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Old 05-21-2009, 05:50 PM
TGElder TGElder is offline
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Talking Warp Drive and Braking

I was just wondering if anyone had given thought to what happens to all the velocity energy that has to be displaced when a starship drops out of warp?

To my thinking the deflector shields should be screaming with deceleration energy and spacial dust and particulate matter are impacted with the mass of a starship suddenly dropping to sublight.

Think about your car's brakes. When you slow from 60-0 all your momentum energy is absorbed in the braking material. DON'T TOUCH the wheel, or any brake material when you park your car, but believe me they are blazing hot. Now that's a 2 ton car moving at highway speed. What happens when you hurl a multi 1000 ton mass through space and have to stop it?

I would venture to guess that the deflector shields first role is to protect the crew from radiation, much like our Van Allen belts around our planet, when charged particles hit those belts we experience an aurora borealis. I'd like to see similar effects with ships dropping out of warp. Sensors that provide viewscreen images could be designed to filter out such energies, so you wouldn;t be blind upon re-entry into normal space.

The next huge issue is how anything called an inertial dampener can overcome the laws of physics. An object at rest tends to remain at rest, and an object in motion tends to remain in motion. Something is absorbing an awful lot of energy during acceleration and during braking, otherwise you'd be cleaning the rear walls of the space craft from all the detrius of what was once human bodies that jellified from such massive acceleration.
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Old 05-21-2009, 08:46 PM
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Here's an explanation, not about intertial dampers (not dampeners) but why there is no momentum or need for brakes at all when dropping out of warp.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcubierre_drive
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Old 05-22-2009, 03:14 AM
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Originally Posted by LCARS 24 View Post
Here's an explanation, not about intertial dampers (not dampeners) but why there is no momentum or need for brakes at all when dropping out of warp.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcubierre_drive
Cool. I had always liked Roddenberry's original premise of folding space. This "warping" effect sounds very similar to what Gene had proposed at the inception of the show. His original idea was that the warp drive would fold space ahead of the ship very similar to this contraction wave. However, I think that too many of the writers and visuals give the impression of hyperspace, and the warp drive generating its' own local wormhole. The space within the wormhole exists outside normal space so that relativistic physics do not apply to the space in the wormhole. This however would mean true FTL travel and some way to handle the energy once the ship returns to normal space.

Last edited by TGElder : 05-22-2009 at 04:11 AM. Reason: spelling correction
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Old 05-22-2009, 05:42 AM
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Another thing is the Casimir effect, about which knowledge and thinking is actually changing these days, since research on it is vital to nanotechnology (to avoid unwanted adhesion of moving parts of micromachines). Rather than just a demonstration of two plates being held together by zero-point energy, so to speak, they've been able to manipulate this force in various ways, first just by varying smoothness of surfaces, but recently at Harvard University they were able to demonstrate a reverse Casimir effect, where two plates could repel each other without the use of magnetism.

Whether this could eventually lead to propulsion like that with the driver coils of a Trekiverse impulse engine through interaction with virtual particles or something rather than use of rocketry we don't know yet, but there is definitely something there for innovators to try to take advantage of.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casimir_effect
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Old 05-22-2009, 06:41 AM
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Great stuff! Gotta go though. Time for work.
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Old 05-22-2009, 07:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TGElder View Post
I had always liked Roddenberry's original premise of folding space. This "warping" effect sounds very similar to what Gene had proposed at the inception of the show. His original idea was that the warp drive would fold space ahead of the ship very similar to this contraction wave.
Sorry, but that wasnt Roddenberry. The makers of TOS proposed a "time warp" as means to shorten the travel duration. Means the ship was traveling by rather conventional means while somehow traveling backwards in time too.

Then came TMP and with it Jesco von Puttkamer as a scientific consultant. He took the word "warp drive" and made it what was later published by some technical manuals for the movies. These manuals became then canon by TNG, which used the ideas for their Warp Drive on screen.

The mexican physicist Michelle Alcubierre saw the show and developed some scientificly derived formulas for it. Since then Warp Drive is a neat little exercise for physicists.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmZyCWobrQo
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Old 05-22-2009, 07:38 AM
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You're probably right about the "time warp" drive. It has literally been decades since I had read The Making of Star Trek. And similarly years since I had my copy of the Star Trek Technical manuals.

However, That doesn't preclude that a ship moving a velocity through space should create some kind of discharge when the charged deflector shields encounter dust, solar winds and other matter that exists in space.

Maybe for fun they could show those golf balls Alan Sheppard smashed out into orbit getting obliterated by the deflector screens, or a stray tool bag.
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Old 05-22-2009, 08:02 AM
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However, That doesn't preclude that a ship moving a velocity through space should create some kind of discharge when the charged deflector shields encounter dust, solar winds and other matter that exists in space.
I know. But the fun is that a ship would not need a deflector during warp flight. The warp bubble itself would deflect all matter around the ship. The whole idea is that the ship itself doesnt move at all, relative to the space inside of the bubble. But the space outside of this bubble flows around it, so to speak. And so would all debris and space dust.

The deflector would be needed at high impulse speeds, like half the speed of light. And there I have no clue how a half way convincing explanation for the functionality of the deflector field could be made. I dont know.

The same is with the inertia dampeners. But, and here I have to applaud the new movie, lets assume the inertia dampeners and the deflector field work pretty much the same way, they somehow absorb the moment of inertia of the ship and of objects deflected by the deflector. They do this by a newly discovered quantum effect called Anti-Newtonian Paradox Compensation that involves the implementation of supercharged Geheimnisparticles from... ah... make up your own technobabble.
I mean it makes sense that a miraculous deflector field must get switched off for the warp field to avoid some interference of their according effects. Whatever.

By the way, I wondered where the deflector field of the Enterprise was when the debris hit its warp nacelle. You know, the deflector was installed to make all debris get out of the ships path so that Sulu does not need to get the ship out of the path of the debris.

Last edited by Botany Bay : 05-22-2009 at 08:06 AM.
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Old 05-22-2009, 08:16 AM
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I dunno, maybe the wreckage had too much mass. I'm guessing the deflector is mainly for deflecting smaller debris that cannot be avoided.
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Old 05-22-2009, 08:20 AM
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I dunno, maybe the wreckage had too much mass. I'm guessing the deflector is mainly for deflecting smaller debris that cannot be avoided.
Yeah, I agree, but the the deflector would still have had an effect. Imagine the deflector like a magnetic field pushing things out of the way. Because the ship flyes in space such a field would also push the ship out of the way of the debris. The debris and the ship would get a push into opposite directions. And if there is debris to big for the deflector field, then there would still be an effect, the Enterprise would still alter its course as the debris would too. In the according szene there was no such effect. The debris came straight at the ship and scratched its hull without anything altering its course.

But who else then trek nerds like me would ever realize?
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