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

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Old September 2 2012, 04:18 AM   #16
Mars
Captain
 
Re: Ramming planets at warp velocity!

tighr wrote: View Post
In the Philip K. Dick short story The Variable Man, Earth is at war with the Centaurian Empire (which in the story completely circles our solar system). Earth scientists invent a missile that will fly toward Centaurus at FTL speeds, and then drop out of FTL inside the star. Due to the method of FTL, dropping out of FTL speeds means that the object has nearly infinite mass at relativistic speeds, which would cause the sun to implode.

It's not "warp", but it is FTL. When traveling at near FTL speeds, according to relativity the object will have nearly infinite mass. That would be the cause of any damage. Warp bubbles work differently, though, in that the mass of the object at warp is actually decreased.
I think we should try to maintain conservation of energy, if it takes a certain amount of energy to achieve that warp velocity, then no more than that amount of energy will be released upon impact with a planet, so it makes no difference whether the ship explodes on the surface due to a breach of its antimatter containment or if it impacts on the surface at maximum warp velocity, and any antimatter left unused would then react with the ship's matter hull and with the planet's matter surface to achieve a total conversion of mass to energy, that would be a big explosion, a matter/antimatter explosion is 100 times more powerful per unit mass than a thermonuclear bomb.
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Old September 2 2012, 04:30 AM   #17
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Ramming planets at warp velocity!

tighr wrote: View Post
In the Philip K. Dick short story The Variable Man, Earth is at war with the Centaurian Empire (which in the story completely circles our solar system). Earth scientists invent a missile that will fly toward Centaurus at FTL speeds, and then drop out of FTL inside the star. Due to the method of FTL, dropping out of FTL speeds means that the object has nearly infinite mass at relativistic speeds, which would cause the sun to implode.

It's not "warp", but it is FTL. When traveling at near FTL speeds, according to relativity the object will have nearly infinite mass. That would be the cause of any damage. Warp bubbles work differently, though, in that the mass of the object at warp is actually decreased.
A fun story, I remember. A pity relativistic mass doesn't actually work that way.
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Old September 2 2012, 04:34 AM   #18
tighr
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Re: Ramming planets at warp velocity!

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
tighr wrote: View Post
In the Philip K. Dick short story The Variable Man, Earth is at war with the Centaurian Empire (which in the story completely circles our solar system). Earth scientists invent a missile that will fly toward Centaurus at FTL speeds, and then drop out of FTL inside the star. Due to the method of FTL, dropping out of FTL speeds means that the object has nearly infinite mass at relativistic speeds, which would cause the sun to implode.

It's not "warp", but it is FTL. When traveling at near FTL speeds, according to relativity the object will have nearly infinite mass. That would be the cause of any damage. Warp bubbles work differently, though, in that the mass of the object at warp is actually decreased.
A fun story, I remember. A pity relativistic mass doesn't actually work that way.
Well, I don't want to ruin the ending for anyone who hasn't read it.
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Old September 2 2012, 06:01 AM   #19
yenny
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Re: Ramming planets at warp velocity!

A explosion force of 368,838,360,000,000,000 tons of TNT will result when a 198,000 ton starship traveling at warp one crashes into a planet.
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Old September 2 2012, 05:52 PM   #20
Mars
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Re: Ramming planets at warp velocity!

If the starship derives its energy from its store of antimatter, it doesn't matter how fast the ship is moving when it hits a planet, just so long as it hits the planet with sufficient force to rupture its antimatter containment system. There is no free energy derived from going to warp, some antimatter is consumed to achieve warp speed so there is less antimatter and more warp energy, but the two balance each other out.

According to predictions based on relativistic equations, objects going faster at FTL speeds have actually less energy than those going just above the speed of light. An object as rest has the same kinetic energy as an object traveling at infinite speed. Warp drive is just a way of dividing up that FTL speed. Warp 10 is the equivalent of an object at rest energy-wise.
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Old September 7 2012, 10:03 AM   #21
Brainsucker
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Re: Ramming planets at warp velocity!

Mars wrote: View Post
In a novel I read, the Romulan War series, a certain tactic was used involving a Romulan bird of Prey ramming into a planet at warp velocity to change a class M planet into some other class through the release of all that energy into the planet. In the book the crew of the Romulan ship sacrificed their lives to destroy an M class planet in this way. But who's to say a starship employing such a tactic needs to be manned? One can develop warp missles that are launched from a planet or starship designed to impact with another planet at its maximum warp speed. But I really think this shouldn't be allowed, because once this cat is out of the bag it would be employed endlessly.

Instead I would have a rule that if a warp bubble intersects a mass that is significantly greater than the starship that's generating it, the warp bubble should simply collapse and the starship stop. The ship simply resumes the velocity it had relative to the planet before it entered warp speed, conservation of momentum holding, so the ship would simply crash into the planet at a typical low sublight speed and perhaps make a crater in the planet's surface, that's it.

What do you think?
The bold : Well yes, even the 21th century USA can build an UAV, but the space faring Romulan Empire still think like the Japanese in World War II.
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Old September 7 2012, 11:14 AM   #22
Timo
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Re: Ramming planets at warp velocity!

Well, "the Japanese" is a bit of a generalization here: the Army always felt that the best way to wage WWII was to send untrained peasants with bamboo spears to hack down inferior foreign scum, whereas the Navy and the Air Arm steadfastly believed in high tech but were starved of resources to build it, and towards the end of the war had to concede that suicide workers were better than the pitiful automation they could come up with in the circumstances.

Romulans in the Romulan War as described in the ENT novels would not appear to be starved of industrial resources or reliable automation. Quite the opposite, the Romulans there are the galactic masters of remote control and uncrewed combat. A crewed suicide craft would thus be more likely to fail than an uncrewed one, especially if confronted with the unexpected.

The stories take a convoluted twist or two to negate this almost canonical advantage of the Romulan Star Empire, but they fall short of turning the Romulans into WWII Japanese here...

If the starship derives its energy from its store of antimatter, it doesn't matter how fast the ship is moving when it hits a planet, just so long as it hits the planet with sufficient force to rupture its antimatter containment system.
The two advantages high warp would offer in a ramming attack would be

1) reduced chance of intercept because of reduced time within range of defenses, and
2) possible deeper penetration of the warhead, not so much due to kinetic energy (which may indeed be "virtual" at warp) but due to the reduced interaction between a warping ship and the universe around it (either because the ship is "in subspace" to a greater or lesser degree, or because of the devices and techniques the ship must be employing to make herself invulnerable or invisible to interstellar matter).

Timo Saloniemi
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