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Old March 29 2013, 09:05 PM   #1
JessDD
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Warp Drive/Physics based question.

Okay, so bouncing around my head last night was the following question:

If I'm standing on a stationary rock in the middle of space, and the USS Enterprise blasts by my head at Warp 9, because there's no wind or atmosphere or air pressure in space... I feel nothing, correct?

For the sake of argument let's assume the deflector shields are disabled.

Aside from a slight gravity tug, is there anything else that would happen?
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Old March 29 2013, 09:10 PM   #2
JessDD
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Re: Warp Drive/Physics based question.

I wasn't sure if this belonged in the Tech forum or here, so if a mod wants to move it, feel free.
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Old March 29 2013, 09:20 PM   #3
Melakon
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Re: Warp Drive/Physics based question.

With the deflector shields disabled, the ship would be ripped to pieces by microscopic space particles.
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Old March 29 2013, 09:42 PM   #4
yousirname
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Re: Warp Drive/Physics based question.

Can't see how anything would happen.
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Old March 29 2013, 10:12 PM   #5
C.E. Evans
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Re: Warp Drive/Physics based question.

Depending on what version of warp drive you subscribe to, the ship isn't moving through normal space at all.
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Old March 29 2013, 10:16 PM   #6
JessDD
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Re: Warp Drive/Physics based question.

C.E. Evans wrote: View Post
Depending on what version of warp drive you subscribe to, the ship isn't moving through normal space at all.
Okay, let's assume I subscribe to the "Warp speed is just something going really, really fast through normal space and the deflector shields are the only thing stopping it from being destroyed" theory.
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Old March 29 2013, 10:27 PM   #7
Melakon
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Re: Warp Drive/Physics based question.

When the Enterprise blasts by your head, how close to you is it? You might be caught in the plasma exhaust if too close, resulting in your instantaneous incineration.
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Old March 29 2013, 10:53 PM   #8
C.E. Evans
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Re: Warp Drive/Physics based question.

JessDD wrote: View Post
C.E. Evans wrote: View Post
Depending on what version of warp drive you subscribe to, the ship isn't moving through normal space at all.
Okay, let's assume I subscribe to the "Warp speed is just something going really, really fast through normal space and the deflector shields are the only thing stopping it from being destroyed" theory.
The only thing is that it's impossible for a ship to travel through normal space at the speed of light. Warp drive is the cheat that allows a ship to bypass the ultimate speed limit through other means. When I referred to "what version of warp drive you subscribe to," I meant those other means.

Here's a few of them that have been tossed around:
  • The ship isn't moving, but the space around it is.
  • The ship is traveling through a parallel dimension or subspace.
There are other ideas, but they mostly involve the ship never actually moving at the speed-of-light at any given time. As such, the navigational deflector is mostly used for sublight travel.
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Old March 30 2013, 04:34 AM   #9
Mr.AtoZ
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Re: Warp Drive/Physics based question.

Unless there's a shockwave or "warp wake" that accompanies a starship flying at warp speed, like others said--nothing.
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Old March 30 2013, 09:10 AM   #10
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Re: Warp Drive/Physics based question.

We have long speculated, and were finally shown in ST:Enterprise, that the "cheat" that the starships use creates some sort of a sharpish border between the universe and the small subsection of the universe that immediately surrounds the ship. That is, the "warp field" extends to a certain distance from the ship, and the laws of nature inside it and outside it are at a major disagreement.

What happens if, say, your head gets caught in the field as the ship passes by? Why, it will get smeared across several light-seconds by being grabbed by the warp field. Or more probably, by the outer layers of the onionlike, nested warp fields, with successive greater degrees of disagreement with the universe on the subject of how fast things are really moving. The end result in any case is messy decapitation, or the same thing that happens to this bit of cable that strays outside the warp field of the two starships in this scene from ENT "Divergence":

http://ent.trekcore.com/gallery/albu...rgence_062.jpg
http://ent.trekcore.com/gallery/albu...rgence_069.jpg
http://ent.trekcore.com/gallery/albu...rgence_084.jpg
http://ent.trekcore.com/gallery/albu...rgence_113.jpg

I guess another interesting question is, what will you see? Theoretically, the ship will be within your field of vision for a few milliseconds: light from its closest passing will hit your eyes first, then light from it being a meter ahead of you and behind you, then from two meters ahead and behind, and so forth. So you will see a brief flash that then splits in two and goes away from you in both the directions of arrival and departure...

...That is, if anything at all will be visible. Somehow, the warp field stops the starship's immediate vicinity and the rest of the universe from talking to each other. It might well prevent an outside observer from seeing anything much, too - perhaps the "cameras" that "record" the scenes we see in the episodes are mere simulations of what would be seen if seeing were possible, or perhaps they themselves are placed inside the warp fields, or something.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old March 30 2013, 08:14 PM   #11
Ronald Held
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Re: Warp Drive/Physics based question.

The distortion of space-time nearby could be lethal?
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Old March 31 2013, 01:38 AM   #12
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Warp Drive/Physics based question.

In STIV, we see the Klingon Bird of Prey jump to warp in Earth's atmosphere without disturbing a cloud. In STXI, we see the Enterprise jump out of warp within Titan's thick atmosphere without disturbing it. Seems like you'd be fine.

Maybe there would be a radiation concern, or something?
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