Saucer Separation

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by xvicente, May 2, 2013.

  1. DavidGutierrez

    DavidGutierrez Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    The discrepancy with "Encounter at Farpoint" has a real-world explanation: based on on-screen evidence during the first several episodes of TNG, the VFX guys and producers clearly wanted TNG's warp effect to mimic TOS's. The warp streak we all know so well wasn't introduced until a few episodes into the series. The Enterprise was clearly meant to be at warp during the separation sequence in "Encounter." Based on this, it is difficult to conclude that the Enterprise was at impulse in "The Arsenal of Freedom."

    Second, and I can't remember where I've read this, but I believe the saucer was meant to have a "warp coasting" ability when the separation sequence was first conceived. This would allow the ship to stay in warp for a time before gently reverting to sublight and would reconile the conflicting information presented in "Encounter," "Arsenal," and "Brothers." Picard may have intended that the saucer fall gently out of warp after coasting for a while, not for the saucer to be instantly wrenched from warp. And, this would have allowed the saucer to reach Deneb and flee Minos in those respective episodes.
     
  2. DavidGutierrez

    DavidGutierrez Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Minor nitpick, but on-screen evidence seems to suggest that the shuttle was launched from the stardrive section.
     
  3. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^I've thought the same thing but wasn't sure whether to bring it up.
     
  4. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    It looks to me like the shuttle launches from the primary hull and flies out beside the secondary hull. Note that you can see both secondary hull engines, as opposed to just one of them. :shrug:

    Here's a YouTube video; the shuttle launch begins around 1:35:

    [yt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uy8wqywAkrg[/yt]

    Also, consider this dialog [http://www.chakoteya.net/NextGen/175.htm]:

    It suggests to me that the shuttle is launched close to the antimatter spread, and ergo from the primary hull.
     
  5. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    The real problem with "Final Mission" is that they totally ignored Newtonian Physics.

    If there is no net force on an object, then its velocity is constant. The object is either at rest (if its velocity is equal to zero), or it moves with constant speed in a single direction.

    So as soon as the Enterprise had managed to get the barge out of the gravitational pull of the planet, they could have left it to coast to the Sun as for the asteriod field if it crashed into an asteriod so what the danger to the planet was none. They didn't have to tow it through the asteriod field.
     
  6. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    Wasn't it a case that they needed to tow it through the asteroid field because the barge's hull integrity had been earlier compromised and it would otherwise have fallen apart?
     
  7. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    Or perhaps they needed to make course corrections so the barge wouldn't hit any asteroids.
     
  8. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    They still could've moved to a safe distance while the thing coasted to the asteroid field, then jumped back in with the tractor beam limiting their exposure.
     
  9. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    What difference would it make if the barge hit an asteriod, it appeared as if the asteriod field was far enough away from the planet that any raditaion resulting from the impact would have any no impact on the planet.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2013
  10. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    But it would have fallen apart before it reached the asteroid field. The Enterprise's shields were the only thing keeping it together long enough for it to coast on its own into the sun.
    This was really an environmental allegory about the safe disposal of dangerous chemicals. Sending the ship into the nearby sun was the best way to permanently get rid of the barge full of deadly waste without having it blown up and leave an irradiated zone in an inhabited system.
     
  11. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    But that WASN'T IN THE SCRIPT!:rolleyes:
     
  12. Jerikka Dawn

    Jerikka Dawn Commander Red Shirt

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    LaForge ordered full stop prior to separation, 28 seconds out of Minos and ordered Warp 5 on the stardrive after separation. By all accounts, the ship was not at warp during separation in Arsenal.

    Additionally, there's no reason to assume that Starbase 103 was outside of sublight range for the saucer. LaForge was pretty specific as to where and when he wanted the ship stopped during separation prior to ordering Logan to take the saucer there.
     
  13. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    But the barge was very heavy, and difficult to tow - and it takes a massive amount of delta-vee to get objects that orbit a sun to fall into said sun.

    A little nudge would have sent the barge coasting out of orbit and out of the star system all right. But to guide it to the sun, the Enterprise would have needed to impart a lot of speed change / acceleration on it, and clearly this was not an easy or quickly achievable task.

    The big question (after we choose to ignore the question of why go for the sun in the first place) is why they headed for the asteroid belt first. They could have spent the acceleration time struggling to force the barge out of the plane of the ecliptic, which is quite a bit easier than forcing objects into suns; the barge could then have been towed above or below the belt. But this assumes the belt lies nicely on the plane of the ecliptic; perhaps it's spherical, despite looks?

    Pulling was the thing tearing the barge apart; not pulling would have been better. But the shields of the starship were needed to prevent further damage from asteroid impacts. No technique was mentioned that would have provided additional structural integrity to the barge, and indeed Star Trek in general lacks such a technique AFAIK.

    Starbase 103 being within sublight range of Minos is utterly implausible. Minos was an enigmatic unknown, studied by probes only, and it took some time for Starfleet to send a second starship there to see what had happened to the first. Plus, if the starbase were anywhere near, LaForge should have summoned help from there - any runabout would have done in boosting the ability to locate Picard and Crusher and to outwit the killer probes.

    SB 103 was very probably the nearest one, but not so close that sublight commuting would have been an option.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  14. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Yes but the radiation would have dissapted somewhat, besides as they got closer to the sun background radiation levels would have been rising. Besides all they needed to do was remove the immedite threat, tow the barge out of the gravitatonal pull of the planet. Leave it go on the search and resuce mission, and return later to dispose of the barge.

    Besides they didn't need to tow it all the way to the field. Once they got it going, they could have disengaged the tractor beam and reinitialised it closer to the asteriod field.
     
  15. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    That's a lot of besides, and illustrates that Riker's "dilemma" in barge towing was not sufficiently well presented to the audience. It might make sense in certain circumstances, but the circumstances weren't explicated to us - or justified even if explicated.

    However, if the speed at which the mission was to be completed was essential, Riker could not disengage the tractor beam at any point. Doing so would mean he wouldn't be able to accelerate the barge until he again engaged, which would mean wasted minutes or hours. In the convoluted setup of the episode, the only way to minimize mission time would be to keep on accelerating until the barge was clear of the asteroids.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  16. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    With all the rapid orbit decays and the use of impulse power to designate speed, I've lost count of the number of Star Trek episodes that violate Newtonian physics. :p
     
  17. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I like Timo's thinking in this thread. It's clear that the Saucer must have had some kind of rudimentary warp capacity, because we often saw it travelling at what was clearly a faster-than-impulse speed.

    Truth be told, if the reasoning behind Saucer Sepper was that it would allow families to get away during battle situations while the drive section engaged the enemy, then it never made sense to me. Why put all the families in the section of the ship which had no warp drive? Wouldn't it make more sense to give the bit with the warp nacelles to the escaping families, while a souped up Saucer engages the enemy?
     
  18. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    ^^All of them? After all, while Einstein would be quite angry about warp, it doesn't really fit into Newton's worldview, either...

    But our heroes have mastered the art of cheating gravity and inertia and frequently apply this to rather mundane purposes. What possible reason would they have for obeying Newton's antiquated rules?

    ^The saucer also happens to have a very curious visual feature - a series of squares forming two bigger squares, glowing the intense blue familiar from warp engines across the series. Some have suggested these might be arboretum windows, but why would arboretums have intense blue lighting? Or windows, for that matter? Sternbach's own blueprints mysteriously (suggestively?) leave this area of the saucer undescribed... A crucial tactical system not included in the blueprints in case some Klingon purchased the set?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  19. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    That's what I meant by the barge's hull integrity being earlier compromised. The initial attempt to move the barge via remote control thrusters failed, which led to its hull integrity collapsing and the subsequent decision for the Enterprise to tow it herself.
    I think enveloping the barge in the Enterprise's shields was done to reinforce its hull integrity. Otherwise, they could have stuck to the original plan of the Enterprise clearing a path through the asteroid field (except with the barge in tow); there was mention of the barge needing to be shielded through the asteroids originally.
    Actually, we don't know how long it would have taken the radiation to dissipate to safe levels. It could have taken years, decades, or even centuries for all we know. In any event, it was long enough of an interval that our heroes couldn't just leave it out there to dissipate on its own.
    Unfortunately, that still wouldn't have resolved the issue of needing to get the barge through the asteroid field as quickly as possible. I think if the situation was one where time wasn't of the essence, they probably would have come up with a different plan, perhaps even retrying the original one of attaching thrusters to the barge.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2013
  20. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Well, they slap on the shields after it proves impossible to use the bolt-on thrusters, and necessary to use the tractor beam. This might be in order to keep the barge from falling apart (although we don't learn of any mechanism by which shields could achieve that, here or in any other episode), or in order to keep radiation from spreading out.

    We don't know whether the shields remain extended around the barge after they clear the planet's vicinity; we only know the shields remain up, we don't hear how they are configured. And we don't hear they would be used to protect the barge from asteroid strikes (which would admittedly be silly - surely our heroes could dodge the rocks with ease, even with the barge in tow? Indeed, the whole point of the exercise was that the ship would actively tow the barge through the belt, and at that point it wouldn't be for speed of getting it away from the planet. It would be purely for allowing the barge to negotiate a course it could not negotiate by coasting.).

    Yet we have this bit of dialogue:

    If the transcript is correct, tractor beam gets more stable if power is diverted to the shields... Why, beats me, but there we have it - it does seem as if the shields indeed exist in order to stabilize the towing arrangement somehow.

    Why not? If it took three thousand years, ships could be told to steer clear of the barge for three thousand years, and that would be it.

    Timo Saloniemi