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The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old May 8 2013, 03:32 PM   #76
Creepy Critter
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Re: Saucer Separation

With all the rapid orbit decays and the use of impulse power to designate speed, I've lost count of the number of Star Trek episodes that violate Newtonian physics.
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Old May 8 2013, 06:36 PM   #77
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Re: Saucer Separation

I like Timo's thinking in this thread. It's clear that the Saucer must have had some kind of rudimentary warp capacity, because we often saw it travelling at what was clearly a faster-than-impulse speed.

Truth be told, if the reasoning behind Saucer Sepper was that it would allow families to get away during battle situations while the drive section engaged the enemy, then it never made sense to me. Why put all the families in the section of the ship which had no warp drive? Wouldn't it make more sense to give the bit with the warp nacelles to the escaping families, while a souped up Saucer engages the enemy?
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Old May 8 2013, 06:37 PM   #78
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Re: Saucer Separation

^^All of them? After all, while Einstein would be quite angry about warp, it doesn't really fit into Newton's worldview, either...

But our heroes have mastered the art of cheating gravity and inertia and frequently apply this to rather mundane purposes. What possible reason would they have for obeying Newton's antiquated rules?

^The saucer also happens to have a very curious visual feature - a series of squares forming two bigger squares, glowing the intense blue familiar from warp engines across the series. Some have suggested these might be arboretum windows, but why would arboretums have intense blue lighting? Or windows, for that matter? Sternbach's own blueprints mysteriously (suggestively?) leave this area of the saucer undescribed... A crucial tactical system not included in the blueprints in case some Klingon purchased the set?

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Old May 8 2013, 09:39 PM   #79
C.E. Evans
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Re: Saucer Separation

Wasn't it a case that they needed to tow it through the asteroid field because the barge's hull integrity had been earlier compromised and it would otherwise have fallen apart?
Pulling was the thing tearing the barge apart...
That's what I meant by the barge's hull integrity being earlier compromised. The initial attempt to move the barge via remote control thrusters failed, which led to its hull integrity collapsing and the subsequent decision for the Enterprise to tow it herself.
...not pulling would have been better. But the shields of the starship were needed to prevent further damage from asteroid impacts. No technique was mentioned that would have provided additional structural integrity to the barge, and indeed Star Trek in general lacks such a technique AFAIK.
I think enveloping the barge in the Enterprise's shields was done to reinforce its hull integrity. Otherwise, they could have stuck to the original plan of the Enterprise clearing a path through the asteroid field (except with the barge in tow); there was mention of the barge needing to be shielded through the asteroids originally.
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They still could've moved to a safe distance while the thing coasted to the asteroid field, then jumped back in with the tractor beam limiting their exposure.
But it would have fallen apart before it reached the asteroid field. The Enterprise's shields were the only thing keeping it together long enough for it to coast on its own into the sun.
MacLeod wrote:
What difference would it make if the barge hit an asteriod, it appeared as if the asteriod field was far enough away from the planet that any raditaion resulting from the impact would have any impact on the planet.
This was really an environmental allegory about the safe disposal of dangerous chemicals. Sending the ship into the nearby sun was the best way to permanently get rid of the barge full of deadly waste without having it blown up and leave an irradiated zone in an inhabited system.
Yes but the radiation would have dissapted somewhat, besides as they got closer to the sun background radiation levels would have been rising. Besides all they needed to do was remove the immedite threat, tow the barge out of the gravitatonal pull of the planet. Leave it go on the search and resuce mission, and return later to dispose of the barge.
Actually, we don't know how long it would have taken the radiation to dissipate to safe levels. It could have taken years, decades, or even centuries for all we know. In any event, it was long enough of an interval that our heroes couldn't just leave it out there to dissipate on its own.
Besides they didn't need to tow it all the way to the field. Once they got it going, they could have disengaged the tractor beam and reinitialised it closer to the asteriod field.
Unfortunately, that still wouldn't have resolved the issue of needing to get the barge through the asteroid field as quickly as possible. I think if the situation was one where time wasn't of the essence, they probably would have come up with a different plan, perhaps even retrying the original one of attaching thrusters to the barge.
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Last edited by C.E. Evans; May 8 2013 at 10:20 PM. Reason: left out "was one"
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Old May 9 2013, 06:05 PM   #80
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Re: Saucer Separation

I think enveloping the barge in the Enterprise's shields was done to reinforce its hull integrity.
Well, they slap on the shields after it proves impossible to use the bolt-on thrusters, and necessary to use the tractor beam. This might be in order to keep the barge from falling apart (although we don't learn of any mechanism by which shields could achieve that, here or in any other episode), or in order to keep radiation from spreading out.

We don't know whether the shields remain extended around the barge after they clear the planet's vicinity; we only know the shields remain up, we don't hear how they are configured. And we don't hear they would be used to protect the barge from asteroid strikes (which would admittedly be silly - surely our heroes could dodge the rocks with ease, even with the barge in tow? Indeed, the whole point of the exercise was that the ship would actively tow the barge through the belt, and at that point it wouldn't be for speed of getting it away from the planet. It would be purely for allowing the barge to negotiate a course it could not negotiate by coasting.).

Yet we have this bit of dialogue:

Riker: "Geordi, you've got to stabilise that tractor beam."
LaForge: "I can't divert any more power to the shields."
If the transcript is correct, tractor beam gets more stable if power is diverted to the shields... Why, beats me, but there we have it - it does seem as if the shields indeed exist in order to stabilize the towing arrangement somehow.

our heroes couldn't just leave it out there to dissipate on its own
Why not? If it took three thousand years, ships could be told to steer clear of the barge for three thousand years, and that would be it.

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Old May 9 2013, 07:52 PM   #81
C.E. Evans
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Re: Saucer Separation

I think enveloping the barge in the Enterprise's shields was done to reinforce its hull integrity.
Well, they slap on the shields after it proves impossible to use the bolt-on thrusters, and necessary to use the tractor beam. This might be in order to keep the barge from falling apart (although we don't learn of any mechanism by which shields could achieve that, here or in any other episode), or in order to keep radiation from spreading out.
Well, essentially shields are forcefields by any other name and they've been used in a variety of different applications in various Trek episodes from defensive, to containment, to structural integrity.
We don't know whether the shields remain extended around the barge after they clear the planet's vicinity...
Given that no order was given to drop the shields around the barge, it seems that they remained around it during the flight.
...we only know the shields remain up, we don't hear how they are configured.

And we don't hear they would be used to protect the barge from asteroid strikes (which would admittedly be silly - surely our heroes could dodge the rocks with ease, even with the barge in tow? Indeed, the whole point of the exercise was that the ship would actively tow the barge through the belt, and at that point it wouldn't be for speed of getting it away from the planet. It would be purely for allowing the barge to negotiate a course it could not negotiate by coasting.).
Which is really why the use of the shields to help keep the otherwise disintegrating barge together is the most plausible idea. They certainly weren't for protecting the Enterprise from the radiation (wouldn't it have been better not to stretch them around the barge in that case?) and if they weren't considered necessary for going through the asteroid field in the original plan.
Yet we have this bit of dialogue:

Riker: "Geordi, you've got to stabilise that tractor beam."
LaForge: "I can't divert any more power to the shields."
If the transcript is correct, tractor beam gets more stable if power is diverted to the shields... Why, beats me, but there we have it - it does seem as if the shields indeed exist in order to stabilize the towing arrangement somehow.
I believe in the above transcript, LaForge was simply stating their current situation while thinking what options were available to him in regards to the tractor beam. But it can also be looked at as being a case that they had one system (a tractor beam) operating within another (the deflector shields) and that latter was having an impact on the former.
our heroes couldn't just leave it out there to dissipate on its own
Why not? If it took three thousand years, ships could be told to steer clear of the barge for three thousand years, and that would be it.
If that was truly the case, it really wouldn't have been necessary to get rid of the barge. They could have merely positioned it at any point clear of the planet and left it there indefinitely.

But--and I believe this to be most likely--it was a case that they wanted an environmentally-free system (no irradiated zones or spacelanes), then getting completely rid of the barge was the thing to do. It just turned out to be more troublesome than they thought it would be and dangerous than they liked it to be.
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Old May 10 2013, 11:00 AM   #82
Timo
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Re: Saucer Separation

They certainly weren't for protecting the Enterprise from the radiation (wouldn't it have been better not to stretch them around the barge in that case?)
Yet if the order was given offscreen to reset the shields to surrounding the Enterprise only, the episode would play out just as we saw. The best possible way for Riker to proceed would have been to create two shield bubbles: one around the barge, to keep the radiation in, and one around his own ship, to keep radiation out. The barge bubble would have been vital as long as they were near the planet, and useful but not vital later on. Alas, creating two shield bubbles with one ship doesn't appear possible in the Trek universe.

I believe in the above transcript, LaForge was simply stating their current situation while thinking what options were available to him in regards to the tractor beam. But it can also be looked at as being a case that they had one system (a tractor beam) operating within another (the deflector shields) and that latter was having an impact on the former.
Indeed, we could argue that LaForge would in all scenarios have a need to constantly ramp up the shields, and his only option for boosting barge integrity, the use of a stronger tractor beam, would conflict with this. That is, the need to ramp up shields was not directly related to Riker's demand for greater towing integrity.

If that was truly the case, it really wouldn't have been necessary to get rid of the barge. They could have merely positioned it at any point clear of the planet and left it there indefinitely.
Quite so. But long dissipation time is not a sufficient rationalization for why they had to tow it all the way to the sun. We have to invent something stronger to justify the odd towing decision; even with a half-time of billions of years, the barge could always have been left floating at a spot that did not call for the close attentions of the E-D and her vulnerable crew. After all, the barge was only a danger to the planet after settling on a low orbit; any other orbit would do just dandy to allow Riker to cut off the tractor beam and go rescue Picard.

no irradiated zones or spacelanes
The barge was a danger to the planet at a distance of, oh, let's say a thousand kilometers by the visuals, but we can pick five thousand as well. Leaving a zone ten thousand kilometers across somewhere within the system solely reserved for the barge would not affect traffic in any way - it would take a cosmic coincidence for any other spacecraft to ever enter that volume, and even if they did, they could always sail out of it before any harm came to them.

The basic premise of the episode, unfortunately for the writers who obviously wanted something else, was that the barge was harmless. It would remain harmless in any location other than the low planetary orbit; indeed, it had remained harmless since ancient times until ending up at that orbit, and obviously it wouldn't reach another dangerous orbit ever again, what with the propulsion systems gone.

Indeed, we have to wonder why the barge originally established this harmful orbit, supposedly using the last of its engine power (even if the main reactors had been shut down 300 years prior). Was this for sinister purposes, a "dirty bomb" attack that failed due to rusted-out hardware? Was it an industrial operation misperformed by an out-of-date automaton, a harmless cargo transfer maneuver intended to have taken place in another star system millennia ago? Did the vessel perhaps originally carry a beneficial cargo that had gone sour and killed her crew, or had gone sour because something had killed the crew? A simple "distant aliens get rid of waste by immorally careless means" story doesn't wash, because the ship could simply have been sent to the local sun then - and if that mission failed, there'd be no mechanism by which the ship would then proceed to orbit a faraway planet.

If we're to do the thinking the writers neglected, we could just as well theorize that the barge was launched by the Gamelans themselves - either centuries prior, after which she was forgotten until she looped back due to a programming glitch (or started radiating because the originally harmless cargo rotted somehow), or then fairly recently, and the Gamelans just deceived the Federation into doing their dirty work for them...

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Old May 10 2013, 09:18 PM   #83
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Re: Saucer Separation

I don't see why they could not have just dragged the barge with the tractor beam upwards out of the orbital plane and gone back later. Most of Trek considers ship/planetary orbits on a single plane- just discard that two dimensional thinking and move it at right angles to that plane. No asteroids or planets will be close and you could return whenever you wanted to for a proper disposal...
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Old May 10 2013, 09:27 PM   #84
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Re: Saucer Separation

All these pain could have been averted if only "they" had said to "the designer" that the ship would have to separate in two beforehand.

But that was in 1986. ok.

speculation:
"they"=G.Roddenberry
"the designer" = A. Aprobert
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Old May 10 2013, 09:41 PM   #85
Timo
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Re: Saucer Separation

No asteroids or planets will be close
Actually, planets orbiting out of the plane of the star's rotation, or out of the plane in which the majority of the planets in the system orbit, is fairly commonplace in Star Trek. Virtually every star system schematic we have seen in Trek has featured at least one planet orbiting at an odd angle...

Whether asteroids would be in a nice plane depends on how old they are. In Trek, there are plenty of cataclysms that could create asteroid rubble late in the life cycle of a star system, mere geological moments before our heroes arrive; fully spherical asteroid "shells" around stars might be quite common.

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Old May 16 2013, 08:56 PM   #86
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Re: Saucer Separation

Timo wrote: View Post
The saucer also happens to have a very curious visual feature - a series of squares forming two bigger squares, glowing the intense blue familiar from warp engines across the series. Some have suggested these might be arboretum windows, but why would arboretums have intense blue lighting? Or windows, for that matter? Sternbach's own blueprints mysteriously (suggestively?) leave this area of the saucer undescribed... A crucial tactical system not included in the blueprints in case some Klingon purchased the set?

Timo Saloniemi
That's no warp engine, according to Andrew Probert:

source: http://www.trekplace.com/ap2005int01.html

Aft saucer module of Enterprise-D

Probert: They were just supposed to be more windows. Probably lounges of some sort, if I recall, but again, what you're seeing are windows that are broken up. I think that there were larger windows initially.
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Old May 16 2013, 11:42 PM   #87
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Re: Saucer Separation

xvicente wrote: View Post
Timo wrote: View Post
The saucer also happens to have a very curious visual feature - a series of squares forming two bigger squares, glowing the intense blue familiar from warp engines across the series. Some have suggested these might be arboretum windows, but why would arboretums have intense blue lighting? Or windows, for that matter? Sternbach's own blueprints mysteriously (suggestively?) leave this area of the saucer undescribed... A crucial tactical system not included in the blueprints in case some Klingon purchased the set?

Timo Saloniemi
That's no warp engine, according to Andrew Probert:

source: http://www.trekplace.com/ap2005int01.html

Aft saucer module of Enterprise-D

Probert: They were just supposed to be more windows. Probably lounges of some sort, if I recall, but again, what you're seeing are windows that are broken up. I think that there were larger windows initially.
Interesting read.
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Old May 17 2013, 01:06 AM   #88
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Re: Saucer Separation

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
if Locutus had a run-of-the-mill and fully integrated drone consciousness, then why was it necessary for him to overlook the battles from an area that look exactly like a designated command deck? Why not just plug into an alcove, like every other drone not currently servicing the cube?
Locutus was created to be a spokesdrone for the Borg. So it stands to reason that the collective would create a place for his use that was designed to make him visible.
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Old May 17 2013, 01:39 AM   #89
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Re: Saucer Separation

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
To take that idea a step further, if Locutus had a run-of-the-mill and fully integrated drone consciousness, then why was it necessary for him to overlook the battles from an area that look exactly like a designated command deck? Why not just plug into an alcove, like every other drone not currently servicing the cube?
I never bought that whole idea that Locutus was meant to speak for the Borg. Honestly, were the Borg going to negotiate or something? "Okay, we'll give you transwarp drive, and you'll allow us to assimilate all Humans. Seem fair to you?"

To me, the Borg Queen wanted Picard to speak for the Borg more as an example: "This is what we're going to do to you. See? We got your most famous captain from a heavily armed ship. You can't defend yourselves against us." It was all an effort to show Humans that the Borg were large and in charge. Forcing Picard to watch the battle from that viewing area was another thing. Instead of just letting Picard be aware of what was happening, the Queen made him watch it. It's like the difference between hearing about a big plane crash on the news and watching the plane crash in person.
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Old May 17 2013, 07:19 AM   #90
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Re: Saucer Separation

xvicente wrote: View Post
That's no warp engine, according to Andrew Probert:

source: http://www.trekplace.com/ap2005int01.html

Aft saucer module of Enterprise-D

Probert: They were just supposed to be more windows. Probably lounges of some sort, if I recall, but again, what you're seeing are windows that are broken up. I think that there were larger windows initially.
Doesn't matter, he's not an authority on what is what, as long as it's not mentioned on screen it's just a glowy thing on the saucer that could be a warp drive.
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