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

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Old August 27 2013, 10:59 PM   #1
Capt_Jason
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Artificial Gravity Generation

We know beyond a reasonable doubt that DY-100 Class S.S. Botany Bay had some sort of artificial gravity generation system onboard ("Space Seed" (TOS))

We know that the key to this device most-likely was the recovery a Slaver stasis box which contained a 'flying belt' ("The Slaver Weapon" (TAS)). Alan dean Foster's novelization for this story suggests that the stasis box was recovered on Earth's moon. This suggests a point of discovery anywhere between 1968 and 1992.

Question: Assuming the above sources to be technically accurate, how and when was the first artificial gravity generator brought online and how was it first used in spacecraft and applications prior to the launch of S.S. Botany Bay?
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Old August 27 2013, 11:33 PM   #2
Timo
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Re: Artificial Gravity Generation

The TAS reference is not dated, nor associated with any particular species or culture; it could apply to an ancient discovery that resulted in the first AG technology known to the TAS-era UFP member species, some five thousand years before the UFP was even founded.

Earth's discovery of AG seems to predate Earth's discovery of alien cultures outside the Sol system, too: the interstellar abilities of the DY-100 were supposedly purely theoretical. Of course, the stasis box might have been found somewhere within Sol, perhaps even down on Earth rather than on the Moon where the 1968-92 time window would apply.

We know advanced AG tech was found down on Earth by Henry Starling in the 1960s, as per "Future's End". We never saw the tech applied by Starling, but for all we know, the AG systems on the Botany Bay were manufactured by Starling's Chronowerx, and need not have been the first of their kind, even.

Starling's exploits were revealed to us through an 1990s vantage point. There weren't any hovercars in evidence in the 1980s, either, when ST4 showed us a corner of Earth. FWIW, both incidents showed us California - from our vantage point, a likely location for practical applications of futuristic technology, either just for the heck of it or then for progressive environmental reasons. We might deduce that AG was confined to space applications at the time, then.

The main use might not have been to keep the astronauts' feet on the floor, though. Control of gravity would do more good if applied to propulsion issues: control of inertia would no doubt be closely related, and apparently was part of DY-100 technology as well, because the interiors showed no concessions to the application of forward thrust...

I find it rather plausible that Earth AG was indeed the doing of Starling and Chronowerx, and only saw spacecraft applications because Starling couldn't figure out how to reverse-engineer his captured spacecraft AG system to do anything else. However, AG is shown to be rather trivially available to every alien species, suggesting it's trivially easy to discover, too. Perhaps Khan and his super-friends were primarily created to do super-science, and invented AG for their respective patrons all across the globe roughly at the same time? Perhaps lesser, "ordinary" scientists did that, possibly back in the forties already?

But if the technology really was natively developed, I'd expect spinoffs and applications, and we see none in the 1960s, 80s and 90s visits to planet Earth. Or in the 2010s visit of "Past Tense", for that matter! Also, shipboard AG seems to be unreliable, limited or limiting in the 2030s still, as it's turned off aboard Ares IV in "One Small Step"... Then again, the propulsive prowess of that class of vessel (rescue mission was indicated to reach Mars from Earth in less than a week!) does suggest application of AG technology. All this in mind, I personally favor the idea of Starling peddling his poorly understood future tech for applications not much unlike DY-100.

Whether that future tech was Slaver in origin, we don't know - time loops are weird enough that the tech might not even have an origin. But I'd like to think that the TAS discovery features into this somehow. Perhaps it being "the key" should be taken more literally than we have so far though? Perhaps the Slaver flying belt unlocked the mystery of Starling's AG technology?

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Old August 27 2013, 11:40 PM   #3
Cookies and Cake
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Re: Artificial Gravity Generation

In his Eugenics Wars novels, Greg Cox has the DY-100 developed at Area 51.

I see no reason why the stasis box couldn't be kept at Area 51.
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Old August 28 2013, 06:57 AM   #4
Albertese
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Re: Artificial Gravity Generation

Seems like I saw somewhere that the Nazis were experimenting with the end-goal of anti-gravity during the late war period and that the reports filed by the guys in charge were promising but the war ended before the work could be completed.

Now, given that we are not enjoying the fruits of Anti-gravity technology, today, seventy years later, suggests to me that either the whole thing was a misunderstanding and nothing of the sort ever existed, or that some scientists may have been blowing smoke up Hitler's skirt to keep the funding going for a pretend science project.

But, in Star Trek's timeline, maybe they did strike onto the right idea, but nobody could quite figure out the specifics of how to make it go before much later. Or, maybe the technology was more or less nailed down by the late 60's or early 70's and was kept secret for a while while the powers that were had a go at weaponizing it. Perhaps the ability to make gravity is easier to figure out than to cancel gravity and therefore it was being used in space applications but not much need for it on the ground in everyday roles (being as how Earth makes enough gravity by itself for most people's needs). I have no qualms with the origins of AG tech on Earth as shown in the various shows. I don't see any contradiction there at all.

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Last edited by Albertese; August 28 2013 at 03:29 PM.
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Old August 28 2013, 09:58 AM   #5
Robert Comsol
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Re: Artificial Gravity Generation

Albertese wrote: View Post
I have no qualms with the origins of AG tech on Earth as shown in the various shows. I don't see any contradiction there at all.
According to Babylon 5 the Minbari used aritificial gravity before Earth even had the faintest idea how to accomplish such a feat. (sorry, couldn't resist temptation).

Interestingly, the TOS creators were very aware of the necessity of artificial gravity. The Writer's Guide explicitly mentioned life-support and artificial gravity (access to which, IMHO, restricted to "Environmental Engineering Personnel Only"). And in the background chatter, after a bumpy ride, one of the sections to always report first was the "AG Section".

Unfortunately and eventually artificial gravity was taken as "granted" and I consider the depiction of AG in "Space Seed" as one of the major screw ups. In his original production sketches, Matt Jefferies depicted the modules of the Botany Bay as cargo containers. Had one full 360° segment stayed in place, it could have been rationalized as a centrifuge simulating artificial gravity. Too bad that didn't happen...

Bob
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Last edited by Robert Comsol; August 28 2013 at 04:24 PM. Reason: Matt Jefferies' Botany Bay sketch
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Old August 28 2013, 03:35 PM   #6
USS Jack Riley
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Re: Artificial Gravity Generation

Why does the Botany Bay have to have artificial gravity? The decks could be aligned such that they are aimed fore and aft rather than along the centerline (as on the Enterprise). As a result, the motion ofmthe craft in a forward direction at a steady rate would allow for the sensation of gravity without the use of any artificial gravity machinery.

YMMV
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Old August 28 2013, 03:52 PM   #7
Cookies and Cake
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Re: Artificial Gravity Generation

USS Jack Riley wrote: View Post
Why does the Botany Bay have to have artificial gravity? The decks could be aligned such that they are aimed fore and aft rather than along the centerline (as on the Enterprise). As a result, the motion ofmthe craft in a forward direction at a steady rate would allow for the sensation of gravity without the use of any artificial gravity machinery.

YMMV
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Old August 28 2013, 06:40 PM   #8
Ronald Held
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Re: Artificial Gravity Generation

The Phoenix did not seem to have inertial damping or and AGS. How was it Khan's DY-100 had it, and why bother of a sleeper ship where the vast majority of time the passengers would not be awake?
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Old August 28 2013, 06:52 PM   #9
Cookies and Cake
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Re: Artificial Gravity Generation

Ronald Held wrote: View Post
The Phoenix did not seem to have inertial damping or and AGS. How was it Khan's DY-100 had it, and why bother of a sleeper ship where the vast majority of time the passengers would not be awake?
From the transcript:

SCOTT: Well, it looks like that ship was expecting us. We read heat coming on, complete oxygen atmosphere.
Probably the artificial gravity switched on then, too.

As to why the Botany Bay had some technological advancements beyond what the Phoenix had, first of all the Phoenix was built under much more pitiful conditions. But moreover, it was only a stripped down testbed for the warp drive, and not any sort of craft intended for extended flight.
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Old August 28 2013, 07:13 PM   #10
Timo
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Re: Artificial Gravity Generation

Why does the Botany Bay have to have artificial gravity? The decks could be aligned such that they are aimed fore and aft rather than along the centerline (as on the Enterprise). As a result, the motion ofmthe craft in a forward direction at a steady rate would allow for the sensation of gravity without the use of any artificial gravity machinery.
Steady motion doesn't generate the feel of gravity - only acceleration motion does. And the engines of this relic weren't working...

The Phoenix did not seem to have inertial damping or and AGS.
Well, the rocket propelled our heroes to high Earth-escape orbit at such speed that lack of inertial damping would probably have been very noticeable - the trio would have fainted from the acceleration!

Probably the artificial gravity switched on then, too.
The problem with that is that the sleeping chambers didn't have safety belts. Half the supermen would have ended up face down when the gravity slammed back on!

As to why the Botany Bay had some technological advancements beyond what the Phoenix had, first of all the Phoenix was built under much more pitiful conditions. But moreover, it was only a stripped down testbed for the warp drive, and not any sort of craft intended for extended flight.
Vigorous nodding to this.

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Old August 28 2013, 09:48 PM   #11
Robert Comsol
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Re: Artificial Gravity Generation

Ronald Held wrote: View Post
The Phoenix did not seem to have inertial damping or and AGS. How was it Khan's DY-100 had it, and why bother of a sleeper ship where the vast majority of time the passengers would not be awake?
Surely you've heard of this. Just because you are asleep doesn't stop your bones and muscles from deteriorating in a zero gravity environment, you already loose 20% of your muscle mass in zero gravity within two weeks.

Bob
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Old August 28 2013, 09:56 PM   #12
Cookies and Cake
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Re: Artificial Gravity Generation

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
Ronald Held wrote: View Post
The Phoenix did not seem to have inertial damping or and AGS. How was it Khan's DY-100 had it, and why bother of a sleeper ship where the vast majority of time the passengers would not be awake?
Surely you've heard of this. Just because you are asleep doesn't stop your bones and muscles from deteriorating in a zero gravity environment, you already loose 20% of your muscle mass in zero gravity within two weeks.

Bob
Timo wrote: View Post
Probably the artificial gravity switched on then, too.
The problem with that is that the sleeping chambers didn't have safety belts. Half the supermen would have ended up face down when the gravity slammed back on!
Assuming that the artificial gravity generators draw power (which is reasonable), both of these issues can be addressed in the same way, by having the gravity turned on during sleep mode only in key areas of the BB where it's actually needed, such as the hibernation chambers themselves. It might not even have to be all the way up to one gee. In wake-up mode, gravity could switch on fully and in all parts of the ship that have it, with the rest of life support.
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Old August 29 2013, 07:51 AM   #13
Capt_Jason
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Re: Artificial Gravity Generation

Timo wrote: View Post
The TAS reference is not dated, nor associated with any particular species or culture; it could apply to an ancient discovery that resulted in the first AG technology known to the TAS-era UFP member species, some five thousand years before the UFP was even founded.
Agreed to a point. From my own vantage point, I have arbitrarily selected 1974 as the date things happen in favor of AG systems. The events of the "McKinley Rocket Base Incident" aka "Assignment Earth (TOS)" clearly places the events of TOS/TAS in an alternate timeline. We know that this incident prevented a nuclear exchange on Earth at least prior to the Eugenics Wars. I believe this period of peace allowed amazing technologies to be either harvested from near-Earth sources or developed planetside outright. I also believe that there was a robust post-Apollo space race which occurred (with all 20 Apollo missions planned and executed successfully.) I do not believe Star Trek's future history as suggested in TOS/TAS runs at all parallel with our own timeline in general. Clearly we did not experience the 'last so-called world war' in the 1990s, there are no eugenics supermen loose among us, and there are certainly no advanced interplanetary vehicles present in any nation's inventory. One can only conclude that what we see on-screen took place in an alternate timeline.

We know advanced AG tech was found down on Earth by Henry Starling in the 1960s, as per "Future's End". We never saw the tech applied by Starling, but for all we know, the AG systems on the Botany Bay were manufactured by Starling's Chronowerx, and need not have been the first of their kind, even.
Having reviewed the episode in question and having consulted the usual standard sources on this episode, one can only conclude that this incident also occurs in in it's own subjective timeline, with Starling's exploits being resolved with a single torpedo strike at the end of the episode. That is not to say however that some sort of similar tech revolution occurred within the context of TOS/TAS which allowed for the application of the systems in question. In my mind, you would have to have some form of advanced onboard computer system that would monitor and execute commands related to ship's AG/Inertial Dampening systems. All we heard from onscreen evidences, is that Botany Bay had old-style atomic power and transistor units, but that listing of onboard systems was abstract in form and not at all complete.

Perhaps Khan and his super-friends were primarily created to do super-science, and invented AG for their respective patrons all across the globe roughly at the same time? Perhaps lesser, "ordinary" scientists did that, possibly back in the forties already?
I rather like this idea. Khan's age as a baseline would seem to fit for a pre-1980s bit of technical wizardly, assuming he was born around 1959 (As even Into Darkness suggests for it's own purposes).

But if the technology really was natively developed, I'd expect spinoffs and applications, and we see none in the 1960s, 80s and 90s visits to planet Earth. Or in the 2010s visit of "Past Tense", for that matter! Also, shipboard AG seems to be unreliable, limited or limiting in the 2030s still, as it's turned off aboard Ares IV in "One Small Step"... Then again, the propulsive prowess of that class of vessel (rescue mission was indicated to reach Mars from Earth in less than a week!) does suggest application of AG technology. All this in mind, I personally favor the idea of Starling peddling his poorly understood future tech for applications not much unlike DY-100.
Call me narrow and biased, but for the sake of this discussion, I will go on record as saying that my preferences for on-screen evidence lies between TOS and the very extreme, TUC. Once one partakes in what the TNG+ period has to offer as far as technical continuity, I believe we quickly begin to see a definite point of departure between the era of TOS/TAS (Third world war in the 90s, Humanity avoided a costly nuclear exchange etc) and TNG and it's companion spinoffs (No Eugenics wars clearly dated or referenced aside from onscreen "easter-eggs", vehicles with absolutely no AG onscreen until "First Contact", WWIII in 2053 with a post-atomic horror etc.). I wish I could say that being inclusive of these two points of departure together would be productive for this discussion, but I cannot honestly say that even after all of this time being a fan. The two just do not jibe without the TOS/TAS era being shoe-horned to fit TNG+. In my mind, this should be the other way round, but that is a whole other argument, and one that has probably been beaten to death in this forum.

Whether that future tech was Slaver in origin, we don't know - time loops are weird enough that the tech might not even have an origin. But I'd like to think that the TAS discovery features into this somehow. Perhaps it being "the key" should be taken more literally than we have so far though? Perhaps the Slaver flying belt unlocked the mystery of Starling's AG technology?
I do like your notion that perhaps the 'flying belt' was the last key in a very long puzzle which began in Earth sciences. I have no issue with proceeding with this frame of mind. The internet is replete with claims of AG generators and gravitomagnetism. Why not make the flying belt the key which unlocks all of that "hokum"?
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Old August 29 2013, 07:55 AM   #14
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Re: Artificial Gravity Generation

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
In his Eugenics Wars novels, Greg Cox has the DY-100 developed at Area 51.

I see no reason why the stasis box couldn't be kept at Area 51.
I am absolutely not a fan of Greg Cox's take on the Eugenics Wars being covert in nature. I feel the wars reached a very-overt stage of chaos during the nineties with 'whole populations being bombed out of existence' - though that does not necessarily equate to a nuclear exchange. I don't believe a single character in Earth's history could rise up and secure one-quarter of Earth 'from Asia to the middle-east' without being overt about it.

Absolutely no offense to Greg Cox and his work, but I disagree with his take on the future history.
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Old August 29 2013, 07:59 AM   #15
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Re: Artificial Gravity Generation

Albertese wrote: View Post
Seems like I saw somewhere that the Nazis were experimenting with the end-goal of anti-gravity during the late war period and that the reports filed by the guys in charge were promising but the war ended before the work could be completed.

Now, given that we are not enjoying the fruits of Anti-gravity technology, today, seventy years later, suggests to me that either the whole thing was a misunderstanding and nothing of the sort ever existed, or that some scientists may have been blowing smoke up Hitler's skirt to keep the funding going for a pretend science project.

But, in Star Trek's timeline, maybe they did strike onto the right idea, but nobody could quite figure out the specifics of how to make it go before much later. Or, maybe the technology was more or less nailed down by the late 60's or early 70's and was kept secret for a while while the powers that were had a go at weaponizing it. Perhaps the ability to make gravity is easier to figure out than to cancel gravity and therefore it was being used in space applications but not much need for it on the ground in everyday roles (being as how Earth makes enough gravity by itself for most people's needs). I have no qualms with the origins of AG tech on Earth as shown in the various shows. I don't see any contradiction there at all.

--Alex
Since we are clearly dealing with an alternate timeline and tech progression, I would say that it is very possible that some form of AG could have been experimented with and varying degrees of success or failure recorded. Something must said about these obscure sources making claims, and it makes for mighty-fine storytelling.
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