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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > Deep Space Nine

Deep Space Nine What We Left Behind, we will always have here.

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Old September 17 2012, 12:56 AM   #1
MarsWeeps
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DS9 spins?

So I just watched the episode where Ezri Dax joins the station. One of her complaints was that she could feel the station spinning and asked Sisko if Chief O'Brien could make an adjustment.

In all this time, I never thought the station spins. What would be the purpose of it? Wouldn't it make it harder to dock ships? I don't believe I've ever seen a shot where the station is spinning.
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Old September 17 2012, 01:37 AM   #2
R. Star
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Re: DS9 spins?

My first guess would be creating artificial gravity but even that doesn't stand under much scrutiny.
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Old September 17 2012, 01:47 AM   #3
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Re: DS9 spins?

I guess it would be at the very least a minor sort of defense. If someone is shooting at them continuously from one side, it's going to take longer to wear down the shields if it keeps rotating.
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Old September 17 2012, 02:29 AM   #4
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Re: DS9 spins?

It could have just been her. She was still getting used to having all of those memories/personalities in her head. That could have made her think it was spinning when it wasn't. Also, it could have been a writer goof. I don't know, did a regular writer write the episode?
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Old September 17 2012, 02:33 AM   #5
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Re: DS9 spins?

It's to help create a proper day-night environment, or to at least make sure the station is evenly exposed to the Bajoran star; otherwise, one side of the outer ring would be perpetually cooked, while the other frozen over.

Well, maybe not. That's just speculation.

Interestingly, you can see this rotation in action anytime there's a scene in Sisko's office. The stars in his window are always slowly moving sideways.
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Old September 17 2012, 02:59 PM   #6
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Re: DS9 spins?

Yeah, it does appear to rotate slowly.
It can't be for artificial gravity, the configuration of the station and the rotation axis doesn't match for that purpose. Plus, there is already established grav tech so that rotating wouldn't be necessary.

It can't be for thermal purposes. That's necessary for spacecraft today, but again ST has shown that spacecraft can manage thermal variations with other tech not requiring vehicular movement. Unless, for some reason, common spacecraft systems were dropped in favor of centuries old methods.

With all the docking ports and ship traffic, I'd think a rotating station would be very much more troublesome. So yeah, why rotate?

(I know about the rotating station in 2001, that's a completely different thing from DS9),
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Old September 18 2012, 01:20 AM   #7
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Re: DS9 spins?

Another speculative theory: it rotates for psychological purposes.

It's safe to assume that all the species that visit the station come from a planet that spins on an axis to some degree, causing the 'illusion' of celestial bodies to move across the sky.

Perhaps psychological studies within the Trek universe have shown that such species have become psychologically dependent upon that sense of motion, and an apparent lack of it could potentially drive inhabitants of a non-planetary orbiting space station slightly bonkers.

If this seems odd, here's a slightly different anecdotal example. At work, there's a company music radio station that's on 24h a day, typically playing pop hits of the last few decades. If the playlist grows too predictable (as happens during the Xmas season... ), it gets annoying, but we still never turn off the radio. Why? Because the absence of constant music actually sounds odd and slightly disturbing. It's like we need that constant ambiance of background music to at least be put into some sense of comforting familiarity (even if we don't always want to be at work).

Could this also be true of the constant motion of celestial bodies, only more so? Who knows. I'm just tossing theories here.
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Old September 18 2012, 02:23 AM   #8
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Re: DS9 spins?

I would say it's largely psychological as well. In an environment as foreign as space, I can easily image trying to create as many connections to familiar settings as possible.

Take for example the night shift on the Enterprise-D. There's no real reason why Data would need to turn the lights down like that, accept to give the illusion that it's night. It might have something to do with helping to regulate your internal clock. If you're used to a day/night cycle, being in a brightly lit setting all the time might through some people off, so at night you turn the lights down to simulate at least an appearance of the day/night cycle.

And just to through this out there, aside from merely spinning on is central axis, you also have to keep in mind that neither the station nor the wormhole are fixed in space. They're both moving on their own obits through the Bajoran system.
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Old September 18 2012, 01:31 PM   #9
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Re: DS9 spins?

The circuit around the local sun would take something like two years, though - so if the spin of the station were there in order to maintain a specific orientation vis-á-vis the star or the stellar background, it would be imperceptibly slow.

The spinning might be there to facilitate docking. That is, if the station did not spin, there would be docking ports advantageously or disadvantageously positioned for ships arriving from Bajor or the wormhole, or departing for these destinations. Spin equalizes things and allows our heroes to better distribute the arrivals and departures.

Thermal control might be a factor for such an immense and stable structure, too, in ways that would never be a concern for a small and maneuvering starship.

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Old September 19 2012, 04:27 AM   #10
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Re: DS9 spins?

I just figure it's to keep it level. Otherwise the thrusters or whatever regulates its position would make it rock back and forth. Kind of like a top.
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Old September 19 2012, 10:31 AM   #11
Timo
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Re: DS9 spins?

Would the rocking be any worse than the spinning, though? It shouldn't matter which axis the station spins around, the exact vertical or some other random axis: the disadvantages would be the same.

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Old September 19 2012, 12:00 PM   #12
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Re: DS9 spins?

robau wrote: View Post
I just figure it's to keep it level. Otherwise the thrusters or whatever regulates its position would make it rock back and forth. Kind of like a top.
If that were the case, then ships would need to spin in order to stay level while maneuvering and that's clearly not the case. Precision station keeping thrusters exist right now, so there wouldn't be any rocking back and forth when it's adjusting it's position, any more then you would feel it on a ship when docking at a station. Take for example all the times we saw the Defiant returning to DS9. When it docks, and uses it's thrusters to perfectly align the docking port up with the airlock, the ship doesn't rock back and forth when the thrusters fire.

Spinning to stay level, at least in terms of your 'spinning top' analogy, assumes that there is some force out there which will topple over the station if it doesn't keep moving, or at the very least throw it off balance. The only time you need to keep moving to maintain your position in space, is when you're in orbit of a planet or moon and that wasn't the case in DS9 and even then, you're orbiting around the planet and not spinning on your axis.

Spinning would have no effect on the perception of being level, particularly in space where there is no true up or down, and even more so in an environment with artificial gravity. No matter what position the station is in, regardless of your vantage point, for those on the inside, the deck is always going to be down because that's where the gravity is pulling you...until you fiddle with the controls and reset it so the ceiling is down. lol

And as far as docking...if your ship can cross interstellar space, maneuvering for an open spot on the dock around a relatively small station (compared to orbiting your home planet and the distance you've traveled to get their) would likely not matter much.
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Old September 19 2012, 12:23 PM   #13
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Re: DS9 spins?

The station spins so that everyone gets a chance at a good view of the wormhole.
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Old September 19 2012, 01:02 PM   #14
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Re: DS9 spins?

And as far as docking...if your ship can cross interstellar space, maneuvering for an open spot on the dock around a relatively small station (compared to orbiting your home planet and the distance you've traveled to get their) would likely not matter much.
I'd rather argue the exact opposite. Warp is portrayed as being pretty fast, with just hours spent in interstellar space in some cases (see for example "For the Cause" and Kasidy Yates' interstellar shipping run of mere 18 hours, which is considered exceptionally and indeed suspiciously slow) - so it's pretty much the same situation as with aircraft today. Flying from A to B is pretty much irrelevant, and all that matters is what happens at the airport.

Even on longer runs, there's no congestion in interstellar space - but a lot of congestion near DS9 during those rush hours where half a dozen ships are quoted as being docked (say, "Dax" - and never mind we very seldom see large numbers of docked ships). Streamlining of docking operations would be a major concern for the station managers and the masters of the ships alike.

Whether occasionally spinning the station a bit in this direction or that (the direction as well as the speed does vary between episodes or scenes!) would be of help there, we can't really tell. But we could easily claim that it does help.

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Old September 19 2012, 01:58 PM   #15
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Re: DS9 spins?

Tosk wrote: View Post
The station spins so that everyone gets a chance at a good view of the wormhole.
Yep.



Or it could just be a Cardassian design flaw...

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