Mass, volume, and Warpdrive question.

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by UncleRice, Oct 1, 2011.

  1. Patrickivan

    Patrickivan Fleet Captain Newbie

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    I would like to agree on it being a monitor (NOT A HATER OF THE MOVIE!) but there was a scene where we saw into the bridge from the exterior of the "Enterprise".
     
  2. Scroogourner

    Scroogourner Admiral Admiral

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    Agreed, how do you know?
     
  3. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    The speeds that can be derived from those specific camera motions, absent of planet or starbase is any speed from stationary to somewhere less than the stated speed of the ship in dialogue to allow the ship to fly by.

    If you pick zero or stationary, then are you ignoring the dialogue if they say they are going at "warp speed"?

    @CLB - I believe Sojourner is speaking of the exterior VFX shots where we see the Enterprise zip by, not shots from the interior looking at the viewing screen.
     
  4. Cary L. Brown

    Cary L. Brown Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I know... but if you look at what I said, I applied the same rule to "what they see on the main viewer" and "what we see on our TV screens."

    It would be remarkably uninformative to see clouds of tiny dots, occasionally with one flashing bright before disappearing, when seeing a DS9 "dominion war" battle, from the audience's standpoint.

    What we, as the audience, see is, as far as I'm concerned, not intended to be a scientifically accurate representation of "what's really happening," but rather an "iconified" representation to let us see what's happening in a way that's a lot easier for the casual viewer to grasp.

    This is why dialog will say "ten million kilometers" when the defiant is practically brushing hulls with its target on-screen. The "reality" is that the defiant is doing what we see, in terms of maneuvering and firing, but it would be an infinitesimally small pinprick if we saw everything "in-scale."

    WE ARE SEEING A REPRESENTATION, just like the "real people" on those "real ships" would be seeing a representation on their viewscreens.

    Make sense?
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    No, I'm pointing out that none of the information offered in VFX shots can be taken literally. That's hardly "cherrypicking."


    I don't know what you're referring to here, but no Trek series has ever been consistent when discussing warp factor vs. travel time. It's "speed of plot," period.

    That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about how explosions in space are always depicted as the same kind of explosions we're used to seeing in TV and movies, like the destruction of the Enterprise in ST III or of the E-D in "Cause and Effect," or for that matter the explosions of Alderaan and the Death Star -- explosions which are made by setting off a pyrotechnic charge or liquid-fuel container in a studio and filming the results. Explosions in vacuum don't look the same way. The big poofy orange fireballs that we think of as explosions are the result of the expanding gases mixing with the atmosphere they expand into, creating turbulence, which gives the fireball its roiling, cloudy appearance. Also the oxygen sustains the flame and keeps it bright. In vacuum, neither of those would be the case; you'd just get a quick flash and a spherical expanding cloud with no turbulence. So the way explosions in space are always depicted in TV/movies is imaginary.

    (For that matter, even most film/TV explosions in atmosphere are unrealistic. They're generally made using low-power liquid-fuel explosives that produce a lot of flame and very little force. Whereas the high-powered explosives they're usually representing would have much smaller fireballs because they'd burn through or disperse the reactants far more quickly, and they'd produce a lot more shrapnel and smoke.)


    You can't seriously be asking that.


    I'm not "insisting" anything. I'm merely describing what real physics says about the questions raised in the thread. Make of it what you will. (But don't take it so seriously, okay?)



    There's no reason why that should upset fans of the Abrams movie, because the Abrams movie is explicitly set in a parallel timeline, portraying a different incarnation of the Enterprise that is much larger and has different technology. Nobody disputes that the main viewscreen in the Prime universe's Enterprise NCC-1701 was a monitor. But the different Enterprise of the alternate reality has a different bridge design in which there is a window at the front with a heads-up display "viewscreen" projected on it. Two different ship designs, two different realities, so no reason for conflict.
     
  6. Scroogourner

    Scroogourner Admiral Admiral

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    Nope, not at all, just not reading anything into it. So, how do you know?

    To put it a different way, in the traditional shot of Enterprise zipping past, do you think the VFX people:

    A) thought "ok, lets have the ship go by at warp 8 and imagine the camera is pacing at warp 7.999999999 so the ship appears to move by really fast while still being visible".

    or

    B) thought " we need a shot of the ship moving past the camera, we can speed up or slow the shot down as necessary to represent different speeds"
     
  7. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Actually I imagine the VFX guys think of the same thing when filming a German fighter buzzing the gunner of a B-17 (camera) during a WW2 movie. If there is nothing but the gunner of the B-17 and the German fighter in view, all we have to work on is the relative speed of the fighter to the gunner. It would be impossible to tell how fast the bomber is going without seeing the ground.

    So, if you look back at those TOS external VFX shots that have no planets or starbases as reference points they are remarkably flexible in depicting the ship at any speed.

    And if the camera can be at any speed with no reference points, how can you pin down the speed of the Enterprise?



    You're saying on the TV show to ignore the VFX shots. The VFX shots that you claim shouldn't be used because they differ from your world view. How is that not cherrypicking?

    If you watch "The Voyage Home", between the point where the BOP goes to "warp speed" and the time we see the BOP break orbit at "warp speed" two minutes of dialogue take place. That's got nothing to do with time travel. The time travel bit came up on a different part of the discussion about factoring in the mass of the whales and water.

    The only cheesy explosion I recalled in TOS in space was the Klingon Battlecruiser in "Day of the Dove". The rest of TOS didn't have much going on for external shots other than just flashes of light. Although I would expect some cloudy gas from atmosphere igniting.

    I'm with you if you don't take Star Trek's lack of physics so seriously either :)

    And to the OP's question:
    Star Trek's Warp physics has nothing to do with "real physics". You can preface your argument with "Real Physics" says "a theoretical warp drive would have these parameters..." but how Star Trek warp physics works is a whole different ball of wax depending on which series you want to pull the information from and how one interprets it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2011
  8. Scroogourner

    Scroogourner Admiral Admiral

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    Exactly, how can you? Neither of our points of view have concrete evidence.

    Christopher said "travel time", not "time travel".
     
  9. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    What was your point and what was mine?

    Your point was that the external VFX shots of TOS show the ship never traveling faster than light most of the time. Since you're unable to tell how fast the camera is traveling at, then how can you claim that point? If you're asking me, I think you can't. All you can do is look at the VFX with the dialogue and see if they mention how fast they are going.

    My point was that the times we do see VFX+dialogue of the TOS ships near a star or going from Earth to the sun, the actual speeds are a lot slower than if they were flying between systems. "The Voyage Home" is a good example of warp next to a planet and the result is slower than FTL. (And I consider that a TOS movie.)

    Ah. Then I'll amend that to:

    If you watch other TOS episodes that involve warping around inside a star system, the ship's actual speed is consistently slower than if they were warping around between systems. Perhaps it is just coincidence, but those "speed of plots" line up for those episodes in TOS.

    How TNG and later productions hold up, I haven't watched enough to guess.
     
  10. UncleRice

    UncleRice Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Ok, when I say proton mass, I don't mean proton particles, I'm thinking something akin to a proton star. Something maybe 6 inches in diameter and with the mass of a star because it's just protons(and maybe some neutrons to keep it from flying apart). It's small enough to fit in a suitcase, but will seriously mess up a planet if someone warps one into the neighbourhood. If warp drive can do that, then warp drive is an "I win card" for the first person to find a proton mass. I was looking for some rules for warp drive that vaguely agreed with real world physics that wasn't addressed in an episode or movie. What I've come up with is:

    1: Gravity complicates warp fields, but competent engineering can over come it.
    2: Mass will make a ship sluggish and unresponsive even if you have the throttle wide open but you can still reach speeds that break the fabric of time, so be prepared to back up and get a run at it.
    3: Just because a proton mass fits inside a warp bubble, doesn't mean you can make the extra mass move.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2011
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    There is no such thing. It's a physical impossibility. The more protons you get together, the stronger their mutual electric repulsion becomes, and the more neutrons you need to bind them into a nucleus. That's why small nuclei have equal numbers of protons and neutrons (for instance, carbon has six of each), but heavier elements need considerably more neutrons than protons to be stable (for instance, gold has 79 protons and 118 neutrons, while Californium has 98 protons and 153 neutrons). So anything as large as you're suggesting would need far, far more neutrons than protons.

    You must be thinking of a neutron star, a stellar remnant made largely of neutron-degenerate matter.


    Not possible. A typical neutron star has a diameter of around 24 kilometers, give or take. Compress its mass even smaller and you get a black hole, and the Schwarzschild radius of a black hole the mass of the Sun would be 3 kilometers (or 6 km diameter). That is, the actual mass of the black hole would be point-sized, but its gravity would be so intense that anything within 3 kilometers would have to travel faster than light to escape it, so basically 3 km is the closest you can possibly get to it. (That's called the event horizon because no events can be seen beyond it.)

    A chunk of neutron-degenerate matter small enough to fit in a suitcase would instantly re-expand to non-degenerate matter in a huge explosion. It couldn't exist apart from its star. It's possible that a strangelet of that size could be stable, but it would be far below stellar mass and thus wouldn't pose the planetary-scale hazard you suggest (not from its gravity alone, anyway).


    True, but the gravity of something as dense as a neutron star might be too difficult to compensate for. Not to mention the impracticality of building a warp drive capable of generating a bubble over 24 kilometers across.


    One person is claiming that mass will make a ship sluggish, but he's basing that on unreliable evidence and it doesn't make physical sense. I'd discount his claims if I were you.

    And there's no "breaking the fabric of time." Just because you can put those words together in that order doesn't give them any actual meaning. What you're doing is generating a spacetime geometry that causes the piece of spacetime you occupy to alter its relationship to the universe around it. There's no actual speed involved at all.


    No, 3: There's no such thing as a "proton mass." You're thinking of a neutron star, and there's no way it could reasonably fit inside a warp bubble.
     
  12. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Actually, it shouldn't be difficult to believe that Trek's mastery of gravity would allow for pocketable black holes. Somehow, treknology already allows a starship of macroscopic mass to attain lightspeed; if the mass reduction trick works both ways, one might simply ramp us the mass of neutrons till each weighs in at fifty pounds, and then mold those into a fist-sized neutron star whose spacetime curvature is kept manageable by the "reverse warp field" around the thing. Perhaps not a suitcase application in the 24th century yet, but no doubt something you could install into a starship, or build a starship around.

    We'd need specific additional technobabble to disprove the existence of this sort of treknology application; otherwise, it can be assumed to be part and parcel of the high energy magic of Trek engineering.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  13. UncleRice

    UncleRice Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Mmm, ok, the premise of the story is that a naturally occurring antimatter star collapsed into a mass of neutrons and anti-protons. This this neutron/ anti-proton mass over a period of millions of years slamed into normal matter objects annihilating them an bits of itself until it's reduced to approximately the mass of an M class planet.

    Along come a mystery person who creates a pocket universe around the anti-protons sort of like Wesley crusher did with the Enterprise's warp drive (Remember Me). This allows a loop hole in physics. He isn't moving the mass, he is moving the access point to the pocket universe. He places this pocket universe inside multi-purpose cylindrical container equipped with a bale handle (see file BK3T-5). Said person of mystery puts container into storage at a Ferengi self storage facility in the Promellian region.

    Weeks later a Cardassian arrives, ans spends several hours in a bar before buying Cardassian porn and retrieving the container. He places the container on the roof of his small budget shuttle while loading the shuttle with his porn and booze and forgets the container.

    It is suspected the navigational shields held the container in place until about warp 4.3 to warp 4.6 at which time the container smacked into the shuttles warp pylon causing the anti proton mass to be released from the pocket universe. The shuttle is consumed by the explosion that rips a hole in subspace.

    Somewhere several sectors away a junior Federation technician notices the explosion on a long range sensor and says: "This just ain't right. We need a closer look." (insert story involving Breen, Ferengi, an understaffed saber class ship, left overs from the Promellian/ Menthar war, and technobabble here).
     
  14. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    @Timo - And there is also the massive V'ger from "The Motion Picture" warping around with an accompanying energy field over 2 AU (Director's Edition) or over 82 AU (Theatrical Cut) wide. If V'ger's technology uses warp fields for propulsion, encompassing a 24km object with a warp field would be fairly trivial.

    Timo's idea of mass reduction is used notably from TNG's "Deja Q" where a warp field is used to reduce the mass of a small moon enough to be pushed.
     
  15. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    I was thinking about this today< and it occured to me that the size/mass of the object being moved must bear on the power of the warp drive given that larger ships have engines that are proportional to them. Otherwise we might as well have all warp drive units looking more or less the same size on the ship. This might work for Star Wars's "hyperdrive motivator" but it doesn't feel right for Trek. (Maybe not even in SW. I bet an Imperial Star Destroyer has a bigger motivator than the Falcon, or an X-Wing. Somebody stop me before i get too off topic!!)

    --Alex
     
  16. Deks

    Deks Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    If you recall, Ds9 stated that creating a warp field around the station would lower it's overall mass (which allowed for thrusters to position the station at the mouth of the wormhole in a speedy manner).

    This mechanism apparently takes place every time a warp field is created around the ship/station - which in effect easily explains 'jet fighter' type movements of large ships (which later on was apparently dropped for 'drama reason' - or as always - the writers forgetting (unintentionally or otherwise) what the technology can do).
     
  17. Cary L. Brown

    Cary L. Brown Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That wasn't the first time that this was ever done, either. Granted, this was never specifically mentioned during TOS, but nothing in TOS is contradicted by this either (which is one of my own criteria for what elements of later series I reject and what elements I accept).

    We know a couple of things about "static subspace fields," from direct in-show evidence.

    1) Subspace fields can be used to reduce the "apparent mass" of objects.

    This was done in TNG (to let the enterprise move a much larger object.. can't recall the episode, but Geordi put the ship's subspace field around something... I'm thinking it was an asteroid???... to let the Enterprise move it. This was a technobabble thing, but I remember that the ship was trying to divert this (asteroid) but the tractor beam was too weak and the propulsion system was too weak to do it. The argument kept being "how do we make the ship able to move an object so big and heavy" and the "aha moment" was when Geordi realized that he could make the object lighter instead. (Anyone remember what episode this was?)

    This was done again in DS9, in the pilot, to allow the station to be moved dramatic distances using nothing but the "position maintaining" thruster system around the station ring perimeter. What's notable here is that, unless the wormhole was literally just a couple of light-minutes away from Bajor (which is NOT evidently the case), this also infers other characteristics of a static subspace field, which I'll bring up in a moment.

    There may be other references to subspace fields reducing apparent mass, but I can't think of any.

    2) The other effect that such a field has is that it increases the local "apparent speed-of-light."

    We know this because the 1701-D has a subspace field generation system attached to each computer core (according to the tech manual and yes, I'm pretty sure also in-show dialogue) to allow the "optical circuits" to work FTL.

    There's an interesting side-observation you can make re: this... that is, that a static subspace field is NOT the same as a "warp field," since there is no indication that the "optical computers" on the Enterprise are in any way affected by using the warp drive, is there?

    These two things, along with numerous bit of (mainly, but not purely, TOS-related) info that makes no sense otherwise, lead me to conclude that you could pair a conventional newtonian "impulse drive" with such a static subspace field to "reduce the mass" of the ship (allowing very fast acceleration/deceleration with minimal actual thrust application) and to actually permit ships using "impulse" to move faster than light.

    This works for DS9's relocation, if the wormhole is more than just a few light-minutes from Bajor. It works for the idea that the Romulan War was fought using "impulse-only" ships. It works for the idea that TOS shuttlecraft were "impulse-only" but still had those external nacelles (they're not "warp nacelles" but they are "subspace field nacelles") and that a TOS shuttlecraft can move FTL. It works for "Where No Man Has Gone Before" where the Enterprise, without "warp drive" capabiity, manages to make it to a star system with potential repair gear before the third generation of the ship's crew dies of old age. And on and on and on.
     
  18. Cary L. Brown

    Cary L. Brown Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Overall, we have to accept that (a) we, in real life, have no idea how any Trek physics (beyond what is based upon real physics) works, and (b) most of the "magic physics" we see in Star Trek relates either to "magic particles" or the ability to manipulate gravity (which also occasionally strays into "magic gravity particles")

    Warp drive is very likely one of those "magic gravity-related" technologies. How does this relate to actual gravity (as it exists in the real world)?

    Simple... IT'S MAGIC. Or, in scriptwriting terms, it's a "McGuffin."
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, yeah; the bigger the ship, the bigger the warp bubble needs to be to surround the ship, and thus the more powerful the machinery needs to be to generate it. So I'd say it's more a function of the volume of the ship than its mass.


    Yes, that's the idea. And it kinda makes sense. Mass is essentially, for these purposes, a distortion in the fabric of spacetime. If you "flatten out" spacetime around an object, you effectively cancel out its mass. So you're warping (i.e. reshaping) spacetime, you're just warping it in the opposite way from how your ship's or station's mass does so, thereby cancelling it out.
     
  20. Lord Manitou

    Lord Manitou Commander Red Shirt

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    If your talking ab0ut a substance that is largely photons you are talking about hydrogen or helium in outer space. If thier kinetic energy is high their electrons are stripped. They can make a substance with a very high specific gravity like in proton stars. In science fiction each episode is dependent on what is obviously impossible from today's point of view. For science to approach this pinnacle of technological advancement seems outlandish. Within Voyager's three dimensions of sub-space , attaining one billion miles per second is a matter of course. I can immagine the engines would have to be more powerful and bigger to serve a greater mass. To carry a high specific gravity they would need to be more expensive because of the greater warp factors surrounding the objects.