The Mystery Inside the TOS Primary Hull Support Pylon

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by mickemoose, Mar 26, 2012.

  1. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    With all sorts of umbilicals waiting to be connected to the engineering systems during starbase layovers, it might be a good idea to have a sighting station or two on the ship side of things. Probably not two dozen, though.

    The dual nature of the shapes - dark and bright versions exist of them all - in a scattershot pattern might lend more credence to the window theory than to the sensor orifice one, as there would be a more understandable reason for darkening a window than a sensor thingamabob, especially in cases were "blackout" seems to affect an entire quarter of the vessel while dialogue makes no mention of sensor blind spots. We just have to decide whether it's actually a threefold nature: open and bright, open and dark, plus shuttered to invisibility...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  2. Psion

    Psion Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2001
    Location:
    Lat: 40.1630936 Lon: -75.1183777
    I realize this puts a bit of a militant spin on things, but maybe some of the windows are fake; intended to confuse an enemy as to the layout of the interior. Or perhaps fake, but intended to make the ship look less hostile by covering it with "windows".
     
  3. YARN

    YARN Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2010
    When have we ever seen those features simply disappear?

    On the TOS model we either see darkened windows or lit windows (at least they appear to be windows - and windows are the best explanation, I think). I don't recall ever noticing (or being called to notice) any of those features disappearing.
     
  4. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Location:
    Your Mom
    This.

    It's enough to compare the TOS Enterprise with the Galaxy class starship a hundred years later; we see the Galaxy has a vast and extensive lateral sensor array on the rim of the saucer AND the engineering hull, in addition to a ring of sensors on the dorsal and ventral side of the saucer. The TOS vessel has only those glowing domes on the saucer and one on the back of the secondary hull; those would seem to be inadequate for a ship on a mission of exploration IMO.

    The dark "windows" probably contain optics/telescope elements intended to image distant objects across the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio wave through X-ray and everything in between. The lit windows are probably active scanners, some type of radars/lidars, spectrometers, and a few might even contain ordinary searchlights.

    I might even go so far as to guess that the observation lounge from "Mark of Gideon" might have been a sensor bay that was intentionally left empty so it could function as an observation port. The sensor elements of the Enterprise would all be housed in those sensor bays so they could be serviced by engineers in a shirtsleeve environment.
     
  5. MyClone

    MyClone Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Agreed on all counts. This also fits with the interpretation of the "ion pod" in TOS:R.
     
  6. Gagarin

    Gagarin Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007

    Interesting!
    They could be similarly 'transparent to radiation' the same way the domes were labeled - you can put different sensor devices behind them, maybe they're on a turntable so 5 or 10 devices could all be aimed out of a single unit one at a time.

    Or, hey, maybe some are widows. Maybe some are sensors. Maybe some are the self illumination lights for the hull. Maybe some are RCS. Because we don't see visible RCS or weapons in TOS, so I wouldn't expect that we can see all the sensors on the TOS E...I don't think the domes are the only thing.

    There's also two 'windows' in the engine pylons...I hope those aren't windows, but they could be almost all of the above things (RCS, sensors, lights...)

    I think to get an answer about the neck, you need to make some interpretations on all the above details.
     
  7. YARN

    YARN Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2010
    Those things on the neck?

    Yeah, those are windows.

    They were meant to look like windows. There were designed to look like windows. Show anyone a picture of the Enterprise and ask what those things are.

    Is the neck implausibly thin when you stop think about it? Yes. Are they still, nevertheless, windows? Yes.
     
  8. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Location:
    Your Mom
    Actually, I think that ALL of them are windows, but I'm suggesting here that they're not necessarily windows meant for people to be looking out into space. They were probably installed in the first place so scientific instruments could be placed on the inside of the hull where they could be maintained and serviced on a regular basis and still have a view of space outside the ship.

    IOW, in the TOS ship, the windows probably act as sensor viewports and various scanning devices are installed behind them. It would certainly explain why we so rarely see those windows from the inside of the ship: the only places you're likely to find them are empty sensor bays where your view of the window will be obstructed by equipment anyway.
     
  9. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2009
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    And those small rectangular shapes, some lit and some dark, all over the saucer and the engineering hull? Also windows. They were meant to look like windows. There were designed to look like windows.

    Really, I enjoy retconning Trek tech as much as any of us here, but sometimes it gets to the point of being a colossal circle-jerk.
     
  10. Mytran

    Mytran Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    Location:
    North Wales
    The comparison with the Ent-D you made makesa lot of sense. It also meshes with a pet theory I've had for a while about Voyager's smaller viewports - they are way shorter than the Ent-D's (and sometimes situated too low to the floor to be of any real use as viewports) but as additional sensors would be just fine.

    Returning to the TOS-E, your blend of some windows as sensor ports while leaving others as observation ports is very appealing. It may even be applicable to the refit-E, where even senior officers didn't have viewports in their quarters, yet there is still a myriad of windows in the saucer and engineering section.

    The only nagging complication is - why so many windows on the engineering hull compared to the saucer?
     
  11. mickemoose

    mickemoose Ensign Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2012
    In "Journey to Babel," Kirk orders, "Cut power on port side except for phaser banks. At my signal, cut starboard power." This was to lure the alien vessel into thinking the Enterprise was dead after taking a phaser hit. This is strong evidence for the existence of hull windows, since dark windows indicate no power and, thus, a dead (or severely disabled crew). In other words, "no one's home!"
     
  12. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    I too like the idea that those windows that are visible (dark and bright) can or are used as sensor ports as well. (And that there are hidden, shuttered, windows on the ship.)

    Perhaps the engineering hull gets more windows because the sensors have direct access to the power systems and if they really did need to break out in the primary hull/lifeboat all those extra scanning gear isn't necessary to the survival of the crew?

    As to the "cutting power" in "Journey to Babel", the exterior shots from the original FX still had lit windows. Ditto for "run silent" in "Balance of Terror". The only time we see a ship with completely darkened windows was the Constellation from "The Doomsday Machine".
     
  13. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Location:
    Your Mom
    My guess is because the saucer section has those big domes on the bridge and the underside that are used for navigation and fire control, along with the additional windows on the rims -- plus those three bigass lights on the bow of the saucer -- being additional navigational sensors/scanners used by the bridge crew. For the most part, those sensors are omnidirectional and non-specific, with the suplemental sensors on the rim and the bow being able to zoom in on specific objects in the ship's path.

    The sensors on the engineering hull are purely for scientific/research use, which means they are mainly used for examining stellar phenomenon, stellar cartography (where they are used to digitally photograph star formations in their relative positions) or when orbiting a new planet and conducting orbital surveys of its topography, atmosphere, chemical composition and electromagnetic spectrum. This last bit would finally explain why the ship always orbits the planet with one side turned towards the surface: it's keeping those sensors turned towards the planet for observation purposes while the outbound sensors are mapping the surrounding space and nearby planetary bodies. It's even possible that the ship has concentrated all of its planet-sensing equipment on one side of the hull, so Enterprise' "standard orbit" implies a pre-determined altitude and orientation with those instruments pointed directly at the planet at all times.
     
  14. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Never. Which is why it's up to us to decide whether it would be possible for them to appear, e.g. when Kirk opens a shutter in "Mark of Gideon"...

    Indeed. Things only get compicated when the "window" is of an odd shape or size (say, the big square things on top of the saucer rim, or the three big circles at bow). But those are probably windows as well, again because it would make little sense for a random selection of sensors to be "dark" while it makes perfect sense for a random selection of windows to be.

    Windows that double as sensor ports sound extremely awkward,a s they would perform poorly in both roles. If there's sensor equipment there, it has to be close to the window, leaving no room for the alternate use. Or it has to be moveable, which is extremely awkward: the sensors should be in active position about 99% of the time, waiting for the unexpected, so it would be difficult to justify moving them out of position, like, ever. And what sort of a sensor would emit yellow light? (Well, the sort housed behind the three large domes of the ship, of course, but that's a different shade of yellow from the one seen behind the windows.)

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  15. Mytran

    Mytran Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    Location:
    North Wales
    I'm not sure that the windows would "double" as sensor ports; some window rooms would be dedicated to having sensor equipment in, pushed up against the glass (allowing for shirtsleeved swapping as required), a very few of the window rooms would be used for stargazing.

    As to why some sensor rooms are lit - maybe they are manned more often than others? Or maybe those particular sensor machines have a lot of blinky lights on them! ;)
     
  16. Jose Tyler

    Jose Tyler Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    Just taking a quick look at the Smithsonian Enterprise model, I count roughly 21 "windows" on the starboard side. A handful of the "windows" towards the aft section are for the observation area as seen in CotK. So that leaves 16 or 17 windows for lounges or crew uses. Considering the Constitution Class has a crew of @430 out in space for extended missions, 16 or so rooms with windows doesn't seem excessive. Also, I'm pretty sure the TNG Tech Manual talks about how some windows can be opened as evacuation and EVA points in an emergency. Scotty's lads have to have a chance to get out if things really go south. I'm thinking that sometimes a window is just a window...
     
  17. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2009
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Really, people! This whole “windows as anything else but windows” thing is getting just as silly as sinking the bridge into the B-C deck teardrop to make it face forward.

    The bridge is offset 36 degrees, dammit! :p
     
  18. PvtKtara

    PvtKtara Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    May 23, 2001
    Location:
    Colorado
    Ya need to lobby T'Bonz to unban Captain Robert April. You clearly miss him ;)
     
  19. Gagarin

    Gagarin Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Wow, he's banned??



    OT:
    I suppose it wouldn't look like 10-Forward, but having a bunch of cross braces and beams and some windows would be pretty par for the course with TOS. There's pipes and beams all over the place. Probably not a ton of uninterrupted usable space, so put some windows and a few deluxe cabins.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2012
  20. Mytran

    Mytran Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    Location:
    North Wales
    What on earth did CRA get banned for?I've read his last few posts and they're hardly inflammatory stuff :confused:

    Regarding the "windows as viewports", I am basingmy views in no small part on what we saw on TOS and movies - in other words, very rare use of viewport style windows, be that in cabins, lounges or whatever. Compare that to TNG, where viewports are everywhere! TOS on the other hand had a much more "submarine" style visual approach - yes there was the occassional viewport seen, but these were rare.