Travel times, galaxy maps and Voyager's mission.

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Xhiandra, Aug 4, 2020.

  1. Xhiandra

    Xhiandra Captain Captain

    Joined:
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    (not VOY specific, please don't move)

    I like maps, they really help understand geopolitical situations. But Trek maps have an issue.

    Well, 2 issues:

    1) They tend to be in 2D. Not as big a problem as could be expected, though, given how "flat" our galaxy is.
    2) The sizes are too big. Or too small.

    To build on point 2:
    - It's established that Voyager's trip would've taken 70-75 years at (IIRC) maximum warp.
    - But maps like this show the UFP's longest distance to be about a fourth to a fifth of the distance between Kazon space (where Voyager starts) and the place where Earth is usually situated. Similar story for the Romulan Star Empire or Klingon Empire. So, that would mean that it would take 15 to 20 years to cross those areas! Making them impossible to manage.
    So, those maps all overestimate the size of interstellar organisations. Fine. But then, they get too small to contain all those inhabited worlds.

    So, how to resolve this?
     
  2. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The all-encompassing answer: the longer the trip, the slower the speed.

    Across short distances, a ship can "maximum warp" at a speed that endangers the hardware, and get serviced at the other end. Across longer distances, there are many pit stops and a steadily increasing risk of blowing up if one keeps on going. So across tens of thousands of lightyears, one travels at a "maximum warp" of around sixish, which indeed takes decades. Across mere dozens of lightyears, one goes warp 9.975 and gets there before the engines even get warm.

    We do have to accept that the UFP is thousands of lightyears across, because dialogue says so. We don't have to accept that the heroes could cover that distance in plot time, because they never do. But we do have to accept that they cover 1/10 of that with trivial ease, because we see that happen many a time - all the shows are rife with references to hundreds of lightyears being crossed. And we can't accept that things would be linear, that ten thousand lightyears would take a hundred times longer than one hundred lightyears. But we don't have to.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  3. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Let's not and say we did.
     
  4. Xhiandra

    Xhiandra Captain Captain

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    I thought of that, but it's clear they're not talking warp 6 in VOY. And the strategy could easily be to have 4-5 distinct warp 9.975 jumps, with a sufficient cooldown period in between (used to resupply).


    Sisko goes from Bajor to Earth (and back) in a matter of weeks, IIRC. That's almost the longest diagonal on that map (by the way, I forgot to mention that I chose that map because it's the one where the polities are the smallest of all those I found).
    The Ent-D goes to Q'onos (TNG: several instances) and Bajor (DS9: Emissary), in a span of less than decades, and they're not heading straight from one to the other.
     
  5. darrenjl

    darrenjl Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    The 2D nature of the maps doesn't show how the interstellar territories overlap each other, which has always been an issue with Star Trek in general. The Neutral Zone is always shown as a strip on screen, when in reality it would be more likely a 'wall' in space with a flat border each side.

    I've always thought it strange that the Federation is essentially hemmed in by several major powers; the Klingons, Romulans and Cardassians, let alone others rarely mentioned like the Sheliak and Tholians. Qo'nos and Romulus seem incredibly close to Earth, yet would resemble the central positions of their respective territories each species moved out to explore space. Perhaps Bajor and Cardassian space in three dimensional terms lies slightly above Earth on the galactic plane, with Klingon underneath, and Romulan further underneath that, leaving Earth a huge amount of space on one side to become Federation territory, given the younger age of the latter.

    I imagined Borg space to be less a blob of territory and more randomised lines emanating from a central core territory, where Borg ships have set a direct course and simply assimilated worlds along its path. This could explain why in Scorpion Voyager entered 'Borg space' and was then thrown ten years closer to home across it's territory, but still encountered Borg along the rest of its journey home, in that the 'ten year' section was not necessarily the main core, but a huge offshoot of it, with further tentacles reaching down into the heart of the Delta Quadrant that Voyager encountered along the rest of its journey.
     
  6. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Commodore Commodore

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    [​IMG]
    Here's the map that I have of Voyager's travels.

    - Based on the on-screen estimates of 75 year journey has a average cruise speed of Warp 8 assuming unlimited fuel
    - Warp 8 would take 68.36 years if non-stop with unlimited fuel, but given stops, repairs, exploration, etc. They probably rounded up to 75 years
    - That means I can guess that Warp 8 was their cruise speed assuming unlimited fuel (A VERY Unrealistic Scenario)
    - Galaxy Class initial Average Cruise speed was Warp 6, but later on became Warp 7

    Voyager would only use higher Warp Speeds as necessary to get through more dangerous parts of space or in life threatening emergencies.

    No need to push the Warp Engines that hard if you have a 75 year marathon to deal with.
     
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  7. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Why? If we assume Janeway is saying "Even at the highest speed we could practically sustain if we did nothing else", she would be competent enough to calculate said highest speed in terms of warp jumps and cooldowns, and might well end up with warp 6, just like Barclay did in his analysis. And then she'd dismiss that option, because obviously (and eventually) the strategy of not sustaining highest possible speed would get them home faster, by allowing them to find the shortcuts.

    Which would then average out as warp 6, apparently.

    And thus well in line with some later TNG adventures where the heroes shuttle between Romulus, Qo'noS and Cardassia between episodes, this not being a big deal. Also, Bashir in "Defiant" thought he could visit Vulcan in a week in a mere runabout, while Sisko's "last Thursday" reference was to travel in an actual starship (even if it was the subpar Defiant).

    But this would be travel through thoroughly civilized space, with plenty of pit stop opportunities for "zero-houring" the rigors of travel. Such flying would be not quite as fast as jumps that only take hours or days, but it would be significantly faster than with journeys that take months let alone years.

    Significantly, though, the RNZ is basically the only case of "territorial overlap" known to exist in Trek. Other entities just sort of hang there in space, not really touching each other in terms of plot twists or dialogue references. If "borders" exist, they are highly theoretical conceits, never patrolled or enforced in practice. So showing how Red borders on Blue or Amber isn't all that relevant in a Trek map. Klingons will claim it historically belongs to them anyway!

    That's more like everybody lives somewhere, and nobody is able to do much about others traveling and expanding. It's always possible to fly through the UFP without getting noticed, after all (the Klingons apparently got to Bajor that way in "WotW"), and one doesn't always need a cloak for such things, even.

    ...But if all three moved out simultaneously, they could only expand away from each other, thus making for lopsided empires.

    Space is probably full of those, and we only observe the triangle or tetrahedron closest to Earth for obvious reasons. How badly an empire gets distorted depends on the nature of the rat race with the neighbors. Some empires may even extend across lesser ones with relative ease - the Feds may accept members behind the backs of their enemies, while said enemies would never go for such strategically problematic astrography.

    Might be there is no core territory, even. The Collective doesn't appear to value conquests as a thing, and is happy to just pester various cultures without taking them over, as this gives them the maximum number of ideas to assimilate, stretched across maximum time.

    The heroes would have their own misconceptions about that, though. And they would not learn better until after Seven of Nine finally let her hair down, which might only be between VOY and PIC for all we know.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  8. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Does the plot require a ship to be somewhere five sectors away in less than an hour? Then so shall it be!

    Does the plot require a ship to be the only one in the sector with no help around for days? Then so shall it be!

    Does the plot require a ship to be travelling for three weeks to cross a sector? Then so shall it be!
     
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  9. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Seriously nice work on the galaxy map!
     
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  10. Rhodan

    Rhodan Commander Red Shirt

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    While it´s not out of realm of possibillity they are isolated from the core space, why are Keremma not treated as part of Dominion on this map?
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ...Also, the distances in Gamma are a bit excessive when we really have no need for them to be that big, and when our heroes generally traipse across those distances in a humble runabout.

    The Dominion itself can be big. It need not be as big as its bosses claim, since those are bad guys who run a rather totalitarian setup. But personally, I'd take that Gamma map and reduce it to one-third size or so. (The same with Alpha, really, probably. While the UFP is in ST:FC said to be 8,000 ly in size, thus presumably across some axis, the ends of that axis might be thin wisps on the outer edges, rather than the size of the solid blue core.)

    Timo Saloniemi
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2020
  12. MAGolding

    MAGolding Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    My answer is that the volume of the important named space realms in Star Trek has to be much smaller than the maps indicate. And the important named space realms in Star Trek could each still rule tens, hundreds, and even thousands of inhabited worlds.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stellar_density#:~:text=Stellar density is the average,found within a unit volume.&text=The true stellar density near,or 0.14 stars pc−3.

    So in Earth's region of the galaxy,a sphere with a radius of 10 light years would have a volume of about 4,188.79 cubic light years and contain about 16.75 stars; a sphere with a radius of 20 light years would have a volume of about 33,510.32 cubic light years and contain about 134.04 stars, a sphere with a radius of 30 light years would have a volume of about 113,000 cubic light years and contain about 452 stars, a sphere with a radius of 40 light years would have a volume of about 268,000 cubic light years and contain about 1,072 stars, a sphere with a radius of 50 light years would have a volume of about 524,000 cubic light years and contain about 2,096 stars, a sphere with a radius of 100 light years would have a volume of about 4,190,000 cubic light years and contain about 16,760 stars, a sphere with a radius of 200 light years would have a volume of about 33,500,000 cubic light years and contain about 134,000 stars, a sphere with a radius of 300 light years would have a volume of about 1,130,000,000 cubic light years and contain about 452,000 stars, and so on.

    Assuming that a specific space government like the United Federation of Planets ruled a spherical volume of space with a radius of about 10 to 300 light years, it would rule a volume of space with a total volume of about 4,188.79 to about 1,130,000,000 cubic light years which would contain about 16.75 to about 452,000 indivudual stars and any planets which might orbit those stars.

    So what proportion of stars have habitable planets in in the fictional universe of Star Trek?

    The site Ex Astris Scientia has a discussion of real stars visited or mentioned in various Star Trek productions. https://www.ex-astris-scientia.org/inconsistencies/bayer-names.htm

    Wikipedia has a "List of nearest stars and brown dwarfs" that lists the stars and brown dwarfs nearest to the Sun and Earth, within a radius of about 5.0 parsecs or 16.3 light years.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nearest_stars_and_brown_dwarfs

    It also has a "List of star systems within 16-20 light years".

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_star_systems_within_16–20_light-years

    And a "List of star systems within 20-25 light years".

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_star_systems_within_20–25_light-years

    And a "List of star systems within 25-30 light years".

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_star_systems_within_25–30_light-years

    And a "List of nearest bright stars".

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nearest_bright_stars

    Wikipedia also has a "List of brightest stars", stars that appear brightest as seen from the location of Earth. You can sort the list by distance from Earth.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_brightest_stars

    So one can go through the list of real stars in Star Trek and find the ones which are described as currently having planets with intelligent beings, and make a list of them, to compare with the other lists to get their distances.

    In the era of Star Trek the Sol system has intelligent life on Earth, and according to a Discovery episode there is a language called Tau Cetian, thus implying intelligent natives of Tau Ceti. According to "And the Children Shall Lead" there are planets with intelligent beings in the Epsilon Indi system. According to the animated episode "Mudd's Passion" there are intelligent beings on Sirius IX. The planet Vulcan orbits a star 16 to 17 light years from Earth according to two Enterprise episodes. The Altair system, 16 light years from Earth, has intelligent inhabitants according to "Amok Time". In "Spock's Brain" there are three planets with intelligent life in the system of Sigma Draconis, which is about 18.77 light years from Earth.

    So in Star Trek there are at least 7 star systems with planets with intelligent life within a sphere with a radius of about 20 light years, and thus about 7 stars out of 134, or about 0.052 of all stars, should have intelligent life in the era of various Star Trek productions. So If a specific government in rules 5 intelligent specie it should rule about 100 star systems, if it rules 50 intelligent species it should rule about 1,000 star systems, if it rules 500 intelligent species it should rule 10,000 star systems, and so on.

    And all the evidence I see about the size of the UFP, and other space realms seen in Star Trek indicates that they each could rule hundreds or maybe a few thousand star systems, and thus rule volumes of space that would be tens or hundreds of light years in radius if they were spherical. The disc of our galaxy is about 50,000 light years in radius and about 1,000 or 2,000 light years thick.

    So the main space realms mentioned in various Star Trek productions should be just barely large enough to be slightly larger than dimensionless dots in maps of the entire galaxy.

    The "weeks" from Earth to Bajor shows that you don't have perfect memory. So let me quote from DS9 "Fascination":

    So Bajor should be somewhere between 200 and 400 light years from Regulus. If only someone knew how far Regulus is from Earth. Regulus is 79.3 light years plus or minus 0.7 light years, or about 78.6 to 80.0 light years from Earth.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulus.

    So if Bajor is 200 to 400 light years from Regulus and can be in any direction relative to Regulus, it must be between 120 and 480 light years from Earth.

    In DS9 "The Search, Part One":

    So Jake and Sisko were on Earth on "last Thursday". Assuming that weeks end on Saturdays and begin on Sundays, if Jake meant the latest Thursday to happen, The present day should be Sunday to Wednesday and thus "last Thursday" should be three to six days earlier. Assuming that Jake meant the Thursday which was during the preverious week, the day could be Sunday to Saturday, and "last Thursday" could be three to nine days earlier.

    Thus Jake and his father reached a destination 120 to 480 light years away in no more than 3 to 9 days.. Since there are officially 365.25 light days in a light year, that means that they traveled at an average speed of at least 4,870 to 58,440 times the speed of light.

    But at 4,870 to 58,440 times the speed of light, it would take only to 1.197 to 14.37 years to travel 70,000 light years, not the lifetime stated in TNG "The Price", DS9 "emissary", and VOY "The Caretaker".

    Maybe the Defiant can't travel that fast and didn't travel all that distance under its own power. Maybe there is a civilization with much faster space ships than the Federation and Starfleet payed to have the Defiant carried most of the distance between Earth and Bajor by one of those super fast alien ships.

    Maybe the Defiant used a system to instantly jump from one solar system to another and so did not travel through all of the light years between Earth and Bajor.

    What is certain is this yet another example of what TV Tropes calls "Writers Cannot do Math". https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/WritersCannotDoMath
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2020
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  13. dupersuper

    dupersuper Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Unrelated complaint: the way most maps divide the alpha and beta quadrants on either side of Earth never made sense to me. The beta quadrant has like 6 mentions in all of on screen Trek, and the Dominions constant reference to the Federation, Klingons, Romulans as the biggest alpha quadrant powers never jibed with two and a half of them being in the beta quadrant. I much prefer the maps like this:

    https://external-preview.redd.it/a2...bp&s=6226e6efc18fb7e81ba1d7bfca956e5baabb3366
     
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  14. alpha_leonis

    alpha_leonis Captain Captain

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    I had a similar, very specific nitpick related to two episodes of TOS, which were right next to each other on the VHS tapes that my dad made for me when I was a kid. Therefore I frequently watched the two of them together:

    In "Arena", it's specifically stated that Warp 6 is the Enterprise's maximum "safe" speed for longer cruises. They managed to reach warp 8 in their pursuit of the Gorn vessel, and that was specifically described as a very dangerous velocity if sustained for any significant time. If you agree with the commonly accepted TOS scale that warp velocity = warp factor to the third power, Warp 6 would equal 216 times light speed.

    Then, in "Squire of Gothos", it's a specific plot point that Enterprise was 900 light years from Earth, therefore Trelane was viewing 900-year-old Earth events through his visible-light telescope. (Never mind the anachronistic references scattered throughout the episode, which is a different discussion entirely.)

    Thing is, 900 light years at Warp 6 if the "216" number is correct, would make a four-year trip one-way, not even counting all the other missions along the way. Let alone the return trip, which would then well exceed the length of the five-year mission.

    This is what convinces me that Warp Speed = the speed of plot, and any more-specific details are not worth the bother as long as the writing is okay.
     
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  15. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Then again, the wormhole is in a location the locals call Alpha Quadrant. Why would the Dominion care about further detail? The Nazi Germany never fought "Great Britain" - their strife was exclusively with "England", and not out of any political motivation to make Scotland invade the south or for Wales to close all the important ports. It simply made no sense to call the enemy Great or to acknowledge its local intricacies.

    Admitting that the Dominion is being opposed by the Alpha and the Beta Quadrants would be a similar misstep... While stating that the enemy is "Alpha" is a nice way to ridicule them when they do fall.

    But nobody does. Nowhere in TOS is the cubed formula suggested or upheld, and every actual reference connecting warp factors and travel times and distances is in direct contradiction of that.

    It is only in ENT "Broken Bow" where a speed very coarsely matching this formula is hinted at - and since the rest of the show contradicts this completely, making the warp five starship move much faster than c*5^3, we probably are best off assuming this was yet another case of warp close to Sol being slower than warp between stars (see "Tomorrow is Yesterday", ST4:TVH, and apparently also "Paradise Syndrome").

    A much more useful "commonly accepted" idea is Roddenberry's own suggestion that the hero ship covers 0.73 lightyears per hour when in a hurry to places. But that one, while more in agreement with what we see in TOS, is equally unmentioned in the actual show, and need not be adhered to.

    And note that Kirk was going to cross a "star desert" around that location in an admitted hurry, yet commanded warp three. Another indication that the cubed formula is of zero relevance - the ship doesn't even need to do warp six in order to travel across the far frontier. (Apparently, warp two is another perfectly practical interstellar speed, still maintained by the average freighter as per "Friday's Child".)

    How so? There is no inconsistency involved. Merely the debunking of a false assumption. We could just as well argue that the speedometers of automobiles show "plot speed" when they "arbitrarily" indicate that it takes one hour to cross a hundred kilometers at 100 km/h.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  16. Xhiandra

    Xhiandra Captain Captain

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    Very nice map, and indeed the scales are much more realistic on this one. Nitpick: shouldn't Karemma space be closer to the wormhole? IIRC, it's "just outside" the wormhole, is it not?
    In fact, Dominion space should probably be closer to it, as well, since there is quite a bit of relatively quick travel to Dominion space and back.

    Agreed.
     
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  17. Orphalesion

    Orphalesion Commodore Commodore

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    The easiest answer to that, in my eyes, is that inhabitable, and inhabited, planets seem to be rather common in the Star Trek version of the Milky Way. So I'd say they are dense with inhabited worlds rather than spread out.

    There is not official map, and the shows frequently just made stuff up to suit the plot, such as giving the Klingons a border with the Cardassians so that they can go to war in DS9.
     
  18. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    IIRC, the Klingons and Cardassians weren't supposed to share a border. Indeed, that was why the Klingon fleet stopped off at DS9 in The Way of the Warrior to begin with, because Cardassian space was so far away from Klingon space.
     
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  19. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Commodore Commodore

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    I found this map after many hours of searching for a nice "Star Trek Galactic Map", it's not my map, so not really easy to update.

    If you can find the originator, tell them to update your request.
     
  20. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Commodore Commodore

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    According to our fellow TrekBBS folks, the Milkyway Galaxy radius being 50,000 ly or Diameter of 100,000 ly only applys to the "Thin Disk" of the Milky Way. If you factor in the "Thick Disk", it'll be up to 100,000 ly radius / Diameter of 200,000 ly.

    The "Thin Disk" should have a thickness of ~1,000 ly and the "Thick Disk" that encompasses the "Thin Disk" shoujld have a thickness of ~5,000 ly.

    This is not factoring in the "Galactic Halo" which would make things much thicker and wider.

    If you want to factor in the "Galactic Halo", that would be ~300,000 ly Radius.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2020
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