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

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Old November 10 2008, 08:06 AM   #31
Timo
Admiral
 
Re: How do Starships stop?

Personally, I think the "drag chute" idea is among the most workable ones.

The following, while applying to the real world, might in fact be eminently untrue in the Trek universe:

And of course no starship ever "stops," it just matches velocity with some other object in space or goes into orbit of some other body. How much deceleration or course change is needed would depend on what the ship's velocity is relative to its destination or to the other vessel it's rendezvousing with.
Rather than Newtonian speed being relative in the Trek universe, there could well be an absolute speed and an absolute stop in that universe. That is, the galaxy could have a static subspace framework of some sort in which ships could indeed dip their drag anchors, turning the symmetry of relativism into the pronounced asymmetry of absolute frames. Ships could decelerate by using this subspace anchor, but they couldn't accelerate by the same method, which is indeed the behavior we see.

Of course, since no dialogue specifically refers to subspace anchors (and we'd expect these devices to warrant dialogue at least once, when they fail at a dramatic moment to create tension!), it might be a good idea to claim that the subspace anchor function is performed by something in the impulse drives that isn't really a special component. Rather, the field reduction coils there might be automatic subspace anchors for all we know, perhaps always coupled to subspace by their material properties and thus dragging the ship down unless energized, but perhaps only doing the dragging when their field rapidly downramps (be it as the result of an "All stop!" command or a power failure).

Timo Saloniemi
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Old November 10 2008, 12:26 PM   #32
Albertus
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Re: How do Starships stop?

Timo wrote: View Post
Personally, I think the "drag chute" idea is among the most workable ones.

Timo Saloniemi
I wet myself when I read your words. Oh, please be realistic (in a fantasy world)

(I miss wavey)
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Old November 10 2008, 12:37 PM   #33
Timo
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Re: How do Starships stop?

Really, that's about the most realistic idea for describing Star Trek propulsion. Warp drive is just magic, impulse drive ignores Newtonian physics, antigravity has no clear rules. At least a drag chute -type device in space travel would meet the important criteria of not being slave to the rocket equation or the need to carry along the propellant required by Newtonian rules. It's not for nought that so much of the effort put into researching technologies for interstellar probes today is concentrated on sails...

Drag chutes aren't unique to Trek, of course. Larry Niven uses them in his Known Space, too, again with the idea of breaking the symmetry of relative motion. His version is a gravity anchor of sorts, using the mass of stars as the fixed reference frame. Such things could also work in the real world, doing "asymmetric velocity control" by hooking onto magnetic fields near planets so that the ship can then deploy a literal drag chute in the atmosphere. And by using the combination of light pressure and gravity from the Sun, two opposite forces, you get three-dee control of your motion without the need for propellant.

(What is "wavey"?)

Timo Saloniemi
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Old November 10 2008, 01:44 PM   #34
Albertus
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Re: How do Starships stop?

Timo wrote: View Post
Really, that's about the most realistic idea for describing Star Trek propulsion. Warp drive is just magic, impulse drive ignores Newtonian physics, antigravity has no clear rules. At least a drag chute -type device in space travel would meet the important criteria of not being slave to the rocket equation or the need to carry along the propellant required by Newtonian rules. ........

(What is "wavey"?)

Timo Saloniemi
"most realistic idea for describing Star Trek propulsion.", you have to be joking. Thats wind and sails technology, Larry Niven aside, the area of a 'chute' would have to be enormous and would only slow the vessel, not stop it dead.

Impulse does not ignore newtonian physics, in fact, there are numerous projects, see http://www.j2fi.net/2007/09/11/behol...mpulse-engine/ as an example.

A 'wavey' is a smiley icon the waves a hand.

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Old November 10 2008, 01:53 PM   #35
Timo
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Re: How do Starships stop?

Thats wind and sails technology
Which, as said, is considerably more advanced and useful than rocketry in applications of interstellar propulsion, as understood by today's physics.

As for "stopping dead", there's no reason why a drag chute immersed in subspace wouldn't do that. After all, that's what aerodynamic chutes immersed in immobile air do today. And all we need anyway is slowing down enough that the motion isn't obvious in the scene; typically, leaving a few kilometers per second would do nicely in scenes that don't take place in low orbit...

Timo Saloniemi
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Old November 10 2008, 02:09 PM   #36
GodThingFormerly
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Re: How do Starships stop?

Timo wrote: View Post
It's not for nought that so much of the effort put into researching technologies for interstellar probes today is concentrated on sails...
The navigational deflector field must generate drag against the interplanetary and interstellar media as an unavoidable byproduct of its intended function. Perhaps the resultant "virtual sail" may have braking applications in a sufficiently dense gas and dust medium, particularly if the deflector beam is "decollimated" to increase its apparent frontal area beyond the strict minimum required to protect the actual space vehicle from debris.

TGT
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Old November 10 2008, 02:19 PM   #37
Timo
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Re: How do Starships stop?

Quite possible. But it's not just the order-of-magnitude issue that turns me against this idea (space dust is a known and rather feeble quantity, subspace is a blissfully unknown one), it is my quest for an explanation that would fit the annoyingly plentiful evidence of "stopping due to power failure". Something "passive" must be at work there - and if it works that well in the power failure situations, it could just as well be assumed to be the mechanism behind all intentional braking as well.

Subspace drag anchors or restoring inertial mass to a ship that was originally artificially deprived of it are both essentially passive techniques. Moreover, both might work without the need for dedicated hardware and dialogue references thereto. But I guess it is always possible that an "active" technology is at work there instead, and that starships are carefully designed to activate this technology in case of impending power loss, using the last remains of power for an emergency surge of some sort.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old November 10 2008, 02:49 PM   #38
GodThingFormerly
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Re: How do Starships stop?

Timo wrote: View Post
Quite possible. But it's not just the order-of-magnitude issue that turns me against this idea (space dust is a known and rather feeble quantity, subspace is a blissfully unknown one)...
The interstellar medium in the vicinity of Sol (aka the "Local Void") is ~0.1 particle per cubic centimeter, whereas the average for the Milky Way galaxy as a whole is ~1 particle per cc (see Local Interstellar Medium - IAU Colloquium #81 for more information). Depending on the maximum area of the deflector field, the resultant drag could save an appreciable amount of impulse reaction mass, particularly when decelerating from relativistic velocities. The actual calculations proving such a blithe assertion shall, of course, be left to the student to solve...

...it is my quest for an explanation that would fit the annoyingly plentiful evidence of "stopping due to power failure".
If one may ask, did this ever explicitly happen in TOS or TAS?

Something "passive" must be at work there - and if it works that well in the power failure situations, it could just as well be assumed to be the mechanism behind all intentional braking as well.
Or it can be ignored, depending upon your answer to the above question.

Subspace drag anchors or restoring inertial mass to a ship that was originally artificially deprived of it are both essentially passive techniques. Moreover, both might work without the need for dedicated hardware and dialogue references thereto. But I guess it is always possible that an "active" technology is at work there instead, and that starships are carefully designed to activate this technology in case of impending power loss, using the last remains of power for an emergency surge of some sort.
My primary interest in Trek Tech is to discover - or, as a last resort, generate - as many parallels with real-world speculative astronautics as possible even at the (bargain) price of subverting franchise technical continuity, hence my grasping at straws.

TGT
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Old November 10 2008, 03:23 PM   #39
Cary L. Brown
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Location: Austin, Texas
Re: How do Starships stop?

The God Thing wrote: View Post
Cary L. Brown wrote: View Post
3) Reaction Control system (for orientation control, not for significant translational movement)
I think it is safe to assume that roll, pitch and yaw maneuvers would be carried out with onboard momentum wheels and control moment gyros to minimize reaction mass consumption, just as it is done on present-day spacecraft on the order of, say, Lockheed Martin's A2100 Geosynchronous Satellite Bus.

Cary L. Brown wrote: View Post
4) THRUSTERS.

Yes, it's that fourth one that people tend to forget (or to get confused with the RCS system or the impulse drive). But it was in the design.

If you have a model of the refit E, look closely at the spin of the secondary hull. There are four aft-facing cut-outs. Now, look at the forward edge, right adjacent to the deflector housing (on top). Four forward-facing cut-outs.

These are the thrusters... pure newtonian devices, essentially rocket engines used for low-speed manuevering. And this was always part of the design (remember in STVI... "thrusters ONLY, while in Spacedock")
Who said those things are thrusters? Certainly not Andrew Probert. They aren't even indicated with that bright yellow color to warn dockyard workers of their presence a la the RCS packs.

TGT
Actually, Lee Cole said that they were thrusters. In the "official blueprints" which were released at the time of TMP. I'm surprised you've forgotten that.

I'm not aware of Andrew ever making a comment either way regarding those in any interview (or for that matter, on here). Andrew, if you're reading... care to comment?

But the 1979 TMP print set, done by Lee Cole, identified them as such, and fandom accepted that definition. It wasn't 'til TNG that there was ever any question about it, with that question raised when the 1701-D got similar features along its spine which were described (by Sternbach I believe, not Probert) as "fill ports." The thing is, there's no logic I can see to having fill ports designed in that fashion, facing directly aft, is there? Rick, if you're reading... feel free to comment as well, obviously!

But those pictures are great... and yes, those are the details I was talking about.
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Old November 10 2008, 03:25 PM   #40
Cary L. Brown
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Location: Austin, Texas
Re: How do Starships stop?

Albertus wrote: View Post
Cary L. Brown wrote: View Post
s
Or,

4) Perhaps there are reverse engines behind panels someplace on the ship which we've also never seen (seems unlikely, but it's not impossible).

OR...

5) Perhaps they use some sort of field-effect "drag chute" which is somehow part of the subspace drive system (whether you think that's just warp drive, or if (like me) you think that subspace is also involved in "impulse" drive as its know in Treknology).
I had a good laugh when you said there were parachutes or rather 'drag shutes'. LOL
Why "a good laugh?"

You'll note I didn't say "silk drag chute," I said "field effect 'drag chute'." Did you miss what this means, and envision a real physical parachute?
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Old November 10 2008, 03:31 PM   #41
Cary L. Brown
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Location: Austin, Texas
Re: How do Starships stop?

Albertus wrote: View Post
Timo wrote: View Post
Really, that's about the most realistic idea for describing Star Trek propulsion. Warp drive is just magic, impulse drive ignores Newtonian physics, antigravity has no clear rules. At least a drag chute -type device in space travel would meet the important criteria of not being slave to the rocket equation or the need to carry along the propellant required by Newtonian rules. ........

(What is "wavey"?)

Timo Saloniemi
"most realistic idea for describing Star Trek propulsion.", you have to be joking. Thats wind and sails technology, Larry Niven aside, the area of a 'chute' would have to be enormous and would only slow the vessel, not stop it dead.

Impulse does not ignore newtonian physics, in fact, there are numerous projects, see http://www.j2fi.net/2007/09/11/behol...mpulse-engine/ as an example.

A 'wavey' is a smiley icon the waves a hand.

Albertus... you're obviously totally oblivious to the actual comment being made.

And you know what? That's perfectly all right. But what's NOT alright is to be insulting (which is exactly what you're doing here).

Timo and I are both on the same page here... he clearly gets what I've been saying. And you've clearly missed the boat entirely. So before you start getting snide, please take a step backwards and try to first understand the concept you're making fun of. You clearly do not.

You're saying "the area of the 'chute would be enormous." But that only proves that you didn't actually read what was written (while Timo obviously did).

Let me be as clear as possible.

THERE

IS

NO

PHYSICAL

PARACHUTE

INVOLVED

IN

THIS

CONCEPT.

Get it?
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Old November 10 2008, 03:32 PM   #42
GodThingFormerly
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Location: An "American" in Friedrichshafen, Deutschland
Re: How do Starships stop?

Cary L. Brown wrote: View Post
Actually, Lee Cole said that they were thrusters. In the "official blueprints" which were released at the time of TMP. I'm surprised you've forgotten that.
I'm looking at my copy of Star Trek: The Motion Picture - 14 Official Blueprints (Wallaby Books, 1980) right now and those particular features are completely unmarked in all three sheets that depict the NCC-1701 Refit's exterior.

TGT
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Old November 10 2008, 03:37 PM   #43
ancient
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Re: How do Starships stop?

Man, I could swear I remember something like a subspace anchor in some Voyager episode. One where they're trapped in an anomaly (that narrows it down). For some reason they didn't want to move, sensors were down or something, the usual. Maybe I'm just misremembering. The technobabble all sort of blended together after a while.
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Old November 10 2008, 03:52 PM   #44
Cary L. Brown
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Location: Austin, Texas
Re: How do Starships stop?

The God Thing wrote: View Post
Timo wrote: View Post
Quite possible. But it's not just the order-of-magnitude issue that turns me against this idea (space dust is a known and rather feeble quantity, subspace is a blissfully unknown one)...
The interstellar medium in the vicinity of Sol (aka the "Local Void") is ~0.1 particle per cubic centimeter, whereas the average for the Milky Way galaxy as a whole is ~1 particle per cc (see Local Interstellar Medium - IAU Colloquium #81 for more information). Depending on the maximum area of the deflector field, the resultant drag could save an appreciable amount of impulse reaction mass, particularly when decelerating from relativistic velocities. The actual calculations proving such a blithe assertion shall, of course, be left to the student to solve...
My argument against this would be different, of course... the problem is that this is inconsistent, and thus unreliable.

In reality, you'd either want separate braking thrusters, or (to be more space-and-mass-efficient at the expense of inconvenience) you'd just turn the ship around and use the primary thrust source (which is what's normally done in our contemporary space programs). When I designed my first major "Trek ship" I gave it a set of forward-facing impulse engines, in-line with the aft-facing ones, for this very purpose (as well as to increase manueverability). You'd still "turn around" as often as not, but in cases when you didn't have the luxury of doing that, the forward "braking engines" would do the trick. (If you're interested, click the thumbnail to see a basic overview of the ship... the "braking impulse ports" are on the pylons, by the way, facing forward.)

...it is my quest for an explanation that would fit the annoyingly plentiful evidence of "stopping due to power failure".
If one may ask, did this ever explicitly happen in TOS or TAS?
Actually, in TOS, or TAS for that matter, I don't think it did. And forgive me if I'm mistaken, but I seem to recall that you reject everything that came after TMP, right?

But for those who don't feel that way, we have TNG, DS9, VOY, and ENT that we have to deal with as well. And in those shows, this did happen reasonably often.

So Timo's take on things (the idea that the drive system not only CAN provide a "space-time drag effect but ALWAYS DOES except when in operation) is the best explanation I've seen for why this might be the case. And you know what? This would also explain why the 1701-D kept its nacelles powered while in orbit (and why a power loss while in orbit would result in an orbital decay rate far exceeding anything we would see under normal circumstances, unless they were under orders to take huge, stupid, unnecessary risks at all times... and yes, THAT applies to TOS, where "orbital decay" was used fairly regularly throughout the series).

Obviously, from an engineering standpoint, I'd want to avoid something like that if I could. But if that was the price you had to pay for being able to travel transluminally... it might be a bitter pill to swallow, but I'm sure we'd go ahead and accept it (instead of just staying at home!).
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Old November 10 2008, 04:18 PM   #45
GodThingFormerly
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Re: How do Starships stop?

Cary L. Brown wrote: View Post
Actually, in TOS, or TAS for that matter, I don't think it did. And forgive me if I'm mistaken, but I seem to recall that you reject everything that came after TMP, right?
I only reject the Trek which wasn't produced by Gene Roddenberry, so I am forced to technically accept the existence of ST:TNG up until Hero Worship (the episode being produced when GR died) even though his actual creative contribution to the show would have been essentially nonexistent for at least a couple of years by that point. That I happen to utterly loathe TNG in its totality is an entirely different matter. Needless to say, I happily ignore TOS Season 3, ST:TNG Post-Hero Worship, DS9, VOY, ENT and films ST:TWOK to ST:XI, but please don't let that derail this thread. My question to Timo was for my own psychological benefit only. Everybody else is more than welcome to disregard it.

TGT
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