She WAS near the Klingon border but then we would expect SOME frontier colonies out there. And one source of the tension between the two powers. All Starfleet ships have SOME ability to conduct limited scientific research but the huge number of shuttles and the fact that Winona was on board led me to think colony ship.
Ever notice that many of the same people who want variety in life frown very hard on vanilla... But without Vanilla, Baskin Robbins just wouldn't BE 31 flavors.