How long does it take to traverse the UFP?

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by cgervasi, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    This one is for you, Timo :)

    In TNG I stumbled upon this little gem from "Face of the Enemy":
    DESEVE: The freighter is an old Antares class vessel with limited speed and range. It couldn't have taken on its cargo more than a day ago which means it must be within fifteen light years of here.

    That comes out to about at 5,457c or 15 LY per day.
    That would finally give TNG a speed faster than the stated ones.
     
  2. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ...Quite a contrast with Kivas Fajo and his warp three yacht that was only doing 0.102 ly per day!

    In DS9, Kasidy Yates also operates an old freighter:

    In twelve hours, a freighter goes from star to "outlying" star and back. That must be in the same ballpark as "Face of the Enemy", and is well in line with the idea that freighters (which Scotty thought were categorically limited to warp 2 in "Friday's Child"!) can hop from star to star in commercially meaningful time. Having warp drives be a hundred times faster on the average than the backstage books suggest is no problem, and indeed is something of a requirement. And see what this does to the eight-week distance between Bajor and Cestus at maximum speed... Eight times fifteen ly is already an acceptable 120 ly for targets that lie at the opposite ends of the UFP, if we go by the "small UFP" model apparently heavily favored in modern Trek. Anything less would be very, very bad - but this is freighter maximum speed, and the heroes can thus travel faster between these locations and meet the dramatic requirements easily enough.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  3. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Allow me to add this piece of information from "Bread and Circuses":

    KIRK: Mister Spock, assuming that the wreckage drifted at the same speed and direction for the past six years?
    SPOCK: It would have come from planet four, star system eight nine two, directly ahead.
    CHEKOV: Only one sixteenth parsec away, Captain. We should be there in seconds.

    Bob
     
  4. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    And that, in addition to "What Which Survives", is the most extreme high outlier in the TOS material. But the bright side here is that TNG, DS9, VOY or ENT material in turn features extremely few low outliers to contradict this.

    Basically, we only have annoyingly low definitions of warp factors 3 ("The Most Toys") and 4.4 ("Broken Bow"), both of which are also in direct contradiction with the rest of the material from the very same episodes (warp 3 in "The Most Toys" allowed a choice of multiple star systems within a day, just as it generally should, and warp 4.4 in "Broken Bow" took the ship to a side trip of 15 lightyears in no time flat).

    Generally, TNG is not really slower than TOS. It's merely accompanied by a more explicit source for a "backstage interpretation" of warp speeds - but that doesn't make the backstage source any more believable or consistent with what we actually see on screen. The practical difference lies in how very long voyages are treated. A dozen or a hundred lightyears can be covered very fast in both TOS and the rest; ten thousand will probably involve lower average speeds in both cases, but not assuredly so.

    That is, we don't know of TOS examples of journeys of ten thousand lightyears, but the one that took Kirk to the Galactic Barrier for the pilot episode may have been one of those. It happened offscreen, after all, and may have involved months or even years of outward travel. Certainly the stardates for the subsequent episodes suggest it took Kirk a long time to return to civilization afterwards...

    The "in-between" journeys of about a thousand lightyears are where the true difference lies. "That Which Survives" shows a high average speed for such a journey, but "Q Who?" shows a much lower average speed for a journey merely a couple of times longer. But that is solely the "fault" of the TOS outlier here, as most evidence in Trek suggests that average speeds drop drastically after the journey has taken a couple of hundred lightyears, or lasted for a couple of days.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  5. USS Jack Riley

    USS Jack Riley Captain Captain

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    One thing worth noting is that we are assuming a straight line (bird's eye view) of the trip. There are, no doubt, obstacles in the way that might cause the ship to slow in particular areas. Exam,s include dense asteroid fields (as opposed to what we have in our syste with 100,000s of thousands of moles beTween rocks), blac holes (which you really need to avoid for obvious reasons), nebula (which require either sub light speed or using warp speed to go around the nebula, neutral zones, etc. see Star Trek II for an example of this when, during the Kobayashi Masu, she orders Sulu to change course. No straight line is available from point a to point b. she has to take a parabolic course.

    My point is that perhaps we are focusing too much on the speed and not on the obstacles between the ship and the final destination. YMMV.
     
  6. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Hmm. I'm not sure whether any of these things would really qualify as obstacles in an interstellar journey from A to B.

    Asteroid belts as we know them are tiny things; the odds of hitting one en route from star A to star B are incredibly low. Black holes might be big or small, but our heroes have safely flown very close to those things and even gotten out of them easily enough (when lightspeed is no limit, this should be easy enough). And nebulas in Star Trek include almost microscopically small gas clouds (VOY has some that are mere thousands of kilometers wide) as well as larger ones - but ships often sail through the latter sort at high warp easily enough.

    Really, Han Solo should have been able to go to hyperspeed in an arbitrary direction without any real risk of ending inside a nova, and Star Trek ships which seem to be much slower and more capable of sensing their surroundings should be able to navigate with even less care.

    Then again, Starfleet in the 23rd century did employ dedicated navigators...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  7. USS Jack Riley

    USS Jack Riley Captain Captain

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    The dedicated navigator is what gave me the idea. Why have one if there are no obstacles that the helmsman need avoid?
     
  8. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    To play old Nick's advocate, "Navigator" might be an anachronistic name for a modern profession, the same way "Records Officer" in "Court Martial" seems to be some sort of a computer wizard who won't be spending any of his valuable time maintaining the ship's records.

    That is, rather than find the quickest route from A to B, Chekov might concentrate on monitoring nearby traffic, adjusting the navigational deflector to balance protection-of-ship vs. drag-induced-by-deflection, or running the sensors that tell where A and B are in the first place. Or whatever.

    Just about the only insight we get into Chekov's line of work is the instance or two when he's told to "calculate a spiral course" or "lay in a parabolic course". But even there, it seems the choice is made by the CO, and Chekov (or sometimes Sulu, directly) just punches it in - his role above and beyond feeding the automation with the skipper's command is still a mystery.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. Jose Tyler

    Jose Tyler Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Interesting observation, considering the NX-01 didn't have a navigator stationed on the bridge and there was a whole lot more unknown about space travel at that point (considering they had to borrow maps from the Vulcans).

    Based on what we saw though the run of TOS, the navigator seemed to spend much more time coordinating battle drills and making star charts (The Corbomite Maneuver), as well a serving as a weapons officer (Journey to Bable). Maybe the navigator serves more as a watch or duty officer, and just gets involved with actual navigating when a human can do do a better job than the computer.
     
  10. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Well we do know from "Squire of Gothos" that the navigator does use the sensors to check their flight path for hazards and space density. So the navigator could also be responsible for finding the fastest (or least resistant) path from point A to B. We've seen in "Balance of Terror" that the fastest path isn't a straight line for the Enterprise.

    The helmsman could also do that to since they seem to have overlapping "plot a course" orders given to them.

    Perhaps it's added combat redundancy or a way to give additional flight hours training to aspiring helmsman or science officers by working their way through the navigator's spot.
     
  11. throwback

    throwback Captain Captain

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    There is this discussion in "The Vengeance Factor".

    Brull: Set a course for three four three mark seven two.
    Crusher: That's going to take us through the center of an asteroid belt.
    Brull: What's the matter, kid? Can't you fly yourself around a couple of rocks?
    Crusher: Sure I can, but if we take this heading we can avoid the belt completely, and only lose twelve point one minutes at warp seven.
     
  12. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Making the detour counts as losing time, so I don't really see Wesley's point here. He really seems to be chickening out simply because he's irrationally afraid of a couple of rocks he factually can "handle".

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  13. Saturn0660

    Saturn0660 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    i think the moral is.. Why "risk" the ship to save 12 mins. It's just as easy(and safer) to simply go around.