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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Misc. Star Trek > Trek Tech

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

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Old January 23 2013, 07:51 PM   #1
t_smitts
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Can you transport anti-matter?

Watching "Peak Performance" reminded me of something:

First of all the idea of Wesley beaming this volatile little ball of anti-matter into the Hathaway's engineering to just roll around is pretty ridiculous, but besides that my main concern is this:

Can you just beam anti-matter through the transporter? Would it be converted into, say, some kind of anti-energy (if there is such a thing)?
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Old January 23 2013, 09:22 PM   #2
jayrath
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Re: Can you transport anti-matter?

Ooooooooooh! Good question. In the books, at least, whole shuttles are sometimes beamed off-board. So if they had anti-matter in their innards-

Great question.
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Old January 23 2013, 09:44 PM   #3
bryce
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Re: Can you transport anti-matter?

Anti-matter is just like regular matter with reverse charges and "spin"...so I don't see why not.
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Old January 23 2013, 09:45 PM   #4
Ronald Held
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Re: Can you transport anti-matter?

Perhaps the question might be if the antimatter and its containment fields and vessel are always de and rematerialized without any phase lag?
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Old January 23 2013, 09:55 PM   #5
Timo
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Re: Can you transport anti-matter?

I guess a fueling station or a tanker could beam antimatter into a starship in a constant stream without bothering with packaging it inside a series of containment vessels, as anything being beamed appears to be in a form that cannot interact with its surroundings much. It effortlessly goes through walls, after all!

The big problem would be getting the beam through the walls of the antimatter tanks at the respective ends, though: if the tanks are protected by forcefields, then the transporter cannot penetrate.

If, however, the tanks are protected simply by electromagnetic fields, then the transporter probably can penetrate, at least after some tuning. But it takes more handwaving to explain how EM fields can contain electrically neutral antideuterium than it takes to claim that forcefields (based on unknown principles, but demonstrably capable of containing electrically neutral matter) can.

As for the "Peak Performance" bit, I don't think there's fault to be found in transporting antimatter in a package that is in danger of rolling to the floor. After all, regular means of packaging antimatter appear to be quite secure against accelerations of thousands of gees, disruptor fire, and the occasional divine intervention... No doubt Wesley's story about the vulnerability of the container was pure bullshit.

Of course, we don't really know whether Wesley beamed aboard a quantity of antimatter, or possibly an alternate energy source for the warp drive. For all we know, his experiment contained a quantum singularity.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old January 23 2013, 10:00 PM   #6
CorporalCaptain
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Re: Can you transport anti-matter?

The matter/antimatter bomb beamed down in TOS: Obsession says yes.

Also yes due to the piece of the antimatter villi beamed aboard in TAS: One of Our Planets Is Missing.
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Old January 23 2013, 10:16 PM   #7
Robert Comsol
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Re: Can you transport anti-matter?

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
The matter/antimatter bomb beamed down in TOS: Obsession says yes.
That was short and - painless?

Funny, I was asking myself whether you could use anti-tritium and anti-deuterium in a nuclear fusion reactor to put the onboard antimatter to some productive use before it vanishes in controlled matter-antimatter annihilation.

The problem are the anti-neutrons you'd get in such an antimatter nuclear fusion reactor. A magnetic containment will only work with charged particles and neutrons aren't among these. Thus the anti-neutrons would pass through the containment and that would the end of an antimatter nuclear fusion reactor.

Bob
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Old January 25 2013, 11:51 AM   #8
Deks
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Re: Can you transport anti-matter?

Well, we do have on-screen evidence stating shuttles (which have their own warp cores - or at least ones capable of Warp flight - which is most of them) and active photon torpedoes (which use anti-matter) have been transported from one location to the other throughout the shows... so yes, it is possible.
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Old January 25 2013, 03:50 PM   #9
Forbin
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Re: Can you transport anti-matter?

I'm surprised it took six posts before somebody remembered Obsession. Shame on you guys!
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Old January 26 2013, 12:39 AM   #10
Pauln6
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Re: Can you transport anti-matter?

The answer should be no because it's a Pandora's box. Trek never seemed able to consider this stuff from the perspective of a terrorist. Long distance beaming from nuTrek + anti-matter beaming = bye bye Enterprise.
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Old January 26 2013, 12:50 PM   #11
Timo
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Re: Can you transport anti-matter?

Beaming as such should suffice for that: conventional hand grenades would in fact be much better payloads than giant antimatter bombs, as the foe could strike with impunity without having to consider his personal safety or other complications. Remember "Visionary" where the Klingon agents used a replicator as a transporter to place an eavesdropping device? Doing that with a hand grenade would be nasty. (Alternately, you could just beam out the heart of your target.)

Transporting is blocked by shields, though, and that's enough to stop the weaponization of the technology. If you can defeat shields, you don't have to bother with transporters in the first place.

But there should be no limit on what can be transported, because we have already seen it all. Antimatter, pff. How about creatures of pure energy?

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Old January 26 2013, 03:28 PM   #12
Pauln6
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Re: Can you transport anti-matter?

Timo wrote: View Post
Transporting is blocked by shields, though, and that's enough to stop the weaponization of the technology. If you can defeat shields, you don't have to bother with transporters in the first place.
For whatever reasons, ships lack the power to keep shields raised all the time. With long-distance beaming, sensors become more important than weapons. Whoever detects the location of the other ship first gets to beam in their nova device. We know that ships can only be tracked over vast distances if you have the frequencies of their beacons but we also know that ships can be detected at quite long distances. You'd need an automatedd system.
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Old January 26 2013, 07:46 PM   #13
CorporalCaptain
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Re: Can you transport anti-matter?

Just because Scotty can figure out transwarp beaming in the prime timeline, and future Spock knows it and does it in the nu-timeline, that doesn't mean that anybody else can figure it out in the nu-timeline.

But on the other hand, you gotta expect that someone who knows that Kirk was jettisoned to Delta Vega is going to blab to the wrong ears about how he was beamed back aboard the ship. Maybe Starfleet Security spoke to the Enterprise crew and impressed upon them their duty to keep their lips zipped.
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Old January 26 2013, 09:38 PM   #14
Pauln6
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Re: Can you transport anti-matter?

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
Just because Scotty can figure out transwarp beaming in the prime timeline, and future Spock knows it and does it in the nu-timeline, that doesn't mean that anybody else can figure it out in the nu-timeline.

But on the other hand, you gotta expect that someone who knows that Kirk was jettisoned to Delta Vega is going to blab to the wrong ears about how he was beamed back aboard the ship. Maybe Starfleet Security spoke to the Enterprise crew and impressed upon them their duty to keep their lips zipped.
And Genesis in planet forbidden.

My problem with any long distance beaming is that it flies in the face of established Trek Tech i.e. that you need to generate and maintain a beam of energy (presumably transmitted through subspace) to keep the pattern intact. Communications signals can be sent about 27 light years but can you imagine the amount of power it would take to send a transporter pattern over much longer distances - you need more powerful transmitters, more energy. Using a decrepit shuttle and an algorithm with no modifications and no consequences was poor storytelling IMO. The energy needed to maintain the pattern seems to me to be the limiting factor that was brushed under the carpet. I have no issues with how they dealt with transwarp beaming, only the distances involved.

I get equally nervous about antimatter bombs. You would have to beam a functional magnetic field to prevent the device exploding when the matter container and anti-matter inside it get dissolved and combined in the beam. Having said that it's no more of a problem than the kill and copy issue relating to living matter.

It's explainable if the matter and antimatter is simply phased (my preferred interpretation) and only quantum-linked energy forms the energy within the confinement beam.
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Old January 27 2013, 04:16 AM   #15
SicOne
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Re: Can you transport anti-matter?

There's no way to get around the existence of the capability to beam antimatter, since we've seen it done in TOS ("Obsession") and TNG ("Peak Performance") as well as possibly done in VOY ("Dark Frontier")...but I am of the opinion that it takes great skill and/or brainpower a la Spock or Wesley to pull it off, and only in micro amounts, such as what is needed for a small bomb to deal with a vampire cloud or power a warp drive for two seconds. Nonetheless, even a very small amount of AM would be enough to destroy a starship if transported to the right spot, so they'd need to be able to handwave this at some point.
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