Scrapping Old Starships

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Mark_Nguyen, Oct 28, 2013.

  1. Mark_Nguyen

    Mark_Nguyen Commodore Commodore

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    In recent news, the US Navy's first supercarrier, USS Forrestal, has been sold for scrap metal for the handsome sum of $0.01...

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/10/24/forrestal-navy-first-supercarrier-sold-for-1-penny/

    Here's some discussion around just HOW such large ships are being scrapped. Point being, no one has ever scrapped so large a ship - it takes forever, and it's really tough to do:

    http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/military/read.main/156294/

    This makes me wonder how starships are scrapped in Trek. We know that this is probably done, given possible-future Admiral Riker's remarks that Starfleet wanted to scrap the Enterprise-D before he got them to assign her as his personal flagship (after only 33 years? - but that's a whole other thread). Following today's parallels, a ship would first be stripped of all components that can be re-used in other starships (typically those of her class still functioning, but then also any ship that can use those components), weapons systems, computers, engines, and anything classified. Then the ship would be scrapped and recycled into raw materials for new ships, assuming no one wanted the hull as a museum or to be used as target practice, etc.

    Obviously there is a practical limit to this though, and there may be a skeleton of a starship left over, stripped to the point where it's simply easier to create new components than to take the hull apart and forge new alloys from them (this is assuming they aren't using replicators or matter converters, which is a safe bet for the most part). So what happens then? Do we simply send the rest into the local sun?

    Mark
     
  2. Unicron

    Unicron Continuity Spackle Moderator

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    Scrapped ships are pretty common in the FASAverse, and this seems to be the fate of more than a few Constitution/Enterprise type heavy cruisers. I would suppose some vessels also wound up being scrapped after wartime service and taking too much damage to make repairs practical.
     
  3. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Seems wasteful, majority of the materials could/should be repurposed following the starship's disassembly.

    Would make more sense to re-employ say the hull metals, as opposed to expending the energy to replicate what you already have.

    :devil:
     
  4. Mirror Mirror

    Mirror Mirror Ensign Red Shirt

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    Scrapping would seem rather easy at large yards. With industrial sized replicators you could dematerialize large chunks and store the energy. Rare components and such could be stored, but much of the ship could simply be transfigured in to energy.
     
  5. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Given that the volume of explored space increases exponentially with every lightyear traveled outwards, the need for more and more ships to service that space is inevitable.

    Whilst a ship may be too outdated for frontline service, unless severely damaged it would be unlikely to be scrapped but given run of the mill assignments - patrol, supply, passenger service or simply given over to civilian use.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see ships well over 100 years old in regular use.
     
  6. Nob Akimoto

    Nob Akimoto Captain Captain

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    Given that resource scarcity isn't a big deal for the Federation outside of a handful of materials, if a ship's to the point where it needs to be scrapped, they're probably pretty efficient about doing so, and might do stuff like expend it in live fire exercises and the like after stripping out the useful bits.
     
  7. Mirror Mirror

    Mirror Mirror Ensign Red Shirt

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    Well we know some really old ships are still either in service or were rushed back into it as a constitution class took part in wolf 359. We also know excelsior were still common ships during the dominion war. From some TNG we know some old ships, constellations were phased out, some used as target ships and we know the federation had floating "scarp yards". Which may have been more of a mothball thing.
     
  8. CharlieZardoz

    CharlieZardoz Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Phaser on level 16! ;)
     
  9. Lyon_Wonder

    Lyon_Wonder Commander Red Shirt

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    The Enterprise D's saucer section that crash landed on Veridian III in "Generations" was likely scrapped since I assume it wasn't worthwhile for Starfleet to repair it.
     
  10. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    How "expensive" is a baryon particle sweep? TNG's "Starship Mine" suggested that prolonged velocities at higher warp speeds build up harmful radiation residue that somehow needed to be neutralized.

    It's inconclusive at what time in-universe this problem was acknowledged and how they dealt with it in the 23rd Century. I believe they did not have baryon sweep technology in the 23rd Century and simply sent the hulls for cremation into the nearest star or sun (too bad the ex-Soviet Navy couldn't do that with their nuclear submarines).

    Contamination might be an issue to consider.

    Bob
     
  11. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That's a great point, Bob. It's possible it existed all along, or it's possible it was invented at some point between TOS and TNG, allowing all those medium-old Mirandas to retain in service.
     
  12. Nob Akimoto

    Nob Akimoto Captain Captain

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    Whoever used the term "baryon particles" as something to be removed from a ship should permanently have their sci-fi writing privileges taken away. "Starship Mine", even if it was an okay episode, has such an absurdly horrible bit of science in it that puts it on nigh "Threshold" level of badness.

    Perhaps by the 24th century 'baryon particle' actually refers to exotic NON-baryonic matter.
     
  13. zDarby

    zDarby Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I'm with you on that one, Nob. Fortunately, there's a linguistic out.

    I don't remember the episode stating what they were using to do the sweep with, so it could be they were sweeping for baryons ...specific ones ...specific molecular collections of them. My point being that English has several idiums that no longer make sense in today's context but still have the old meaning. (I'm suddenly blanking on examples. I had three when I started writing.) "Baryonic sweep" could easily be a 24th century example.

    In the 24th century, I would guess the ship would go through a barionic sweep to get rid of any dangerous particles, trim trilithium to core coolant. (Remember what happened to the Borg when they got exposed?) This would make the vessel completely inert and ready for storage, if that were her fate. Any useful systems could then be identified by engineering teams, disconnected and beamed off the ship. If she were to be scrapped, large chunks would then be carefully cut off her and pushed through an industrial replicator that would take the individual molecular components and separate them into large blocks of that material to be used again.

    In the 23rd century, when I assume they did not have baryonic sweeps or replicators of that sophistication, a phaser set to vaporize might be the best answer: any dangerous compound would be turned into it's constituent elements, making it inert. One should easily be able to extract much of the energy used by exposing the resultant plasma to an electromagnetic field of the right shape. And then the individual elements could be separated via another set of mag fields. Easy!
     
  14. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Some idioms made no sense originally and are still used today, such as "the alarm went off," when actually it sounded (went on).

    Other idioms that are technically incorrect include "see the light" and dietary programs being referred to as "weight loss" rather than "mass loss" or even "waist management."

    (I suppose "see the light" might be debated; we don't actually see objects. We see by the light they reflect or emit, but do we really see light? A high school physics teacher's favorite peeve was "seeing steam.")
     
  15. Chemahkuu

    Chemahkuu Admiral Admiral

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    Or an exotic particle field that eliminated anything that *wasn't* bayronic from the structure held inside it.
     
  16. Nebusj

    Nebusj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Or they're taking for granted that anyone sane understands they're removing the unwanted baryons while keeping the ones that are actually needed.
     
  17. Nob Akimoto

    Nob Akimoto Captain Captain

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    It's possible, too, that there are elements of the ship that use non-baryonic matter. Perhaps some components like warp coils use a form of exotic non-baryonic matter in their construction. Verterium or cortenum might be non-baryonic matter that helps drive the ship's subspace field stuff. In which case stray neutrinos and what not getting caught in it might cause problems.

    This doesn't quite explain why they need to dose down the entire ship with something that kills all living things, but given how important subspace field manipulation is to Federation technology, perhaps there's elements within the ship's systems that like isolinear chips or something that also use exotic matter.
     
  18. Chemahkuu

    Chemahkuu Admiral Admiral

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    The vast majority of the ship is made from them, they tend to vary only by the quark combination, a singular field that swept rather quickly through such a dense ship would likely only be removing smaller particles like fermions and such from it.

    The whole array was a gimmick and a bad one, an essential process that apparently makes the ship not lethal that it must put into an incredibly specialised station for every 3-4 years or so.

    That's never been needed before in older ships, or but smaller vunerable ones like Voyager. A ship that could traverse much more dangerous regions at high warp for decades without needing it.

    And that the Enterprise-D only needed to visit it once and never again.
     
  19. arch101

    arch101 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I've often thought it would be interesting to see, within Trek, older "defanged" starships being used as merchant ships or for civilian research.
     
  20. astarguy

    astarguy Ensign Red Shirt

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    personally i think that old star ships are much like today's cars or airplanes. in that the hull is just to worn out and the equipment arrangement is just to expensive to modify so i think that i is cut up for scrap just like today. beside weren't most star ships ultimately destroyed and or severely damaged any way?
     

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