I thought Vulcan was supposed to be a high G planet

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Deimos Anomaly, Sep 13, 2012.

  1. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    It is aeronautics that gives us the capital G for the multiples of the 9.81 m/ss acceleration or its associated force, regardless of the writing conventions of national or international systems of units. That is, a jet fighter's turning ability is more often described as +7G than as +7g.

    But conventions vary. The "gold standard" Aviation Week & Space Technology is consistent in its use of lowercase in expressions such as "g-forces" or "+2.2g", while otherwise observing the Imperial system of units and its writing practices (no fear of confusing it with "gram", then!). But even AW&ST speaks of G-LOC (acceleration-induced loss of consciousness), which certain medical magazines in turn call g-LOC. Basically any "popular" publication on aeronautics is going to go with the uppercase G for describing accelerations...

    I honestly can't remember - has Star Trek ever used "gee" for acceleration in any context?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  2. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Yes. For example, from Once Upon a Planet [http://www.chakoteya.net/startrek/TAS017.htm]:

    There are a variety of instances, actually. One Google search that locates some of them is to Google with
    as the search string.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    There's also the line often heard in the "status reports" background audio in the second pilot and many first-season episodes: "The gravity's down to point eight!" It's likely that they implicitly meant 0.8g, 80% of the Earth's surface gravity.
     
  4. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Yup - I was asking more about the use of the specific term "gee" in dialogue, but the fact that Kirk's ship regularly suffered reduced gravity is of interest as well.

    I wonder if we're really supposed to be thinking our heroes are under the influence of 0.8 Earth gravities? It could be that the "gravity is down" situation only prevails on some other parts of the ship.

    Constant low gravity is always difficult to fake convincingly. I recently watched "Moon", the 2009 flick about the lone helium miner, and that was pretty elegant. The hero moved fairly Earth-normally, out of supposed long experience, but was shown effortlessly lifting great weights and on occasion jumping with a bit more spring to his step than one would expect. Moondust flew in great arcs unhindered by air resistance. Nice and smooth - but Moon gravity really shouldn't allow for normal walking, no matter how careful you are.

    Point eight gees might, though.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  5. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, but in that line we never get to hear how they express it out loud, whether they say point eight gees (or point eight gee) or point eight gravities (or point eight gravity). Saying "gravities" is also done [e.g. http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=418638, "Could people survive at two gravities?"].

    ---

    Just as an aside, in TAS: Jihad, they say [http://www.chakoteya.net/StarTrek/TAS014.htm]:

    Then, they say "null-gravity" instead of "zero gee" (which of course has no bearing on the point eight chatter).
     
  6. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    One may speculate on the differences of zero, null and microgravity...

    Microgravity is something that only concerns the eggheads who want to know precisely how things behave in freefall. None of our heroes should use that term when talking about spacewalks or spaceflight, really.

    It would be fun to interpret "null gravity" as the artificially induced state of freefall, that is, the negation of natural pull with technology, and "zero gravity" as the absence of pull. Starships would typically have "null gravity" if things started to float around when the ship remained in motion, as freefall would be an unnatural way for a starship to move. But the immobile DS9 might have "zero gravity" when Melora turns off the gravity plates. I doubt the terminology is in any way consistent in Trek, though. Oh, well.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Just two different ways of saying the same thing, one an abbreviation of the other. It's like a doctor saying "ccs" instead of "cubic centimeters" (or "milliliters," which are equivalent). So that strikes me as a trivial distinction.
     
  8. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    I thought Timo's question was whether "gee" was what was said in dialog.
     
  9. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Yup, and thanks for the pointer to the TAS episode. It's well known that Trek is full of references to varying levels of gravity, including onscreen reduced-gravity scenes - it was the specific expression that intrigued me.

    ...On a similar vein, do we ever hear our characters speak of "EVA" as opposed to spacewalk?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    And I don't see why that's a significant question. Like I said, it's just the difference between using a spelled-out term and using its standard abbreviation. It's not like this is some arcane usage.
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Well, it's up to Star Trek to decide what is arcane and what is not in the 23rd century.

    Personally, I hope they have gotten rid of most of that horrid NASAspeak and e.g. no longer go on EVAs. Although I think they still speak of "reaction control systems", which sounds like something the Security department would use when they want to go really draconian.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    So according to this thread rhere is no canonical value for Vulcan's gravity relative to the Earth's.
     
  13. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    But by canon Spock is very strong.

    Kirk:
    Mister Spock is much stronger than the ordinary human being.
    Aroused, his great physical strength could kill
    .

    Kirk didn't say Spock was stronger because he lived in the gym.

    This would seem to say that it is Spock not being a ordinary Human being that makes him so strong. Leonard Nimoy had a good build, but he wasn't extremely muscular. So what gave Spock his great physical strength would be his half Vulcan heritage and up-bringing. Coming from a slightly higher gravity planet, growing up there, would give Spock increased bone density and increased childhood muscle fiber. Vulcan's low atmospheric pressure would also give Spock an advantage in Earth sea level pressure, his blood would be better able to supply oxygen to his muscles, I alway though that Spock would have had to be careful to constantly breath somewhat shallow. His heart, used to moving his blood in a high gravity environment, would be better at moving oxygenated blood to his muscles in a one gravity environment.

    However, spending many years in a (presumably) one gravity environment, even if his quarters were higher, Spock would not possess the muscle tone he would have if he had continued to live on Vulcan full time. Think of the muscle tone of Stonn and the headsman in Amok Time. Sarek, although more fully dressed, also looked a bit "beefy" in Journey to Babel.

    If Vulcan possessed a one gravity surface gravity, Spock would have the same strength as a Human of the same size and muscle tone.

    :)
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Not really. Chimpanzees evolved in the same gravity we did, and are generally no larger than us at most, yet they're typically somewhere from 2 to 4 times as strong as humans. Their muscle fibers are longer and more densely concentrated, so they can generate more force with the same amount of muscle. Muscles can have differences on the inside that aren't evident on the outside.

    So yes, gravity is one factor that can influence a species' strength, but it's wrong to assume it's the only factor. Species here on Earth can have widely differing strength levels, so the same could be true of species that evolved on planets with gravities close to Earth's.

    If anything, humans are toward the low end of the curve when it comes to physical strength. This is partly because our muscles have evolved to favor finer motor control and precision at the expense of raw power, while chimps' muscles tend toward the opposite trade-off. But it's possible that muscle tissues on some other planet, such as Vulcan, could've evolved yet another type of internal structure that allows both strength and fine motor control. We can't rule out the possibility that it would've been in response to higher gravity, but it didn't have to be.
     
  15. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    ...I wonder whether Spock had to develop exceptionally great strength in order to ward off all those bullies who felt it logical to try and unscrew his halfbreed head?

    It might also be that half-humans are much stronger than either humans or Vulcans, thanks to some sort of "hybrid vigor". The fact that the T'Kumbra baseball/wrestling team was superior to the DS9 team could have been due to a single one of the Vulcans being stronger than Sisko, as quoted (for whatever reason), and the rest of the lot simply being much more accurate batters and pitchers than any of the Niners...

    Then again, Trek did justify the humanoid aliens by claiming they were all engineered to be that way. This sort of preempts all "realistic" concerns: if the environment in which the humanoids grew had an effect on how they grew, they would probably diverge from the great plan of the engineers. Unless the environments were also carefully engineered, so that all the life-bearing planets would have Earth-normal pull, and all planets with different pull would somehow be secured against bearing life.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  16. Jonas Grumby

    Jonas Grumby Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Onscreen evidence suggests that in the Trek universe, environmentally-driven evolution of humanoids often effects only the forehead. :D
     
  17. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    :guffaw:Pon Farr: Not for the weak!
     
  18. mythme

    mythme Commodore Commodore

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    In "Learning Curve", Tuvok heighens the gravity on one of the decks during his training run with the 4 Maquis crewmembers. It certainly doesn't affect him, but the humans, the Bajoran and the Bolian all feel it. While it might just be a statement to Tuvok's exceptional physical training, it might mean that Vulcans are used to higher gravity.
     
  19. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    ...Which is a neat scifi concept, but not particularly in agreement with current understanding of the physiology of exposure to varying levels of gravity. It would appear that length and timing of exposure is the relevant thing here, and negates the effects of inherited characteristics. If anything, Tuvok, accustomed to high gravity, would become feeble and infirm aboard a human starship due to the prolonged exposure to abnormally low gravity...

    But as said, we today know nothing at all about the effects of prolonged high gravity on humans. Possibly our vulnerability to low gravity, too, is an anomaly that won't be repeated on other lifeforms even in the real world, let alone in the Trek universe? "Learning Curve" is indeed a good datapoint for further speculation.

    Timo Saloniemi