Assignment Earth Blunders

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Spock's Barber, Nov 21, 2017.

  1. Samuel

    Samuel Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It's possible that the "black star" near Starbase 9 (apparently a black hole) was the only "route" a ship could take aside from Sol itself to produce the "whiplash effect" back through time. It it was it would make sense for Starfleet to heavily mine and patrol the approaches to it to prevent any other power from attempting the same thing.
     
  2. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    One wonders

    1) how much control Starfleet actually has over the immediate neighborhood of Earth (did Klaa shoot Pioneer 11 to bits where it would be IRW, or somewhere else farther out thanks to a black hole or whatever?)
    2) how many of these black stars, black holes, gravity ellipses etc. there are right next to Sol and whether they are just "what they used to call a black hole" as in ST:TMP or in fact distinct phenomena (all of them known for their habit of occasionally appearing and threatening any spacecraft nearby?)
    3) whether the role of the black star extended beyond making Kirk break the speed limit near Sol and suffer the consequences (I'd imagine few would buzz Sol at extreme warp, even though everybody from Cochrane and Archer on appears to fly at Sol at moderate warp)

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  3. Samuel

    Samuel Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    From what I remember FOBS was supposed to be launched southward from the Soviet Union passing over the South Pole and approaching the U.S. mainland from the south which might've given it an advantage in avoiding detection given most U.S. early warning radars are oriented for an attack over the North Pole and it might've enabled it to avoid (hypothetical) American ABM defenses.

    The big problem with orbiting nuclear weapons platforms (other than obvious accident potential) is that once in orbit the path and location of an object can be predicted and charted with tremendous accuracy. In short it would have the same disadvantages of land based ICBMs yet be hideously more expensive and have none of the advantages (hardened silos, hardened command and control).

    Also there was a strong line of thought that a nation would be far more willing to "take out" nuclear weapons in orbit as it would be hard to justify retaliating for such an attack with an attack on Earth.
     
  4. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yup, FOBS would have approached from a "weak spot", but wouldn't have had the capacity to loiter, that is, to launch after an unpredictable number of orbits. Or perhaps such a capacity was in the planning, but the hardware initially posited could not have achieved a stable orbit, and Soviet hardware of the time probably couldn't have executed a precision deorbit anyway.

    Orbital platforms in the 1960s would have been somewhat easier to protect than land installations, in that a "near miss" would count for basically nothing (supposing EMP hardening); while taking out a silo-based ICBM might require just two or three nuclear warheads aimed at it, an orbital platform might well require hundreds before any of them did sufficient damage either with hard radiation or with whatever shrapnel the special devices could produce.

    Actually hitting the thing would call for technology that still wasn't available when ST:TMP premiered. And of course the platform could be rigged to launch WWIII if fired at: a 1980s style ASAT rocket (or a dozen) would be too little, too late, just pissing off the monster. Never mind retaliation, the satellite could provide first strike capacity with near-impunity before the opponent could even devise a workable strike-retaliation scenario. (I shudder to think of the false positive scenarios of defending against ASAT attack, but that would rather be the point.)

    Although of course USAF would need dozens upon dozens of these things, so that there would be no gaps in the coverage. But launching on a Saturn V might cater for that: a single shot might send up five or ten MIRV installations, or then five or ten cheap decoys, or an unknown mix of those. (Or then a single maneuverable platform, but that would probably be a bad idea - better build some cross-range capacity to the RVs, a thing dabbled in back in the sixties already.)

    ...It's sort of a relief that experimenting on this sort of stuff was so expensive that any political excuse not to do it was embraced.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  5. velour

    velour Commander Red Shirt

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    Maybe they were laughed out of the police force, but then they inadvertently started the alien abduction phenomenon when they told their wild story to anyone who would listen, like the tabloids.

    According to Kirk, Spock could have passed off as Chinese :thumbdown: , although I doubt that the good people of Shanghai would have bought the story of the mechanical rice picker. :vulcan::eek:
     
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  6. Samuel

    Samuel Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    To be fair I think in the late 1960s most rice in China was picked manually.
     
  7. Samuel

    Samuel Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Well by the late 1960s, the Minuteman I just over one megaton warheads were coming into service and would've been considered the state of the art in terms of American nuclear warheads. IIRC they weighed about a ton.

    The Saturn V with just a few upgrades could lift as much as 150 tons into LEO (note based onscreen the Saturn V was seriously upgraded as the 3rd stage had multiple engines instead of a single J-2) so assuming that half the payload was actual deliverable warheads the single U.S. platform could've mounted up to 75 nuclear warheads of one megaton each. A formidable weapons nuclear threat in a single launch.

    Could've made a larger than Tsar Bomba explosion when it hit the ground armed.

    Correction, the W56 warheads which would've been available in that time period weighed little more than a quarter ton with 1.2 megaton yields.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W56

    So a single Saturn V launch could easily have put 150-200 warheads in orbit. Basically equivalent to an entire missile field from the U.S. Midwest.
     
  8. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Rocky Racoon Premium Member

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    They met a guy named Gene at Police convention and created a successful TV Show,
     
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  9. Spock's Barber

    Spock's Barber Commodore Commodore

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    Was it this one? :whistle:

     
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  10. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Rocky Racoon Premium Member

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    This one
     
  11. Spock's Barber

    Spock's Barber Commodore Commodore

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    Oh, my apologies. I thought you meant this one....

     
  12. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Rocky Racoon Premium Member

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    Or this one
     
  13. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    You're still misunderstanding me.

    1. Kirk beams down to Earth, discovers a situation he doesn't know about, so he's not sure if he should trust Gary 7 or not.

    2. By the end of the episode, Kirk does learn about the situation he didn't know about before, so when he returns to the ship AFTER THE EVENTS OF THE EPISODE, he and Spock make their report to Starfleet and include what they didn't know before. So from the time AFTER that episode (in the 23rd century and forward into the time of TNG and beyond), Starfleet has a report on what Kirk and Spock discovered in 1968.

    It doesn't mean that the Kirk and Spock who exist at the start of Assignment: Earth will have this knowledge, but the Kirk and Spock who exist at the end of that episode do have it, and will ensure that Starfleet also has it. I am not saying that the knowledge will magically appear in the ship's library computer before it was learned.

    How is this not clear? :vulcan:

    Unless Pioneer 11 has FTL capability (which it doesn't), it will be tens of thousands of years before it reaches the nearest star... and it's not even traveling in that direction.

    Wasn't the probe one of the Voyager ones, though? If so, the same problem exists. None of them had FTL capability, so unless the Klingons were camped on our doorstep not far from the outer reaches of the Oort Cloud, the probe wouldn't have been anywhere near where they were.

    Whoever decided to include that in the movie did it for extremely cheap laughs. It's the first of many reasons I loathe that movie.

    The alien abduction stories started before that.
     
  14. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Well, yes, to a hoped-for humorous effect. Sorry about that.

    Then again, pretty much every 20th or early 21st century spacecraft from Earth ever described in Star Trek has traveled a great distance by exceptional means. It would be astronomically odd for Voyager 6 to stumble onto and into a black hole in the 1970s (that is, even after we decided that such a hole would exist deep inside the Sol system), but perhaps we could forgive one such coincidence, no matter how immense. But when every spacecraft ever described ends up in deep space, sinister (or benevolent or indifferent but nonetheless meddling) forces are at play, and it would then be odd for them to fail to meddle with Pioneer 11.

    For a fuller list of misplaced Earth spacecraft:

    - Pioneer 11 (or perhaps 10), with the carved message, is blown up by Klaa, apparently outside Starfleet patrol areas.
    - Voyager 6, looking exactly like the real Voyagers, falls in "what was called a black hole" back in the 1970s and emerges mext to a machine planet that turns it into V'Ger.
    - Nomad Mk 15c (apparently launched in 2002) ends up colliding with an alien probe and then reaching Maluria, a system beyond Earth exploration range in 2151 still.
    - Ares IV (2032) travels from Mars to Delta Quadrant in a "gravity ellipse"
    - Charybdis (2037) ends up at Theta VIII

    In contrast, and amusingly enough, we know of no "successful" spacecraft specifically identified, although background graphics show many real-world ones (or ones with parallels in the real world, at any rate), and we are led to believe e.g. the Apollo ones worked out just fine.

    (The Earth-Saturn probe of 2009 may in turn have been a glorious failure, as why else would it be remembered by a planet whose manned spacecraft reached into interstellar space a decade and a half earlier?)

    Black stars, "what they used to call black holes", and wandering "microscopic singularities" seem to pester Sol often enough. Perhaps Earth spacecraft just learned to dodge those after the Vulcans gave them a few pointers, and this is why the anomalies ended? Or then Vulcan presence drove away alien pranksters.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  15. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm not seeing anything in any of these posts, is there a reason?
    JB
     
  16. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    So you really did understand my posts earlier and were attempting to be funny? :vulcan:

    I don't recall that one.


    I don't have a sense of humor about cheap jokes associated with this topic. I was a teenager when the Pioneer/Voyager probes were sent out. I followed the newscasts and read the articles on what they discovered. I also read the book Carl Sagan wrote about the Voyager probes. It's called Murmurs of Earth and is about the making of the records that were attached to the probes.

    It's an excellent book, and I recommend it to anyone interested in the real probes.
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Well, much of Star Trek is a cheap joke. Or then a fantastic universe of its own, grossly in contradiction with the real world. On the issue of space travel, including early Earth space travel, it has rules of its own. But it does stick to those, and much of what is told about the disappearances of early space missions fits an unintentional pattern.

    Archer and (out of all people) T'Pol joke about it in "Civilization", too: there's every reason to think that some "alien abduction" stories on Earth were based on fact, and in fact exhibit a pattern natural for the dwellers of the Trek universe.

    Regarding the Voyagers specifically, they appear to have been a greater success story in Trek than in "ourverse". The US never built spacecraft that could have been called Voyagers 3 through 6 or beyond. But what did Trek have in greater abundance? Faith? Launch capacity? Motivation?

    Voyager 6 supposedly disappeared in the early to mid-1970s, if this is to be "over" 300 years before the movie as Decker specifies. We might do well to deduce that NASA near-simultaneously launched at least six Grand Tour spacecraft, then, rather than to speculate that the success of Voyagers 1 and 2 prompted the launching of further pairs to different types of mission now that the Tour window had closed. But something about their rocketry would have to be different, too, to allow a Grand Tour probe to already be lost in 1977 at the very latest. Why launch "early"?

    Then again, if Voyager 6 was lost on Earth's very doorstep, there'd be better justification for Earthlings figuring out it was lost in "what used to be called a black hole". Whatever was called by that name would be difficult to spot by definition, and the closer to Earth, the better. I mean, it isn't all that plausible that the probe itself would have been making constant en route observations that would reveal the approach of this hole thing.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. The Mighty Monkey of Mim

    The Mighty Monkey of Mim Commodore Commodore

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    Following up on this, "The Man Trap" (TOS) is another example of logs having necessarily been recorded after the fact. On the other hand, at least some of them are equally unquestionably dictated in the moment: "Return To Tomorrow" (TOS), "The Gamesters Of Triskelion" (TOS), and STV come to mind. In all three cases we transition mid-entry from voiceover to Kirk actually speaking aloud on the bridge and proceed from there. Again, there are still probably further instances of both.

    -MMoM:D
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2017
  19. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    They're just YouTube links that probably aren't visible outside the United States.
     
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  20. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Thanks, Jonny!
    JB
     
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