Self-Cleaning Starships

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Bry_Sinclair, Aug 23, 2016.

  1. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In "Up The Long Ladder", Riker has a line about how the ship cleans itself.

    Any thoughts on how this might be done? Would it be through some form of particle sweep? Forcefields? Nanites? Or might there be something else at work here?
     
  2. SPCTRE

    SPCTRE Badass Admiral

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  3. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Since we never see cleaning happen, and we never see dirt disappear instantaneously, either, I'm for some sort of semi-macroscopic sweeping during the Night Shift: transporters, forcefields and unobtrusive little 'bots that benefit from internal surveillance data in avoiding contact with the crew, and carefully stay out of the way whenever there's activity (that is, whenever the Paramount camera is there).

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  4. Laura Cynthia Chambers

    Laura Cynthia Chambers Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    They lined the inside of the ship with 24th century Scotchgard and made the carpets out of Swiffers.
     
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  5. SWHouston

    SWHouston Commander Red Shirt

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    They have a drive through Ship Wash orbiting Bajor (Ferengi Operated) so keep an eye on your stuff.
     
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  6. Richard Baker

    Richard Baker Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    While not a starship, didn't we see a guy vacuuming the floor outside the Bridge Simulator room in TWOK?
    It was a glowing thing but he was using classic sweeping motions.
     
  7. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Either that, or he was polishing the floor.
     
  8. Go-Captain

    Go-Captain Commander Red Shirt

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    Considering the bridge keeps clean despite being continuously manned, the self cleaning must be some sort of continuous effect. Given enough air filtration, air born dust might not be an issue. Also, I imagine all the surfaces repel dirt, dust, oil and perhaps other things like bacteria. That fits with current technologies which can do similar things. Given the above, anything which cannot waft around a room must fall to the floor, which is some sort of carpet.

    The carpet must be self cleaning too, or it gets replaced on a regular basis. The bridge carpet does change at least once, however changing the carpet seems more labor intensive than just waving a device over it and we never see anything like a Roomba. Besides, manually switching carpets out is not automatic.

    In the case of a self cleaning carpet it needs some way to process dirt and move it to some sort of central collection. The carpet could migrate the dirt into a single or multiple collection points under the deck, the points would either be small replicators to turn the dirt to energy or they would have lines leading to a single disposal replicator, or to the room's replicator, or to the bathroom's waste lines. The bathroom waste line could, for all we know, have its own replicator for local waste handling, or hook up to a central processing facility.

    Alternatively, the carpets could have flagella like fibers, which, when not stood on, whip about in such a manner that dirt is gradually moved to a central collection point. Like the above, the collection point might involve further transport or a replicator.

    Another option is for the carpet to somehow break large clumps of dirt down until they are small enough to be made air born, at which point the carpet acts like an air hockey table to kick it into the air. This would rely on robust air filtration.

    The various solutions also require some way to handle liquids. If the carpet is hydrophobic and carefully graded and has a drain then that drain could lead to the sewage handling system, be it a replicator or centralized system. Today we already have surfaces to which ketchup, oil and water won't stick.
     
  9. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    What we know about the cleaning is through negatives. Stains on uniforms don't disappear automatically or swiftly (although they may change shape and size within a scene, perhaps suggesting that the uniform materials are doing their best to remove the stain in futuristic ways); see "Q Who?", chiefly. Objects dropped on the floor aren't removed any time soon (say, the glass repeatedly dropping in "Cause and Effect", or the telltale stylus ending up under the couch in "Inquisition", admittedly on a Cardassian station rather than a Starfleet ship). Furniture may end up being rearranged in a plot-significant fashion, and cleaning systems are never considered suspects. Nor is their failure to take action commented upon, in anomalious furniture chaos situations like "In Theory".

    ...Corpses lying on floors don't attract cleaning attention! Or medical attention, for that matter. But victims of violence may also be victims of sensor jamming, prohibiting both medical and security responses but also cleaning action.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2016
  10. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    Space Roombas!!
     
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  11. psCargile

    psCargile Captain Captain

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    It would have been interesting to see someone clean their touch screen console with the hem of their shirt.
     
  12. Laura Cynthia Chambers

    Laura Cynthia Chambers Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It can't be a perfect/automatic/hyper-responsive system, or else the ship would destroy all forensic evidence before it could be collected. So somebody still has to man the switch, or at least program the computer to schedule cleanings. Sort of like how a computer auto-scans itself regularly at a specific time every so often, but isn't constantly doing so.
     
  13. psCargile

    psCargile Captain Captain

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    What Riker meant by "self-cleaning" was a detail of low ranking crewmen that did not have to be ordered or supervised to do their duty.
     
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  14. Deks

    Deks Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    No.
    By self-cleaning, 'automation' is clearly implied.
    The Federation is more than advanced enough to make materials that are self-regenerating for example.
    They have recycling down to the extreme (at least compared to us).
    It wouldn't surprise me that the carpets/floors and the bulkheads can absorb excess particles and shuffle them into necessary other areas of the ship while undergoing modifications to be turned into usable materials for self-repair that seal breaches.

    I would also imagine that as others suggested, the computer is capable of using transporters and replicators together to make repairs without the crew's intervention.

    It would also explain why ships can look messed up in one episode and a week later, its all pristine.
    When not under battle, the ship systems aren't under strain to keep the shields up and power the weapons, so resources can be diverted towards self-maintenance and repairs.

    The writers really didn't pay a lot of attention to automation in Trek to be honest, which is borderline criminal considering that such a civilization would inherently RELY on massive automation (heck, WE already do considering that practically all goods and services are produced by machines and robots, not humans).

    Self-repair was also mentioned in the novels (though it wasn't shown that well on screen - but we did get to see that Federation ships are more than capable of it given the technology they have). It wasn't explained in depth, but I would imagine that replicators in combination with transporters are able to affect a great deal of repairs, and let's not forget the areas of the ship we cannot see usually... perhaps the ship also has robotic type arms that use maglev for movement (to minimize maintenance of moving parts) and affect critical areas.

    After all, I recall that when Voyager was transported to the DQ in the first episode, once the Warp core was stabilized, the ship still looked rather banged up with flickering lights.
    By the time the crew was returned to Voyager after 3 days of being on the array, the inside of the ship and major systems were functioning properly.
     
  15. Mark_Nguyen

    Mark_Nguyen Commodore Commodore

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    OTOH, once that Bolian ex-Maquis guy was de-gaussing the transporter array, and it was noted that it could be done way faster, but still apparently manually. So SOME cleaning / maintenance stuff still required some elbow grease, but the day to day cleaning of stuff aboard ship - which ANY Navy person will tell you occupies a fair chunk of their duty time - is taken care of by the ship itself.

    Mark
     
  16. Anna Yolei

    Anna Yolei Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Basically :lol:

    As any former enlisted can tell you, depending on one's job, you'd spend more time cleaning than actually doing "real work," aka the job you signed up to do. Looking at you, Navy Operation Specialists ;)
     
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  17. Sgt_G

    Sgt_G Commodore Commodore

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    @Anna Yolei ... So true. So very true. I though when they handed me my retirement certificate it would come with an Associate's Degree in janitorial maintenance.
     
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  18. locutus101

    locutus101 Vice Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Airborne nanites and forcefields.
     
  19. Deks

    Deks Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Actually no... That type of degaussing was specifically ordered by Tuvok so he can give Chell some experience in handling the basics of training - or just to discipline him.
    He also intentionally gave him a micro-tool as opposed to a magneton scanner, which resulted in Chell working for hours (as opposed to 5 minutes).

    The type of work we're talking about would never have to be done by Humans or humanoids in general in Trek (because its ridiculously idiotic to waste time on something like that since it can be automated - they have beams that can sweep large areas and disintegrate/disassemble matter either into oblivion or just pure energy (which can later on be used to be converted into actual matter).
    And for all we know, they probably never do... this was just Tuvok being hard on Chell due to specialized training.

    I also recall a TNG episode where heavy use of warp drive required starships to be sweeped with a Baryon beam if I'm not mistaken... that beam disintegrates/removes all traces of organic matter upon contact.

    My beef with Trek is that they made certain limits on the technology which are not realistic for that level of technology.
    Such as ships not doing ALL of the repairs without the crew's intervention (unless the self-repair system itself suffered damage), or not being completely self sufficient (hello, these ships encounter star systems every week... energy can be easily gathered from stars, shuffled into the replicators, combined with transporters to enhance the pattern buffer, and replicate all of the things you need on a weekly basis without actually using the energy from the Warp core).
    That's what bugged me about Voyager and Equinox and their supposed resource shortages... those were never realistic for their technology and capabilities.

    As for nanites being used in repairs... possible but unlikely. Apart from certain medical uses, the Federation didn't seem to use nanite technology for starship construction or repairs.
    Technically, we've seen one example of what proper use of transporters and replicators can do from Enterprise (NX-01).
    The automated station swept an immediate area which dematerialized all of the damage and immediately replicated a new bulkhead.
    THAT's what should be done... and it might actually be done off the screen by starships themselves (only without robotic arms - why bother when you can just use transporters to dematerialize the damaged area and then just rematerialize it in perfect condition - sure, you will expend some power doing it, but it would be much smaller than if you had to materialize the completely new bulkhead from scratch as opposed to using the damaged one for some energy return).
     
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  20. DeepSpaceYorks

    DeepSpaceYorks Commander Red Shirt

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    I watched a TNG the other day, can't remember the name, but Data, Troi and O'Brien were possessed by criminals and at one point Data punched the nav console and left a big streaky, greasy hand print on the touch screen. All I could think was 'I hope somebody comes along and wipes and sanitises that!'