Can you transport anti-matter?

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by t_smitts, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. t_smitts

    t_smitts Captain Captain

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    Watching "Peak Performance" reminded me of something:

    First of all the idea of Wesley beaming this volatile little ball of anti-matter into the Hathaway's engineering to just roll around is pretty ridiculous, but besides that my main concern is this:

    Can you just beam anti-matter through the transporter? Would it be converted into, say, some kind of anti-energy (if there is such a thing)?
     
  2. jayrath

    jayrath Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Ooooooooooh! Good question. In the books, at least, whole shuttles are sometimes beamed off-board. So if they had anti-matter in their innards-

    Great question.
     
  3. bryce

    bryce Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Anti-matter is just like regular matter with reverse charges and "spin"...so I don't see why not.
     
  4. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Perhaps the question might be if the antimatter and its containment fields and vessel are always de and rematerialized without any phase lag?
     
  5. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    I guess a fueling station or a tanker could beam antimatter into a starship in a constant stream without bothering with packaging it inside a series of containment vessels, as anything being beamed appears to be in a form that cannot interact with its surroundings much. It effortlessly goes through walls, after all!

    The big problem would be getting the beam through the walls of the antimatter tanks at the respective ends, though: if the tanks are protected by forcefields, then the transporter cannot penetrate.

    If, however, the tanks are protected simply by electromagnetic fields, then the transporter probably can penetrate, at least after some tuning. But it takes more handwaving to explain how EM fields can contain electrically neutral antideuterium than it takes to claim that forcefields (based on unknown principles, but demonstrably capable of containing electrically neutral matter) can.

    As for the "Peak Performance" bit, I don't think there's fault to be found in transporting antimatter in a package that is in danger of rolling to the floor. After all, regular means of packaging antimatter appear to be quite secure against accelerations of thousands of gees, disruptor fire, and the occasional divine intervention... No doubt Wesley's story about the vulnerability of the container was pure bullshit.

    Of course, we don't really know whether Wesley beamed aboard a quantity of antimatter, or possibly an alternate energy source for the warp drive. For all we know, his experiment contained a quantum singularity.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  6. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    The matter/antimatter bomb beamed down in TOS: Obsession says yes.

    Also yes due to the piece of the antimatter villi beamed aboard in TAS: One of Our Planets Is Missing.
     
  7. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    That was short and - painless?

    Funny, I was asking myself whether you could use anti-tritium and anti-deuterium in a nuclear fusion reactor to put the onboard antimatter to some productive use before it vanishes in controlled matter-antimatter annihilation.

    The problem are the anti-neutrons you'd get in such an antimatter nuclear fusion reactor. A magnetic containment will only work with charged particles and neutrons aren't among these. Thus the anti-neutrons would pass through the containment and that would the end of an antimatter nuclear fusion reactor. :rolleyes:

    Bob
     
  8. Deks

    Deks Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, we do have on-screen evidence stating shuttles (which have their own warp cores - or at least ones capable of Warp flight - which is most of them) and active photon torpedoes (which use anti-matter) have been transported from one location to the other throughout the shows... so yes, it is possible.
     
  9. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I said out, dammit!
    I'm surprised it took six posts before somebody remembered Obsession. Shame on you guys! :)
     
  10. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The answer should be no because it's a Pandora's box. Trek never seemed able to consider this stuff from the perspective of a terrorist. Long distance beaming from nuTrek + anti-matter beaming = bye bye Enterprise.
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Beaming as such should suffice for that: conventional hand grenades would in fact be much better payloads than giant antimatter bombs, as the foe could strike with impunity without having to consider his personal safety or other complications. Remember "Visionary" where the Klingon agents used a replicator as a transporter to place an eavesdropping device? Doing that with a hand grenade would be nasty. (Alternately, you could just beam out the heart of your target.)

    Transporting is blocked by shields, though, and that's enough to stop the weaponization of the technology. If you can defeat shields, you don't have to bother with transporters in the first place.

    But there should be no limit on what can be transported, because we have already seen it all. Antimatter, pff. How about creatures of pure energy?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    For whatever reasons, ships lack the power to keep shields raised all the time. With long-distance beaming, sensors become more important than weapons. Whoever detects the location of the other ship first gets to beam in their nova device. We know that ships can only be tracked over vast distances if you have the frequencies of their beacons but we also know that ships can be detected at quite long distances. You'd need an automatedd system.
     
  13. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Just because Scotty can figure out transwarp beaming in the prime timeline, and future Spock knows it and does it in the nu-timeline, that doesn't mean that anybody else can figure it out in the nu-timeline.

    But on the other hand, you gotta expect that someone who knows that Kirk was jettisoned to Delta Vega is going to blab to the wrong ears about how he was beamed back aboard the ship. Maybe Starfleet Security spoke to the Enterprise crew and impressed upon them their duty to keep their lips zipped.
     
  14. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    And Genesis in planet forbidden.

    My problem with any long distance beaming is that it flies in the face of established Trek Tech i.e. that you need to generate and maintain a beam of energy (presumably transmitted through subspace) to keep the pattern intact. Communications signals can be sent about 27 light years but can you imagine the amount of power it would take to send a transporter pattern over much longer distances - you need more powerful transmitters, more energy. Using a decrepit shuttle and an algorithm with no modifications and no consequences was poor storytelling IMO. The energy needed to maintain the pattern seems to me to be the limiting factor that was brushed under the carpet. I have no issues with how they dealt with transwarp beaming, only the distances involved.

    I get equally nervous about antimatter bombs. You would have to beam a functional magnetic field to prevent the device exploding when the matter container and anti-matter inside it get dissolved and combined in the beam. Having said that it's no more of a problem than the kill and copy issue relating to living matter.

    It's explainable if the matter and antimatter is simply phased (my preferred interpretation) and only quantum-linked energy forms the energy within the confinement beam.
     
  15. SicOne

    SicOne Commodore Commodore

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    There's no way to get around the existence of the capability to beam antimatter, since we've seen it done in TOS ("Obsession") and TNG ("Peak Performance") as well as possibly done in VOY ("Dark Frontier")...but I am of the opinion that it takes great skill and/or brainpower a la Spock or Wesley to pull it off, and only in micro amounts, such as what is needed for a small bomb to deal with a vampire cloud or power a warp drive for two seconds. Nonetheless, even a very small amount of AM would be enough to destroy a starship if transported to the right spot, so they'd need to be able to handwave this at some point.
     
  16. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    The transporter is also established right from the start as being capable of moving intricate pieces of machinery that would cease to function or start to malfunction after fairly minimal faults in the process - say, human beings. Crude magnetic fields (or forcefields) are probably a breeze in comparison.

    As for the issue of long distance beaming, it would seem the cooperation of Scotty and future Spock resulted in reproduction of the technology of the masters of Gary Seven. That one was a conventional transporter (since our heroes were able to intercept the beam with their systems) but with extremely long reach, both in terms of endurance and targeting. No doubt Starfleet considered sensor readings on that beam the greatest intelligence payback from the mission to 1968... But reverse-engineering even bits or pieces of the technology might have taken them, or the Vulcan Science Academy, five quarters of a century. Competing star empires are probably far behind. So the question becomes, does "Scotty's" technology remain open to inspection, or did future Spock make a black box out of it, so that Starfleet will again have to struggle until the 2380s to make heads or tails of it?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  17. bryce

    bryce Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Didn’t that Ferengi guy with the vendetta against Picard (Damon Bok?) also use some sort of ultra-long distance "subspace transporter" beaming technology too?

    Though Scotty's "transwarp beaming" didn't just involve super long-distance beaming, but also beaming to a starship moving at warp speed (and potentially from one ship at warp to another ship at warp...)
     
  18. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That's a pretty nice thing to have. Beaming at speed.
     
  19. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think subspace beaming was done using a tranceiver at the other end and then by piggy-backing on the signal on the way back. It's still not clear how it differs from conventional transporting but it must be a less safe version or the Federation would use it as standard.

    I don't have a major issue linking local tranceivers to chain-beam a signal to effectively double the distance but given the rate at which information leaks on these transports because of the energy needed to maintain a pattern (Scotty's genius took pretty much all the shuttle's power to prevent the patterns from degrading I think) if a signal is being sent through subspace it should be a real bitch to maintain for long. And subspace travel isn't instantaneous. It can take hours for messages going via several relays to reach Starfleet Command. Nothing should be surviving that (I realise that this is an issue from the recent comics rather than the movie).

    Beaming inanimate objects with not complex working parts should be fine though. And with your anti-matter bomb, it doesn't matter if your signal degrades over long distances since you only need your magnetic shielding to last while you dematerialise. If it explodes immediately on rematerialisation, so much the better.

    It's also worth noting that transporter pads can divert a signal and can deactivate weapons as part of the standard failsafe. Presumably if the transport is rerouted to a pad, your own systems could simply not re-materialise the anti-matter, although exactly how it could tell that in time is anybody's guess.
     
  20. krovikan

    krovikan Ensign Newbie

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    I was gonna say no... Transporters transport matter... not anit-matter... however,

    In Voyager they beam a torpedo onto a borg scout ship and Torpedos contain matter and anti-matter... Done
     

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