Nature of Short/Long Range Sensors, Picard Maneuver

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Go-Captain, Apr 17, 2020.

  1. Go-Captain

    Go-Captain Captain Captain

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    We know subspace sensors are faster than light, they have to be to get real time information in certain instances, such as Voyager scanning for human DNA 9 light years away to find their recently abducted crew. But there are weird outliers such as the Picard maneuver which only works with slower than light sensors, and at least one instance in DS9 where a rotating EM pulse is used to disrupt Starfleet's sensors. Electromagnetism shouldn't disrupt subspace sensors any more than shining a bright flashlight at a telephone cable would.

    Does it stand to reason short range sensors are slower than light, and long range sensors are faster than light, and that they overlap depending on what action the ship is taking? For instance, in combat passive slower than light sensors would only be useful out to a few fractions of a light second before lag becomes too long, active slower than light sensors would have half the range. For navigation, slower than light sensors can be useful out to light minutes or light hours. However, I can see system confusion being created by having conflicting slower and faster than light sensor information overlapping during the Picard maneuver. The short range sensors show two targets, the long show one, and since all the information is credible the system gets confused.

    Has there been any indication they do not use radar? That could mean their short range sensors are purely passive.
     
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  2. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    I seem to recall in TMP, Uhura commenting on a lidar reading when they enter V-Ger's orifice. So the idea of short range sensors being convention EM gear and long range sensors being subspace would seem to have merit.

    Although, for the Picard Maneuver it's an older Ferengi ship that is so tricked, so one could also argue that it's a limitation of the Ferengi system. That said, Picard didn't know who he was fighting at the time, and everyone else seems to think it was a damn clever idea that would work on anyone, so maybe that is how most of us set up the sensors.

    --Alex
     
  3. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Range might be rather irrelevant here: sensors would be divided to active and passive at all ranges, and only the former could hope to provide realtime information on targets beyond point blank range (unless those were actively emitting FTL signals) - but many long range observations would be relevant even if they involved a time delay of millennia.

    As soon as Picard noticed that the enemy was no longer bombarding him with FTL beams for realtime data on his maneuverings, he would be within his rights to try a FTL dash. After all, the only good reason to stop scanning for realtime data in combat is if your sensors have failed you, a not unexpected event in combat, and a weakness the opponent will in general not fail to notice.

    But EM and FTL shouldn't be considered mutually exclusive. Rather, EM signals could be boosted to FTL with subspace carrier waves or whatever. Which may be why the sensor/deflector dish exists: it makes sense to cluster one's long range instruments right next to the ship's most powerful directional subspace projector, for that FTL boost to their signal.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  4. David cgc

    David cgc Admiral Premium Member

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    Though she calls it "photic-sonar," which doesn't seem to have ever been a real term for LIDAR (though that's the only explanation that makes sense), though apparently someone thought it was a good name for a band.
     
  5. trekshark

    trekshark Commander Red Shirt

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    There was also the (inverse Picard?) maneuver that they did with the Hathaway. It couldn't have gone far but stayed undetected long enough for the ferengi to leave. Light speed or slower sensors could explain that.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2020
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  6. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    Thanks, I had forgotten the actual dialog.

    --Alex
     
  7. Lakenheath 72

    Lakenheath 72 Commodore Commodore

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    My contribution to this discussion -
     
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  8. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Commodore Commodore

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    La Sirena is a private Civilian Cargo Transport, not a StarFleet vessel with the latest High Tech Sensors, Computers, Weapons, etc.

    And given that it's Impulse Exhaust and Warp Field Grille Emitters are all facing aft, I'm not surprised that the manufacturers decided to put crappy aft sensors in a location that is bound to be noisy anyways, for a basic "Cargo Vessel".
     
  9. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Or then the failure to scan to begin with.

    Space is vast. Things that are not scanned for would generally go unnoticed: you would quite literally miss a planet unless you went to the (considerable!) trouble of pointing a sensor directly at it. So it is a question of whether ship X constantly pumps out (considerable!) FTL energies in every direction to get rudimentary return echoes of what might lie there, or whether X only wastes those energies at targets it already suspects are there.

    X would vary from ship to ship, from assignment to assignment. The Ferengi for their part would not have a motivation to scan for the Hathaway, because that ship had recently been destroyed as far as they knew. On the other hand, they would be highly interested in knowing whether any other starships were sneaking up to them - but that question would become academic when their sensors would instead (falsely) tell them that enemy ships were rushing towards them at warp!

    But the concept of constantly scanning for everything is probably false. A starship approaching a star system does not scan for whether there are planets there: instead, the helmsman consults his charts, and may thus be surprised when the ship runs into a rubble field instead of the expected planet. It is only then that any scanning ensues, as well established in TOS already.

    If one wants to scan for the negative, say, for a missing planet, one probably needs a team of scientists working for a couple of hours, not three keypresses and a brief glimpse into the scanning hood by the Vulcan at the Science Station. Sensors in general can't tell what is not there: if nothing is seen, the default assumption should be that the sensors missed it, due to pointing in the slightly wrong direction or whatnot.

    Running the bullshit generator ragged might provide other/associated possibilities, too:

    - "Sonar" in the sense of "having to do with sound" (rather than the more specific "sound for navigation and ranging"; "photic" already establishes that Uhura is not speaking 20th century English and thus probably wouldn't say "sonic" even when she should) is a valid way to study things other than vacuum: for example stars are studied by their sounds, or seismic vibrations, the terms being basically interchangeable. Perhaps the barn door vibrates when sliding shut? This might be a LIDAR operating on the "James Bond spying laser" mode, eavesdropping by observing the vibrations by direct distance-variance or Doppler measurements on an EM beam. Or then it might be any arbitrary sort of sensor that spans the vacuum in order to extract the sonic/sonar data.

    - We probably need to wonder why Uhura needs a specific instrument for observing a thing that is obvious to the eye anyway. Is the V'Ger environment jamming conventional sensors? Is there a blind spot directly aft of the ship, even when she's not using her impulse engines? Or is she getting conflicting information, and that from the "photic-sonar" doodad is consistent with what she actually sees happening while Kirk should be aware that other sensors are currently failing him?

    - Are we hearing wrong, and Uhura is referring to a "positional" instrument, a natural choice in the extreme-close-quarters maneuvering the ship is engaged in?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  10. Mytran

    Mytran Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That's some incredibly precise sensors! Which episode was that from?
     
  11. Go-Captain

    Go-Captain Captain Captain

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    It's "Workforce" but I'm not sure if it's pt 1 or 2.
     
  12. Mytran

    Mytran Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Thanks, my searches weren't turning up anything as my criteria was a little generalised!
    Here's the specifics:
    So they've been hanging out in a nebula (and so been unable to move around in space very much) yet have the capability to scan for individual species' lifesigns over the range of LIGHT YEARS. A short time later:
    Whatever the distance, Voyager can cover it in less than 3 days which (assuming official warp formula) could be anywhere from 3 LY (at warp 6) to 8 LY (at warp 8), although evidence from other Voyager episodes would tend towards a much greater distance!

    I suspect your recall of "9 light years" from your post came from this exchange:
    They're not scanning at this point, but given the extracts above, I'd say that 8 or 9 light years is the bare minimum for Voyager's mega-sensors! :techman:
    And I agree, that's a bit silly ;)
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2020
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  13. Leathco

    Leathco Commander Red Shirt

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    We could also be seeing a difference between active scanners and passive scanners. If so, there is a chance La Sirena is not equipped with active scanners, but just passive ones. Let's say passive scanners take in all information in it's surroundings to determine where objects are (maybe this could even work at warp if objects in motion can be detected by the heat energy made by movement, however small that heat energy might be) while active scanners project a scan field or FTL rays and than wait on a reflection, much like the difference between active and passive sonar.
     
  14. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Commodore Commodore

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    Or whomever he bought the "La Sirena" from didn't have "Active Sensors" or the cost of "Active Sensors" wasn't worth it given the price and he thought he could upgrade them later with After Market "Active Sensors"?
     
  15. Angry Fanboy

    Angry Fanboy Captain Captain

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    I seem to recall the VOY episode Eye Of The Needle also mentioning "subspace bands" - Kim says something along the lines of the wormhole "not even registering on long range sensors yet" but being detectable on "subspace bands".

    (I appreciate this is just muddying the waters even more...)
     
  16. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Commodore Commodore

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    But Federation StarShips usually get all the "Bells & Whistles" treatment.

    Voyager was the most advanced ship type in terms of tech, sensors, etc when she launched.

    "La Sirena" is a small commercial private freightor.

    We don't know what "Option Packages" Rios bought when he acquired the ship.
     
  17. Angry Fanboy

    Angry Fanboy Captain Captain

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    Did I miss where we said the discussion was limited just to La Sirena?
     
  18. Go-Captain

    Go-Captain Captain Captain

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    The problem with the Snake Head chasing La Sirena is just a camera would have been enough to see it. The funny thing is this fits an instance where Geordi looks out a window to see a ship the Enterprise can’t. Both indicate Trek ships don’t bother with visible wavelengths at short range. It’s also supposed to be trivial for Trek ships to foil modern sensors since the TOS Enterprise and Voyager put up anti-20th century sensor cloaks by adjusting their shields.
     
  19. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Commodore Commodore

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    I'm sure scattering our modern RADAR is relatively trivial by then.