Impulse Deflection Crystal...?

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by bryce, Aug 22, 2012.

  1. bryce

    bryce Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    So in ENT and TOS "impulse" is some sort of fusion power - possibly even some form of pulse fusion like in the proposed Daedalus starship design. (I like how on book called it "InterMittent Pulse fusion"...or "I.M. Pulse".)

    Then in the TOS-era cast films, we now have this "impulse deflection crystal", which would seem to channel warp power to the impulse drive, so I guess fusion power sources wouldn't be necessary(...?) (We also seem to possibly be able to use the warp drive to augment the impulse drive, so that we can travel something called "warp .5" and other fractions of warp speed...which makes sense if some theories about the impulse drive being more than a mere reaction-based propulsion system...which I like, since they have artificial gravity, they would also have the basis for a reactionless drive...in fact, warp-drive itself could be said to be a reactionless drive - but I mean they could use artificial gravity to propel - push, pull and stop - the ship. Anyway...)

    Now by TNG's time, we are back to just fusion (according to the technical manual. Inertial confinement fusion, to boot!) I dunno, seems kinda like a step backwards to me.

    Then again, I guess it makes sense to have a seperate systems - if the warp core goes off line, or is damaged, or has to be ejected - you won't be stranded. Maybe that's why it was fazed out and fusion brought back...?

    Or am I wrong and the TNG-era impulse drives can also be powered by - or at least get a boost from - the warp drive plasma?

    What do you techie Trekkies think? ;)
     
  2. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think that certain systems are introduced and then made obsolete by more efficient engines as time goes by. I think the warp governors on the NX-class and the impulse deflection crystals used by ships in the late 23rd-Century kind of fell into that category.

    It's possible that the Galaxy-class may have impulse deflection crystals too--there's two large blue glowy areas above and roughly between the saucer impulse engines--or they might be something totally unrelated.

    As far as power sources, I've always leaned to the idea that both warp and impulse engines are used to power a ship's EPS grid, but that impulse power is used as a backup to warp power, but also can be used for less energy-hungry systems aboard a ship as well.
     
  3. Navigator_NCC2120

    Navigator_NCC2120 Captain Captain

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    I always thought of the impulse engine speed specified as warp .5 as (0.5 x 0.5 x 0.5) x c = 0.125 x c, which is another way of saying 12.5% the speed of light, where c is the speed of light. I still thought of the impulse engines as reaction-based propulsion and I thought the saying warp .5 as another way of saying half impulse.


    Navigator NCC-2120 USS Entente
    /\
     
  4. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    At Warp 0.5 the time from Earth to Jupiter equal out to about between 0.3c to 0.49c depending on planetary position from TMP.

    IIRC, in TOS, impulse power could be augmented by other power sources (throwing the kitchen sink at it) and vice-versa, impulse power can boost other systems. It was kind of interchangeable. The main difference was that warp power could be regenerated whereas impulse was a fixed fuel quantity.
     
  5. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    The name "impulse deflection crystal" was not actually used in dialogue during the movie era, or elsewhere. Nor was the comparable blue thingamabob in ENT called "symmetrical warp field governor" in actual dialogue. But these backstage names do make for good tech continuity when combined with the TNG Tech Manual doubletalk.

    The Manual speaks of impulse drive being boosted by subspace coils, but also of the Ambassador class being the first (for a long time?) to do so. Yet the idea of using subspace fields (or "symmetric warp fields") to reduce mass in order to make STL travel easier is a great one - it defeats most of the real-world objections to the magical performance of the Trek STL engines. Every starship would need those fields, then.

    Now, we can assume that some ships have those subspace coils as part of their impulse engines (like the Ambassador), generating a special field for reducing the ship's mass. But others have this blue crystal, which "governs" or "deflects" the warp field of the warp engines in such a way that the (symmetric rather than propulsively asymmetric) warp field reduces the ship's mass. Hence the two backstage names for the crystal...

    Coils in impulse engines would be in fashion during TOS and for Ambassador; crystal deflection of fields generated by the warp coils would be in fashion during ENT and the TOS movies. And the Galaxy generation of starships might merge the technologies into a compromise of some sort.

    Or then the blue glow, which is unique to the Galaxy and not present in the otherwise similar Nebula or "BoBW" kitbash ships, is actually warp glow from the saucer's warp engines, vital for the separated flight mode and apparently used at least in "Encounter at Farpoint" to allow the saucer to reach Deneb IV apace with the battle section. In which case the impulse engines would feature their own built-in coils, as the Tech Manual seems to suggest.

    ...Including warp, in "Corbomite Maneuver". Unless we interpret that as impulse propulsion being used to boost warp propulsion, or perhaps just to create a confusing nuance to the propulsion to shake off Balok's tractor beam.

    Was warp power really "regenerated"? The only time we hear of power regenerating, it is with respect to life support power in "Mark of Gideon" - which could simply mean that the fuel supplies of warp drive would last forever when gradually used for recharging the batteries of life support for just two people.

    While TOS writers probably had wild ideas about how warp was fueled or how it worked, none of those were so explicit as to contradict the later, more explicit movie or TNG era ideas about antimatter annihilation and hydrogen-antihydrogen tankage and whatnot.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  6. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    In TOS it appears that the warp power was being regenerated. We have:

    "The Mark of Gideon" - After Kirk slows the warp engines to sublight:
    KIRK: Well, let's see. Power, that's no problem, it regenerates. And food. We have enough to feed a crew of four hundred and thirty for five years.
    "Where No Man Has Gone Before" - Burnt out warp engines were regenerated with new parts.

    "The Naked Time" - all engines shut down cold and it takes 30 minutes to regenerate them to full power.

    "By Any Other Name" - a several thousand year trip to the Andromeda galaxy was seen as a problem of time, not fuel.

    Whenever the warp power was severely taxed or drained, it would take time to build them back up again, or "regenerate" them. This occurs in "The Tholian Web" and "Tomorrow is Yesterday". More specific problems could be when the dilithium crystals were not at full power, requiring re-amplification. This occurs in "The Alternative Factor" and to some extent as well in "Day of the Dove" and "The Voyage Home" when the crystals start to deteriorate.

    As far as I know, the TOS movies were inline with what was depicted in TOS. What specific examples were you thinking of?

    TNG and it's continuity however does have fundamental differences (contradictions) with how dilithium and fuel work.
     
  7. backstept

    backstept Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think those were the arboretum windows

    [edit] hmm . . . Memory Alpha says that the Galaxy class arboretum was on deck 17 which would place it on the lower portion of the saucer
     
  8. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    ...And why would an arboretum have windows opening into space? Much less ones that glowed an intense blue light? The arboretums we saw had a pleasant yellowish glow inside, and the plants within did not seem to be suffering from erratic exposure to starlight.

    But none of those references indicate that fuel would be replenished or that finite resources would not be drained. A gasoline engine would need to recover from damage or cold, too...

    The two examples of great endurance are dubious, too. "Mark of Gideon" does not deal with propulsion, but with the survival of two people in a situation where the rest of the universe for all practical purposes has ceased to be inhabited. And "By Any Other Name" deals with alien modifications to the drive, these consisting of the addition of a thingamabob into the loop - quite probably a power source of great endurance, as the one performance spec of the ship we see increased beyond previously established ones is endurance at speed.

    The visual and verbal references to antimatter intermix at Main Engineering in TMP, mainly. The full Probert or Puttkamer ideas weren't explicit yet, but the focus was moving away from the nacelles already.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Well considering in TOS, with no power equals no propulsion they go hand in hand (assuming propulsion was undamaged). And again, the power regenerates and is "no problem" for their survival.
    KIRK: How long would you like it to last?
    ODONA: Forever.
    KIRK: Well, let's see. Power, that's no problem, it regenerates. And food. We have enough to feed a crew of four hundred and thirty for five years. So that should last us
    That argument does not work because Rojan tells everyone his plan to modify the engines after Kirk points out the problem of how long it will take. When Kirk tells him it'll take too long, he is operating under the parameters that he knows of his unmodified ship.
    KIRK: What's the point of capturing my ship? Even at maximum warp, the Enterprise couldn't get to Andromeda galaxy for thousands of years.
    ROJAN: Captain, we will modify its engines, in order to produce velocities far beyond the reach of your science. The journey between galaxies will take less than three hundred of your years.
    Verbally, "intermix" was used in TOS. Visually, we've never seen the plumbing that goes from the engineering hull to the nacelles that happen beyond the engineering walls in TOS. Other than some natural progression of technology shown by updated aesthetics, there doesn't appear to be any major change between TOS and TOS Movies, IMHO.
     
  10. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    What I never understood is how "reverse impulse" and "reverse warp" worked. Based on the location of the impulse emitters, the thrust vector seems like it should be relatively uni-directional. Reverse thrusters is one thing, like in Star Trek VI when Enterprise "backs off" away from the cloaked Klingon BoP, but IIRC they were going balls-out in reverse, under warp power, to get away from the Romulan BoP's plasma bolt in "Balance of Power". Has this ever been adequately explained?
     
  11. QuinnTV

    QuinnTV Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    The book "Final Frontier", featuring Capt. April and George Kirk in the early days of the Enterprise, was the first place I saw "Internally Metered Pulse Drive". Always thought that was a neat idea.

    I believe Rick Sternbach indicated that those are the arboretum windows, but the labels didn't make it onto the 1701D blueprints.
     
  12. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    Reverse warp makes sense to me, assuming it's just nested subspace fields that press against each other to provide momentum, it shouldn't be hard to just fire them the other way and go backwards. But all the deflector hardware is aimed forward, so I suppose reverse warp power would only be used if you really meant it!

    As for reverse impulse, I'm increasingly of the opinion that impulse drive was never, in fact, a rocket in the conventional sense. Rather, it too is a form of warp engine, in that it produces a subspace field which reduces the ship's apparent mass and provides directional momentum. Notice that in several instances (mostly TOS but not exclusively) ships without warp power (even the Enterprise herself after being damaged in WNMHGB) do manage to attain low FTL speeds. The "exhaust grill" we often (but not always) see is, in my opinion, a heat exchanger more than a thruster, and not all ship's even need that much external hardware for the impulse engine to run. Therefore reverse impulse power is the same as reverse warp; you just make the field pulse backwards and off you go tail first.

    --Alex
     
  13. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    In support of this, the impulse engines typically glow even when there is no propulsion taking place. And if they glow more intensely on occasion, it's not in correlation with propulsion taking place - at most, it's in correlation with an exceptional amount of propulsion taking place (mainly in TOS-R), which might involve things overheating and this radiator glowing to get rid of the waste heat.

    Since the "nozzles" are seldom situated anywhere near a plausible thrust axis anyway, exhaust-based thrust is unlikely from the very start. However, this doesn't mean there couldn't be some exhaust vectoring in addition to the main propulsive action - rather comparable to some aircraft piston engines deriving (marginal) extra thrust from angling their exhaust pipes aft! Indeed, some ship designs feature what looks like mechanical thrust reversers (see the E-E nozzle "lips") even though their "nozzles" are angled in funny directions to begin with and are rather unlikely to spit flames directly aft.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  14. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    I had always thought that the T-shaped hatch at the engineering hull buttom of he TOS Enterprise was some kind of hatch for an extendable impulse engine assembly that could provide reverse impulse (the torpedo launcher of the movie Enterprise would seem to be a better place) - or the Bussard ramscoops working in reverse mode (exhausting particles instead of sucking these in).

    Considering they already considered for TOS that the main and the engineering hull ("star drive section") could occasionally operate separately, I wonder if warp propulsion was all the star drive section would have to rely on.

    Bob
     
  15. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Just did the math for giggles. To make it to Andromeda in 300 years you'd have to travel at ~7,333 x light speed.
     
  16. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    So, about warp factor 19.4 if we assume the old warp scale was warp factor ^3...

    --Alex
     
  17. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    I calculated it to be about ~8,494c @TOS Warp 11 in Intergalactic Space

    Speed is calculated from 2,540,000 LY / 299 Years
    KIRK: What’s the point of capturing my ship? Even at maximum warp, the Enterprise couldn’t get to Andromeda galaxy for thousands of years.
    ROJAN: Captain, we will modify its engines, in order to produce velocities far beyond the reach of your science. The journey between galaxies will take less than three hundred of your years.

    ROJAN: And we’ll go faster yet. Increase speed to warp eleven.
    KIRK: Increase speed to warp eleven, Mister Chekov.
    For comparison at TNG Warp Scale, that would be a little slower than the Enterprise-D's trip back home in "Where No One Has Gone Before":

    ~8,970c @TNG Warp, E-D's "maximum warp" in S1.

    Speed is calculated from 2,700,000 LY / 301 Years
    PICARD: That’s not possible. Data, what distance have we travelled?
    DATA: Two million seven hundred thousand light years.

    LAFORGE: And I calculate that at maximum warp, sir it would take over three hundred years to get home.
    In TNG, ~8,970c is somewhere between TNG Warp 9 (833c) and VOY Warp 9.9 (21,457c).

    TNG and later appears to favor a "flat" or "universal" speed based on the warp factor. TOS, OTOH, appears to depend on whether the ship is in star system, in interstellar space or in intergalactic space and is fastest in interstellar space (200,000-800,000c range). IMHO.
     
  18. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    There's still quite a bit of variety in the TNG era, mostly with short trips. It is with these insanely long intra- or intergalactic distances that we typically get both the travel time and the distance in hard numbers, but this is countered by many instances where we get a warp factor and an implicit travel time. Say, VOY "Scorpion": Borg intrigue 5.2 ly away, warp two for a hop that doesn't take hours of plot time.

    It is pretty easy to argue that it's over long distances and times that the warp speeds "even out", both because local conditions grow statistically less relevant, and because there is good statistical evidence of what is a safe top speed for long duration travel yet always an option to ignore the limiters and lock the safety valves during short hops.

    Did they? All dialogue references are to discarding one component or another, rather than to continuing to operate it after a separation. It seems that a discarding sequence leaves just the saucer section surviving to tell the tale - and the propulsive capabilities of that section are never made clear, save for its supposed ability to break from orbit and escape the episode's calamity that is dragging the rest of the ship to a fiery crash.

    As for the placement of putative reverse impulse engines, I think it's a bit of wasted effort. Only the various Enterprises look like they could be moving on rocket thrust from the aft-facing impulse engines anyway; the other ship designs have their aft-facing engines located far away from the supposed thrust axis, meaning they would just start spinning in place if thrust were applied - or would have to fly in a pronounced nose up or nose down orientation we do not observe. Something more exotic than directed rocket thrust must be involved there, which in turn makes it unnecessary to have rocket nozzles pointing forward for reverse thrust.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  19. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    "Designed to operate separately from the rest of the ship, the saucer therefore contains all elements necessary for independent operation." "Minimal crew quarters are located in this (secondary) hull, used by duty engineers and by the star-drive crew when the saucer section has detached and is operating separately."
    Making of Star Trek, Part II, Chapter 2 (The U.S.S. Enterprise), pages 171 and 191.

    Yes, they did consider hull separation for other occasions than just emergencies.

    Bob
     
  20. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Hmm, in "Scorpion", they travel 5.2 ly starting at Warp 2. But because of the cuts we don't know the time it actually took or if there were any changes in speed. They do have another reference in that episode which is inline with what we know of TNG+ Warp Speed scales:

    ~2,920c @ VOY "maximum warp"

    Speed is calculated from 40 LY / 5 Days
    SEVEN: Insufficient. Our latest tactical projections indicate that the war will be lost by then. The nearest Borg vessel is forty light years away. You will reverse course and take us to it.
    CHAKOTAY: Even at maximum warp, that’s a five day journey in the wrong direction. We’re supposed to be heading out of Borg space, not deeper into it.

     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012

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