Earth ship Valiant

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Wingsley, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah. Time dilation is a nice idea, but the edge of the galaxy is just too far for the Valiant to get there at sublight speeds, before Kirk's Enterprise gets to the edge itself. Even if the Valiant went to a much different part of the barrier, and the disaster beacon drifted a long way, the edge of the galaxy is just too far from Earth, even at its shortest distance (presumably at least about 400 light years [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milky_Way#Sun.27s_location_and_neighborhood]).
     
  2. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    But the point is, the "edge" we see here is completely fictional. It's a sharp border in space, marked in purple. Nothing of the sort exists in the real galaxy, so there are no rules for where it might be located.

    Still, I agree that "within a sublight journey" is probably way too close...

    What I still don't find credible is that Earth would have had FTL technology before Cochrane, or that impulse drive in any of its forms would be capable of exceeding lightspeed. Better to explain the about two TOS ambiguities otherwise: "The old impulse engines" on the Valiant as a secondary rather than primary drive system for the old tub, "Her power is simple impulse" on the Romulan cloakship as an understandable error of judgement.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  3. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

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    I realize that, but the point is that, as you say, "Nothing of the sort exists in the real galaxy," emphasis mine. Ergo, it exists outside the galaxy, and that places a lower limit on how far away it must be (in the fictional universe).
     
  4. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    We don't know that it would exist outside the Milky Way, even if we assume the Milky Way is more or less the same in Trek and in reality. This is never stated in "Where No Man" or the later visits to the Barrier; the Barrier is just something that stands between "staying in" and "going out", just like your front door is something standing between you and Guatemala.

    Not being able to see purple haze through current telescopes is fairly irrelevant to the argument: the Trek Milky Way is not an exact copy of the real one. But it is roughly as big, for one thing, and has similar spiral arms in certain pieces of onscreen artwork, which keeps most of the estimates of "how far is the edge" relevant even when we use the Milky Way as a yardstick. My original point was just that we don't see any purple haze outside the real Milky Way, either, so it's a wholly fictional feature without placement limitations.

    ...For all we know, the Barrier defines the edge between the spiral arms and the (yes, yes, far from empty) space in between, hugging the arms tightly like a pantyhose for a starfish. And when we zoom in to the surface of the pantyhose, we see it forms a complex shape resembling the surface of a brain. Some of the folds might actually come pretty close to Earth, then (the Nexus might be a particularly mobile fold).

    (Also note here that the Barrier apparently isn't a purple surface between here and there. It's something invisible that only manifests as narrow purple shapes when you get really close to it. It wouldn't be much of a barrier if it were the shape of its visually evident part...)

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  5. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

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    I think this settles it for where the purple haze cannot be in Where No Man Has Gone Before [http://www.chakoteya.net/StarTrek/2.htm]:

    It cannot be inside the galaxy, as I said.
     
  6. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Sure it can. Just like you need to step through your door when declaring "I am leaving this country" even when the door is inside the country.

    When Kirk says what he says, he isn't saying "We are sailing over the edge of the galaxy as I speak". He is saying "I have the intent of leaving the galaxy, and for that reason I command you to punch in Warp 1".

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  7. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

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    Ugh.

    From By Any Other Name [http://www.chakoteya.net/StarTrek/50.htm]:

    I'm not in the mood today to combat pretzel logic, and my previous enjoyment of this thread is now plummeting. This episode is clearly talking about the same barrier, and it is established as being at the edge of the galaxy. If that's not clear enough, then—whatever.
     
  8. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Btw...did Trek *ever* use time dilation as a part of the plot?

    I'm trying to wrap my head around Voyager using it and came to the conclusion that from Voyagers perspective, they wouldn't even have time to sleep. Every hour they would run into some new hard-headed alien of the week.
     
  9. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    But that's exactly what I was saying all along - that it's always just "edge this", "edge that", and that this in no explicit way relates to a border between inside and outside. A galaxy in reality is full of (unmarked) edges between various parts; an edge between inside and outside is in fact the least likely proposition, because real galaxies don't have definite insides and outsides.

    This is the reason why we are free to place the purple barrier anywhere we wish: because the writers' intention of having it separate the inside from the outside is contrary to fact, and not really supported by the fiction, either. Standard fare for science fiction where whatever science the writers know, it's either wrong altogether or then at least outdated.

    And no, this doesn't change the fact that a sublight journey to the edge would still probably be an amazing millennial feat rather than a two-century hop. On that we are fully agreed.

    Apparently not, although it's a great way to wiggle out of speed-distance-time inconsistencies. Trek drives apparently make relativity a user-selectable option, but it's not as if it has gone away as a concept altogether.

    Hmm... What can be done about a starship barreling forward at lightspeed? Ships at warp can be stopped dead on their tracks by collapsing the warp field with weapons fire (say, DS9 "Favor the Bold"), but a ship simply coasting insanely fast won't mind if her engines get damaged or destroyed. The hard-headed aliens could board or destroy her, yes, but stop or divert?

    That's another scenario Trek never quite tackled. We have seen tractor beams used for capturing a target at warp (DS9 "Paradise"), but do they work on high sublight targets with lots of "natural", Newtonian-Einsteinian kinetic energy? How does one get a ship to large fractions of c anyway - can it be done with warp drives? (See ST:TMP here...)

    Also, we never get a clear picture of how fast ships accelerate at impulse. Certain visuals suggest accelerations around a thousand gee, but when two ships maneuver next to each other, accelerations of less than one gee seem to be the norm. Does reaching 0.95 c take a minute, a day, or a year of running at full impulse?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  10. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    You've been there, so you know. There are cosmological models where the TREK "Barrier" would fit right in. Naturally, it will be a long time before we know for certain. And it is possible that such a Barrier is closer than the disc-plane edge of the Milky Way, but it would still be a great distance from Earth.
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    What an odd objection - you seem to be shooting blanks and missing. On one hand, the galaxy not having any definite inside or outside is not a contested issue in science; stars and assorted matter thin out gradually, and not even monotonically, and never mind the dark matter or dark energy halo that further blurs the issue. On the other hand, the quite possible existence of "edges" (bow shocks, accretion belts, whatever) doesn't really affect this in any way: any "edge" of that sort may be considered located inside or outside the galaxy, depending on who is talking, because no unambiguous definition for inside/outside can be found.

    "Where No Man" was written back in the bad old days when people of reasonable education and good writing skills still thought the galaxy is a cluster of light that borders on darkness. This is a blessing in disguise, as it makes the physical trappings of the events so unreal that they can be assigned any desired characteristics or interpretations afterwards without contradicting current scientific consensus. They are simply far enough outside reality to be immune to it. If Starfleet has found a concrete "edge", it's free to use that to define inside vs. outside, even if the definition will be rather arbitrary. But the reverse is not true: no inside vs. outside setup defines the "edge" we witness in the trio of episodes, and no particular location is established for it, save for "the edge is at the edge", or "it is where it is".

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Still not accepting the Valiant could use sublight engines to go the the galactic barrier, which would be closer out of plane but fewer systems to explore 8n that direction.FWIW, the Star Charts have it thousands of light years distant.
     
  13. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    The dialogue points to an energy barrier at the "rim of the galaxy" and Kirk does agree that he's been to that one. That narrows down the possible "edges" that it could be.
     
  14. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

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    Of course it can't make it on sublight engines alone. It would have to use a wormhole or some other strange, new phenomenon to get there, or get alien help as was proposed upthread.

    One of the reasons why I can still enjoy Star Trek, despite its highly implausible future history, is that I can think of events like the Valiant, and to a lesser extent the Botany Bay, as being more mythological than historical. By that, I mean, I can assume that they happened in some ancient past relative to Kirk's era, a past which doesn't correspond to any version of future history that could fit in with the real world. Screw the dates.

    I also wonder if that's how the writers want us to look at it, when characters in the franchises refer to contemporary events as happening in "ancient" Earth history. :lol:
     
  15. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    With FTL Impulse engines, they can make the interstellar journey. Just not that quickly :)
     
  16. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It has to be~ 200 year long trip covering much more than a few hundred light years.
     
  17. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I still think it's more likely that the Valiant was caught in a wormhole and immediately found itself at the galactic edge, rather than actually have time dilation come into play.

    Besides, assuming the '200 years ago' figure is accurate, then the Valiant did in fact have warp drive, so time dilation would not apply.
     
  18. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It wouldn't have to be a wormhole. I would think a cosmic string might serve as a catapault. One time only as the string itself would be disturbed.
     
  19. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Time dilation has been invoked in this thread, but I submit that for time dilation to have any truly appreciable effect for a ship's crew you have be really cruising, like in the neighbourhood of around ninety percent light. Then the effect really comes on.

    At about fifty percent light the dilation effect isn't significant.


    Note: I worked a lot of this out with actual math when I was working out a story for a fast relativistic starship.
     
  20. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Relying on relativity to keep your crew alive and happy is somewhat predominantly dependent on acceleration. If it takes you a year to work your way up to the nineties, you will be overshooting the obvious nearby targets... And it will be a chore to stop at anything interesting but unscheduled.

    If the Valiant set out for a sublight journey where relativity, rather than cryosleep, made traveling in a tiny tin can tolerable, then she probably was configured for a specific destination rather distant from Earth. It wouldn't pay to go explore unknown worlds that way: you'd have to know what was there that was worth your while before you started building the ship. Also, if you failed to make contact with home base after a few decades (say, in the early 2060s, following a 2020 launch), you wouldn't be "lost" for the next two centuries - your course would be known in detail, you could not deviate from it even if you wanted, and warpships would eventually come check you out.

    Unless, of course, you were eaten by a course-altering space anomaly: a wormhole, a tachyon stream, a magnetic storm, a space amoeba, whatever.

    Timo Saloniemi