Can the Enterprise destroy a planet?

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

  1. Richard Baker

    Richard Baker Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    In 'The Ultimate Computer' the Enterprise destroyed another Constitution class ship, the Excalibur, with just a couple of phaser shots at distance.
    While it may not shatter a planet to rubble like the Death Star, I do think the TOS Enterprise was fully capable of devastating a planet, turning a thriving ecosystem into an airless wasteland easily.
     
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  2. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Also, I think the super-dense nebula absorbed a lot of phaser energy.
     
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  3. Jedi Marso

    Jedi Marso Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In the cloud creature episode, a small bottle of antimatter razed the surface of the planet and ripped away half its atmosphere, right? While starships may not carry weapons capable of doing it, the technology definitely exists for antimatter bombs that could crack a planet wide open, right down to its mantle, and effectively destroy it.
     
  4. Imaus

    Imaus Captain Captain

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    To destroy a class M planet (earth like) you need around 359 exaton to get the crust off.

    To strip an atmosphere of a class M planet, you need far less - around a exaton or two.

    Less than an ounce of antimatter only makes...well, 28 grams to an ounce, one gram of Amat is 43 kt (when paired with a gram of matter), x28 = 1,200ish kt or 1.2 mt, or, one B83 bomb.

    Far less than one thousand cobalt bombs and would barely cause more than such a localized firestorm of such a b53 bomb... Starfleet was mucking up numbers there.
     
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  5. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    The Antimatter weapons in TOS has always? exhibited damage far in excess of real life physics. Whether they are enhanced with something we won't ever know other than guessing based on the observed effects.

    True, that could be a factor. We do know that both ships' max power output is limited in some way in each encounter which would limit their max phaser output. Even if they wanted fire full phasers, they couldn't generate it.

    Reliant and Enterprise's initial fight.
    RELIANT: I've deprived your ship of power and when I swing round I mean to deprive you of your life. But I wanted you to know first who it was who had beaten you.
    ENTERPRISE: Just the batteries, sir. I can have auxiliary power in a few minutes.
    then...
    RELIANT: They've damaged the photon-control and the warp drive.​

    Reliant and Enterprise's Mutara Nebula fight...
    RELIANT: Impulse power restored... Excellent! More than a match for poor Enterprise.
    ENTERPRISE: What is working around here? Not much, Admiral. We have partial main power.
    and later...
    ENTERPRISE: Admiral, I've got to take the mains off the line.​
     
  6. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    Except the phasers vary in effectiveness as convenient for the plot. When the Enterprise phasers hit the Reliant's nacelle for an instant the nacelles guts are blown out.
     
  7. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    Nah...

    The amount of energy required to exceed the gravitational binding energy of an Earth mass planet and blow the body into pieces that fly apart is literally astronomical; we’re talking 200 nonillion joules. That’s 200 followed by thirty zeroes, folks…as much energy as the Sun emits in an entire week (source).

    200,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

    Far simpler to "glass" the surface.

    As to that nearly moon-sized asteroid in "The Paradise Syndrome," it's own mass would have long ago crushed in into a sphere, so it's either made of candy floss or Spock has "exaggerated."
     
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  8. Tango

    Tango Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    It is conceivable that the asteroid was produced in a gigantic collision with another asteroid, producing (numerous) fragments, and this occurred recently enough that gravity hasn't crushed the large fragment into a sphere yet. Now that I think about it, the presence of the asteroid deflector obelisk does suggest that solar system has an elevated level of asteroidal "activity" - if I remember that might have been mentioned (haven't watched that episode in a while).
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2022
  9. hofner

    hofner Commodore Commodore

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    Post TOS Star Trek space battles reminds me of a scene from the TV show "Police Squad!" with Leslie Nielson playing Frank Drebin.

    In some alley, Drebin is in a gunfight with a baddie. A medium close shot shows Drebin rising from behind an oil drum to snap off a few shots and then crouching back down behind the drum again.

    We then see a similar shot of the baddie crouching behind an oil drum doing the same thing.

    Then a wide, pulled back shot shows Drebin and the baddie are crouching on opposite sides of the same oil drum. They're so ridiculously close, either could easily reach around and grab the other's arm.

    Robert
     
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  10. Neopeius

    Neopeius Admiral Admiral

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    There is no such thing as a super-dense nebula. A nebula has the effective density of vacuum except inside a protosun or protoplanet (no indication they were in such a thing).

    Apparently, nacelles are made of Explodium.

    I remember that episode! :)
     
  11. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    In real life, probably not. But in Star Trek the Mutara Nebula was sufficiently dense enough to cause both the Enterprise and Reliant to bump into and then push into it. The turbulence was also sufficiently strong enough to jolt the ships.
     
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  12. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Given what the nacelles actually do in terms of subspace field generation and plasma technobabble and such, I'm really not surprised that a direct hit to them causes critical if not catastrophic damage. See also "Cause and Effect", "Twilight", "Equinox".
     
  13. Richard Baker

    Richard Baker Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Agreed.
    Unlike the rest of the ship's interior filled with decking and hardware, the nacelles are giant field generators filled with plasma- it's hard to keep them from exploding just from normal use (depending on the script).
    Hanging them out away from the ship keeps tbe crew safe but does make them tempting targets. Purpose built warships like the Defiant class and the Hirogen vessels keep them better protected
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2022
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  14. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, I've always felt for any antagonist who's not particularly picky about whether they destroy the ship the nacelles should be target #1, because damaging them seems like a really easy way to do serious damage.
     
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  15. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's all about the shields. People used to complain about the bridge being exposed, but if the shields stay up, the bridge and the antimatter pods will be fine. If the shields go down, then realistically it's all over. A starship can't be like a Civil War ironclad with cannonballs bouncing off. The space weapons are too powerful.
     
  16. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Actually, what they're saying in "The Cage" is that the amount of power that they're able to transmit to the phaser cannon/laser cannon is enough to blast half a continent, not that that's the limit of the power that can be emitted from the weapons banks mounted on the starship.

    Remember, they're trying to remove that entryway, not melt the entire complex and kill everyone down in there including the captain. So, setting up the cannon to fire upwards was a given.
     
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  17. Richard Baker

    Richard Baker Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Besides energy shields Ablative armor protects ships when equipped with it. With shields down a vessel can still take many hits until a weak spot is formed and compromised, similar to the old Ironclads.
    https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Ablative_armor
    This, of course, is a technology in the TNG/DS9+ era and this thread is about the TOS Enterprise tech level.

    Not sure if it was in a tech manual or story but I remember reading about a special shield system, TOS or TMP era. A block of neutronium is scanned then replicated/beamed outside the ship to intercept enemy weapons fire. The result is a projected section of impenetrable hull material to protect the ship from attack. Probably has limitations due to power needed and number of attacking vectors but an interesting concept.
     
  18. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Commodore Commodore

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    Even though its said various times that the Enterprise can wipe out a planet I prefer to think that thats mostly bluff but that they can wipe out cities etc. I mean if I knew the Enterprise could wipe out my planet I'd be pretty nervous even as a friendly planet when the Enterprise was in orbit. What if some hippies took over the Enterprise? They could wipe out my "Herbert" planet on a whim.
     
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  19. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I've thought about that regarding first contacts. What would the Enterprise's arrival really be like, from an alien planet's point of view?

    Put another way, if I somehow knew that a 300-meter long alien starship was "exploring" our own solar system, and that it was decked out with energy cannons that could destroy whole cities, how would I feel about that?
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2022
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  20. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    At our current tech we would have zero chance to fend off the ship unless we got lucky and snuck a nuke on board it and detonated it.

    Eminiar Seven was advanced enough to know that the Enterprise had the ability to wipe out their cities so it is doubtful that it is mostly bluff.