# Something about TOS I never realised before...

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Lance, May 29, 2013.

1. ### Robert ComsolCommodoreCommodore

Joined:
Sep 10, 2012
Location:
USS Berlin
Well, as I mentioned before elsewhere, if we were to assume that TOS stardates were introduced prior to "Where No Man Has Gone Before" and after Stardate 9999.9 turned to (1)0000.0 (second log period) you'll get an almost exact and correct difference of 15 years between "Space Seed" and "Wrath of Khan".

Unfortunately, it's appears "Wrath of Khan" also nullifies the concept of different stardates at different locations due to various reasons.

The stardate in Saavik's bridge simulation is basically the same when Starship Reliant approaches Ceti Alpha V.

But if you ignore the TOS inaccuracies, the TAS stardates, and find a rationalization why there's 18 months of stardate time missing at the beginning of TMP (drydock stay?), there's a strong suggestion that 1.000 stardate digits equal one solar year.

Last but not least, Admiral Kirk's log entries in TMP, too, suggest 1.000 stardate digits for one solar year, if you do the math.

Bob

Joined:
Aug 26, 2003
If we're to look for some sort of a "pseudo-physics" explanation for stardates not really proceeding by X digits per hour, we have to look at the small detail. The big numbers (the first three or later four digits) never pose major problems within TOS, or TNG/DS9/VOY, or even most of the movies. But what comes after the (decimal?) point, and sometimes just before it, is "wobbly" and e.g. responsible for all the cases of overlap in TOS.

Perhaps the 1000 sd/yr assumption is perfectly correct, but the assumption that the things after the dot are fractions of a stardate is incorrect? The new movies also have self-evident pre-dot digits, but nonsensical post-dot ones (say, Kirk is uncertain about the second digit after the dot, which means he doesn't know which day of the week it is, or even which week it is!). Dividing the Earth year in a thousand units already gives you perfectly good accuracy for a calendar, so the things after the dot might be devoted to something else altogether.

We then have to explain why on occasion they do look like fractions of a year (say, in ST:TMP, apparently by design) while on other occasions they do not... And there we can easily go for things like "time zones", i.e. the famous Federation Timebase Beacons ("Clues" et al.) giving instantaneous info on universal time at most locations but suffering from technological limitations and resulting delays at others.

Yet interestingly enough, nobody ever used stardates to establish the time of day or to count down remaining time, giving us yet another excuse to believe that the things after the dot are not timekeeping measurements as such. Hours, minutes and seconds are still used exclusively for such applications.

Timo Saloniemi

Joined:
Feb 27, 2006
Location:
Germany, Earth, the Solar System
Maybe the 1000 stardate units per earth year are just a coincidence and it doesn't match exactly.
I am curious what the reference frame for the system could be.

A day is one rotation around it's own axis of a Planet. Different planets, different day lenghts.
One month equals One moon cycle. Some planets don't have a moon or several, they might have different Systems entirely.
One year is lap around the Sun, etc...

So the logical reference for all spacefaring races in the neighborhood would be rotation of the galaxy?
So if 1000 units happen to be roughly one earth year, what part of a galactic "day" would that be?

4. ### Praetor BaldricLieutenant Commander

Joined:
May 22, 2013
I don't mean to burst anyone's bubble here, but weren't they just cranked out arbitrarily as a means of preventing viewers from being able to place episodes in any chronological order? Also, don't you find that rather helped with creating the (forgive the pun) timelessness of the series?

Joined:
Aug 26, 2003
Umm, no. The stardates proceed almost exactly in the production order of the episodes - the arbitrary part about them is that nobody sat down to agree on what they meant, in terms of Earth years, months, weeks or hours.

Possibly the writers of the final script versions found it quite practical to use stardates as a marker of sorts for the production order, even...

In the sense of distancing it from external or absolute time references, yes, certainly. But for whatever reason, they still ended up as milestones on a supposed five-year journey through stardates 1300-5900.

(Of course, the 1000 sd/yr thing can't have been the actual intent, or else they wouldn't have hurried up to SD 5900 in just three seasons - or at least there would have been a mad jump from SD 3900 to SD 5900 at the very end of the third season. But fate conspired to give us a five-year mission in the 1000 sd/yr terms nevertheless.)

Timo Saloniemi

6. ### Robert ComsolCommodoreCommodore

Joined:
Sep 10, 2012
Location:
USS Berlin
No, as Timo stated they hold up pretty well with the production order if you don't look to hard.

The problem was the original broadcast order which was erratic. Apparently, viewers wanted Gene Roddenberry to explain the obvious discrepancies (because of the chaotic broadcast order!) and Gene came up with an explanation (in The Making of Star Trek) and explicitly stated, that he never wanted to bothered again with the issue.

Had the networks stuck with the original production order (which was eventually respected by TV stations in the 1970's but not by CBS and its video discs...) I assume we might have gotten a different statement (which in my world is TMP where 0.114 digits = 60 minutes and 2.737 digits = 24 hours).

That was the whole idea of stardates. While TOS appeared to be vaguely set 200 years in the future, this premise got changed with TMP (300 years) and in ST II we were given an Earth year as a reference.

While I might have lived with calendar years, the obvious ignorance of the explicitly stated "15 years" time gap between "Space Seed" and ST II has corrupted the entire timeline from a TOS point of view.

I for one since prefer the exclusive use of stardates, so I don't have to argue with other fans whether a certain event in TOS should be placed in year 22XX minus or plus 3 years.

Bob

Joined:
Jan 5, 2005
oops

8. ### xvicenteCaptainCaptain

Joined:
Jan 16, 2013
The stardate for the first episode was 1312.9 the and the last 5928.5.

If you take the two first numbers of each (13 and 59) and consider them as "months since the ship left port", so the first episode would be about one year in the mission, which makes sense, and 59 would mean the last month of the epic "five-year mission".

Then each ship/mission would have its own stardate.

Not my idea, I just read it somewhere and liked it. Probably because it acknowledeges the opening speech. I love the "it's five-year mission". Gave a sense of them being really, REALLY far away from Earth, even at FTL speeds (together with sporadic lines like "Starfleet's response will take weeks") wich make Kirk more "the guy in charge".

That was lost IMO in other versions.