original explanation of the warp drive

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by sachibachi1, Nov 15, 2012.

  1. sachibachi1

    sachibachi1 Cadet Newbie

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    Nov 15, 2012
    Hi there,

    I'm trying to put together this awesome video about warp drives, and I really want an explanation of how it works taken from the show.

    From memory I can't remember any that have an actual explanation of how it works, and I have been re-watching loads of episodes but with no luck so far (only enjoyment..:D)

    Can anyone help me? Does anyone know if there is an episode where they explain how the warp drive works?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Mar 15, 2001
    Roddenberry's way of thinking was that a cowboy wouldn't stop to explain to the audience how his gun worked, and a beat cop wouldn't stop to explain how his car worked, so the Trek characters didn't need to explain how warp drive worked.

    So you have to look to behind-the-scenes material for warp theory. The first time it was really delved into was in NASA propulsion engineer Dr. Jesco von Puttkamer's notes for Star Trek: The Motion Picture, on which he was a consultant. His memo on warp theory is reprinted in the book The Making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture by Susan Sackett and Gene Roddenberry (Wallaby Books, March 1980) -- and it bears a striking resemblance to the theoretical "warp drive" model formulated by Dr. Miguel Alcubierre in 1994. A somewhat different explanation was presented in the Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual by Rick Sternbach and Michael Okuda (Pocket Books, November 1991). Since they were TNG's main technical consultants, their book reflects the assumptions about warp drive and other Trek technology that the writers and producers of the show were using (except when poetic license dictated otherwise), and has been the standard model ever since.
     
  3. trekker670

    trekker670 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The newest Star Trek movie (2009) alludes to it in the scene where Spock Prime gives Scotty the formula for transporting to a ship at warp.

    He says something in regards to "I never thought of space as the thing that's moving." Implying the theory that the ship isn't actually traveling fast than light, but that space warps around the ship to allow for travel great distances very quickly. The fact that one of Starfleet's top engineers didn't realize this is surprising, but we'll ignore that!
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I took it more to mean that the transwarp beaming problem was soluble in a different mathematical framework than the one he'd been using. Things like motion are defined differently relative to different coordinate systems, and sometimes a physics problem is more mathematically tractable in one coordinate framework than another.
     
  5. trekker670

    trekker670 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yes, I definitely agree, but it would still seem to reason that one of the top engineers would have considered that. That's something you learn in basic college physics.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    You're missing the point. It's not that he didn't know how warp drive worked -- you're taking his words too literally. It's that he'd been approaching the transwarp beaming problem from one mathematical framework, and had become so fixated on trying to solve it that way that he hadn't considered the possibility that a different formulation would be a better way to solve the problem. It's not that he was ignorant of the principle underlying that other formulation, just that he hadn't realized it was a better basis for solving this one particular problem.

    Also, remember the setting we're talking about. The Prime-universe Scotty was one of Starfleet's top engineers by the TOS movie era, by the 2270s and '80s, due in part to his accomplishments on the Enterprise in the 2260s. But the Abrams movie was set in 2258, introducing us to the characters at an earlier stage of their careers, before they'd achieved the things that made their reputations. So this is a younger, more inexperienced Scotty. He's only 36 years old in the '09 movie, and clearly isn't highly regarded by Starfleet Command, or they wouldn't have exiled him to a frozen hellhole.
     
  7. sachibachi1

    sachibachi1 Cadet Newbie

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    Nov 15, 2012
    Thank you very much for the answers. I think I will try and use the line from the movie.
     

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