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Old December 26 2013, 12:43 PM   #16
urbandefault
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Re: Lack of Alien influence in Starfleet ship design...

One answer could be the same reason Starfleet communication is in English, or "Federation Standard."

There's no reason I can see to assume that Starfleet ships don't have alien influence. It's just that by the time we see things, most design parameters have been standardized to be as accessible as possible to species of all member worlds (most of whom happen to be humanoid).

It's also possible that GR might apply his explanation of the Klingons' change in appearance from TOS to TMP to this situation: that what we see onscreen is an interpretation, and not necessarily how it appears in "reality."
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Old January 6 2014, 07:16 PM   #17
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Re: Lack of Alien influence in Starfleet ship design...

I think FASA also felt there was a lack of non-human Federation ship designs in Trek as well back in the day. Their RPG ship recognition manuals included a handful of Starfleet ships that were supposedly designed, built and fielded by Andorians. The Andor, Loknar and Thufir come to mind. And yes, I got the impression that the Vulcans also seemed to have a small hand in some Starfleet designs as well. The Ringship Enterprise (Declaration Class) seemed to derive its pedigree from Vulcan influence in particular, with the toroid warp drive.
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Old January 6 2014, 08:15 PM   #18
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Re: Lack of Alien influence in Starfleet ship design...

^Well, of course it wasn't until ENT that the ringship was established as a Vulcan design. So I assume you're not still talking about FASA at that point.
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Old January 6 2014, 09:15 PM   #19
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Re: Lack of Alien influence in Starfleet ship design...

^^^ Oops - yes - sorry - I switched lanes without putting on the turn signal.
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Old January 10 2014, 09:32 PM   #20
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Re: Lack of Alien influence in Starfleet ship design...

The argument could be made that instead of being non-alien influenced, the Starfleet ship designs were actually equal parts of every alien race that had joined the Federation. Alien technologies, since they would have been isolated and biased based on whatever species it was that created the design would remain the overall same design whereas Starfleet ships do tend to change every generation or so based on new technologies and discoveries made from both previous Federation members as well as new ones.
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Old January 10 2014, 10:35 PM   #21
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Re: Lack of Alien influence in Starfleet ship design...

This is just wishful thinking with virtually no proof but tons of speculations, but -- considering the rather straightforward design of the Phoenix, the rings of XCV Enterprise, and then finally the saucer of the NX-01, i'd like to think that the saucer could be evidence of alien influence. The rings are more famously incorporated into Vulcan ships, and perhaps the saucer likewise came from another race, or at the very least is a hybrid of Earth/Vulcan/whoever else's warp theories.
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Old January 10 2014, 10:38 PM   #22
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Re: Lack of Alien influence in Starfleet ship design...

^Interesting thought, but ENT kind of established that Earth hadn't had much contact with other aliens besides Vulcans until NX-01 was launched. They hadn't yet met the Andorians or Tellarites, just a few species like Vulcans, Denobulans, and Draylaxians.
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Old January 10 2014, 10:57 PM   #23
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Re: Lack of Alien influence in Starfleet ship design...

Christopher wrote: View Post
^Interesting thought, but ENT kind of established that Earth hadn't had much contact with other aliens besides Vulcans until NX-01 was launched. They hadn't yet met the Andorians or Tellarites, just a few species like Vulcans, Denobulans, and Draylaxians.
Then maybe the saucer influence comes from the Denobulans?

I don't really buy it - our own cultures, even without Trek, already have plenty of images of saucer shaped spacecraft, so certainly someone would have played with the idea without (additional? ) alien influence. Then again, maybe one of the founding races of the Federation that we haven't seen ARE the "little green men" that abduct people to put stuff in their butts and turn cows inside out, so that influence is from them, after all.
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Old January 10 2014, 11:34 PM   #24
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Re: Lack of Alien influence in Starfleet ship design...

USS Triumphant wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
^Interesting thought, but ENT kind of established that Earth hadn't had much contact with other aliens besides Vulcans until NX-01 was launched. They hadn't yet met the Andorians or Tellarites, just a few species like Vulcans, Denobulans, and Draylaxians.
Then maybe the saucer influence comes from the Denobulans?

I don't really buy it - our own cultures, even without Trek, already have plenty of images of saucer shaped spacecraft, so certainly someone would have played with the idea without (additional? ) alien influence. Then again, maybe one of the founding races of the Federation that we haven't seen ARE the "little green men" that abduct people to put stuff in their butts and turn cows inside out, so that influence is from them, after all.
Oh lord. Maybe the Constitution was designed in the 1960s as a big "UP YOURS" to those little green men, which would explain why the neck goes straight up the rear end of a flying saucer.

(Sorry for the mental image, all)
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Old January 11 2014, 09:51 PM   #25
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Re: Lack of Alien influence in Starfleet ship design...

I can remember reading some commentary in exobiology articles about two things:
1) It's hardly likely that humanoid species exist for if evolution happens on another planet, then it's hardly likely that the same conditions would happen, and in the same order, such that a recognizable humanoid species would emerge.

That likely would result in very strange looking starships to fit the needs of the species using that ship for interstellar travel, but might include some common components on the spaceship itself regarding life support, engines, shielding, and weapons.

2) It might be that humanoid species would be the most common because of unknown scientific laws. In other words there was a natural order to evolution such that the apex predator would become a bipedal species with common sense organs and means of procreation, digestion, circulation, respiration, etc.

In that case, those humanoid species might develop engineered structures for interstellar travel which were very similar.

From a production standpoint in the old days, having lots of noncorporeal beings was a challenge such that the viewers could identify with such an alien. Communication with such a being could exist from a mathematical method only as the constructs of language rely upon a mouth and tongue. Instead it could be periods of emmitted light.

Now with CGI, there really aren't those constraints, but it's still very expensive.

One of the things that most impressed me about the actors of Star Trek was how little they saw of the graphic elements until way after shooting the episode. Imagine staring at a blank surface and trying to convey excitement, fear, awe, etc when there's nothing for your eye to see.

I liked the geometric shapes of the Borg vessels which skipped any aerodynamic elements because they weren't intended for landing upon planets. That was just an amalgam of all of the assimilated species with precious little in terms of aesthetics because it was strictly utilitarian.

The aquatic Xindi vessels would have to be enormously strong because of the mass of water carried within the hulls. One noncorporal species had a huge ship, but it wasn't clear how they acquired it, or why they would need it, though it was stated they couldn't live within the vacuum of space. Star Trek Enterprise "The Crossing" was that particular episode.

A little side note that's relevant to the discussion. The original "saucer" comment by Kenneth Arnold was taken out of context. He was describing the way it skipped like a stone across water, not the shape of the UFO he witnessed. A little known fact is that this image was taken by surveillance craft of an unknown craft about the time of the Roswell Incident in 1947. Looking for the photo for inclusion with this post. If I find it, I'll edit the post.
EDIT: Here's one of three known photos of a UFO within the same time frame (within days perhaps hours of the Roswell Incident).


EDIT2: Other photos from that time window:

Here's the actual rendering by Arnold which agrees with the real photo and makes the story far more compelling.

EDIT3: The earliest drawing submitted by Arnold which is slighly different than the artist's rendering for his book.


The mentioning of a saucer then influenced countless films in the midst of the contactee boom (a subset of the UFO phenomena different than other more scientifically inclined groups like NICAP). Some of these reports mentioned saucer shaped craft, but also cylindrical, airship-like craft dating back to 1897, the vimana of India from ancient times which were more like modern airplanes, and all manner of shapes included in the Condon Report.

Here's a similar collection of ship types (but not the actual Condon Report graphic which others may find illuminating for influencing the ships of Star Trek).

Last edited by Robbiesan; January 11 2014 at 11:37 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old January 11 2014, 10:27 PM   #26
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Re: Lack of Alien influence in Starfleet ship design...

Awesome post Robbiesan
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Old January 11 2014, 10:42 PM   #27
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Re: Lack of Alien influence in Starfleet ship design...

Kaiser wrote: View Post
Awesome post Robbiesan
Thanks.

I studied both the humanities and the sciences in college and grad school. So both aspects of these things interest me within Star Trek.

Witnesses are notoriously poor in recounting what they saw, largely due to excitement. However those who were trained observers in aeronautics have witnessed all manner of craft. It's likely that 95 percent of these can be explained by lenticular clouds or weapons testing or missile launches, but not all of them.

Star Trek didn't come about in a vaccuum but rather was a result of public fascination and fear post-1947, plus Cold War existential realities. I think that's most commonly witnessed in President Reagan's address before the UN when he said that an alien threat would unify the peoples of the Earth and make us stop being concerned about other matters.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ag44dRO8LEA

So Star Trek became not just entertainment, but a replacement myth for postmodern people. You have to look at that and how it affected art and diverse subjects like ethics as well as scientific inquiry and psychology.

Within the study of UFOs, there are serious researchers like Jacques Vallee who is a scientist and who theorizes that UFOs could be interdimensional craft, not stellar craft with warp drives, and perhaps many other species who coexist within this place in space-time but not within our dimension. So such species would be like 3D beings who examine the pages of a 2D representation. Any beings in a 2D world couldn't perceive those 3D beings very well because they exist at right angles to themselves.

Regardless, such unique ideas as well as the contactee folks who have more of a spiritual bent resulted in the popularity of Star Trek. That all influenced the stories as well as the shapes of spacecraft.

Last edited by Robbiesan; January 11 2014 at 11:39 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old January 12 2014, 01:04 AM   #28
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Re: Lack of Alien influence in Starfleet ship design...

Your Welcome
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Old January 13 2014, 08:56 PM   #29
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Re: Lack of Alien influence in Starfleet ship design...

Damn site deleted my comment before I could post it! Again!!
So I'll just say that I find the subject of these actual starships interesting, and that I suspect that there are separate cases when we are looking at starships, inter-dimensional craft, and even timeships from our future.

Damn log in/out! If you eat another one of my comments, I should find a way to give you a real good smacking!!
You could use a good smacking!!!
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Old January 13 2014, 09:43 PM   #30
Robbiesan
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Re: Lack of Alien influence in Starfleet ship design...

JES wrote: View Post
Damn site deleted my comment before I could post it! Again!!
So I'll just say that I find the subject of these actual starships interesting, and that I suspect that there are separate cases when we are looking at starships, inter-dimensional craft, and even timeships from our future.

Damn log in/out! If you eat another one of my comments, I should find a way to give you a real good smacking!!
You could use a good smacking!!!
When you log-in, click the remember toggle, and the system won't log you out from timing out. That's common on older forum software.

It's highly likely that whatever UFOs are, that besides things like earthlights from say piezzoelectric effects from fractures in volcanoes, they are far stranger things than interstellar craft. The physics rules for the amount of fuel needed for warp drive rather preclude a starship with warp drive from occurring.

However, did you know that there are plans for a warp engine in reality? See:
http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/1...ble-in-the-lab

In that article they're talking about ways of warping space right before a craft. More here:
http://io9.com/5963263/how-nasa-will...rst-warp-drive

This physics problem lead early UFO researcher Jacques Vallee to consider an interdimensional hypothesis. He's the one who assisted J Allen Hynek. Both were trained astronomers, with Valle being a computer scientist as well. He's given lectures at TED Talks.
http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/TEDxB...ues-Vallee-A-T

Such a craft that would look very different than starships. One of the weird occurance around UFOs is the habit of some to display to have a morphing attribute. This could partially be explained by being from a different dimension.

If you read Flatland, in which a 3D creature encounters a 2D creature, the 2D creatures sees a 3D creature pass through 2D space. So they would see 2D slices as they passed through their space. That distortion would result in something like CAT scans of a being, or in morphing of UFOs as they passed through some of our dimensions.

One explanation here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWyTxCsIXE4
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interdi...nal_hypothesis

EDIT:
I believe this is one of the photos taken from a military reconissance plane of an UFO and included in one of Vallee's books from the late seventies.

Vallee believed at least some of the UFOs were RPV (remote piloted vehicles) an early name for the then classified drone program of that period.

To bring this back to the topic, this saucer shape certainly influenced the saucer shape within the Constitution class of the Star Trek universe.

There are very few good photos of the reported "foo fighters" encountered by Allied pilots during WW2. Here's one of the better ones:

It's possible it's ball lightning, a manmade ball lightning project by Nazi scientists, or a UFO since we cannot identify it.

Last edited by Robbiesan; January 13 2014 at 10:06 PM.
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