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

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Old February 2 2013, 09:03 PM   #31
publiusr
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Re: planetary classes

Then too, there is actually such thing as cthonian planets
http://www.space.com/13828-alien-pla...fographic.html
http://www.centauri-dreams.org/?p=26133 http://www.centauri-dreams.org/?p=25952
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Old February 3 2013, 05:12 PM   #32
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Re: planetary classes

Metryq wrote: View Post

But "Mudd's Women" also mentions a "class J" cargo ship. How do they keep it all straight?
Planets and ships aren't that hard to tell apart.
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Old February 3 2013, 09:10 PM   #33
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Re: planetary classes

Forbin wrote: View Post
Metryq wrote: View Post

But "Mudd's Women" also mentions a "class J" cargo ship. How do they keep it all straight?
Planets and ships aren't that hard to tell apart.
Tell that to the Yonadans.
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Old February 3 2013, 10:52 PM   #34
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Re: planetary classes

From the original pitch, they were to explore habitable planets with (E)arth-(M)ars, or E-M, conditions, so it was probably originally "em"-class planets.
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Old February 4 2013, 02:59 AM   #35
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Re: planetary classes

Darkwing wrote: View Post
From the original pitch, they were to explore habitable planets with (E)arth-(M)ars, or E-M, conditions, so it was probably originally "em"-class planets.
Upthread, I listed what the third revision of the Star Trek Writers/Directors Guide had to say about Class M, and I described why in the 1970's I assumed -- with others -- that the "M" in "Class M" stood for "Mars".

Here's what the original pitch for Star Trek said, created by Gene Roddenberry, first draft, dated March 11, 1964:

Original Star Trek Pitch wrote:
The "Parallel Worlds" concept is the key ...
... to the STAR TREK format. It means simply that our stories deal with plant and animal life, plus people, quite similar to that on earth. Social evolution will also have interesting points of similarity with ours. There will be differences, of course, ranging from the subtle to the boldly dramatic, out of which comes much of our color and excitement. (And, of course, none of this prevents an occasional "far out" tale thrown in for surprise and change of pace.)
[...]

IV. Nature and duration of command:
Galaxy exploration and Class M investigation: 5 years
[...]

VII. Consistent with the equipment and limitations of your cruiser class vessel, you will confine your landings and contacts to planets approximating earth-Mars conditions, life, and social orders.

Some format and budget considerations ...
SETS. Our format is tailored to practical production and cost factors. Use of stage sets, backlot and other locations are ximplified [sic] by Captain April's "Class M" orders. And our own "Parallel Worlds" concept. The majority of story premises listed can be accomplished on such common studio backlot locales and sets such as Early 1900 Street, Oriental Village, Cowtown, Border Fort, Victorian Drawing Room, Forest and Streamside.
(If I missed any references to "Class M" or "Mars", it's because I had to search without the aid of a computer. I omitted some text regarding the "Parallel Worlds" concept. Any errors entering this text are my own.)

As with the Star Trek Writers/Directors Guide, the original pitch said, in so many words, that "Class M" stands for "earth-Mars conditions" [sic]. However, the spelling of "Class M" in the pitch was always with the capital letter "M". If it was ever spelled "em"-class, as cleverly suggested by Darkwing, then it was spelled that way before the first pitch was written. It's good to know that the phrase "earth-Mars conditions" goes all the way back to the original pitch.
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Old February 4 2013, 04:01 AM   #36
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Re: planetary classes

Let's step back from the alphabet classification system and ask a different question: what is it that they are classifying with these letters?

We're assuming that "Class M", versus "K Type", etc., is a broad classification of all of a given planet's characteristics. Why assume that? I always looked upon Spock's reports on planets being "Class M" or whatever as an indicator on what kind of gear a landing party would have to wear (assuming surface conditions allowed for a landing party). So "Class M" would mean normal Starfleet fatigues were in order. By the "K Type" report Norman gave in "I, Mudd", it sounded like Muddworld and Elba II were similar in that they would require space suits or pressure domes. (But Marta was able to live long enough exposed outside to be hauled out and blown up.)

So maybe the Alphabet Soup was a handy indicator for how starship captains should outfit their landing parties or colonization expeditions. Consider it a "life support" indicator. Probably a standard developed by ancient Vulcan space travellers to determine whether or not it was worth landing on a given planet.
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Old February 4 2013, 04:18 AM   #37
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Re: planetary classes

I doubt "Class M" stood for anything originally. As CorporalCaptain shows, it was included in the original 1964 pitch document -- and there's a lot of stuff in there that Roddenberry just pulled out of his hat, like the alleged equation for how many inhabited worlds there might be in the universe, which was pure gibberish. So I'm sure "Class M" was just some random term Roddenberry made up to sound technical -- like the reference in the next paragraph of Captain April's orders, "You will patrol the ninth quadrant, beginning with Alpha Centuri and extending to the outer Pinial Galaxy limit." Let's see... not only is there no such thing as the Pinial Galaxy, but Alpha Centauri is misspelled, there can only be four quadrants, and two points only define a line, not a volume of space. But that didn't matter; what mattered is that it sounded like it meant something to the characters, that it gave a feel of the texture of the show's world.

More to the point, the pitch document wasn't meant to be published, it was just meant to sell the idea of the show to network executives, most of whom wouldn't have known a galaxy from an asteroid. So it didn't have to make sense. It didn't even have to accurately reflect what the show would become (or else we would've been following the voyages of the starship Yorktown all this time). So "Class M" was just gibberish, like "Pinial Galaxy" and his ersatz Drake Equation. The only difference is that it's gibberish he decided to keep using. If things had gone slightly differently, we might be debating the etymology of "Pinial Galaxy" right now.
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Old February 4 2013, 05:24 PM   #38
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Re: planetary classes

Or the definition of the third quadrant of the vernal galaxy?

The classification scheme is a mess.
We have gas giants under two classifications: an alphabet soup and a number soup.
We have classifications referring to size, to atmosphere, and to general characteristics of an astronomical object.

I would say Gene Roddenberry was ignorant of astronomical subjects as much as the NBC execs. In 1965, Mariner 4 had reached Mars and was transmitting data back to NASA that revealed that Mars was not Earth-like.

Though it is in its infancy, I think we are seeing how planets might be classified in the future. They are being classified on size, mass, atmosphere, and land-sea ratios. I might have missed a few. And, I think that there will be one body regulating the classification scheme so that it doesn't become a confusing mess.
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Old February 4 2013, 05:30 PM   #39
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Re: planetary classes

throwback wrote: View Post
I would say Gene Roddenberry was ignorant of astronomical subjects as much as the NBC execs. In 1965, Mariner 4 had reached Mars and was transmitting data back to NASA that revealed that Mars was not Earth-like.
Whatever Gene's level of ignorance, the original pitch was written well before the Mariner-Mars probes were launched in 1964. As far as I know, the phrase "Earth-Mars conditions" never made it into the show.
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Old February 4 2013, 05:37 PM   #40
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Re: planetary classes

How then to explain the 1967 Writer's Guide, which treats Mas as having similar conditions to Earth?

Timo, I know that you were involved in the making of Star Trek: Star Charts. Do you remember having discussions about the planetary classification? Was it raised what the classification for Neptune would be?
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Old February 4 2013, 05:39 PM   #41
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Re: planetary classes

throwback wrote: View Post
How then to explain the 1967 Writer's Guide, which treats Mas as having similar conditions to Earth?
Like I said, it never made it on the air. It was "legacy" background information that didn't negatively affect what we saw on screen.

That's the beauty of just the letter "M": Roddenberry didn't pin himself down with an actual supposed meaning to the letter, so he couldn't get caught saying anything that would be contradicted by later science.
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Old February 4 2013, 07:15 PM   #42
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Re: planetary classes

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
That's the beauty of just the letter "M": Roddenberry didn't pin himself down with an actual supposed meaning to the letter, so he couldn't get caught saying anything that would be contradicted by later science.
Right. Just like stardates, which he and Herb Solow intended to be just meaningless numbers to avoid pinning the show down to a specific timeframe.
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Old February 4 2013, 08:50 PM   #43
CorporalCaptain
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Re: planetary classes

One reference to Mars in the original pitch that I neglected to mention upthread was not a literal reference.

Original Star Trek Pitch wrote:
The First Lieutenant --
[...] His name is "Mr. Spock". And the first view of him can be almost frightening -- a face so heavy-lidded and satanic you might almost expect him to have a forked tail. Probably half Martian, he has a slightly reddish complexion and semi-pointed ears. [...]
Clearly, at this stage of development, in early 1964, Roddenberry considered Mars to be habitable, or at least once to have been inhabited (or probably so).
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Old February 4 2013, 08:59 PM   #44
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Re: planetary classes

^Which does not in any way lend credence to the guess that "Class M" had anything to do with Mars. I mean, that's a completely illogical conclusion. If he had intended it to be the initial of a habitable world, obviously he would've gone with "Class E" for Earth.
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Old February 4 2013, 09:08 PM   #45
CorporalCaptain
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Re: planetary classes

Christopher wrote: View Post
^Which does not in any way lend credence to the guess that "Class M" had anything to do with Mars. I mean, that's a completely illogical conclusion. If he had intended it to be the initial of a habitable world, obviously he would've gone with "Class E" for Earth.
I don't agree.

Both the pitch and the writers guide equated "Class M" with "Earth-Mars conditions". There's a big fat "M" right there in "Earth-Mars conditions", so it's a logical suspect for where the "M" came from. Barring any further evidence, it's nothing more than that: a logical suspect. However, Darkwing may even have guessed it correctly as a contraction of "EM-Class".

Now, as to why "Earth-Mars conditions" wound up in the pitch, maybe Roddenberry put it in because he was initially going to make Spock half-Martian.
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