Time (but not travel)

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Johnny, Apr 30, 2013.

  1. Johnny

    Johnny Commander Red Shirt

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    Ok, let's ignore the current StarTrek dating system for a second. I'm curious as to what people would consider a good way to measure the passage of time that would be acceptable to any race, and what portions it would be measured in. ie. fractions of galaxy rotation, or the vibration of a particle.

    im curious, since a day on earth is obviously not a day on vulcan or romulus. different races have tolerences for different day lengths etc. and going from one day on a planet from one day on ship, space station, or other planet would likely cause jet lag.

    even something as simple as measuring someones age becomes a problem.

    any thoughts?
     
  2. Third Nacelle

    Third Nacelle Captain Captain

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    I believe that the purpose of Stardates is to provide some sort of compromise between many disparate calendar systems. There are supposedly 1,000 stardates per Earth year, but that's never been confirmed in-universe. It might just be approximate. For all we know, a standard Starfleet day might be an average of the day lengths on several different worlds. Just because they break it down to "hours" and "minutes" does not mean those words mean the same thing.

    Either that, or the universal translator converts between calendars for everyone.
     
  3. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    My current operating theory is that stardates are an invention of Starfleet Command and provided for in the Articles of the Federation. The purpose of stardates is to provide a means of the entire fleet, and eventually basically all civilian traffic, to coordinate actions throughout the galaxy.

    Since Starfleet Headquarters are on Earth, in the Pacific Time Zone, stardates are based on Earth time. One "stardate" would be equal to one eight hour duty shift in San Francisco. So, 5937.0 might be 08:00 at SFHQ and 5938.0 would be 16:00 at SFHQ. Every 0.1 stardate equals 48 minutes on Earth. This means 1000 stardates equals 333 days and 8 hours. Or, a bit over 11 months. So, nearly a year.

    Stardates are calculated by computers throughout the Federation and all ships and bases use this as a standard. However, due to relativistic time distortion (which is negated to some degree during warp-flight, but not in other times) the apparent passage of time may be different depending on your position in the galaxy, your velocity, and who knows how many other factors. So what equals 48 minutes on Earth may be 59 minutes or 33 minutes or whatever in other locations and under different conditions. Ships still have their own local time and that would be basically unique from ship to ship and from base to base. This local time proceeds apace at one hour at a time relative to the time experienced by the crew. So, any given hour or day of the week will likely not match any other ships's, but the stardate will be exactly the same. Notice, DS9 uses Bajoran time, but still uses stardates. Because ships move around and constantly are changing their velocity and their location in the galaxy, the proportion of local time for the ship experienced by the crew is constantly changing compared to the passage of stardates. So, stardates will seem to speed up or slow down. To the crew, stardates would seem to be of variable length, and the hours and minutes would seem steady, while, in fact, their hours and minutes are variable and the stardates are universally constant.

    The stardate is the absolute time that everyone in the Federation can agree to. Stardate 47988.3 is 47988.3 throughout the galaxy.

    As for other uses, yes, I assume the UT translates foreign time increments to either stardates, if it knows the conversion, or a more traditional type of date description if there's no way for it to know what stardate that would have been.

    --Alex
     
  4. bryce

    bryce Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I know I will get flamed for this, but I really like the Abramsverse dating system...which would make today stardate 2013.119 ...I think...

    Well, according to Wiki anyway..I would have said that it was stardate 2013.429 or 2013.4.29 or 2013.4/29 ...?
     
  5. B.J.

    B.J. Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    To answer the OP's question, something based on the vibration of the hydrogen atom might be a good option, but that may have issues based on the location of the observed atom. A better option for a galactic civilization might be something based on the frequency of a known pulsar, since that would be external and visible to all observers.
     
  6. robau

    robau Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Agreed.
     
  7. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    I'm not really a big fan of the Abramsverse dating system. At first, though, I thought it was cool when I believed it was the current year-point-a hundred units, but when I learned that it was the current year-point-the current day, I dunno, I guess I preferred it to be more metric--instead, we go from stardate 2258.365 to stardate 2259.01
     
  8. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    Yeah, JJ-verse stardates seem quite silly to me. Using them, then the main, first part of the stardate wouldn't change for an entire year. And, I've found in most settings the year is the part that people tend to omit. For example, today is 04/30/2013, but I bet most people where I work will write notes dated 4/30.

    So, by the JJ-verse stardates, today would be 2013.120, this being the 120th day of the year. This is silly. It is totally different from how stardates work throughout the rest of the franchise. Also, if it's just the regular Earth date, then why bother calling it a stardate?

    --Alex
     
  9. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Commodore Commodore

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    And really, if they're going to use this method, shouldn't it be 2259.001? Otherwise you have the odd situation where 2259.01 and 2259.010 are numerically equivalent in decimal format, but are distinct dates.

    Yeah, seriously, this is basically just the Julian dating format we used to use in our old MVS mainframe. Who knew MVS was so futuristic? :rolleyes:

    Oh, wait, the MVS Julian format only had two digits for the year, right? Hence Y2K. :lol:
     
  10. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    The first mention of "Stardate" in-universe was in the Enterprise episode "Damage". I quite like the idea that the Federation adopted the timekeeping system of their former enemy, the Xindi.

    As for the Abramsverse dates, yes it's Earth-centric, but it's nice to have such an instantly-understandable system after the random digits of TOS/TAS and the convoluted mess degenerating into random digits in TNG/DS9/VOY.
     
  11. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    What makes it messy are how the stardates are given in the movie. The very first stardate given out by Captain Robau was "stardate 223304," and then Spock 25 years later giving a log entry with "stardate 2258.42."

    I suppose a case could be made that back in Robau's day, there were no decimal points and that it was a slightly different stardate system than the one Spock currently uses.
     
  12. robau

    robau Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I think Robau was just being casual. He wasn't logging it so there was no need to say blah blah point blah.
     
  13. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    I'm inclined to agree, so if we go with that and apply it to the year 2259:
    stardate 2259.01=January 1, 2259
    stardate 2259.10=January 10, 2259
    stardate 2259.100=April 10, 2259
     
  14. WarpFactorZ

    WarpFactorZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Nah, I can't believe that in the 23rd century, Starfleet would do something so egocentric and non-scientific. It's kind of like one country in the world refusing to adopt the metric system, in favour of some archaic measurements based on a long-dead King's body parts.
     
  15. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Or it might be more accurate to say that Earth adopted an already existing "stardate" standard that the Vulcans and Xindi used. T'Pol knew what a stardate was when she looked at it, IIRC.
     
  16. bryce

    bryce Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well yeah, in-universe the Prime Universe Stardate system makes more sense.

    I think it would be a system that would have to take into relativistic effects - not just for speed, but also that fact that time runs differently in different gravity wells vs. flat space, orbit vs. ground - and even with FTL travel...well, according to Einstein, traveling FTL would mean traveling *back* in time. I'm sure that in the Trek Universe that doesn't happen, of course...but all in all, well, really....there isn't a universial time that every observer would agree with. But Stardates are a way to take that into account, and try to formulate some kinda of date system that everyone can sort of agree on - and that takes into account relativity and such and clocks running at different times.

    As such, it would be an immensly complicated dating system! Probably take a computer to sort it all out.

    I think the key to how it works is in the name - "Stardate" - probably ti takes into account to positions of stars - and probably uses some sort of pulsar map, as well as Federation/Starfleet subspace transponders with atomic clocks (or "quantum clocks") and such.
     
  17. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I guess it could be some fraction of the galactic year. That's what every species within this galaxy can agree on.

    The interstellar time unit (the "space second") would be defined by a pulsar that everyone can see.


    And measuring age... well, you get your own age based on your solar system, and your "galactic age". And you can convert that to every other age just as easy as you can convert currencies.