Earth ship Valiant

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

  1. throwback

    throwback Captain Captain

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    In regards to our knowing our galaxy better, astronomers have discovered a new system approximately 6.5 light years from Earth. This is a brown dwarf binary star system with the name of WISE 1049-5319.

    The star chart seen in "Conspiracy" depicts the Sol System as being within a hundred light years of the galactic edge. However, a star chart seen in "Emissary" depicts the current state of knowledge, with the Sol System located between the galactic core and the galactic edge.
     
  2. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

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    On could argue that any explanation of what happened to the Valiant is only as good as Spock's interpolation, which itself is a function of the condition of the recorder's memory banks.

    In that spirit, maybe the barrier was the storm; the barrier does resemble a storm; well, it does more so under the original effects than under the "remastered" ones, at least. A maxim that a trope shouldn't be repeated twice, when once will do, would lend addition credence. Anyhow, maybe the recorder's memory was so garbled up, that it read that the storm was what threw them clear, rather than whatever it was that really did.

    I could buy that, except for a couple of things.

    First, if we throw out too much of what Spock says as inaccurate, then that basically defeats the whole purpose of having the dialog in the first place. The episode invests quite a bit of time in delivering it to us. We're not being thrown a red herring, we're being thrown a bone, in that dialog.

    Second, Spock indicated when he found garbled data. Plus, he's Spock, man, the second of our two heroes. So, we have to believe that what he told us was a pretty accurate account of events, as they were recorded. However you slice it, Spock said the storm is what threw the Valiant out of the galaxy in the first place. And, he differentiated between the magnetic space storm that swept them to the edge of the galaxy on the hand, and the unknown force that mutated the seventh crewman on the other. It's therefore reasonably clear that the Valiant crew made the same differentiation.

    So, I can't accept an identity between the magnetic space storm and the barrier. For what it's worth, I'd thought of that possibility, too, basically because of the economy of tropes problem that I mentioned. But the other reasons not to believe it far outweigh that possibility, I think. We just have to accept that the galaxy is a stormy place, at least at certain times and places.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2013
  3. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Interesting question about 60's understanding.

    From my 1968 printing of the Columbia Viking Desk Encyclopedia:
    "Milky Way system, the GALAXY which includes our sun. It comprises c.50-200 billion stars in the form of a disk; at its greatest diameter is c.100,000 light-years; thickness c.10-16 thousand light-years. Solar system is c.30,000 light-years from center. Position of earth permits observation of numerous stars appearing to form white pathway (rim of our galaxy) commonly called Milky Way."
    We know that warp speed to actual speed is variable in TOS. Slow actual speeds in system near stars and planets and fast between star systems. ~1,000 LY per day for "Obsession", "That Which Survives" and "Breads and Circuses" are quite reasonable going between systems.

    As to Kirk's log entry:
    Captain's log, Star date 1312.9. Ship's condition, heading back on impulse power only. Main engines burned out. The ship's space warp ability gone. Earth bases which were only days away are now years in the distance.
    The reason I think it is an interesting indicator are based on several things...

    1. He compares the time difference between "days" to "years". A 1,000 LY trip in days is on the order of 400,000c. If impulse was limited to sublight, it wouldn't be "years" but "thousands of years" like how he compared the trip to the Andromeda Galaxy in "By Any Other Name".

    2. The Enterprise's five year mission has enough food to last a crew of 430 for five years (surprise!) according to "The Mark of Gideon". If the flight home is at sublight, they'd run out of food and Kirk's log entry would reflect their dire situation.

    3. In "Miri", Kirk says, "We're hundreds of light years from Earth, Mister Spock. No colonies or vessels out this far." This would suggest that Earth colonies and likely bases were limited to a radius of 1,000 LY from Earth. If that's the case and if Earth is 20,000 LY to the rim according to 1968 thinking then the nearest Earth base is roughly 19,000 LY away. That's a pretty long trip home!
     
  4. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

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    This is why it's an appealing idea to tweak Kirk's indication of how long it would take to reach those bases to mean in subjective time, according to the relativistic effect of time dilation.
     
  5. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    I dunno. I'm not a big fan of relativistic time because it would mean the Earth that the Enterprise crew knew wouldn't be the way they remembered it when they get back. They would be even more out of sync with time than Captain John Christopher being brought forward into the future. I figure if they have artificial gravity then time dilation is something that they could have solved as well.
     
  6. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

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    Well, exactly. That would be one reason, beyond just being couped up on the ship for subjective years, why they'd want to recharge the warp drive. It's only something that they would endure in an emergency.
     
  7. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    I'm not sure what they would endure here. Endure time dilation? Or endure a longer trip home provided by FTL impulse engines that are significantly slower than warp drive?

    And what about cases like being chased by the planet killer from "The Doomsday Machine"? If they had Slower-Than-Light impulse engines they wouldn't have a chance being chased by the machine.
     
  8. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

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    I'd expect that inertial dampeners, artificial gravity, deflectors, and tractor beams would all affect the process of time dilation to varying degrees.

    But in my opinion, it's pointless to postulate exactly what the effects would be, unless you're going to go all the way and just invent the damn things. Beyond being pointless from a purely intellectual perspective, it would complicate the premises of Star Trek, without making any counterbalancing worthwhile dramatic contribution.

    In my view, that's why Star Trek keeps it simple and generally avoids time dilation effects in the first place.

    However, if I were to indulge in how I would handle extended STL acceleration of a connie in the Star Trek universe, I'd do it this way.

    1. Inertial dampeners couldn't compensate for time dilation indefinitely. Once the Lorentz factor gets to a certain value, the inertial dampeners would overheat, short out, and go off line, assuming they didn't catastrophically explode creating massive gravitational ripples that would tear the ship apart. At that point, if the ship survived, the crew would be subject to the inertial effects of acceleration, and therefore time dilation.

    2. Therefore, to make a twin paradox trip, the connie would have to disable inertial dampeners to begin with.

    3. Therefore, the presumably usual direction of acceleration is wrong relative to the deck layout. The proper direction of acceleration for such a trip would be bridge-first. Maybe the deflectors could be used to redirect thrust from the impulse drive to apply the impulse to the ship in the proper direction.

    4. The continual operation of the shields would be essential to prevent blue-shifted cosmic rays from irradiating the crew to death.

    5. Similarly, the navigational deflectors would have to be used to make sure the path ahead was clear of interstellar debris. But unfortunately, their emitters are mounted in the wrong place for the top-first journey.
    All this adds up to the trip just not being something that the writers planned for, or if they did they really didn't think it through. The basic problem is that the decks should be laid out perpendicularly; the trope of laying the keel of the Enterprise as if she were a naval vessel seems to have won out over hard science fiction.
     
  9. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    As far as I can tell, the Enterprise's navigational deflectors are spherical. Otherwise she couldn't accelerate in full reverse or do warp pivots or later on in the movies fly around V'ger.

    A quick search through all the dialogue doesn't reveal any instances of time dilation or relativistic effects. The writers either ignored the problem or the problem is not relevant in the episodes. Hmmm.
     
  10. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

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    Well, I guess I should have qualified which sources I meant. FJ has the navigational deflector on the main dish, and that faces only forward. Memory Alpha concurs: http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Navigational_deflector.

    It's very difficult for me to reconcile the idea of a dish that aims in a particular direction with the idea that deflector beams can be directed in any direction with equal ease.
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I'd argue that Spock would be justified in concentrating on the issue that was of immediate interest to our heroes. How the Valiant got there was far less interesting than what happened to the Valiant when she tried to brave the Barrier that our heroes had apparently been specifically tasked to confront. The giant holes in the records could well be in areas of no particular interest, such as how to get from Earth to the Edge (because Kirk had already managed that part nicely enough).

    I'm no fan of identifying the "storm" with the "barrier", either. But the inherent vagueness of Spock's statements allows us to do lots of things with the "storm" part, which was of limited interest to our heroes, while keeping the nature of the "barrier" as close to the explicit dialogue as possible.

    Then again, the status of the ship as of "Gideon", fairly late in the game, might not reflect her status at the very beginning of her mission particularly well. And if Kirk really intended to explore space beyond the "edge", rather than merely test the edge itself for later expeditions (the latter interpretation can easily be made from the dialogue, too), his ship would probably have been stocked for a much longer mission than was the case after his less-than-triumphant return (taking from the pilot to "Balance of Terror" at least, perhaps even as late as "Dagger of the Mind") and apparent subsequent reassignment to less deep-spacey duties.

    The existence of the Delta Vega station could be taken as evidence of a special effort to build a chain of bases in support of the very mission of exploring the "edge", though: bigger bases closer to home, but automated stations and supply stashes along the route Kirk took and subsequent expeditions would frequent. It's not as if the heroes are surprised by the fact that they are mere light-days away from civilization, after all. Spock points out that Delta Vega is practically next door, but the reaction from Kirk is more like "Ah, so it's Delta Vega that will save us, rather than Gamma Ridiculi or Beta Obscura or one of the other stashes we were briefed on".

    The episode was quite clear on the monster being extremely clumsy: even a completely crippled starship could outrun it. Sure, the DDM could devour half a dozen star systems in a row within at most a year, meaning it had FTL drive. But there was no sign of it ever going FTL during the actual adventure, or accelerating much. Even when it for some mysterious reason decided not to eat all of L-374 after all and to head for the next system instead, there was no indication that she would have been doing so at any significant speed.

    It's probably just a case of the thing being fast at FTL but slow at STL, and with poor transition from one to the other. Some penalties would be expected from the massive size...

    It would help if we knew what a deflector beam actually does. But, just like the Bussard collector, this technology has one definition in noncanon, backstage books but none in the actual episodes or movies. All we ever see or hear it do is "alternate modes" or "special adaptations", with nary a hint to what its normal mode of operation would be.

    For all we know, the navigational deflectors, plural, have nothing to do with the big dish, and the big dish in turn is not directly related to protection against the medium the ship pushes through. Instead, the dish might be a mere sensor, incapable of pushing anything but vital for long range navigation and associated deflection prediction nevertheless. Short range navigation and deflection could do without it.

    Of course, to be a long range, high speed FTL detector, the dish would need to emit a powerful subspace field, the foremost means of going FTL. And that part could be turned into a weapon, even if the standard technology had no "push" as such.

    This is yet another example of our traditional definitions of treknologies being inconvenient. FTL impulse or navigational deflector dishes that don't deflect can come in handy at times. But it's not a particularly satisfactory solution.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    I'm certainly not a physicist, but I don't think even artificial gravity will spare you from relativistic effects. If you go fast enough in normal space then you'll experience time dilation. That's proven science. And if your warp engines are out then how can you create a subspace bubble to take you out of normal space? Yeah, I know they pulled that in DS9's pilot episode, but it's still bullshit.

    The only loop hole I can see is that impulse engines can create a sunspace bubble to take you out of normal space and thus save you from time dilation. And even if impulse can get you just a bit faster than light you still have a years to centuries voyage to get back from the galaxy's edge.
     
  13. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

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    One of the main arguments in how to differentiate the twins in the twin paradox is that the twin subjected to the inertial forces of acceleration is the one who experiences the time dilation. On the other hand, the one who doesn't experience those forces does not experience time dilation.

    Inertial dampeners would eliminate the effects of acceleration, and therefore by the principle of equivalence, mechanics aboard ship would operate as if there were no acceleration due to the impulse drive. Therefore, any effect of time dilation would be canceled, as long as the inertial dampeners continue to operate.
     
  14. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    But what of the Reliant? Or the older ships like the Aurora Space Cruiser? They don't have a dish.

    The first time the "dish" = navigational deflector on screen I think was in TNG with the E-D. I just view that as a limitation of the E-D and ships that used that design philosophy which the TOS Enterprise, movie Enterprise, Reliant, Stargazer, etc did not follow.
     
  15. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

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    I know! I have no certain answer to that. :shrug:

    In CorporalCaptain's world, ultimately Star Trek breaks down. I mean, honestly, I try to take it as far as I can, because I enjoy Trek Tech. But this is an example at the frayed edge of the tapestry that is Star Trek.

    I can reach into my bag of tricks and postulate that there are different classes of navigational deflector systems. Perhaps there is a low power system that works well enough for certain classes of maneuvers that doesn't require a dish? That would mean that the heavy cruiser connie can just plain do more, such as:

    The Paradise Syndrome uses a deflector beam from the Enterprise. IIRC, the original effects didn't show where the beam came out of, but the remastered effects have it coming out of the dish.

    remastered FX: http://tos.trekcore.com/hd/albums/3x03hd/theparadisesyndromehd0510.jpg
     
  16. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Or Delta Vega wasn't an Earth base in Kirk's log and thus not considered civilization or a likely destination given their emergency situation. Or it might belong to another friendly or neutral power of the Federation but not Earth-owned. Kirk already pointed out the risk that if they couldn't get the parts to repair the ship they would be stuck there for twenty years.

    That isn't quite accurate. The "completely crippled" Constellation at max one-third impulse power with Kirk and Scotty had no chance to outrun it. Enterprise with warp engines can outrun it (but just barely) in system. Enterprise with impulse power only but not "completely crippled" (see "Wrath of Khan" or compare to Constellation) could also barely stay ahead but had to deal with the possibility of running out of fuel.

    The Doomsday Machine was said in the episode to be generally faster (capable of gaining on the Enterprise) but less maneuverable than the Enterprise. Imagine a large fast car having to make wide turns trying to catch a smaller, slightly slower car that can turn sharper and has better acceleration/deceleration.
     
  17. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    IDF deals with accelerations, and time dilation occurs at a velocity relative to the external observer. I think there will be those effects.
    How likely is it that some tampering of the undamaged records in the Valiant's computer was done by the enhanced ESPer before the ship exploded.
     
  18. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    I don't know whether I have anything constructive to add to the debate, but I'll give it a try.

    SPOCK: Decoding memory banks. I'll try to interpolate. The Valiant had encountered a magnetic space storm and was being swept in this direction. Swept past this point, about a half light year out of the galaxy, they were thrown clear, turned, and headed back into the galaxy here. I'm not getting it all. The tapes are pretty badly burned. Sounds like the ship had encountered some unknown force. Now, orders, counter orders, repeated urgent requests for information from the ship's computer records for anything concerning ESP in human beings.

    I agree that "magnetic storm" could either be a colloquialism form "wormhole" or by the time of TOS they prefer the term "magnetic storm" over "wormhole" (regardless what the spin-offs say).

    From the dialogue I take it that the "storm" and the energy barrier are two separate entities.

    Where it really gets messy is the Enterprise's impulse speed and the colossal coincidence that Delta Vega is within their reach.

    SPOCK: Recommendation one. There's a planet a few light days away from here. Delta Vega. It has a lithium cracking station. We may be able to adapt some of its power packs to our engines.

    So how much time passed between their encounter of the energy barrier and their arrival at Delta Vega? If it's just a few days (Mitchell is getting stronger by the minute...), then the Enterprise must have been able to almost reach light speed with its impulse engines. Can't say I like this idea (especially that with the space warp ability gone the ship probably won't intake enough space hydrogen for fuel :().

    As for time dilation issues, maybe this line from "the Cage" is a hint:

    SURVIVOR: Is Earth all right?
    PIKE: The same old Earth, and you'll see it very soon.
    TYLER: And you won't believe how fast you can get back. Well the time barrier's been broken. Our new ships can...
    (He's struck dumb by the sight of a lovely young woman)

    ...yes, go ahead. Can...? Can do what? Darn, just as it really got interesting he got distracted :scream:

    Bob
     
  19. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    ^^ You've hit on something that I feel has long been ignored from "The Cage" (and remember that the scene you're referencing was also seen in "The Menagerie" so it cannot be discounted as never having happened) and something that was reinforced later in TOS: the idea that not too long before the Pike and Kirk era star flight technology was distinctly slower and more crude. Yeah, one could argue it being a matter of degrees, but the subtext in all of it flies in contradiction of what they did in ENT.

    Here's a little something I worked out a few years ago for a project I have going off-and-on. I used the formula to calculate the relativistic time dilation effect for various speeds. In this example I used Alpha Centauri as the target destination, but the same formula could be used for any target star. From this you can get a clearer idea of what a crew would experience time dilation at different speeds.

    [​IMG]

    To show it onscreen you could have two clocks. One clock would be set to show the passage of time for the crew and it would look completely normal. The other clock would be set to illustrate what was happening in the objective universe outside of the ship and this clock would be racing crazily until you slowed down and it would gradually slow to eventually be in synch with the first clock.

    Now more to the issue at hand. For the Enterprise to get to Delta Vega within a few days it will have to accelerate to at least .99999c (99.999% of light) assuming the destination is within about five light years. Even so it would mean some years will have passed objectively. The simple fact is even if you can get to 99.999% of light it still takes a objectively finite amount of time to cross that distance.

    Another wrinkle is that Spock say Delta Vega is only a few light days away. A light day isn't very far. If we use the idea of five days then it's only about 80.352 billion miles or 864 AU. If my math is right then that's a bit more than 1/70th of a light year. You might as well say Delta Vega is just outside the hull and you can toss stones at it in terms of astronomical distances.

    So the question: is Spock referring to distance or the time to travel that distance? Actually a light year or a light day is referring to both time and distance, but I suspect Spock is using the term in as such as to give the viewers a spacey way of expressing the time it takes to travel to Delta Vega. In that context then it more strongly supports the idea that Delta Vega could be within five light years away and they can get there under impulse albeit pushing it to 99.99% of light. But that doesn't get you away from the relativistic problem: they'll get to Delta Vega and lose a few years in the process. Well, actually they don't lose those years themselves because they'll age only a few days, but anyone else back home will think the Enterprise disappeared for a few years.

    No matter how you cut it our heroes are in a pickle.

    Now there could be a loop hole. If the Enterprise's impulse engines can generate a subspace field and allow them to get a bit faster than Warp 1 then they can make it to Delta Vega in a few days and be spared any time dilation effects. The one wrinkle to that is Warp 1 can't be = to the speed of light, something I've long suspected in TOS.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2013
  20. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    I'm pretty sure also that Warp 1 is not = to the speed of light. It probably is dependent on what is nearby. A planet or a star would drop Warp 1 to well below light speed. Out between star systems, Warp 1 could be many, many times the speed of light.

    Looking back at the episode "WNMHGB"...

    • There is a 0.2 stardate difference from when they head back to an Earth base and when they arrive at Delta Vega. They've traveled a "few light days from here".
    • There is also a 0.2 stardate difference from when they arrived on Delta Vega to when the ship's engines are repaired AND Mitchell has been "like that for hours now".
    • If the Enterprise was a "few light days from" Delta Vega then at sublight speeds (without time dilation) they'd have to take more than a few days to get there.
    But a 0.2 stardate difference appears to be only a few hours or less than a day when they are planetside. That would suggest that it only took a few hours or less than a day on the Enterprise to arrive at Delta Vega and that would be FTL speeds (if no time dilation was involved).

    If we were to throw time dilation in, then we can use guess times based on the dialogue. We could say the observed flight time was 72 hours and the shipboard flight time only 6 hours. That works out to be around 0.986 speed of light for the trip to Delta Vega. Certainly doable with their technology speed-wise but again, their is a dearth of examples of time dilation used for flight and it seems to run counter to the stardate comparisons between stationary and traveling times, IMHO.

    Also, another problem with time dilation at that speed, a trip to the nearest Earth base is still likely 19,000 light years away and even at 0.9999c, thousands of years would've passed for the folks at the Earth base. It might not even be there when they arrive!

    The only way "WNMHGB"'s scenario would work out is if she had impulse engines capable of eventually getting up to FTL speeds, IMO.
    Captain's log, Star date 1312.9. Ship's condition, heading back on impulse power only. Main engines burned out. The ship's space warp ability gone. Earth bases which were only days away are now years in the distance. Our overriding question now is what destroyed the Valiant? They lived through the barrier, just as we have. What happened to them after that?
    ...
    KIRK: Set course for Delta Vega.
    ...
    Star date 1313.1. We're now approaching Delta Vega. Course set for a standard orbit. This planet, completely uninhabited, is slightly smaller than Earth. Desolate, but rich in crystal and minerals. Kelso's task, transport down with a repair party, try to regenerate the main engines, save the ship. Our task, transport down a man I've known for fifteen years, and if we're successful, maroon him there.
    ...
    Captain's log, Star date 1313.3. Note commendations on Lieutenant Kelso and the engineering staff. In orbit above us, the engines of the Enterprise are almost fully regenerated. Balance of the landing party is being transported back up. Mitchell, whatever he's become, keeps changing, growing stronger by the minute.
    [Delta Vega Brig]
    DEHNER: He's been like that for hours now.