Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Dm00221, Feb 4, 2014.
At maximum warp, how many days does it take to travel from Earth to Romulus?
My guess would be days to weeks, but with producers, you never know.
It would depend on the speed of plot (naturally ) and also what "maximum warp" means. Not all ships have the same type speed.
Thanks. Maximum warp, meaning warp 8 or 9. I'm thinking a time element may have been mentioned in an episode of one of the series or film.
Well, how far could it possibly be? Given that the last major conflict Earth fought before there was a Federation was the Romulan War, is couldn't have been terribly far away. By TNG values of what warp 9 is, I would expect it to be a very short trip indeed.
On the TOS warp scale (which was significantly faster than TNG's) probably less than a day at "maximum warp".
TNG+ it's harder to say. "First Contact" had a cut with an unknown period of time between Picard ordering the E-E at the RNZ to Earth and when we see them arrive at Earth.
Strange it hasn't been mentioned, yet. We would have to know the speed of a subspace radio signal for which we got figures in "Balance of Terror" and "The Enterprise Incident". Kirk's real time conversation with his superior in "The Alternative Factor" provides some clues:
BARSTOW [on viewscreen]: Negative. I'm evacuating all Starfleet units and personnel within a hundred parsecs of your position. It's going to be tough on you and the Enterprise, but that's the job you've drawn. You're on your own.
Assuming Barstow was not evacuating himself, this would indicate a real-time conversation (including video) via subspace at a distance of at least 326 light years.
Balance of Terror
Just prior to arriving near Earth Outpost 4 Kirk orders "Open a channel to our nearest command base. Quarter hour reports on our position and status."
KIRK: Are you continuing to broadcast tactical reports?
UHURA [OC]: Affirmative, Captain.
KIRK: And at this distance?
UHURA [OC]: Approximately three hours before receiving a reply to our first message. (apparently the one above)
At the end of the episode:
RAND: We finally received an answer from Command base, sir. They say they'll support whatever decision you have to make.
Assuming that Kirk asked Uhura one hour after the first report to command base, it seems that it would take a subspace signal 2 hours to get to Starfleet and 2 more to get the reply.
Janice's "finally" isn't clear. Either it suggests that it's really quite some distance (conversations with Kirk's superiors light years away usually occur in real time!) or it took Starfleet a while to discuss what orders to relay to Kirk.
The Enterprise Incident
KIRK: You understand that Starfleet Command has been advised of the situation?
TAL [on viewscreen]: The subspace message will take three weeks to reach Starfleet [and three more to get a reply]. The decision is yours, Captain. One hour.
Now that really takes some time. I'd find it hard to believe that subspace technology had gotten worse.
However, Tal's information could be wrong and Starfleet somehow made the Romulans believe that it would take that long. Kirk doesn't comment on the time a reply would take.
Or Tal and the Enterprise are not in the same location of space that the Enterprise was in during Balance of Terror. With 3 dimensional space and the vastness of both the Federation and the Romulan Star Empire, some location may be much closer than others.
Additionally, advising Starfleet Command may not mean contacting Earth. Likewise, Barstow and Earth Outpost 4 may not be close to Earth.
So, how many days does it take to travel from Earth to Romulus? The world may never know.
In addition, we would need to know what is the maximum distance for "real-time communication". We've seen in TOS that there are times that the Enterprise needs to be close enough to establish real-time comm vs sending a message that they have to wait for a reply. (Example, in "Charlie X" the Antares was "barely in range" to communicate with the Enterprise when it was destroyed.)
For the TOS Enterprise, 100 parsecs could be traveled in a third of a day.
It's pretty likely that "The Enterprise Incident" takes place in an area of space much further away than in "Balance of Terror" and "The Deadly Years".
What was the TNG episode where they travelled between Earth, Quonos and Romulus in the course of the story? Like, between Quonos and Romulus between commercials! Must have been Unification.
Perhaps the faster communication speeds in BOT were due to a network of subspace booster relays, relays which had been mysteriously destroyed prior to the events of TEI. Yep, the very events which led to the clandestine investigation by Kirk in the first place.
It could be that the "3 week" figure is the speed of natual subspace communications, without the benefit of boosters. Otherwise, we are talking about the events in TEI taking place 168 times further away than the ones in BOT. That is a LOT of light years!
The Romulan drone ships from ENT got to and from their base on Remus and Earth/Vulcan/Andorian/Tellarite space in a blink.
They don't have to be destroyed - Enterprise simply has to be deeper in space in TEI where there are no subspace relays.
That's very possible as well. The only thing we know is how long communications will take but there are variables that we don't know:
2. Subspace conditions between the location and Starfleet command
I think the one thing that hasn't been mentioned yet is the power of the onboard subspace radio emitters. "Barely in range" could refer to a power problem of the Antares to generate a subspace signal strong enough to reach Enterprise in real time.
I won't dispute that, but that subspace communication occurred without any visible or audible delay. In contrast it took the subspace signal approx. 2 hours / 120 minutes / 7,200 seconds just to be received at the nearest command base (i.e. not Starfleet HQ).
Assuming (because of "The Alternative Factor") that it takes a subspace message 1 second to cross 326 light years, the distance between the Enterprise and the nearest command base would have been 2,347,200 light years in "Balance of Terror".
Assuming that Commodore Barstow was evacuating himself, too, and only 108 light years away, the distance in "Balance of Terror" between the TOS Enterprise and the nearest command base would have still been 782,400 light years.
I start believing these conjectural subspace relays are inevitable to rationalize these delays in communication.
Sure we've seen power, distance, subspace conditions affect subspace communications and the local environment affect warp speed.
However, that's ignoring power, subspace conditions, warp speed conditions and we don't really know the distance either in making that kind of calculation. At best we can guess that in BOT with it's particular conditions that non-real-time communications with Command Base could be at least 160 LY away or at least outside of the sector map.
~700,000c (Fast warp conditions ala "That Which Survives")
divided by ( 365 days * 24 hours ) = ~80 LY / Hr * 2 Hours
= ~160 LY for 2 hours.
In "The Alternative Factor", again we don't know how far away was real-time comms or the space conditions so it could be anywhere from a few LY to hundreds of LY.
In thinking of subspace relays I'd just factor it among subspace conditions. For all we know, all Starfleet ships are also subspace relays and in "The Alternative Factor" there was a string of ships between Kirk's position and Starfleet that was the "real-time network" while in "Balance of Terror" there were no ships in the sector for the Enterprise to have a real-time relay session to use and thus comms traveled at normal subspace speeds.
Some pretty interesting points I never considered. A lot to consider. Thanks Everyone.
I'm not sure "conjectural" is right word. We know for canon fact that they were out there. Epsilon 9 appears to be just such a facility. And in TNG, the events of the episode "Aquiel" center on a subspace relay station. And, regardless of how one may or may not feel about Enterprise, wasn't there dialogue regarding dropping subspace relays along their path? I think the canon regarding the presence of Subspace relays is pretty solid and doesn't need to depend upon any conjecture.
^^ Sorry, I was thinking entirely in TOS terms and don't recall that a subspace relay had ever been mentioned or hinted.
As blssdlwf pointed out the ships themselves might serve as a subspace communication link, which sounds credible to me.
By the time of TNG and the probable expansion of the Federation to cover a much larger area of space / much larger interstellar distances subspace relay stations look somewhat inevitable, but their Achilles Heel - in contrast to a starship - is their vulnerability.
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