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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > The Next Generation

The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old July 17 2014, 10:34 PM   #16
Ithekro
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Re: Star Trek Space Travel

Well they can't have been going at warp factor 2 between episodes as that is pretty much establish as about what the freighters were doing and having babies between planets. Warp 3 being considered "fast" just ten years earlier, yet Warp 5 was the goal to making an actual vessel that could explore in a reasonable fashion from world to world. Mind you that Enterprise does not got up to Warp 5 very much. Warp 4 seems to be where they cruise at.
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Old July 17 2014, 10:45 PM   #17
alpha_leonis
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Re: Star Trek Space Travel

I never bought the W^3 scale as anything resembling "on-screen reality". I remember being aware of it when I started watching TOS episodes on VHS, loaned to me by a relative.

The very first tape I received had "The Squire of Gothos" and "Arena" right next to each other. Arena establishes that the TOS Enterprise has a maximum safe cruising velocity of Warp 6 (216c if you trust the W^3 scale), but they can go as high as warp 8 in emergencies. But not for long before they start shaking apart.

It was a plot point in "Gothos" that Trelane's planet was 900 light years away from Earth. (Never mind the anachronic references to Napoleon.) If the fastest they could travel was Warp 6, 216c, that would have been slightly more than four years' traveling time, one-way (eight years round trip), nothing left over for other missions along the way. So much for a five-year mission!
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Old July 17 2014, 11:08 PM   #18
Timo
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Re: Star Trek Space Travel

...Of course, we never learned whether the mission clock started counting at departure from Earth or arrival at operations area.

(As a side note, Trelane's planet seemed to be capable of moving around pretty quickly. Granted, Sulu never got up to warp speed in his evasion attempts, but Trelane's rock was still running circles around the supposedly maximum-impulse starship; we might just as well credit it with warp capability, and thus the ability to peep at Napoleon.)

Warp 4 seems to be where they cruise at.
I'm cool with that. And we even tended to catch the ship at visually obvious warp in the teasers, supposedly placidly cruising about - unlike in VOY where the hero ship was at obvious impulse if no exciting adventure was ongoing yet. This has some implications on how we should treat our sources for average speed of said ships.

That is, the quoted distances and other evidence on annual average performance (e.g. VOY "Pathfinder") support warp cruising for both, at the ballpark of the unofficial cubed scale even. But the cube scale suggests warp 4-5 for Archer, but only warp sixish for Janeway. Yet if Janeway indeed spends more time at impulse, the practical warp cruise speed of her ship is correspondingly higher and thus more realistic (although nowhere near the figures quoted in "Caretaker", of course).

It may well be that "cruising" is actually rarely done in the other shows which tend to involve "dashing" between adventures and not the sort of steady travel from A to B that would characterize Janeway's "mission" and probably Archer's mission as well. That is, Picard's, Kirk's and Sisko's ships would move much faster on the average because they move from pit stop to pit stop, while Janeway and Archer trundle along in the wilderness.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old July 18 2014, 04:36 AM   #19
AirCommodore
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Re: Star Trek Space Travel

King Daniel Into Darkness wrote: View Post
AirCommodore wrote: View Post
I like the vast mysterious unknown Galaxy of TOS. I don't like the hopping and popping about the Galaxy that you see in Star Wars. Leave those ginormous speeds to future centuries.
Odd you should say that, because it's TOS which treated the galaxy most similarly to Star Wars.
Indeed, which is why the cubed W^3 scale was so far off. Roddenberry mentioned .73 light years per hour in the treatment, but it's clear from the show, that in practice the plot determined how fast or slow the ship traveled. That's on GR or any other show runner to impose discipline.

Even though ST:V and a couple of TOS episodes were among the biggest outliers for high-speed, we still end up with a much better mapped Galaxy though in the TNG to VOY eras.

Through the Bajoran wormhole and the Caretakers array, we end up with a pretty good idea of what is happening in the Gamma and Delta Quadrants. And in practice, the Ent-D gets wherever it needs to very, very quickly.

We don't know all that much about the Galaxy in TOS. It is a vast place that is still being explored. In SW there is a Galaxy Wide civilization that appears to have existed for many millennia. The Federation is only 100 years old in Kirks time. So it's certainly understandable that there could be huge differences. It is a vastly more ancient civilization that the Federation is.
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Old July 18 2014, 09:39 AM   #20
Timo
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Re: Star Trek Space Travel

What's to add? Perhaps that TOS contained a number of offhand references to going across the galaxy, or to other galaxies, even if the heroes themselves were not attributed with the feat.

In "The Cage" already, Pike says he's from "the other end of this galaxy". The "this" part might be further suggesting that other galaxies are part of his patrol zone as well! Although he could just be lying to his captors, trying to throw them off the scent of the nearby Earth.

There need not be any contradiction between the ability to go across the galaxy in a jiffy and the failure to have Pollux, right next door to Earth, properly explored before the 2260s. A single starship sortie supposedly covers very little ground even if spanning extreme distances: sensors can only see a few lightyears to the sides, so the volume explored is minimal, an insignificantly thin thread through the galaxy. Millions of such missions would be required to map the galaxy even if each involved going all the way to the rim and back.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old July 18 2014, 08:35 PM   #21
AirCommodore
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Re: Star Trek Space Travel

Exactly, you would bypass millions and billions of stars as you zip along to the center of the Galaxy. Average distance between stars is 5 LYs IIRC. So it's more a matter of systematically fanning out in a series of small warp sprints along the web of star systems, probably organized by assigned Sectors, and building Starbases, supply depots, manufacturing and fabrication facilities, sub space buoys, arrays, colonies and other outposts along the way.
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Old July 18 2014, 09:58 PM   #22
Timo
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Re: Star Trek Space Travel

...And jumping ahead to secure important finds, turning back to avoid confrontations with competitors, and sometimes even just plain forgetting to reattempt a failed mission, with the end result being a Swiss-cheese star empire rather than a homogeneously explored and exploited dominion.

Still, I think we are better off regarding overall continuity if we rationalize away the handful of references to long distance or high speed travel in early Trek.

Neither of the visits to the center of the galaxy need actually reach the center, say. "Magicks" only mentions the intent to study the center, which can be achieved from a vantage point at a great distance but not from Earth, so possibly Sulu just steered past the nearby obstacles for a clear view. And our heroes didn't believe in trips to the center of the galaxy in STV, only the madman Sybok did - so quite possibly Sha Ka Ree was just beyond the Great Barrier, en route to the center but nowhere near the center.

Similarly, Starfleet Command knowing that the effect of Lazarus' antics was felt all across the galaxy and beyond doesn't mean Starfleet has ships deployed outside the galaxy; other ways of knowing can be speculated on. The Federation could probably enjoy galaxy-wide knowledge through exchange of information; even bitter foes exchange information every now and then, after all. It's just that the farther the original source of the information is from actually UFP-explored space, the less reliable the information that reaches the UFP.

Finally, TOS features few examples of our heroes actually covering massive distances on screen. Even the second pilot only begins when our heroes have already reached a distant location (and a wholly fictional one at that, since the real Milky Way doesn't have a "rim", with or without a negative-energy barrier). So our actual outliers come from extremely short sprints - the superfast hop in the teaser of "Bread and Circuses" and the merely hours-long trip in "That Which Survives". And as already argued, the shorter, the faster...

Timo Saloniemi
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Old July 18 2014, 10:46 PM   #23
AirCommodore
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Re: Star Trek Space Travel

Yes, there would certainly individual longer range thrusts when that seemed important based on information from various sources:

1. I assume that they are continuously scanning all sub-space "bands" for any faint or distant radio traffic. That would obviously be a prime source for finding advanced civilizations.

2. Their telescopic and spectroscopic technology must be far more advanced, and no doubt will be used to identify planets that are potentially life-supporting even if no communications or other obvious signs of civilization are apparent.

3. Intelligence through various means about competitors. For instance, that Klingon activity is suspected in a soon to be explored Sector.

They may already in Kirk's time have some bits and scraps of information and intelligence about the distant cluster of civilizations that includes Bajor and Cardassia. And of course, many systems that might not appear obviously interesting might be initially reached through probes, with a decision for a Ship only if the information received indicated a need for further investigation. And no doubt information though trade networks would be useful.

The end result of all this would probably be a prioritized list of destinations in each sector, with higher priority for the potential presence of advanced civilizations, life sustaining worlds, regions with important physical resources, strategic locations vis-à-vis other Powers, most promising sites for research, manufacturing, colonization, etc

Last edited by AirCommodore; July 18 2014 at 11:07 PM.
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Old July 19 2014, 06:53 AM   #24
Ithekro
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Re: Star Trek Space Travel

Still, it makes Voyager's 70 plus year trip seem unlikely if older Starships could functionally zip across the Galaxy in a few days or weeks.
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Old July 19 2014, 07:11 AM   #25
AirCommodore
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Re: Star Trek Space Travel

Ithekro wrote: View Post
Still, it makes Voyager's 70 plus year trip seem unlikely if older Starships could functionally zip across the Galaxy in a few days or weeks.
Yes it does. But this comes down to showrunners and continuity. They have to police things like this, and there is no doubt that on several occasions they were asleep at the switch.
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Old July 19 2014, 01:44 PM   #26
IamRyanLp
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Re: Star Trek Space Travel





Which would you say is more accurate then, or is each accurate for it's own series?

Which would you say is more accurate then, or is each accurate for it's own series?

Which would you say is more accurate then, or is each accurate for it's own series?
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Old July 19 2014, 05:02 PM   #27
MacLeod
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Re: Star Trek Space Travel

Or we could do some basic Maths on known distances and the time given to travel to that i.e.

In TMP we are told that it will take the Enterprise 4 Days to make the trip to Vulcan, as Vulcan is 16ly or so from Earth that gives us a speed of 4ly per day. Or around 1460 times the speed of light. Translating that to VOY that would give a journey time of around 50 or so years at TOS speeds. Bear in mind we don't know what Warp Factor it would take to complete that journey in the given time.

But as others have said it comes down to Plot Speed
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Old July 19 2014, 05:16 PM   #28
Timo
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Re: Star Trek Space Travel

Neither of the scales is actually supported by any of the shows. TOS contains no data whatsoever that would fit the cubed scale. TNG features just a couple of explicit references to how a specific warp factor corresponds to a specific speed (say, "Bloodlines"), and they all disagree with the supposed 24th century scale (although they are in the general ballpark, rather than being off by a factor of a thousand or a million).

Basically, neither of the scales has any real merit. They aren't accurate for describing the shows, any shows; they aren't even necessarily conceptually compatible with the shows, as exponential increase of speed with warp factor is not an established feature of warp by any means. And they probably weren't particularly influential in making the shows.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old July 19 2014, 06:46 PM   #29
IamRyanLp
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Re: Star Trek Space Travel

Basically, neither of the scales has any real merit. They aren't [I wrote:
accurate[/I] for describing the shows, any shows; they aren't even necessarily conceptually compatible with the shows, as exponential increase of speed with warp factor is not an established feature of warp by any means. And they probably weren't particularly influential in making the shows.

Timo Saloniemi
I find this to be a real shame, if the writers had made their own warp speed table,
or anything the fan base could relate to it would be really interesting to see Enterprise D life time map.

Starting from Mars and ending at Veridian III

To be able to have an interactive map, where you could see where (roughly) each episode took place,
and to be able to click and interact with the dots, opening a window to the episode run-down etc etc.

I almost feel the community
( for a science fiction star trek series )
Hasn't done enough to bring the series into the future by making things such as this. When I look at the interactive map
that there is I almost feel as if Im interacting with a computer
from the series, dated and very 1 dimensional.

http://www.startrekmap.com/ufpmain.html Being the closest to this on the internet.
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Old July 19 2014, 10:56 PM   #30
AirCommodore
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Re: Star Trek Space Travel

Well they tried to give some sort of half hearted recognition to the W^3 system in Enterprise, but we aren't even out of the pilot episode when they decide to throw it out the window. The Klingon homeworld in 4 days at Warp 5 or less?! It actually is less, since it is only in a later episode that the ship will actually reach Warp 5.

Even at 125x c they would only just have gotten past the Oort cloud after just 4 days. That is less than half way to Alpha Centauri! Even if we use the W^5 system, where W5 = 3,135 x c, they could only have gone a little over 34 light years in 96 hours. Does that seem like a likely location for Qo'noS?

You can always give "correction factors" to these numbers based on varying "sub space densities". But the problem with that, or any other post-hoc contrivance is that is essentially the same as saying that there is no "system" at all. No matter what crazy outlier of superspeed that the writers come up with for a movie or episode, you can just say "Wow! Subspace densities must really be in high flux there!".

I don't think there is any system that can explain every single speed reference stretching over all 700+ installments of Trek. There is no way I can see of making a coherent "system" that works for every case. Sooooo, I think you just have to do your best in making a system that basically works. It could get the ships to the distances they want in fairly reasonable time frames and allow for a Federation of the vast scale and extent that they want. That's my view on this. A system that works for the basic needs and purposes of Trek. Some episodes will always be outliers to this, whether faster or slower. But there is nothing you can do about that. These sorts of discontinuities result from the slackitude of showrunners and movie producers in policing these things.

Last edited by AirCommodore; July 19 2014 at 11:07 PM.
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