Was The Expanse really 50 ly from Earth, and 2000 ly across?

Discussion in 'Enterprise' started by USS Einstein, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. USS Einstein

    USS Einstein Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Because, that would be extremly hard to justify.

    Can Soval's words perhaps be interpreted differently?

    Because, if the literal 'diameter' was smaller, say 50 to 200 light years, that would be much more believable.
     
  2. MickJo1701

    MickJo1701 Commander Red Shirt

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    Around 200 light years would have been a more accurate figure to go with considering the speed of ships in Enterprise.

    You have to look the other way with certain aspects of this episode. Enterprise traversed the 100+ light years distance back to Earth in about a month and later completed a journey in 7 weeks that should have taken 3 months at a speed the engines would never have been able to sustain for such a long period of time.
     
  3. Hando

    Hando Commander Red Shirt

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    I am not sure with what part of the statement you have a problem.

    The Delphic Expanse is brick-like in nature, a cuboid. So, if we take in rounding the actual distance across may be 1,000-1,500 ly.
    For comparison, the diameter of our galaxy is 100,000-120,000 ly.

    You should remember that the Xindi don't have to be all around the Expanse, just on the relative border.
     
  4. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    I don't see a problem with the size, Enterprise didn't cross the entire Delphic Expanse, they just spent a season inside it.

    And of course, the Enterprise destroyed the expanse, and it reverted back to normal space. So however big amd close to Earth it was in the 22nd century is irrelavent to chronologically later Treks.
     
  5. Gotham Central

    Gotham Central Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Isn't Federation space in the 24th century about 7000 ly across? Its seems kind of absurd for the expanse to comprise nearly a third of what would become the Federation.
     
  6. Skywalker

    Skywalker Admiral Admiral

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    Why? The Expanse was gone before the Federation even came into being, so why does it matter?

    Besides, we don't know in which "direction" the Federation expanded. The systems that used to be in the Expanse might still be outside of the Federation by the 24th century.
     
  7. SonicRanger

    SonicRanger Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    There's also the problem that we, in real life, don't see a giant pink nebula 2000-light-years across in the sky... and we don't in ENT either. This...

    http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Delphic_Expanse

    ... if 50 light-years away but 2000-light-years across, should be visible across a big chunk of the night sky.

    It's one of those stupid numbers pulled out of the air/but to make Enterprise's mission sound even more light searching for a needle in a haystack. 200 didn't sound big enough. 2000 does. Simple as that.
     
  8. USS Einstein

    USS Einstein Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    The problem with 2000 light years is, the Expanses's destruction would have been the most important event in the entire of galactic history, bar none.

    A human NX-class ship, which nobody had heard of, prior to season one of ENT, would have reshaped a 2000 light-year wide region of the galaxy - which is also somehow only 50 light years from Earth (!?!)

    A 50 light-year wide area would be much more justifiable.

    There are thousands of star systems within 50 light years of Earth - and three civilizations, the Vulcans, Andorians and Tellarites, within just 15 light years.

    So a region of space 50 by 50 would be much more believable, if it went missing - 2000 light years on the other hand, takes up half of the sky, when viewed from Earth - and is probably larger than the entire Federation, discounting Picard's statement from First Contact, because the Federation is probably a core of maybe 100-light years (only way TNG and DS9 make sense), with a few outlying members and outposts thousands of light years away.
     
  9. USS Einstein

    USS Einstein Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    1000 light years is absurdly massive itself.

    1). Using Archer's statement that there are intelligent species on one in every 47,000 planets, there are a minimum of 2.1 million species in the Milky Way.

    2). There are 200,000,000,000 to 400,000,000,000 stars in the Milky Way, and according to NASA, on average, there are at least one planet per star.

    3). In TNG and DS9, starships traverse the entire Federation in days or weeks, suggesting a total diameter of maybe 100 light years (as it's core), and a few outlying stars like Deneb being far-away members separated from this core. This is the only picture of the Federation that makes total, and beautifully elegant, sense.

    So a 1000 light year diameter region is absurdly massive, especially when it was only 50 light years from Earth, and never mentioned before.
     
  10. USS Einstein

    USS Einstein Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Even worse than that, there is quite a lot of evidence to suggest that the core of the Federation is much much smaller than that - in the order of three digits - maybe 90 light years to 200 light years - and that the larger figure only encompasses very isolated members.

    Because of the way in which the Federation develops (i.e. by application, rather than conquest), it probably does not have traditional boundaries like a nation state on Earth - rather it is a very loose spread of distant colonies and outposts.

    This would explain why in TNG and DS9, the ships are able to get from one end of the Federation to another in short periods. If the warp scale is correct, it cannot be larger than 90-200ly, with loose members up to 8,000ly away.
     
  11. USS Einstein

    USS Einstein Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    For the reasons mentioned above - like the removal of the Expanse would have been the most important event in history - yet nobody has even mentioned it.
     
  12. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    But only the Xindi and one or two others would have any clue it was the humans who destroyed the spheres. For 99.9%, all they would know it that the bizarre distortions thay made space travel highly dangerous had stopped. How many even knew about the spheres? All that space and there were only 140 or so of them.

    Remember also, the Delphic Expanse was a full-scale invasion of our universe in the making. In destroying the Expanse, Archer prevented a war that would have had a far bigger effect on the the galaxy.

    It is possible they cluelessly oversized it - V'Ger's cloud was over 82 AU's in diameter in the original 1979 version of The Motion Picture, and shrunk down to "over 2 AU's" in the 2001 Director's Cut.

    TBH, Trek's been so random with its scales and speeds and distances that I'm kind of numb to when they massively oversize things by now.
     
  13. USS Einstein

    USS Einstein Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I think they did cluelessly over-size it - but I'm hoping there is some way it can be explained away - maybe Soval was simply wrong, about it being 2000 light years across - even a Vulcan Ambassador should know more about space than that - but perhaps by 'across', he meant volume in cubic light years (which reduces it's size massively - too much infact).

    Also, Earth's destruction of the Expanse would have been a matter of public record in the Federation, one would think :)

    ---

    Out of interest, from another thread:

    ---

    More and more, I dislike the way the Federation was presented in later works, as a homogenous mass of colonies, outposts, relay stations, thousands of ships, etc, where travel between one member world and another was as mundane as taking a flight from one US state to another on business. It implies the very kind of unethical thinking we engage in today; colonise everything, build stations everywhere, in order to deprive rivals of it's potential value - that isn't how Starfleet operates - instead it's more of an 'as needed' situation.

    TOS, TAS, the movies, and early TNG, all present an organization that is more separated by lonely distances, and less like a nation state in space - i.e. without solid borders. Perhaps a foreign ship can traverse much of the Federation without ever being seen - just by staying out the sensor ranges of it's widely scattered member planets.

    It makes more scientific sense, because there are 200,000,000,000 to 400,000,000,000 stars in the Milky Way, with only one in 47,000 planets bearing intelligence (according to Archer's estimate) - and so any space empire is going to have to be a few lonely star systems, separated by masses of systems, some of them pre-warp civilizations, or hostile planetary governments.

    The idea of a Federation with definite borders, i.e. the Cardassian-Federation DMZ, the Romulan Neutral Zone, the Klingon Neutral Zone, are probably misunderstandings - the border systems are still just spheres hanging in a vast void, perhaps with very powerful long-range sensors - not a literal line on a map of the Milky Way.

    [​IMG]

    Furthermore, DS9 and TNG seem to inadvertently confirm that the 'core' of the Federation is small, as the ships readily traverse it in short periods of time - indicating that there may be a compact core of founding members at the heart of the Federation - Earth, Vulcan, Andor, Tellar, within 15 light years - Arcturus, Denobula, Betazed, Delta IV, etc perhaps a bit further out.

    The explaination for Picard's quote of 8,000 light years in First Contact is that the Federation (being an alliance which is joined voluntarily), has odd members that are much further out, encountered by deep space missions like Kirk's and Picard's - plus the odd lonely outpost like Delta Vega.

    This is the most compelling theory that I have ever heard - it is logical, scientific, and explains everything seen in the show. It also explains the 'feel' of JJ Abrams Star Trek, where Earth only learns about an attack on near-by Vulcan via Planetary Distress Signal - even relatively small distances are huge and empty, not full of thousands of colonies and ships.

    I've grown to really dislike the idea of a Federation that is just a block of territory. I certainly no longer ascribe to this notion of a crowded Federation that covers 10,000 light years - this isn't Star Wars ;)

    [​IMG]

    Other empires may be more compact than the Federation, because they expanded via conquest, expansionism, colonization without ethical restrictions, etc. But, even the Klingon Empire, I think, may be a very spread-out state, because expanding like a colonial empire, they would have only come across suitable prospects for conquest about as often as the Federation finds suitable members.
     
  14. USS Einstein

    USS Einstein Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I can't even find the quote about the Expanse being 50 light years from Earth - I think someone may have just added this, based on warp speeds (i.e. complete speculation), to Memory Alpha.

    So, I propose the following:


    • 1). - The Expanse is a relatively flat phenomenon 2000 square light years in area.

    • 2). - The Expanse is very distant from Earth, perhaps over 100 light years.

    Both proposals would make the idea easier to accept.

    2000 square light years, means a diameter of only 45 light years - Soval used bad language.
     
  15. The Mirrorball Man

    The Mirrorball Man Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Soval: Oh. Uh... I meant er... Vulcan light years.

    There. Problem solved! ;)
     
  16. USS Einstein

    USS Einstein Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    LOL ;)

    It can't have been a 2000 light year sphere anyway - because the disk of the Milky Way is only 1000 light-years wide outside the galactic core :)

    We can thus infer, that the Expanse, at the very least, had a smaller depth, if not a small diameter.
     
  17. Skywalker

    Skywalker Admiral Admiral

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    Nobody mentioned it because it was never relevant to anything that happened in the other shows. (And also because ENT hadn't been produced yet, obviously.) The Delphic Expanse was 50 light years from Earth and extended over 2000 light years, regardless of how little sense it might make.

    By the way, Trek BBS has a multiquote function that allows you to respond to multiple quotes without having to post four times in a row (which is kind of frowned upon). :techman:
     
  18. USS Einstein

    USS Einstein Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I've never understood why that is frowned upon in forums, as it hardly adds to the server's workload or anything - I think it only applies when someone is blatantly spamming for post-count, and not contributing anything to a discussion.

    I've always found it easier to make a different post for a different reply, then it's easier for the person being replied to, to differentiate their discussion, from another one, if they are just skimming the topic :)

    Anyway, on topic, like I said, I can't find where the reference for "50 light years" comes from - it might have been some Memory Alpha editor's personal 'theory', based on travel time/warp speed.

    The 2000 light year region might not be quite as awful, if it's far away from the Federation, Klingon Empire, Cardassian Union, and Romulan Star Empire.
     
  19. HopefulRomantic

    HopefulRomantic Phloxist Moderator Moderator

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    Actually, it also applies to a multiple posts that can inadvertently or deliberately give the appearance of one poster dominating the discussion without letting others get a word in edgewise. So that's another reason we ask you to use the handy-dandy Multiquote function.

    Humor us. :)
     
  20. Paper Moon

    Paper Moon Commander Red Shirt

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    So I've been giving this question some thought recently for a story idea I'm working on.

    (Writers who may be lurking, be forewarned: story ideas ahead.)

    What if the Delphic Expanse was extremely wide (maybe not 2000 ly, but wide nonetheless), rather tall, but not very deep (maybe 5, 10 light years)? A bit like a pizza cutter cutting into the Milky Way. It would be a nearly impenetrable wall. Extremely influential in local astrography, but not necessarily overwhelming in the number of planets contained within.

    Assuming it was about 50 ly from Earth in the opposite direction from Qo'noS, it could explain why Earth et al was never overrun by the Cardassians, the Tholians, the Tzenkethi, or the Breen: they couldn't get past the Expanse (and had no incentive to do so).

    Indeed, if the Expanse was frightening enough, it could've encouraged the Romulans and Klingons to expand in the other direction long ago, again, leaving Earth et al free to develop.

    And it would explain why it took so long for the Cardassians et al to encounter the Federation (and vice-versa); even after its destruction, I bet all the Local powers would've given the former Expanse a wide berth, choosing to focus their efforts elsewhere.

    In some ways, the existence of the Expanse for a millenium between ca. 1150 and 2154 explains something that's bothered me for a while now: why did these great empires (Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians, Breen, whom we know have existed for centuries before the Federation developed) conquer Earth before we had even invented electricity? The Expanse suggests an explanation.
     

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