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

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Old January 27 2013, 11:00 PM   #31
throwback
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Re: Dilithium Crystals and Nuclear Fusion - A Star Trek Reunion Story?

In the episode "Up the Long Ladder", the drive type for the S.S. Mariposa was Yoyodyne Pulse Fusion. Here is an article from Wikipedia on what I think this could be, which is antimatter catalyzed nuclear pulse propulsion. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antimat...lse_propulsion)

Realistically, the Phoenix, or the Bonaventure, would have a drive type less advanced than the Mariposa, but would still be capable of bringing a ship to warp.

If I take into account that the Republic was powered by nuclear reactions, and was being used for training, and the fact that ships were faster in the 2250s than in the 2230s, I think that the shift to the matter-antimatter warp system occurred in the mid-23rd century. The first ships to have this system, that we know of, were the Connies.

For me, there is something else to consider. Impulse is synomous in Star Trek with nuclear-powered engines. The S.S. Valiant and the Romulan Bird-of-Prey were both described as having impulse, yet were described or shown to be interstellar ships. So, these ships in my interpretation had a primitive warp drive that involved a nuclear reaction of some kind.

I agree that Enterprise was an attempt at retroactive continuity.
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Old January 27 2013, 11:26 PM   #32
Albertese
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Re: Dilithium Crystals and Nuclear Fusion - A Star Trek Reunion Story?

^^^
Throwback! I like that a lot. It also makes sense that Kirk would be describing the Matter-Antimatter drive to Sarek in "Journey to Babel" the way he did... assuming it was a relatively new development in starship propulsion.

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Old January 28 2013, 03:00 AM   #33
blssdwlf
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Re: Dilithium Crystals and Nuclear Fusion - A Star Trek Reunion Story?

throwback wrote: View Post
For me, there is something else to consider. Impulse is synomous in Star Trek with nuclear-powered engines. The S.S. Valiant and the Romulan Bird-of-Prey were both described as having impulse, yet were described or shown to be interstellar ships. So, these ships in my interpretation had a primitive warp drive that involved a nuclear reaction of some kind.

I agree that Enterprise was an attempt at retroactive continuity.
That's right, the "BOT" Warbird and "WNMHGB" Valiant were impulse-powered yet interstellar. Good find on the SS Mariposa. Personally, I don't think they would have had crystals for their fusion power systems but under the ENT-continuity they probably would've had a M-AM Warp 2 engine with a dilithium matrix.

Although I wonder if ENT overwrote "Up The Long Ladder"'s history since the dialogue placed the WW3 recovery into the early 22nd century and the launch of the SS Mariposa occurred under the European Hegemony which lasted till 2190 and was considered the "first stirrings of a world government"...
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Old January 28 2013, 02:10 PM   #34
Robert Comsol
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Re: Dilithium Crystals and Nuclear Fusion - A Star Trek Reunion Story?

blssdwlf wrote: View Post
Actually, you're proof that it's herding cats. We both see the same on-screen information but we come to different conclusions
I beg to differ. Compared to the average treknological interpretation of the TOS Enterprise's power infrastructure I do feel our conclusions to be remarkably compatible, especially since we (seem to) agree / assume that nuclear fusion plays a more significant role than usually accepted.

It's the details from which we draw different conclusions and if I understood correctly you consider the possibility that warp drive is possible with nuclear fusion only, where I do agree except that it would require nuclear fusion energy to be either amplified or converted by dilithium crystals and mixed / integrated with the m-am annihilation plasma ("intermix formula"). In "Elaan of Troyius" we do not seem to see the ship running on battery power (to extend the duration of their interplanetary voyage), yet warp drive capability has been sabotaged because the dilithium converter assembly has been "fused".

@ throwback

I'm not entirely convinced the SS Valiant had warp drive. The whole premise in "Where No Man..." is astonishment how that ship got to the edge of the galaxy, until it's disclosed that this ship "encountered a magnetic space storm and was being swept in this direction" (could the ship have been sucked into a wormhole which in the 1960's would have been called "magnetic space storm" for the lack of better terms, available then?).
Even if it would have had warp drive the "magnetic" space storm might have rendered warp drive correction pointless so the ship had to rely on its old impulse engines to break free, which however and according to Kirk weren't strong enough.

Where I also disagree is to assume warp drive capability for the Romulan Bird of Prey in "Balance of Terror". This was not established in the episode (Scotty: "Their power is simple impulse" - and no warp drive) and the star chart suggested Romulus and RomII to be in close (interplanetary) proximity to the Neutral Zone. For all we know the return voyage of the ship could have taken months or even years.

Apparently, by the time of "The Deadly Years" the Romulans had refitted their fuel pods with warp engines, possibly as a result of the unholy Klingon-Romulan Alliance we learned about in "The Enterprise Incident".

Bob
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Last edited by Robert Comsol; January 28 2013 at 02:30 PM.
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Old January 28 2013, 03:58 PM   #35
blssdwlf
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Re: Dilithium Crystals and Nuclear Fusion - A Star Trek Reunion Story?

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
It's the details from which we draw different conclusions and if I understood correctly you consider the possibility that warp drive is possible with nuclear fusion only, where I do agree except that it would require nuclear fusion energy to be either amplified or converted by dilithium crystals and mixed / integrated with the m-am annihilation plasma ("intermix formula").
Not exactly. To clarify, in the TOS continuity I consider FTL possible with nuclear fusion power or Impulse power (and Ion power, Total Conversion Drive, etc). Space Warp drive may or may not require a matter-antimatter engine. And I consider Lithium and Dilithium crystals as a new technology that was added on relatively prior to TOS.

As to TNG-ENT, they've put almost everything under warp drive as dilithium-regulated matter-antimatter engines. The only "alpha quadrant" power that might not follow that are the Romulans with their forced quantum singularity power plants.

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
In "Elaan of Troyius" we do not seem to see the ship running on battery power (to extend the duration of their interplanetary voyage), yet warp drive capability has been sabotaged because the dilithium converter assembly has been "fused".
That's true that the ship didn't have warp drive. However, I do believe that given a long enough straight run, she could achieve low FTL speeds under impulse power similar to her predicament in "WNHMGB". With impulse power only, the time to reach a base went from "days away were now years in the distance" but not decades or more.

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
Where I also disagree is to assume warp drive capability for the Romulan Bird of Prey in "Balance of Terror". This was not established in the episode (Scotty: "Their power is simple impulse" - and no warp drive) and the star chart suggested Romulus and RomII to be in close (interplanetary) proximity to the Neutral Zone. For all we know the return voyage of the ship could have taken months or even years.
Simple impulse doesn't preclude FTL. If you watch the map it takes a minute or so to cross a square at "maximum warp". But at the speed they are pacing the Romulan it was only an hour to the neutral zone from Outpost 4. If they were traveling at sublight following the Romulan, I'd suspect it would take longer than an hour...
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Old January 28 2013, 04:56 PM   #36
Timo
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Re: Dilithium Crystals and Nuclear Fusion - A Star Trek Reunion Story?

@Blssdwlf:

The crystals were fully re-amped before Lazarus 1 stole the first pair.
Which crystals? Not the whole lot, necessarily.

After Masters confirms that her underling has re-amped "the" crystals, they go for coffee. Kirk wanted "immediate" re-amplification, and Masters doesn't even report to the bridge when finished? This would make sense in three sets of circumstances:

1) Kirk gave new orders (but we heard of none, and saw no motivation for such a thing).
2) Some other part of the process is the bottleneck, so Masters knows there's no hurry, either with delivery or even with report.
3) The underling only finished the first batch and inserted the second one, so it's time for coffee again - and Kirk will hear of the completion of the entire set only. Perhaps the first batch was already fed back into the main power system and is doing good work there, but just like Kirk says, the full set is needed for normal operations.

I don't see any difference between "drained crystals" and these never been used before crystals. They still would be starting at a zero or low charge.
Why? Why can't crystals be "born" at high energization level? Supposedly, these things can be spotted across significant distances, sort of suggesting they are very energetic in their natural state. Only weird anomalies or lots of hard use will reduce the natural level of energization and require a remedy.

But if we believe that the energizer in "The Alternative Factor" is the only way to "re-amp" the crystals then the crystals would be constantly carried back and forth between rooms on the slightest drain leaving them vulnerable during critical moments.
The special machine (seen in the episode) is needed to combat an anomalous drain equalling fifteen thousand years of hard use. An online energizer (discussed in ST2) deals with normal, minimal drain from use. Simple enough.

In TOS, the crystals are not necessary for the operation of the ship's engines as long as they have working bypass circuits.

In ENT and TNG they are critical to the operation of the ship's engines as they regulate the matter-antimatter reaction.
Nothing particularly fundamental about that. It's just like an electric appliance today that can work with a fuze in place, or with a piece of thinfoil, and doesn't have the wits to tell the difference, vs. a more refined appliance that demands a proper fuze or the advanced automation makes it sulk and refuse to work.

The crystals are off to the side on top of the energizer that happens to be bypassed and therefore not part of the matter-antimatter chain at all.
Or then this is no different from the crystals being atop the cylinders on Scotty's control room floor - until physically moved by the system into the very heart of the reactor.

@ Throwback:

If I take into account that the Republic was powered by nuclear reactions
Well, it had an atomic matter pile aboard. We don't know the purpose of this system any more than we know its exact nature. Considering Kirk's career path, it might rather be a weapons system - a munitions pile of some sort.

As regards the ENT continuity thing, we could easily argue that the 2150s experiments with dilithium-regulated antimatter power generation of TNG style (painstakingly described in ENT"Bound") were ultimately fruitless ones - just like fission power for commercial ships has flopped big time, yet may return in the future. In the meantime, other types of power generation (quite possibly involving antimatter, but perhaps not dilithium regulation) would be in common use.

As for FTL vs. STL arguments, both the TOS pilot and "Balance of Terror" offer evidence and counterevidence in the same package. Scotty's claim that the Romulans had "simple impulse power" must be reconciled with the ship outrunning the hero ship at warp three, and covering distances on the map only slightly more slowly than the dot that marked the progress of the hero ship at maximum warp. OTOH, no witnessed movement in "Where No Man" explicitly takes place at FTL speeds, save for Kirk's arrival at the barrier ("Neutralize warp!") and his sally into it ("Ahead warp factor one!"), leaving us speculating about all the rest.

However, I consider "the time to reach a base went from "days away were now years in the distance" but not decades or more" to be very weak evidence. Surely decades are still years, just a few more of them? OTOH, certainly TOS often depicted star-to-star journeys in the timescale of days, whereas star-to-star distances could well be in the order of 5-10 ly rather than 10+.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old January 28 2013, 05:08 PM   #37
throwback
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Re: Dilithium Crystals and Nuclear Fusion - A Star Trek Reunion Story?

The map shows two systems - Romii and Romulus. Systems in Star Trek are separated by many light years. The only way that is feasible to cross the distance between these systems or to launch an attack against an outpost is for a ship to have a form of FTL drive.

As for the Valiant incident, magnetic space storms are localized events. They can occur on or near a planet or in a region of space. They are not wormholes. These storms have been mentioned in TOS, DS9, and VOY. (See here: http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Magnetic_storm; I, also, did a search on Chrissie's transcript site - that's how I got the DS9 reference)

The word wormhole was introduced into the English language in 1957. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wormhole)
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Old January 28 2013, 05:20 PM   #38
Timo
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Re: Dilithium Crystals and Nuclear Fusion - A Star Trek Reunion Story?

The map shows two systems - Romii and Romulus.
Nothing identifies those as systems specifically. They are just dots on the map, with legend text - something often used for individual planets as well. Indeed, they may in fact be "Romulus" and "Rom II", further reinforcing the image of them as planets rather than star systems.

magnetic space storms are localized events
Says who? The only "magnetic space storm" ever mentioned was the one from this pilot episode; all the others were planetary phenomena with no known relationship to the spatial variant. Neither type is necessarily the same as "ion storm", and nobody ever gave us any specs about the extent of such things anyway.

Yet, FWIW, we learned that ion storms can move at high warp speed, and in unpredictable ways (say, "Catwalk", ST:NEM). A ship caught in one could well be propelled across great distances at higher speeds than her own engines can provide.

Whether there would additionally be a wormhole inside the storm, unknown to our heroes, we can't tell. Kirk did appear mightily surprised by the presence of an Earth vessel out there. Would he have been less surprised, had he known in advance about the ship's encounter with a magnetic storm? When Spock reads out the log, Kirk doesn't make it clear whether he finds the magnetic storm story a sufficient explanation for the ship's presence near the edge of the galaxy or not.

The word wormhole was introduced into the English language in 1957.
And in any case would have been available to our 23rd century heroes, regardless of whether it was available to the writers.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old January 28 2013, 05:44 PM   #39
throwback
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Re: Dilithium Crystals and Nuclear Fusion - A Star Trek Reunion Story?

Ships older than the Enterprise used piles. The Republic had atomic matter piles and the Antares had an energy pile. What is a pile?

"(Physics / General Physics) Physics a structure of uranium and a moderator used for producing atomic energy; nuclear reactor" (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/pile)

Baffle plates are used nowadays in the construction of nuclear reactors. We know of two older ships that had baffle plates - the Antares and the unnamed Class J starship. This latter was another training ship.

Delta Rays - the rays that injured Pike - is a term used in the real world to describe a type of radiation. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delta_ray)

Having an open circuit in a nuclear reactor is a matter of grave concern, even nowadays.

What is a circuit fault?
Circuit faults are failures within plant electrical systems where wires come into contact with other wires or other equipment in a way that is outside the plant design. These faults are described in the rule as hot shorts, shorts to ground, or open circuits. The circuit faults of interest are the ones that have the potential to prevent operation or cause maloperation of plant equipment that is important to safe shutdown.
(http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/operatin...ults-faqs.html)


Timo, you can dance around the terms, but the basic fact is this: The people who wrote these episodes had a basic understanding of nuclear reactors. They applied that knowledge to Star Trek. We know from TNG that starships in the 22nd century were using for their prime drive type a pulse fission nuclear engine. It is possible that antimatter was used in these engines - even now, this is a theoretical concept. This propulsion method is called antimatter catalyzed nuclear pulse propulsion.

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antimat...lse_propulsion
* http://science.nasa.gov/science-news...prop12apr99_1/
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Old January 28 2013, 06:04 PM   #40
Timo
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Re: Dilithium Crystals and Nuclear Fusion - A Star Trek Reunion Story?

What is a pile?
Anything and everything that is piled. Which actually excludes nuclear reactors, save for certain experimental types that haven't been in use for nearly a century.

Baffle plates are used nowadays in the construction of nuclear reactors.
...But would be incompatible with piles, as something that is piled cannot slosh around.

Having an open circuit in a nuclear reactor is a matter of grave concern, even nowadays.
It's nothing specific to nuclear reactors or powerplants, though. And it's a bit unlikely to survive as a concept as power transfer technology mutates; it would be meaningless in microwave transfer of energy, say.

Timo, you can dance around the terms, but the basic fact is this: The people who wrote these episodes had a basic understanding of nuclear reactors.
Sure. And then they threw around the terminology to create a meaningless mess...

...Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. After all, it allows us to interpret the terminology any way we like to.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old January 28 2013, 06:14 PM   #41
throwback
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Re: Dilithium Crystals and Nuclear Fusion - A Star Trek Reunion Story?

From "The Immunity Syndrome" -
Spock:
Interesting. No indications of magnetic storms in this sector.
Ships disappear all the time in Star Trek. Even when there are records of the ship in the LCARS, the crew of a starship might not know about the ship or its mission. I have seen episodes where this has happened, "The Royale" and "The Sound of Her Voice".

True, ion storms - a type of magnetic storm - can move at warp speeds. Can they move a vehicle twenty thousand light years to the galactic barrier? That is the distance from the barrier to the Federation, unless the barrier is closer. (The Nth Degree has the Federation approximately thirty thousand light years from a point near the galactic core.) Then, how close is the barrier? The best that I am able to determine is that ion storms can go from one sector to another, before fading out.
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Old January 28 2013, 06:17 PM   #42
throwback
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Re: Dilithium Crystals and Nuclear Fusion - A Star Trek Reunion Story?

Timo,

I feel that you are being obstinate. I am feeling frustrated by your attitude, and, for that reason, I am quitting this discussion.
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Old January 28 2013, 09:07 PM   #43
Albertese
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Re: Dilithium Crystals and Nuclear Fusion - A Star Trek Reunion Story?

No Throwback! don't fall out yet! I was gonna respond to your comment about the galactic barrier being 20,000 ly away.

Assuming the barrier in fact surrounds the galaxy, then we don't have to assume it's a ring around the widest diameter, but, rather, a bubble in close proximity to the disc shape of the galaxy. In which case, the Valiant would only need to have been swept to the upper or lower face of the disc-shaped barrier, just a few hundred ly away from Earth rather than the tens of thousands of light-years to the radial edge or the core...

Okay, now you can leave if you still want to...

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Old January 28 2013, 09:34 PM   #44
Timo
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Re: Dilithium Crystals and Nuclear Fusion - A Star Trek Reunion Story?

<shrug>Being obstinate may be the end product, but it's not an intention, much less a malicious one.</shrug>

Interpreting the nature of a fictional future through its roots in the real past is an interesting pursuit as such, but it probably won't produce results that would hold up for said fictional future particularly well. If a writer has bits of knowledge he puts to futuristic use, he is likely to deliberately pervert the knowledge so that it won't be too recognizable - and when a showful of writers do the same, the only way to see any sort of continuity in it is to only accept the bits we are actually given, and to mercilessly weed out all the background bits in between. Odds of it all fitting together are significantly improved, then.

Whether a "magnetic storm" or "old impulse engines" better serve as an excuse for the Valiant reaching the barrier is no contest, really. Kirk very well knows the ship had those old engines (or at least when the teaser starts, he already has the ship's ID down pat and has studied her history enough to get key dates right), and he still finds it impossible that she could have gone where she did. Something else must be the explanation. The storm may have done it, or then one of the half a dozen fitting phenomena from elsewhere in Trek did, or then alien intellect did. The end result? We learn that propulsion tech 200 years prior to the show was not up to the task - which is quite uninformative, as propulsion tech with those specs could range from extremely primitive STL to fairly good FTL.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old January 28 2013, 10:53 PM   #45
Robert Comsol
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Re: Dilithium Crystals and Nuclear Fusion - A Star Trek Reunion Story?

Regarding the star map from "Balance of Terror" I have to concur with Timo. While it probably shows original TOS quadrants (then, a quadrant was part of a sector) those are inadequately displayed as squares on a two-dimensional map. For all we know the dot representing the Enterprise might be "diving" at warp speed "down" onto the map...(!)

I agree with throwback that there are (too) many references in TOS suggesting the use of nuclear fission (e.g. "Devil in the Dark"). But once you have mastered nuclear fusion power, the (ab)use of nuclear fission will quickly become a thing of the past as nuclear fusion provides several times bigger bangs for the same buck.

There are undoubtedly some, several or many inconsistencies in the tech of early Trek, but one thing was certain from the start, so I have to quote from The Making of Star Trek again:

"The engines are each 504 feet long, 60 feet in diameter, operate via controlled fusion of matter and antimatter, creating the fantastic power required to run the Enterprise and drive it at faster-than-light speeds. ... By way of contrast, the impulse engines can drive the ship only at sub-lightspeeds, and can be continuously operated for about a month before exhausting impulse power fuel. The entire vessel can operate on battery power alone at sub-light speed for about a week, depending on velocity required." (Here is the corresponding Writers Guide)

I'm not sure I'm understanding this correctly, sounds like TMP to me: If I feed the energy from the matter-antimatter "fusion" (there's your "integrator" from "That Which Survives" again) into the impulse engines, that fuel will last me 4 weeks. If I don't it'll last me only one week (and if I pursue a planet killer I'm done in 7 hours?).

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