What's Up with the Warp Core (SPOILERS Into Darkness)

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies: Kelvin Universe' started by Brent, May 17, 2013.

  1. Belz...

    Belz... Commodore Commodore

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    How would you know ? How can you tell what machinery will look like in hundreds of years ? Will they dress it up and pad it to be presentable to admirals, or leave its raw look so it can be accessible to the engineers ?
     
  2. TrekAlliance92

    TrekAlliance92 Captain Captain

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    It was better than the awful '09 Brewery for sure, but I just prefer the TUC/TNG/DS9/VOY style warp cores/engineering sections. They look stylized, sleek and futuristic--as compared to this extremely-clunky and relatively-primitive looking thing. Just a matter of preference though, doesn't ruin the movie or anything like that.
     
  3. SeerSGB

    SeerSGB Admiral Admiral

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    Major improvement in my book over brewgineering from the first movie. This had the feel of what we saw on the screen just being a small part of something much larger and more powerful.
     
  4. The Librarian

    The Librarian Commodore Commodore

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    I feel sorry for the people at the NIF who keep having their state-of-the-art fusion research chamber called primitive.
     
  5. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    There's really no reason for lots of blue light spilling out of these engines/reactors which is why all previous designs now look silly.

    I know, someone will jump in and offer "that blue light is harmless Diddly-bump radiation, established in a DC comic story in 1986.". I truly do not give a shit.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I think the idea is that what's state-of-the-art in 2013 would be primitive by the standards of 2259. TOS tricorders were inspired by the state-of-the-art portable cassette tape recorders of the mid-1960s, but they look pretty primitive in this age of MP3 players and smartphones. The danger of basing designs on what's at the bleeding edge of modernity in the present day is that it'll seem dated in a decade or two -- while something that's more removed from reality may have a more timeless quality.


    True -- that much light bleeding out would be a needless inefficiency. What you'd want is something that fully contains the reaction and keeps its energies comfortably away from any inhabited area.
     
  7. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    All of Trek's designs look "dated in a decade or two." It can't be helped.
     
  8. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    With respect to the shirtsleeve environment of TMP Main Engineering, the intermix chamber couldn't have been radiating any appreciable amount of power by its glow, relatively speaking, or the engineers would have been killed on the spot. In fact, that it was only as bright as it was, and not vaporizing the people in there with it, means that the shielding on the intermix chamber had to be pretty darn effective, >99.99%.

    Why it was even necessary to see the reaction occurring is another issue; perhaps being able to see the reaction was important to gauging and regulating engine performance, in-universe. Even Forbidden Planet allowed the Krell to view their nuclear reactions, via a special mirror.
     
  9. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    That's so much bullshit. They like things lighting up. The goddamn vacuum cleaner in the hall at Starfleet Command lights up in TWOK, as does Geordi LaForge's razor. It's somebody's idea of skiffy design, but that doesn't mean that it looks more plausibly futuristic, or is somehow more "future-proofed" as movie design, than using an actual high-tech facility as a location.
     
  10. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Of course that's why they did it. Christopher raised an in-universe objection, which I simply pointed out wasn't valid, at least in the case of the intermix chamber. I didn't speak to whether that made it more plausibly futuristic looking, or future-proofed. I did, however, point out that it has something in common with Forbidden Planet's idea of what technologically advanced is, which doesn't make it plausible, either.
     
  11. Belz...

    Belz... Commodore Commodore

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    Well, fission reactors do give off some blue light. :)

    Well, so do I. Though I have to admit that sometimes it seems they want everything to light up.

    But _my_ razor lights up, too. I have no idea why.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, yes, that's the obvious handwave, and in my post-TMP novel Ex Machina I asserted that the actual intermix happened in a very narrow tube in the middle of the shaft and the rest was just a very, very thick wall that blocked most of it.

    But realistically, any reactor is going to produce waste heat, and for a reactor that powerful, it would be far more sensible to put it at some distance from the inhabited portions of the ship, with no intervening atmosphere to transmit that heat. You'd want the reactor on the outside of the ship and connected directly to heat radiators to bleed the waste heat into space. Indeed, that was Matt Jefferies's original intention in putting the nacelles out on struts away from the ship -- to protect the crew from the engines' heat and radiation. TMP's decision to put the warp reactor right in the heart of the ship was a retcon I've never been happy with. (Although admittedly TOS set the precedent when it put the dilithium chamber right in the middle of the engine room set.)


    There's no reason it couldn't have been monitored remotely. As stated, it's just a fictional contrivance, arising from the fact that these things are designed based on what looks cool rather than what makes functional sense.
     
  13. Belz...

    Belz... Commodore Commodore

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    Yeah nothing is as cool as seeing the damn thing on film, right next to the actors.
     
  14. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, I wasn't trying to justify it.

    However, I think that the standard of what makes functional sense has to be applied with care. None of this stuff makes sense by the standards of the real world, which is why art designers have resorted to tropes such as the glowing/lightning look of the TMP intermix chamber.

    But with respect to the art designers of STID, I applaud the choice of using the NIF for the new warp core. To my eye, the new core looks "more realistic" than any warp core ever shown in Star Trek.

    Of course, the NIF didn't exist back in 1979. It's only been operating since 2009. Perhaps if it had been operating in 1979, it would have been the obvious choice to some, then, too.

    What will it look like in 40 years? Dunno. Pre-transistor electronics still looked futuristic in the 1930's, but archaic by the 1970's.

    But maybe that's irrelevant. Even if it doesn't succeed as looking like 23rd century technology to 23rd century eyes, the NIF has a better chance of looking like technology in our future, probably for at least the next few decades, than a totally made up glowing tube. That's still true even if (however unlikely it may be) actual 23rd century technology looks more like a glowing tube.
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Except that the TMP sets were built for the abortive Phase II TV revival, so engineering would've had to be a studio set that could be used on a weekly basis.
     
  16. Belz...

    Belz... Commodore Commodore

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    I seem to remember that the warp core was a bit different before they decided on a movie.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Yes, the Phase II version didn't have the cylindrical shaft with the swirly lights. But it was the same set -- they just redressed it for the movie, and then rebuilt it as the TNG engine room and finally the VGR engine room.
     
  18. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, that's what I thought, too.

    The production tests shown here seem to resemble the concept art shown here more than what finally came out in TMP.

    From what I understand, most Phase II sets on Stage 9 were redressed for TMP, but I don't know the details.
     
  19. cooleddie74

    cooleddie74 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    With a lot of the bigger and more sophisticated pieces of future Trek tech I never mind if they blink, glow or light up like a Christmas tree, but does everything no matter how small and insignificant have to beep, blink and sound like an old arcade game when you so much as pluck an eyebrow hair or make some eggs with it? I love the TNG era, but it's a wonder they didn't give their service boots blinky lights to make them look more Super Futurey Kewl. There's a lot to be said for a simple utensil made for a simple purpose being a simple piece of metal or plastic even if it's from 400 years into the future.

    Not everything made in the future needs to look like a GameBoy. We get it. It's the 2300s now. The spaceships, aliens and warp drive kinda give it away all by themselves.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I don't mind the blinkies so much. My new landline phone handsets have LEDs that show they're charging and that blink when there's a message on the answering machine, and the buttons light up when you touch them so you can see them in the dark. And the LED in my monitor's power-on switch is so blindingly bright that I need to keep a small Post-It note stuck over it at all times.

    What bugs me are the technologies that make no practical sense but are used only for the sake of being futuristic. Like using forcefields as prison doors, radiation shields, or (in TAS) spacesuits. Where's the sense in a safety system whose default failure mode is vanishing altogether? I don't care how futuristic a forcefield looks, a prison cell should have a door, something that won't just vanish if the power goes out. I also remember a scene in a Trek novel where an alien city street had streetlamps that levitated on pressor beams. Why is that better than just putting them on poles? Why waste the power just to be self-consciously future-y?