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

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies XI+' started by Brent, May 17, 2013.

  1. Locutus of Bored

    Locutus of Bored Co-Founder of ISIS Moderator

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    Since the "main energizer's out" and Scotty said the "energizer's bypassed like a Christmas tree," maybe the booth in engineering was an auxiliary access point for the system, and there's a more elaborate room off somewhere else.
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, that's hard to reconcile with the shot looking down the intermix shaft in TMP (when Kirk first enters the engine room). However, I don't think we saw that angle in any later movie, so maybe by TWOK, some additional engine components had been accreted onto the intermix shaft on the lower levels of the engineering complex. This addition could be the "energizer," maybe something that intensifies the warp reaction or that adds a step that makes it more efficient, but is integral enough to the modified engine that it won't operate without the energizer online. And either the interior of the energizer is normally immersed in radiation from the matter-antimatter reaction when the engines are active, or the damage when it was "shaken loose" caused it to be flooded with radiation from the reaction. The "reactor room" could've been a monitor station and a maintenance access for use when the drive was shut down.

    Still, looking at the script alone, I do think that if TWOK's makers hadn't been saddled by the existing set design and the budget limitations, they would've designed and built something where it was clear that the thing Spock was fixing was the main engine itself, and that said engine was contained within radiation barriers keeping it separate from the rest of engineering. Which, in fact, is pretty much what Into Darkness gave us.
     
  3. FedBCH

    FedBCH Cadet Newbie

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    I know this is discussion about the new movie's engine core but reference has been made to the refit Enterprise warp systems in TMP and TWOK so I figured I'd jump in and give my 2 cents.

    I've been puzzled very much as of late with that room in TWOK. Call me obsessive but I've re-read the book, looked at the script and rewatched engine room scenes over again. I've also looked at several different schematics and blueprint of the refit design. Here's my thoughts on the matter. One possible explanation I can come up with is that the "main enerigizer" refers to the horizontal intermix shaft that leads to the warp nacelles. When Reliant first attacks Enterprise there is a massive coolant leak in engineering along with an explosion along the horizontal shaft. An isolation door comes down separating the damaged section from the main engineering. That same door cuts off the feed to the horizontal intermix shaft to the warp engines. Let us assume that most of the main power feeds come from taps further down the shaft as well. Since the matter/anti-matter reaction required to "energize" the main/warp engines has been cut off it stands to reason that the shaft maybe considered the main/warp energizer.

    Now on to the reactor room. I think this is the "main energizer bypass" that Scotty is referred to on the bridge just before they were trying to outrun Reliant to the nebula. "The energizer bypass is like a Christmas tree..." What they could restore of main power was being routed through that bypass reactor which has dilithium inside to focus the power flow. If you look at the cap that Spock removes there are a number of objects spinning inside it. Those maybe the crystals. The damage to Enterprise was catastophic and the bypass was probably only meant as a short term solution. Unfortunately it was being asked to do more than it was capable of for the circumstances and once overtaxed it overloaded. I get the impression from one line in the movie and the novel that it was being used to power the main engines for a time but after another crippling shot from Reliant the engines had to be taken off line again to keep the radiation from the pedestal from overwhelming main engineering. In the novel there was reference to the bypass going critical if the main engines weren't taken off line.

    Spock entered the room to realign the bypass circuits, i.e. the crystals to get the main engines back up and running. No human could have tolerated the about of radiation that had been released from the damage done earlier. Scotty actually had been inside the room just before to shut down the main engines and the short time he was in there caused him to pass out.

    Once again these are just my thoughts on what that room is and how it's used. I know it might be a long shot but it's the most plausible explanation to me. I know some this goes against what's been published so far in manuals and online. As to how the power is distributed? Hey I'm still working on that one. Thanks for the discussion!

    FedBCH
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Actually he said "The energizer's bypassed like a Christmas tree." Which I take to mean that it had so many bypass cables attached to it that it was like a tree wrapped in strings of lights.
     
  5. FedBCH

    FedBCH Cadet Newbie

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    True that is the correct line. I was paraphrasing from what I remember of the movie and the novel. In the novel, Mr. Scott refers to the overload warnings being lit up like Christmas tree and the main energizer bypasses wouldn't take much strain.
     
  6. throwback

    throwback Captain Captain

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    Admiral Buzzkill,

    We are told explicitly that the warp engines and auxiliary power were off -line. From visual evidence, I can infer that the impulse engines are off-line because they are not "lit" and an inspection of the damage reveals that the deck has been hit.

    (For the record, I recognize that you don't like me. Well, I don't like you, either.)
     
  7. cbspock

    cbspock Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Didn't the Enterprise need the impulse engines to reach orbit in Tomorrow Is Yesterday when it was thrown into Earth's upper atmosphere, they weren't using thrusters.

    In the movie, the Enterprise was pretty messed up, it was already hitting the atmosphere so thrusters alone probably wouldn't have stopped it, and maybe they need the core to provide power to the impulse engines that were still functioning since their own power source was compromised.


    -Chris
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I'm just thinking of what was shown in the movie -- that once Kirk got the warp core back on line, a bunch of thrusters started firing from the underside of the primary hull. Maybe I'm misremembering the order of events, but I got the impression that they weren't able to use the thrusters until the core was reactivated. Which struck me as an odd way to portray it.
     
  9. Belz...

    Belz... Commodore Commodore

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    The Thrusters might run on main power, redirecting impulse power to various spots on the ship for thrust.
     
  10. The Stig

    The Stig Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I assumed that without the ship's warp field, the thrusters would be insufficient to slow or correct the Enterprise's descent. Once the warp reactor is fixed, we see the warp engines begin to turn as power is restored, generating the mass reduction field necessary to make the thrusters worthwhile.
     
  11. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    :techman: CC likes this, even if it is at odds with Tomorrow Is Yesterday (or STID, for that matter).
     
  12. M'Sharak

    M'Sharak Definitely Herbert. Maybe. Moderator

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    Well, I'm not sure what brought that parenthetical remark on, but it really doesn't belong here.

    I'll grant that Admiral Buzzkill can sometimes be a bit rough on ideas/opinions/claims expressed by others, but bear in mind that you are not your posts, your posts are not you. If he's been less than complimentary toward one of yours (or even more than one) that's no reason to take any of it personally.
     
  13. Belz...

    Belz... Commodore Commodore

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    Does the warp field really do that ? I was under the impression that warp drive simply moves space around the ship, rendering the need for thrust moot.
     
  14. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    By TNG: Deja Q, and what they did to move the asteroid moon, warp fields reduce inertial mass.
     
  15. Belz...

    Belz... Commodore Commodore

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    Well that's just confusing, then. Maybe the folks who made that show should've made up their damn mind.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Actually it was the impulse engines that reduced the ship's mass -- otherwise it would've taken weeks to accelerate a vessel that size to a velocity suitable for interplanetary travel, and a comparable time to decelerate. Think about how oil supertankers need hundreds of miles to slow to a stop or even to make a turn because of their immense mass and momentum.

    However, the impulse engines used a low-level (below 1000 millicochranes) warp field to achieve the mass reduction. After all, mass and spacetime distortion are essentially the same thing, so the best way to cancel out an object's mass would be to "flatten" the spacetime around it. And a warp field is what you use to bend spacetime.
     
  17. Belz...

    Belz... Commodore Commodore

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    The impulse engines use a warp field ? That's messed up. Why not just use the warp engines for sublight, then ?
     
  18. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    I'd buy that the impulse engines (always described as conventional rockets in the 1960's and 1970's tie-in material, by the way, and very strongly suggested as such in TOS) are fully effective only when a low-level warp field is also used, but not that the impulse engines themselves reduce the ship's mass.

    Another reasonable alternative would be that inertial dampeners are required for high impulse acceleration. Or, I could by that inertial dampeners are implemented via a low-level warp field.

    However, the very term "impulse engine" implies propulsion via Newton's third law. Hence, the original conception of them as nothing but rockets, possibly using nuclear fusion as the reaction.
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Exactly. "Impulse engine" is simply a fancy name for "rocket." There was at least one episode where Kirk actually referred to them as rockets. But as I said, the more massive a ship gets, the less effective rockets are at accelerating it, because of inertia. A ship the size of the Enterprise-D would take forever to get up to speed or to turn onto a new heading. So once ships got that big, it became necessary to supplement the impulse engines -- i.e. the fusion rockets -- with a mass reduction field, so that the ship would become effectively light enough that the engines could accelerate it more easily.

    Granted, there's no reason they couldn't use warp engines for sublight propulsion. In fact, the real-life theoretical warp equation developed by Miguel Alcubierre, and refined by other theorists since, might actually be more feasible to use at sublight than faster than light, due to the enormous practical difficulties with the latter. But you'd still need some kind of secondary propulsion system based on conventional thrust. An Alcubierre-type warp field could only take you in a preferred direction if you had already thrust your ship in that direction before you engaged it. So it stands to reason that impulse drive might have advantages for sublight propulsion that warp drive wouldn't. You could use warp drive to maneuver at impulse, but it's not the best thing for that particular job.
     
  20. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    ^ Good. I was just balking at the particular wording, "it was the impulse engines that reduced the ship's mass".