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Old May 26 2013, 06:52 AM   #1
Crazy Eddie
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Treknology Upside-Down

To begin with, I'm noticing that a curious number of things in Star Trek seem to operate in pairs. There are, for example, two warp nacelles; there are two different ways of getting to and from the ship, two different weapon systems, two propulsion systems, etc. I've thought for a long time there are a couple of these pairs are actually somewhat mismatched and would a lot more sense technical if you actually reversed their order. It's almost as if huge parts of the ship were actually installed upside-down and nobody noticed.

There are 6 major ones that come to mind:

THE BRIDGE
It's literally upside down.
The bridge is at the top of the saucer section. while the sensors are at the bottom of the saucer. It should be the exact other way around; sensors should be at the top where they have a better view of surrounding space without the secondary hull blocking the rear aspect. The bridge should be at the bottom, where for no apparent reason starships normally orbit planets with their bellies facing the ground anyway (where, also, gravity will be pulling you if you ever descend into the atmosphere or approach close to very low to a low-gravity moon or asteroid).

Your field of view is better, and being closer to the torpedo bay (or phaser bank, see below) means you have a much easier time directing your weapons. It's also better protected on that side of the ship; there are fewer angles from which an attacker would have a clear shot to the bridge, and most would involve positioning himself within a line of sight of your main weapons.


Also, the view is probably nicer.



* PHASERS vs. PHOTON TORPEDOES
*
Especially post TOS, where starships have a large and complex torpedo launcher and multiple phaser banks all around the ship. What puzzles me is that there's no specific reason to have a torpedo launcher with a direct linkup to the main engines; if you're just spitting a rocket-propelled missile into space, why do you need to be close to the engine core? Moreover, TOS and TMP both imply that the ship is capable of channeling the power of its main engines directly into the phaser banks, which would seem odd when you consider the main phaser banks are nowhere NEAR the main engines. Add to that the fact that starships never seem to fire more than a single phaser bank at any given time...

Switch em around.
Stick the phasers in the torpedo deck, where they can suckle power directly from the main reactor and discharge one hell of a blast at whatever the ship is pointed at. Photon torpedoes, meanwhile, are moved into the launch tubes in the saucer section; the TMP Enterprise would have, say, eighteen different tubes each with ten reloads for a total of 180 torpedoes that can be salvo-fired to blanket a wider area. IOW, you'd use phasers to hit a single heavily-shielded target and torpedoes to hit multiple small targets that may or may not be maneuvering evasively.


TNG would have the very interesting implication that the phaser arrays would actually be a very long chain of single-shot torpedo tubes with small hatch covers, sort of like the VLS cells on Aegis cruisers. A Galaxy class starship would carry close a thousand photon torpedoes and the ability to launch every single one of them in an instant. Picture "Best of Both Worlds" antimatter spread... but with torpedoes!


* IMPULSE vs. WARP
*
Not the engines, necessarily, but the powerplants.
There's a fundamental problem with using antimatter as a fuel source: when matter and antimatter annihilate, their main product is a lot of hard x-rays and gamma radiation. There's not alot there that you can really use for conversion to raw energy, and it's certainly nothing you'd want to channel through a hundred meters of conduit into a pair of giant propulsion units sitting outside your ship. So unless the warp core is a device that MAKES antimatter for the nacelles to burn (which is a whole separate discussion altogether) it doesn't really make sense for the warp drive to use antimatter as a fuel source. It makes even less sense for impulse engines to use fusion reactors, since fusion could provide a VERY efficient heat engine for relatively little radiation hazard and because fusion fuel is easy to obtain, easy to replenish, and can actually be recycled by running exhaust products from one fusion reactor into the fuel cycle of a second reactor (Reactor One fuses atomic hydrogen and produces helium and tritium; reactor two fuses deuterium and tritium, reactor three fuses helium and tritium).

So switch em around.
Pump the antimatter into the impulse engines, which can now use just about anything you want (say, molten lead or some other dense metal) as a reactant mass.


A tiny amount of antimatter would produce a spectacular amount of thrust from a relatively small amount of fuel and would allow the ship to maneuver at high speeds even if its main powerplant were shut down. If you choose the right reactant mass, you can even render your exhaust non-radioactive, avoiding potential environmental hazards. Moreover, the fusion reactors running the warp drive could be very VERY efficient, chewing on the same couple of liters of hydrogen for months at a time before the ship has to replenish its supply. Secondary "afterburn" reactors reactors with a more violent fuel cycle could be brought online as needed.



* COLLECTORS vs. DEFLECTORS
*
The deflector "dish" is supposed to sweep debris out of the ship's path at warp speeds while the ramscoops collect interstellar gas to be processed as fuel. These two devices are in exactly the OPPOSITE places where they should be to do their jobs; to begin with, fuel is (supposedly) burned in the warp core and not in the nacelles, thus any material collected by the nacelles would have to be piped back down to the reactor to be processed and filtered, then burned in the warp core where energy is then piped back UP to the nacelles to be used for propulsion. The main deflector, likewise, is physically separated from the two most powerful subspace field generators on the entire ship and becomes basically a third wheel that can also draw power from the reactor.

So switch em around.
Make the shields/deflectors part of the warp drive. The same system that can hurl a starship through space at thousands of times the speed of light should be capable of hurling other objects AWAY from it the same manner. If the engines themselves can't be tuned to do this (and they probably can't) a deflector system installed in the endcaps of the nacelles would constitute a type of modified warp coil that produces a warp field around the ship that causes all approaching matter and energy to accelerate away from it. If you want to hit the starship with a torpedo, that torpedo would have to contend with the full power of the ship's warp drive trying to push it in the opposite direction.

Meanwhile, move the bussard collector into the "dish" on the secondary hull; it creates a forcefield in front of the ship, extending out hundreds of thousands of kilometers, into which interstellar gas is funneled and collected by the warp core (which is now a fusion reactor and doesn't need to be replenished but once every couple of months).

Significantly, you don't have to be at warp to do this; put your ship in orbit of a gas giant and fly through its upper atmosphere with scoops on. Filter the intake, sift the hydrogen, chill it down to slush; we're good for the next three hundred light years.


* SHUTTLES vs TRANSPORTERS *

Away teams use transporters to beam down to different planets to see what's down there and they only use shuttlecraft when the transporters aren't good enough or when they simply have too much crap to carry. Apart from the fact that using a transporter is INTRINSICALLY more complicated than using a shuttle, there's that annoying little conceit in Star Trek that every planet you will ever encounter is not only Earthlike, but has an atmosphere and environment so similar to Earth that you can literally walk right into it and suffer no ill effects at all, and that there is nothing poisonous/paranoid/hungry within range of the beamdown site that you might want to avoid. Predictably, away teams only transport down to the planet with whatever they can carry on hand, expecting that if they need anything else they can always call the Enterprise and either get beamed back out again or have something sent down to them. Yet this often fails to be the case -- transporters stop working, the away team gets stranded/captured/ambushed/injured, the ship gets chased/lured away by aliens, etc -- and the ground teams are stranded for extended periods of time with only the clothes on their backs and whatever was in their pockets when they beamed down.

Switch em around.
Shuttlecraft should be the MAIN method of landing away teams on a planet surface and should be fully stocked with survival gear, medical supplies, portable shelters (assuming the shuttle itself can't be used as a shelter), weapons, tools, and anything else an away team would need to explore the surface of an alien world.

In other words, sort of like these guys:

Except imagine there are, like, twenty of these and their command module is the size of a city. I also find it incredibly difficult to believe that the only strange new worlds worth sending a landing party are those incredibly Earthlike ones that can be explored without space suits or breathing gear. If the civilization you just encountered breaths a methane/ammonia atmosphere at 4.5psi, you're gonna want to bring space suits; unless you live in a universe where nothing could ever possibly go wrong with the transporters, you'd better bring the shuttles too.

Moreover, an aerial survey of the landing site should be standard procedure; scout the landscape for a mile in every direction and make sure you understand the terrain you're about to land on before you set down. Scan for life forms (carnivorous or otherwise) and track their locations, scare them off if you need to, catalog them from the air. Once you land, you'll probably want to cycle the air to match ambient local pressure and atmospheric conditions so your landing party doesn't immediately get the bends the instant they arrive (or for toxic/vacuum worlds, check your space suits and your gear one last time). Transporters seem to have an impressively long range, and thus should be used INSTEAD of shuttles to transport bulk cargo and large numbers of personnel to and from the ship.


* HELM vs. TRANSPORTER (consoles) *
You activate the transporter by pushing three sliders forward; the console has a big targeting display in the center of it that tells you where you're going, and it has other controls for automatic settings and for adjusting the beam width and intensity. Meanwhile, the helm console has an astrogator and some random buttons.

For the love of god, switch em around.


Your engines have variable power settings, the helm console should too. The transporter should not; if you want to beam someone down, have it be three buttons you have to press and HOLD until the transport cycle completes. Also, the big "location finder" on the TOS transport console is EXACTLY the kind of thing Sulu should be looking at when he's trying to navigate a 100,000 ton starship and/or aim its main weapon systems. The puny little popup viewfinder? Not so much (although it's just what he might want to use to view a telescope image of a landing site he was about to beam someone down to.


Thoughts?
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Old May 26 2013, 12:49 PM   #2
Tomalak
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Re: Treknology Upside-Down

I don't really get the transporters/shuttles argument. One if the things that irritated me in the new films is that they overuse shuttles, for example when the crew flies up to the orbiting Enterprise rather than simply beaming. Sure, the new films have the budget which the original show lacked, so to can afford to have the more visually impressive shuttle take-off and landing scenes, but it doesn't make much sense to spend so much time and energy ferrying people up in the midst of a crisis.

Star Trek has always used transporters as the primary means of travel to and from a Starship. Shuttles are used for short to medium range interstellar trips, not for planetary exploration except for in certain circumstances. Why would you need to do an "aerial survey" when you have powerful computers and sensors (located on the bottom of the ship for just that reason ) that can discern individual blades of grass from planetary orbit? It's a waste of energy, time and resources.

Likewise with the helm console, it's all powered by the supercomputer in the heart of the Enterprise. Chekov just tells the computer where to point them, and Sulu says how fast to go. No wonder by TNG they no longer needed two staff for those largely automated tasks.

Basically all your criticisms seem to reflect your underestimation of the power and capabilities of the ships as depicted in the series and films.
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Old May 26 2013, 06:56 PM   #3
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Treknology Upside-Down

Tomalak wrote: View Post
Star Trek has always used transporters as the primary means of travel to and from a Starship. Shuttles are used for short to medium range interstellar trips, not for planetary exploration except for in certain circumstances. Why would you need to do an "aerial survey" when you have powerful computers and sensors (located on the bottom of the ship for just that reason ) that can discern individual blades of grass from planetary orbit?
Because half the time, the sensors CAN'T locate those hazards from orbit. I can recall just off the top of my head at least five separate occasions where a landing party beamed down to the planet's surface not less than fifteen feet from an extremely deadly animal/plant/machinegun-wielding gangster. I have to think that many of those situations could be avoided by simply siting the area on approach and saying "Hey, there's a Mugatu roaming around our intended landing site. Better stun it before we set down."

Point is: Star Trek HAS used transporters as their main means of transportation, and it probably should not.

It's a waste of energy, time and resources.
It's a USE of energy, time and resources; I highly doubt it would be a waste.

Basically all your criticisms seem to reflect your underestimation of the power and capabilities of the ships as depicted in the series and films.
And yet the power and capabilities have been wildly inconsistent over the years, both internally and logically. Especially with regards to the helm console: Kirk tells Sulu "lock phasers on target and await my command." Sulu looks down at his console and says "Phasers locked."

It's one thing to say the computer does all the aiming work... but then, what the hell is Sulu actually looking at?

IOW, those capabilities have undersold THEMSELVES over the years as the basic assumptions behind them proved to be untennable for one reason or another.
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Old May 26 2013, 08:23 PM   #4
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Re: Treknology Upside-Down

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
. . . THE BRIDGE
The bridge is at the top of the saucer section. while the sensors are at the bottom of the saucer. It should be the exact other way around; sensors should be at the top where they have a better view of surrounding space without the secondary hull blocking the rear aspect. The bridge should be at the bottom, where for no apparent reason starships normally orbit planets with their bellies facing the ground anyway (where, also, gravity will be pulling you if you ever descend into the atmosphere or approach close to very low to a low-gravity moon or asteroid).
The bridge is at the top of the saucer because that's where the bridge is on most naval vessels -- on the topmost or near-topmost deck.

According to the Franz Joseph plans, there is a sensor array above the bridge ceiling, and another one at the bottom of the saucer.

Since the bridge has no windows, the "view" from the bridge is irrelevant. Every outside view is projected onto the main viewscreen.

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
There's a fundamental problem with using antimatter as a fuel source: when matter and antimatter annihilate, their main product is a lot of hard x-rays and gamma radiation. There's not a lot there that you can really use for conversion to raw energy, and it's certainly nothing you'd want to channel through a hundred meters of conduit into a pair of giant propulsion units sitting outside your ship. So unless the warp core is a device that MAKES antimatter for the nacelles to burn (which is a whole separate discussion altogether) it doesn't really make sense for the warp drive to use antimatter as a fuel source.
As I'm sure you know, there's real science and then there's Trek science, often with only the most tenuous connection between the two.

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
*SHUTTLES vs TRANSPORTERS *
Away teams use transporters to beam down to different planets to see what's down there and they only use shuttlecraft when the transporters aren't good enough or when they simply have too much crap to carry.
. . . Shuttlecraft should be the MAIN method of landing away teams on a planet surface and should be fully stocked with survival gear, medical supplies, portable shelters (assuming the shuttle itself can't be used as a shelter), weapons, tools, and anything else an away team would need to explore the surface of an alien world.
That might make sense if Star Trek were real. But it's fiction. The transporter was created mainly as a dramatic device to get the characters into the story quickly and cheaply.

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
. . . I also find it incredibly difficult to believe that the only strange new worlds worth sending a landing party are those incredibly Earthlike ones that can be explored without space suits or breathing gear.
Because creating non-Earthlike planets where atmospheric composition, pressure, temperature and/or gravity are radically different from those of Earth is prohibitively expensive on a TV series budget.

Long story short: It's only a TV show!
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Old May 27 2013, 12:28 AM   #5
Robert Comsol
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Re: Treknology Upside-Down

In TOS there was antimatter stored in the warp nacelles according to several lines of dialogue before that got somehow changed.

What's wrong with the picture from one of the Apollo Missions? Has it been photoshopped? Where's the background / horizon? Does the lander stand on a plateau?

Bob
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Old May 27 2013, 12:51 AM   #6
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Treknology Upside-Down

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
What's wrong with the picture from one of the Apollo Missions? Has it been photoshopped? Where's the background / horizon? Does the lander stand on a plateau?
There's nothing wrong with it. On a planet the size of the moon, with a camera mounted only five feet off the ground, the horizon is less than a kilometer away. As Gene Cernan said once, you walk towards the horizon and you see these little rocks over there like the tops of boulders; you walk a few minutes more and you see these are actually the tops of hills; you walk a few minutes more and find out those are actually the tops of mountains.


scotpens wrote: View Post
Since the bridge has no windows, the "view" from the bridge is irrelevant. Every outside view is projected onto the main viewscreen.
The latest interpretations of Federation starships have all featured rather prominent windows in place of a viewscreen, and Enterprise-D had a "skylight on the bridge." I'm figuring that those same features would be a lot more impressive if the bridge was in a different position.

As I'm sure you know, there's real science and then there's Trek science, often with only the most tenuous connection between the two.
I know that, but I don't have to like it.

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
*SHUTTLES vs TRANSPORTERS *
Away teams use transporters to beam down to different planets to see what's down there and they only use shuttlecraft when the transporters aren't good enough or when they simply have too much crap to carry.
. . . Shuttlecraft should be the MAIN method of landing away teams on a planet surface and should be fully stocked with survival gear, medical supplies, portable shelters (assuming the shuttle itself can't be used as a shelter), weapons, tools, and anything else an away team would need to explore the surface of an alien world.
That might make sense if Star Trek were real. But it's fiction. The transporter was created mainly as a dramatic device to get the characters into the story quickly and cheaply.
While this is true, in the age of cost-effective CGI this has finally become an option and I feel that we might actually have the option to do it right. Especially in literary fiction, where the overuse of transporters on screen can be either explained away as "Shuttle party already landed but was simply never mentioned in the episode" or just ignored altogether.

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
. . . I also find it incredibly difficult to believe that the only strange new worlds worth sending a landing party are those incredibly Earthlike ones that can be explored without space suits or breathing gear.
Because creating non-Earthlike planets where atmospheric composition, pressure, temperature and/or gravity are radically different from those of Earth is prohibitively expensive on a TV series budget.
But that would be so much cooler!

Long story short: It's only a TV show!
A TV show -- and a movie, in fact -- whose key technologies have been installed upside-down.
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Old May 27 2013, 04:52 AM   #7
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Re: Treknology Upside-Down

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
What's wrong with the picture from one of the Apollo Missions? Has it been photoshopped? Where's the background / horizon? Does the lander stand on a plateau?
There were never any moon landings. IT'S A FAAAAKE!
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Old May 27 2013, 09:29 AM   #8
Robert Comsol
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Re: Treknology Upside-Down

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
On a planet the size of the moon, with a camera mounted only five feet off the ground, the horizon is less than a kilometer away. As Gene Cernan said once, you walk towards the horizon and you see these little rocks over there like the tops of boulders; you walk a few minutes more and you see these are actually the tops of hills; you walk a few minutes more and find out those are actually the tops of mountains.
While I have no doubt that Apollo 17 (Gene Cernan) went to the moon and that the horizon (because of the smaller diameter of the moon) is less than a kilometer away, the shadow of the lander in the picture you provided is apparently not a kilometer long, hence my astonishment.

Back to the topic:

Though not explicitly shown in TOS any unfriendly fire from a planet below would put the bridge at danger if it were located at the saucer's underside, in "The Naked Time" the Bridge crew would have been among the first being being fried when the ship orbit's declined.
Despite Gene Roddenberry's insistance on the matter (Andy Probert had intended to put the Bridge into the center of the Enterprise-D) I can't really find too much fault with it.

And as far as antimatter use for impulse engines is concerned, the movie Enterprise used antimatter for its impulse engines ("Intermix ready, impulse engines at your discretion"), so by the time of TMP they realized it wouldn't be the stupidiest of concepts.

Bob
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Old May 27 2013, 07:08 PM   #9
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Re: Treknology Upside-Down

It's actually never the case in TOS that the ship would orbit belly down; it only happens once in ST3. The preferred TOS orientation is portside down, offering equal planetary views for the top and bottom sensor domes, with one or two occasions of starboard down and one case of bow down. Similarly, a bridge would be in equal jeopardy atop or below the saucer. (The issue is sometimes confused by the tendency of the main viewer to show the planet at the bottom, but such views are also often combined with exterior views confirming the portside-down orientation.)

Still, there's something odd about the placement of the three supposed sensor domes. The small one atop the shuttlebay would appear to complement the one atop the saucer, but is unnecessary as the saucertop bubble has no blind spots of note. In contrast, the saucer bottom dome would definitely benefit from a repeater at the bottom of the secondary hull, but has none.

One might almost think the domes are dedicated weapons-targeting systems, the top and bottom ones being associated with main phasers and the shuttlebay one with the twin phasers seen there in "In a Mirror, Darkly" and on the refit vessel. Scientific sensors might be viewing through the "windows" on the sides of the neck, oddly placed (and curiously numerous) for portholes...

As for the placement of torpedo launchers, it seems self-evident: you don't really want to have dedicated antimatter pods on Deck 11 where they can be pummeled by Klingons ("Errand of Mercy") merely to keep your antimatter torpedoes supplied with explosive material. You are better off spending your resources protecting a single antimatter citadel, a combined main powerplant and main supply of torpedo warhead contents. The weapons themselves do not particularly suffer from any placement over another, as they are extremely maneuverable and guided, and apparently can be fired "over the shoulder" ("The Changeling") even when a dedicated aft tube might exist.

Shuttles seem poor alternatives to transporters in keeping the landing party properly supplied. A shuttle can only carry a limited amount of gear; a transporter can provide the landing party with an unlimited amount. A team ending in a tight spot is screwed with or without a shuttle, but only if it cannot be extracted; a transporter can do that much faster than a shuttle. Also, the transporter is invulnerable in transit, while shuttles can be shot down or lost to storms or even roc-caliber birdstrikes.

If the landing party really needs the services of the shuttle, the sensible thing might be to strip the craft of its superfluous engines and simply beam it down!

there are two different ways of...
Naturally there would be. Otherwise what would be left for Kirk to do? He has to be able to make a command decision between existing options.

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Old May 27 2013, 09:46 PM   #10
Robert Comsol
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Re: Treknology Upside-Down

Timo wrote: View Post
It's actually never the case in TOS that the ship would orbit belly down; it only happens once in ST3. The preferred TOS orientation is portside down, offering equal planetary views for the top and bottom sensor domes, with one or two occasions of starboard down and one case of bow down. Similarly, a bridge would be in equal jeopardy atop or below the saucer.
How is that? If your scanners indicate you come under attack from the planet below, it seems wise to be able to re-align the position of your vessel so your most critical part is still protected by some kind of mechanical shield in case you have deflector failure.

As for the TOS Enterprise we do have expendable storage space at the bottom of the engineering hull, a phaser control room that apparently became automated during the evolution of the series, and a lot of uninhabitated space surrounding the center of Deck 7.

Timo wrote: View Post
Still, there's something odd about the placement of the three supposed sensor domes. The small one atop the shuttlebay would appear to complement the one atop the saucer, but is unnecessary as the saucertop bubble has no blind spots of note. In contrast, the saucer bottom dome would definitely benefit from a repeater at the bottom of the secondary hull, but has none.

One might almost think the domes are dedicated weapons-targeting systems, the top and bottom ones being associated with main phasers and the shuttlebay one with the twin phasers seen there in "In a Mirror, Darkly" and on the refit vessel. Scientific sensors might be viewing through the "windows" on the sides of the neck, oddly placed (and curiously numerous) for portholes...
Maybe the dome atop the shuttlebay is a compensation for the blind spot of the saucer's bottom dome?

Of course it could be a dedicated weapons-targeting system, but then the next question would have to be why the two domes of the saucer serve the main forward phasers at the bottom and the TOS mentioned "aft phasers" have to do with a smaller and only a single dome...

Bob
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Old May 27 2013, 10:06 PM   #11
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Re: Treknology Upside-Down

How is that? If your scanners indicate you come under attack from the planet below, it seems wise to be able to re-align the position of your vessel so your most critical part is still protected by some kind of mechanical shield in case you have deflector failure.
And since the ship flies portside to planet as default, a 90 degree roll would create this shielding effect regardless of whether the bridge were atop or below the saucer...

As for the TOS Enterprise we do have expendable storage space at the bottom of the engineering hull, a phaser control room that apparently became automated during the evolution of the series, and a lot of uninhabitated space surrounding the center of Deck 7.
None of which would really qualify as "shielding". A puncture at "expendable storage space" of the ST:TMP description would be devastating to the ship, far more dangerous than a hit that merely destroyed the bridge or some equally non-essential part. The phaser control room in turn would be insignificantly small a shield for the rest of the ship, if located near the lower dome (speculation not really supported by the episode), and apparently there are some antimatter pods right next to it just waiting to receive "buckling" in the hands of devious Klingon attackers.

Not that the phaser control room ever really seems to go out of fashion. Sulu always called the shots on his console, control room or not; nothing seemed to change in that respect during the run of the show.

Maybe the dome atop the shuttlebay is a compensation for the blind spot of the saucer's bottom dome?
Definitely. But a ventral placement would be much better compensation, so why does Starfleet waste resources with this one and skimp on the more useful counterpart?

Of course it could be a dedicated weapons-targeting system, but then the next question would have to be why the two domes of the saucer serve the main forward phasers at the bottom and the TOS mentioned "aft phasers" have to do with a smaller and only a single dome...
Oh, the upper dome would obviously serve the main upper phasers ("One of Our Planets is Missing").

Whether the aft phasers are of the same "caliber" as the main weapons, or just a secondary system warranting only a secondary fire control system to match, it's hard to tell. The division to "main" and non-main phasers seems to survive till the construction (and possible refitting) of Picard's Stargazer, FWIW.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old May 28 2013, 11:24 AM   #12
scotpens
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Re: Treknology Upside-Down

Timo wrote: View Post
It's actually never the case in TOS that the ship would orbit belly down; it only happens once in ST3. The preferred TOS orientation is portside down, offering equal planetary views for the top and bottom sensor domes, with one or two occasions of starboard down and one case of bow down. Similarly, a bridge would be in equal jeopardy atop or below the saucer. (The issue is sometimes confused by the tendency of the main viewer to show the planet at the bottom, but such views are also often combined with exterior views confirming the portside-down orientation.)
That's assuming you take the stock Enterprise-in-orbit FX shots as a literal visual representation of reality. If that's the case, then the Enterprise's saucer must be at least a couple hundred miles across!

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Still, there's something odd about the placement of the three supposed sensor domes. The small one atop the shuttlebay would appear to complement the one atop the saucer, but is unnecessary as the saucertop bubble has no blind spots of note.
What canon (or non-canon, for that matter) source says the small dome over the shuttlebay entrance contains sensors?

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Old May 28 2013, 02:08 PM   #13
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Re: Treknology Upside-Down

"Navigational array" would indicate a sensor of some kind to sense where they are
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Old May 28 2013, 02:40 PM   #14
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Re: Treknology Upside-Down

That's assuming you take the stock Enterprise-in-orbit FX shots as a literal visual representation of reality. If that's the case, then the Enterprise's saucer must be at least a couple hundred miles across!
How so? We never see the ship disappear behind the planet or anything like that.

All we do see is the ship following an orbit that, if circular around the planet, might be interpreted as being extremely tight and thus establishing a planet the size of a small mountain at most. But then again, we have no evidence that the standard orbit of a starship would be circular, or even go around a planet. A tight figure-eight is a far likelier scenario, all things considered!

If anything, we should ignore all the views of the planet being visible on the bottom of the viewscreen, because those are equally inconsistent with scale considerations plus they indicate unrealistically high speed around the planet. And we even have a proper in-universe reason for ignoring those views: they are synthetic and thus probably heavily manipulated, whereas the shots of the ship against the planet backdrop are authentic.

What canon (or non-canon, for that matter) source says the small dome over the shuttlebay entrance contains sensors?
None. But no such source indicates sensors under the other domes, either. It's just a simple case of looks like a duck, made all the more interesting because both this dome and the one under the saucer have the same sort of ducklings next to them, namely phaser emitters.

In canon terms only, all three domes could well be identified as honking big phaser turrets...

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Old May 28 2013, 07:13 PM   #15
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Re: Treknology Upside-Down

Timo wrote: View Post
All we do see is the ship following an orbit that, if circular around the planet, might be interpreted as being extremely tight...
I don't think you've really thought that far into what the visuals represent. To begin with, we don't actually know which direction Enterprise is moving with respect to the planet. We know where it's moving relative to the CAMERA, but we don't know if we're seeing the Enterprise from the point of view of a co-orbiting perspective (a camera in a slightly different orbit) or from an object stationary with respect to the ground (a camera mounted on a space elevator).
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