Can the Enterprise destroy a planet?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Poltargyst, May 27, 2022.

  1. Poltargyst

    Poltargyst Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2014
    How powerful are the Enterprise's weapons? In A Taste of Armageddon Kirk says

    KIRK: I'm not interested in discussing our differences. You don't seem to realise the risk you're taking. We don't make war with computers and herd the casualties into suicide stations. We make the real thing, Councilman. I could destroy this planet.

    When Kirk says he could "destroy the planet", does he mean destroy the planet a la the Death Star or the Doomsday Machine, i.e. reduce it to rubble? Or does he mean "destroy the planet" as in "reduce the Eminarian civilization to rubble but leave the planet intact"?

    Can the Enterprise reduce a planet to rubble?
     
  2. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2013
    Location:
    New York State
    I'd say no. But in "Obsession" they have a bomb that can wipe out the entire biosphere.
     
  3. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2001
    Location:
    Burlington, VT, USA
    I never got the sense that the Enterprise could destroy a planet literally using standard armaments unless the planet had a point of instability that could be exploited, or if the ship did a kamikaze run perhaps.
     
  4. Phoenix219

    Phoenix219 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2016
    raze the surface, but not destroy the core.
     
    XCV330, Skipper, Grant and 5 others like this.
  5. Jedi Marso

    Jedi Marso Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    Idaho
    Probably destroy every structure on the surface and render it uninhabitable, but not physically destroy the entire planet like the Death Star.
     
    Richard S. Ta likes this.
  6. trekshark

    trekshark Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2014
    Location:
    USA
    they couldn't even destroy an asteroid in that one episode
    wipe out the population on the surface though, sure
     
  7. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    No, not to rubble like the planet eater. But the same episode ("A Taste of Armageddon") had the Enterprise threaten to destroy the inhabited surface of the planet which is certainly do-able with phasers and photon torpedoes.

    In "Obsession", a antimatter bomb was able to blow half the atmosphere of Tychos 4 away.
    In "Where No Man Has Gone Before" it wasn't specified if one or many ships were needed but apparently subjecting a planet with lethal amounts of neutron radiation was a Starfleet option.
    In "The Paradise Syndrome", Spock burned out the main systems trying to split an Earth Moon-sized asteroid in half with phasers after nudging it a little with her deflector. I imagine if they had a lot more time they could've split the asteroid or deflected it.
    And in "The Cage/The Menagerie" we see one of Pike's Enterprise's cannons blast the top off the knoll and dialogue suggesting they could blast half a continent with the ship.
     
    Kor and Henoch like this.
  8. M'Sharak

    M'Sharak Definitely Herbert. Maybe. Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2002
    Location:
    Terra Inlandia
    Also from "A Taste of Armageddon":

    [Bridge]
    SCOTT: Open a channel, Lieutenant. This is the commander of the USS Enterprise.

    [Council Room]
    SCOTT [OC]: All cities and installations on Eminiar Seven have been located, identified, and fed into our fire-control system. In one hour and forty five minutes

    [Bridge]
    SCOTT: The entire inhabited surface of your planet will be destroyed.

    [Council Room]
    SCOTT: You have that long to surrender your hostages.
    The Star Trek Transcripts - A Taste of Armageddon (chakoteya.net)

    If that's a thing the Enterprise isn't really able to do and it's just a bluff, it's still a very effective bluff.
     
    Mr. Laser Beam likes this.
  9. at Quark's

    at Quark's Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2012
    I would think their weapons to be perhaps a few orders of magnitude more powerful than our nukes (so in the ballpark of being thousands of times more powerful) , but nothing close to '10^15 times more powerful than Tsar Bomba' (the heaviest nuke ever constructed), which you would approximately need to enter the 'literally blowing up entire planets' ballpark. As noted here already, we can see this in the difficulties they face blowing up mere asteroids.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2022
  10. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    Well, blowing up the Earth's moon is definitely not something that can be quickly done in TOS.

    SPOCK: Doctor, that asteroid is almost as large as your Earth's moon. ​
     
  11. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2001
    Location:
    Ferguson, Missouri, USA
    "The entire starfleet couldn't destroy the whole planet. It would take 1,000 ships with more firepower than--"

    Wait, that's from a different sci-fi franchise. Never mind.
    :alienblush:
     
    Poltargyst, blssdwlf and Phaser Two like this.
  12. Phaser Two

    Phaser Two Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2016
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I always liked that reference to the "starfleet" in A New Hope. Had to be deliberate.
     
  13. Neopeius

    Neopeius Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2001
    Location:
    55 years ago
    From "The Menagerie":

    "Now that entry may have stood up against hand lasers, but we can transmit the ship's power against it, enough to blast half a continent."

    So, 11 years before, they could blast half a continent. With modern phasers, presumably more.

    (unless it's Star Trek II, in which case phasers do about as much damage as a cannonball.)
     
    Richard S. Ta likes this.
  14. M'Sharak

    M'Sharak Definitely Herbert. Maybe. Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2002
    Location:
    Terra Inlandia
    Oh, no no no ... that way madness lies.
     
    XCV330, Richard S. Ta and Neopeius like this.
  15. Neopeius

    Neopeius Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2001
    Location:
    55 years ago
    [​IMG]
     
  16. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 24, 2006
    Location:
    Escaped from Delta Vega
    See "Bread and Circuses", where Claudius refers to Merrick's information about Starships:

    That has always read as a Starship being able to (ultimately) turn a planet into a burning rock in space, rather than a Trek-ian version of precision bombing.
     
    Neopeius, STEPhon IT and blssdwlf like this.
  17. Phaser Two

    Phaser Two Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2016
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Not really; in the second battle the Enterprise's phasers do some pretty significant damage to the poor Reliant.

    In the opening battle, it's clear that Khan is not attempting to destroy the Enterprise, as he wants the Genesis data and materials. The highly targeted strike is meant to disable the Enterprise, and essentially does. Oh, and when the Enterprise fires back with Scotty's "a few shots," implying less than full phasers, the Reliant is nevertheless hit pretty hard.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2022
    TREK_GOD_1 and DonIago like this.
  18. F. King Daniel

    F. King Daniel Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2008
    Location:
    King Daniel Beyond
    Antimatter weapons are potentially a LOT worse than even nuclear bombs, yes? Star Trek V may have had Kirk and friends walk away from a photon torpedo landing 20 feet away, and all the shows portray them as nowhere near as powerful as dialogue suggests, but a handful of them should raze a planet.
     
  19. Neopeius

    Neopeius Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2001
    Location:
    55 years ago
    Yeah, I know. That's fine.

    Sure, although we're at a range of virtually zero and the Reliant is shieldless. Full phasers can disable a shielded battleship at a range of tens of thousands of kilometers. Unless phaser power drops off suddenly rather than gradually, they seem pretty weak in ST2.

    But the real sin of ST2 is even if the combat was justified for the movie, every damned Trek afterward did combat the same way.
     
  20. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    Yeah, that's the sin of ST2 that the wrong message was taken away by future production people that low-powered phaser and photon torpedoes combat at point-blank range is the norm. At no time in ST2 were full-powered phasers ever fired and even the photon torpedoes hitting the Reliant weren't even at full power.
     
    publiusr, Warped9 and Neopeius like this.