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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > The Next Generation

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

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Old January 19 2013, 11:42 PM   #16
Trekker4747
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Location: Kansas City
Re: Lethal exposure to radiation

Timo wrote: View Post
Also, "lethal exposure" is probably given in statistical terms, with the weakest in mind. Lucky individuals would still be fine perhaps hours past the lethal exposure milestone, and even average Joes would probably not be in danger at the indicated moment yet, but the alert would be tailored so that even the particularly unlucky would get their due warning before they were beyond rescue.

Timo Saloniemi
I suspect that't the case. It was probably in a "worst possible scenario" type of case in terms of people's health or the radiation resistance of their species, etc. It was a "point of no return" of sorts, a point where things were only going to get worse and a full recovery for everyone was becoming increasingly unlikely. As someone above said at that point whatever is in place for radiation treatment the effectiveness of it drops sharply past the "lethal exposure" point.

The boat is taking on water but you can keep afloat by continuing to bail out the water, but you need to find land. At some point, however, the boat is going to take on more water at a rate faster than you can bail out. There might be a "maybe" in there but it's not looking good.

In the real world, also, radiation effects in terms of the dangerous kinds of radiation are cumulative. You can only exposed to, for example, so much X-Rays, ever. Your body never recovers from the exposure. There's a lifetime limit. (Something else I believe people who work around radiation for a living a lot have to look out for.)

But in Trek's time it's possible any and all radiation effects are reversible. With transporters and miraculous medications it's certainly possible radiation damage at the quantum level can be repaired, again, to a point. "Lethal exposure" being extensive enough damage where it'll take longer to fix than you have to live. (The bailing out of the boat thing.) In "Disaster" Crusher mentions exposure to radiation from a blown conduit will cause her and Geordi to have to take a few DAYS worth treatments after only a couple of hours of exposure. (That, again, may be another situation of "after [some point] there's nothing we can do.") So it takes days to repair/reverse radiation damage after comparatively short exposure.
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Old January 20 2013, 12:28 AM   #17
throwback
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Re: Lethal exposure to radiation

I would think that by the time that humans are building starships, they have discovered materials that are radiation-resistant. These materials, which would be built into the hull, would handle the radiation in normal space and subspace. If these materials failed, then I would think that the crew is already exposed to a harmful level of radiation.

Scientists and engineers are studying ways of reducing cosmic radiation which could be fatal to astronauts on a Earth-Mars-Earth run.

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/astrona...ry?id=18104305
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Old January 20 2013, 04:10 AM   #18
Flake
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Location: Manchester, UK
Re: Lethal exposure to radiation

Maybe...

When 100% dose is reached this medication has some form of reaction and explodes inside the cells of the host and that means instant death? Maybe this medication is somehow intercepting and storing this radiation or its by-products but when its 'tanks' are full they are no longer effective and they 'explode' and kill the host?
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Old January 20 2013, 12:10 PM   #19
Timo
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Re: Lethal exposure to radiation

Well, we never saw anything approaching "instant death". Which isn't a problem here; it's an absence of a problem...

The towing subplot of "Final Mission" has many unexplainable and dubious aspects to it, but the concept of a countdown to a radiation-induced health hazard isn't among them. Sure, the countdown is to a second, but we never get the impression that something bad would happen at that very second; Riker seems to view the approach of the fateful zero quite calmly, and might not be all that worried if things proceeded past the zero and to a countup. There would be lives at definite risk then, but that would be a small price to pay in a situation where many more lives on the planet are at risk already.

FWIW, the big WTF issues with the towing plot:

1) The barge is a risk to the planet only when on its initial, low orbit. The heroes manage to tow the barge away from that orbit early on. What's the hurry after this?

2) The barge needs to be steered clear of an asteroid belt. Why? What possible trouble would result from the barge hitting the asteroids and contaminating them? It's not as if there are people living there or anything.

3) The barge needs to be dropped into the local sun. Why? The sun is no different from any other random spot in space: it cannot "burn away the radioactivity" or anything like that. Placing the barge at the distance of one local AU would supposedly solve the problem regardless of whether that spot was inside the sun, or in the very opposite direction - distance is the only thing that could possibly matter. If the barge can't be safely parked in spot X because of fear of it disintegrating, then parking it inside the sun is not a good idea because it will assuredly disintegrate there!

4) The barge is in any case only in danger of breaking up at all sorts of inconvenient locations because our heroes are wrangling it with their tractor beam. Why keep doing it, then? The only reason to keep applying the beam would be to constantly accelerate the load - but the heroes could allow it to merely coast just as easily. They are only in a hurry because the radiation is threatening them - but if they released the beam and merely guarded the coasting barge against asteroid strikes from a distance, the threat and the hurry would go away.

Timo Saloniemi
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