatar
 
Location: USS Berlin
Re: TOS Enterprise - function of warp nacelles' caps?

Thanks for the feedback.

I chose “Bussard ramscoop” because every Trekker will presumably understand the basic meaning. However, by the time of TNG it apparently has become a colloquialism as it actually isn’t a “ramscoop” or “ramjet” in the original sense of Mr. Bussard: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bussard_ramscoop

(I have a couple of non-fiction books that discuss his proposal for sublight propulsion so the essence of this wikipedia article is genuine and authentic)

Considering he made his theoretical propulsion proposal back in 1960 and that the general “ramjet” design shares noticable similarities to a convential jet engine, I can imagine what a great time an aviatic aficionado like Matt Jefferies must have had implementing it on the USS Enterprise.
However, I believe these four rings behind the nacelle caps (these do have an alignment compliant with an intake function) is really all there is performing such a ramjet function.

In-universe these evolved into the "Bussard ramscoops" of later starships like the Enterprise-D (IMHO, a ramjet evolution makes more sense than to start searching for rationalizations why the TMP Enterprise and the USS Excelsior did not have these red thingies).

Matt Jefferies’ task was to visually suggest the sheer power of these engines and I’d say these ominous red glowing and rotating caps of the TOS Enterprise still convey that feeling today (I don't feel that picking up particles of interstellar matter is remotely compatible with (t)his original design intention).

The biggest support for the deflection function comes from the spikes in front of the warp nacelle caps the pilot versions of the Enterprise had, of course.

All The Making of Star Trek tells us is that the parabolic dish belongs to the main sensor and suggests that its spike is an “asteroid deflector”.
This does not necessarily imply that space particles ahead of the ship require additional deflection as the streamlined hull itself appears suitable to repel space particles (with the exception of one location: the main deflector...).

On the contrary, it might even help to explain the function of the exterior window shutter in “The Mark of Gideon” as a physical particle shield.

The apparent problem with a deflector function of the nacelle caps (the dialogue from “The Doomsday-Machine” and its conclusions notwithstanding) is that it’s contradictory to the concept of attracting interstellar matter for fuel for the ramjet rings behind the nacelle caps: Either you deflect or you attract, but you can’t do both at the same time (unless you have yet another and “exotic” Heisenberg compensator...).

Of course, in those theoretical concepts S.C. mentioned (thanx), there wouldn’t be the extra need to attract or ionize interstellar matter (an inevitable obstacle that needs to be overcome in Mr. Bussard’s original proposal) as reactant fuel.

Because warping space would already bring those particles close to the Enterprise. Apparently the main deflector would still need to project a protective semi-circular shield ahead of the ship – from which the interstellar matter “built-up” would be cleared by directing it towards the ramjet intakes to provide the fuel to react with the antimatter.

Bob
__________________
"The first duty of every Starfleet officer is to the truth" Jean-Luc Picard
"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."
Albert Einstein
Robert Comsol is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 8 2013, 03:01 PM   #6
blssdwlf
Commodore
 
Re: TOS Enterprise - function of warp nacelles' caps?

Those spikes on the front of the nacelle caps (and main sensor dish) could instead be sensors for detecting space conditions for the engines along the same lines of altitude and speed / temp sensors on an airplane.

That is an interesting observation about the destroyed caps from "The Doomsday Machine" as their destruction didn't immediately indicate that the warp engines were destroyed.
blssdwlf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 8 2013, 03:14 PM   #7
Timo
Admiral
 
Re: TOS Enterprise - function of warp nacelles' caps?

Either you deflect or you attract, but you can’t do both at the same time
I wouldn't be so strict. A good snowplow collects snow from a large area, even if the ultimate purpose is to throw it aside to some distance from the plowpath...

An incidental observation on the concept of using ramscoops for propulsion: the Robert Bussard concept stumbles on Newtonian resistance from the gathering of the interstellar fuel via coupling it electromagnetically to the scoop. But in Star Trek, the stuff could be hauled in gravitically, using a tractor beam - and we know that those aren't quite Newtonian. A tractor beam appears to exert forces on its target all on its own, without imposing equal and opposite forces on the ship creating the beam. Basically, such a device would be very useful in collecting interstellar matter for fuel, and could even pull the entire starship forward by suitably adjusting the force coupling between the matter and the ship.

However, I'd forget all about that aspect of the Bussard scoop. The name would live (in infamy?) even if the originally intended application were long forgotten, and be suitably perverted just like any piece of real-world technojargon. Scooping for the sake of clearing a path would still be scooping, and compacting it for disposal would still be ramming, even if there was no intent to collect fuel let alone apply it on propulsion.

Timo Saloniemi
Timo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 8 2013, 04:33 PM   #8
Robert Comsol
Commodore
 
Robert Comsol's Avatar
 
Location: USS Berlin
Re: TOS Enterprise - function of warp nacelles' caps?

blssdwlf wrote: View Post
"Those spikes on the front of the nacelle caps (and main sensor dish) could instead be sensors for detecting space conditions for the engines along the same lines of altitude and speed / temp sensors on an airplane."
I concur, given his aviatic background that's what Matt Jefferies probably had in mind (I have to add nevertheless, that he was still very aware that the Enterprise is a spaceship and accordingly added maritime elements. IMHO, this is one of things that made his creation so unique - there's such a fine balance between naval and aviatic components that it's impossible to pigeonhole the Enterprise as either an airplane or a ship in space ).

blssdwlf wrote: View Post
"That is an interesting observation about the destroyed caps from "The Doomsday Machine" as their destruction didn't immediately indicate that the warp engines were destroyed."
This has been bugging me for over three decades making some sense out of the VFX shot from the episode. I should add that the idea that these caps might be antimatter reactors would not have been possible, had you not presented solid evidence (IMHO) that there are at least three such reactors aboard the Enterprise.

With the one in the engineering hull still intact, it makes sense that Scotty first checked the engines, as one reactor probably still could have provided warp power. Wasburn's report only indicates that the antimatter in the warp nacelles had been rendered inert (so the one in the engineering hull may have still been working unless fusion power was sufficient to charge up the Constellation's phaser bank).

Bob
__________________
"The first duty of every Starfleet officer is to the truth" Jean-Luc Picard
"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."
Albert Einstein

Last edited by Robert Comsol; January 8 2013 at 05:12 PM.
Robert Comsol is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 8 2013, 04:58 PM   #9
Robert Comsol
Commodore
 
Robert Comsol's Avatar
 
Location: USS Berlin
Re: TOS Enterprise - function of warp nacelles' caps?

Timo wrote: View Post
"But in Star Trek, the stuff could be hauled in gravitically, using a tractor beam."
Yes, and I believe the "ramjet" intake rings behind the nacelle caps use this kind of technology (maybe the three thingies at the underside of the nacelles' front?).

What I have difficulties imagining is the rotating mechanism behind the cap creating suction to attract / intake interstellar matter as fuel - because it would be blocked by the forward deflector shield (maybe a problem they overcame by the time of TNG?).

The interstellar matter has to "go around" the forward shield until the intake or tractor mechanism can "grab" and suck it in.

Alternately the particle flow around the deflector shield could be manipulated in such a way that the interstellar matter is simply channeled into the intakes. Kimble's TMP Enterprise blueprints refer to these intakes as "sinks" which sounds rather passive to me.

If the built-up of interstellar matters in front of the shield occurs automatically as a side effect of warping space, a (smaller) tractor system appears to be sufficient to do the job so that these big, ominous caps can be assigned to better use.

Bob
__________________
"The first duty of every Starfleet officer is to the truth" Jean-Luc Picard
"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."
Albert Einstein
Robert Comsol is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 9 2013, 01:55 PM   #10
Timo
Admiral
 
Re: TOS Enterprise - function of warp nacelles' caps?

Yes, and I believe the "ramjet" intake rings behind the nacelle caps use this kind of technology (maybe the three thingies at the underside of the nacelles' front?).
This is a possibility as much as the ramscoop being the dome, as the rings are another feature commonly but not universally found in Starfleet nacelles. They are somewhat less common than the forward domes or windows, though, and disappear altogether from the most modern nacelles, those introduced in the various TNG movies. The domes stay, and are explicitly identified as the scoops on two designs: one with the rings (E-D), another without (E-E).

because it would be blocked by the forward deflector shield
Why? The nacelle forward ends are in rather prominent view from forward angles; a device for shielding the rest of the ship would not need to be blocking the path to the nacelles.

Interesting how the two hero ship types that do not have obvious nacelle domes are also the only two to have the nacelles at least partially hidden in forward view: the TMP variant of the Constitution, and the Excelsior class...

Timo Saloniemi
Timo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 9 2013, 02:58 PM   #11
Robert Comsol
Commodore
 
Robert Comsol's Avatar
 
Location: USS Berlin
Re: TOS Enterprise - function of warp nacelles' caps?

Timo wrote: View Post
"Why? The nacelle forward ends are in rather prominent view from forward angles; a device for shielding the rest of the ship would not need to be blocking the path to the nacelles."
Though I'd like to believe that the main sensor-deflector generates a shield in a rather literal, circular sense, I'll put this aside for the moment.

If the forward ends of the nacelles were not protected by the main sensor-deflector (like other parts of the ship) they'd be exposed to hazardous impact of stellar debris.

Of course, one may argue that these project a phaser-style disrupting field incinerating such objects on a collision course but the apparent energy output (visualized by the red glowing rotation effect) would appear to be higher than the energy you will gain from the incinerated stellar debris.

Again, I'd rather prefer the deflector function, but then, it would appear odd that these deflectors are so apparently different from the main sensor-deflector at the engineering hull's bow (compared to the sensors and/or deflector spikes of the Enterprise pilot version).

If one were to assume the nacelles' caps to be antimatter reactors, the inevitable question would be how this one works and maybe I have a proposal, partially inspired by this screencap: http://ent.trekcore.com/gallery/albu...arkly2_761.jpg

(Dr. Phlox depriving the USS Defiant in the ENT episode "In A Mirror, Darkly" II of its warp power)

While it's not abundantly conclusive whether the relays he's removing could be the sparks for a matter-antimatter reactor or the plasma back flow tubes of the reaction chamber, notice the (unlit) tubular frame 'support' which I assume to be antimatter injector tubes from the antimatter pod below ("That Which Survives") that go into the reactor chamber above.

If the nacelle caps had such tiny antimatter injector tubes (followed each by a matter injection tube and a matter-antimatter annihilation blast exhaust tube) there'd be an explanation for the glow and the rotation of the elements which would make the nacelle cap look like a 23rd Century combustion engine, in a certain manner of speaking, which I don't think is too farfetched considering the design was born in the 1960's and knowledge of theoretical, futuristic propulsion systems was still in its infancy.

Bob
__________________
"The first duty of every Starfleet officer is to the truth" Jean-Luc Picard
"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."
Albert Einstein
Robert Comsol is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 9 2013, 03:53 PM   #12
Timo
Admiral
 
Re: TOS Enterprise - function of warp nacelles' caps?

If the forward ends of the nacelles were not protected by the main sensor-deflector (like other parts of the ship) they'd be exposed to hazardous impact of stellar debris.
Or, in other words, in the best possible position to sweep the ship's path clear of this debris.

Whether by suction alone (with the debris matter stored somewhere for later use or dumping, or incinerated), or by combination of suction and subsequent lateral venting, we don't know. But if the domes suck, the rings aft of them could blow. Or vice versa, as we only ever see the domes blowing, in two TNG episodes, before the nacelle style changes to domes-only and we see them suck in ST:INS.

Although in this pair of images, it does seem as if the "domes" undeniably suck yet an unidentified feature aft of them, perhaps along their aft edge, might be responsible for the blowing.

http://movies.trekcore.com/gallery/a...tionhd1538.jpg
http://movies.trekcore.com/gallery/a...tionhd1556.jpg

Timo Saloniemi
Timo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 9 2013, 10:51 PM   #13
Robert Comsol
Commodore
 
Robert Comsol's Avatar
 
Location: USS Berlin
Re: TOS Enterprise - function of warp nacelles' caps?

Timo wrote: View Post
"Or vice versa, as we only ever see the domes blowing, in two TNG episodes, before the nacelle style changes to domes-only and we see them suck in ST:INS"
IMHO, you are applying way too much retroactive continuity to identify the function of the component of a ship that's 100 years older.

Just today there was a suggestion at Trek BBS to visit this link: http://www.slightlywarped.com/crapfa...rek_photos.htm

Unfortunately you have to scroll down a bit, but there's a rare shot of what I believe to be the "Phase II" Enterprise prior to TMP and this is a shot I had not seen before, revealing a significant different warp nacelle design (prior to TMP).

No sinks at the front of the caps, just a large panel area left and right (which eventually became these plasma emergency flush vents on the support pylons).

At this design stage there are either reactors in front of the nacelles (to explain the odd placing of the emergency flush vents) or these panels are improved / enlarge space matter intakes.

A clear hint, IMHO, we are looking at a design evolution towards the Bussard ramscoops of the TNG era...

Bob
__________________
"The first duty of every Starfleet officer is to the truth" Jean-Luc Picard
"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."
Albert Einstein
Robert Comsol is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 10 2013, 10:53 AM   #14
Timo
Admiral
 
Re: TOS Enterprise - function of warp nacelles' caps?

IMHO, you are applying way too much retroactive continuity to identify the function of the component of a ship that's 100 years older.
This could be discussed in purely TOS terms, too - but the thing is, Star Trek nowadays features quite a bit of "bracketing", in which the technologies introduced in TOS and expanded upon in TNG are revealed to have existed in ENT already.

I admit that ENT never expands on what the domes in front of the NX-01 nacelles might be. But for them not to be "Bussard ramscoops" (perhaps by some 22nd century name, but still) would be an exotic and unlikely twist, when every other piece of tech visually bracketed in fact gets dialogue verification for also being conceptually bracketed.

Nothing wrong with TOS representing a brief foray into different technologies, after which things return to the apparent ENT/TNG standard. The warp powerplant is a good candidate for a technology that had not yet stabilized at all, as it's visually so different in the 22nd, 23rd and 24th centuries. But the visual consistency of the nacelle domes does make me think this would be a good time to accept the bracketing argument as trumping the "it is old tech" argument. If there is a brief interlude with different technologies, it comes in TMP rather than in TOS.

but there's a rare shot of what I believe to be the "Phase II" Enterprise prior to TMP and this is a shot I had not seen before
This one has been previously printed in the Reeves-Stevens ST Phase II: The Lost Series book. A beautiful design is shaping out here, but clearly a lot of work remains to be done... Todd Guenther apparently adopted this design as his Constitution II heavy cruiser variant for the purposes of the Ships of the Star Fleet booklet, acknowledging the work-in-progress nature of the model by having Starfleet "complete" it in a number of subtly different ways.

The way he chose to have Starfleet complete the nacelles was to leave the forward domes featureless - actually making them look more like TNG ramscoop domes than in any of the other preproduction variants of the TMP ship!

A clear hint, IMHO, we are looking at a design evolution towards the Bussard ramscoops of the TNG era...
Or we could say that the TMP nacelle closely resembles the VOY nacelle in that the scooping part is split and situated some distance from the nacelle bow (in those fingernail-shaped sections that are followed by the diagonal structure and then by the "warp field window"), whereas this Phase II nacelle resembles the TNG one, and the arrangements compete evenly throughout the history of Starfleet.

Timo Saloniemi
Timo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 10 2013, 04:38 PM   #15
Robert Comsol
Commodore
 
Robert Comsol's Avatar
 
Location: USS Berlin
Re: TOS Enterprise - function of warp nacelles' caps?

Timo wrote: View Post
"This could be discussed in purely TOS terms, too - but the thing is, Star Trek nowadays features quite a bit of "bracketing", in which the technologies introduced in TOS and expanded upon in TNG are revealed to have existed in ENT already."
Please forgive, but especially ENT is retroactive continuity in my personal opinion which I reserve the right to ignore (except "In A Mirror, Darkly" as it conveniently takes place in the Mirror Universe ).

My whole issue with retroactive continuity, mostly, is the lack of devoted research and effort to be accurate. I've come across websites claiming the "antimatter nacelles" mentioned in TAS to be erroneous, although there's obvious and undeniable evidence in TOS that the warp nacelles do contain matter-antimatter reactors and antimatter.

Again, bssdwlf's conclusions to prove the existence of three matter-antimatter reactors aboard the TOS Enterprise are a state-of-the-art example how to do accurate treknological research, IMHO. It's rather a shame it hadn't been done before.

Applying retroactive continuity to solve a treknological riddle is a valid option, IMHO, but one that comes last and only after a thorough research of the original 'facts' hasn't provided a credible answer.

Bob
__________________
"The first duty of every Starfleet officer is to the truth" Jean-Luc Picard
"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."
Albert Einstein
Robert Comsol is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 04:35 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
FireFox 2+ or Internet Explorer 7+ highly recommended.