Talk:Technology in Star Trek

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Exploding Consoles[edit]

Should these be mentioned in the article? As to how accurate it is to have the consoles sparking and/or exploding when the ship gets hit? I've read many fan forums which state that using circuit breakers and fuses would probably solve the problem. However, I think I once read an article or book (I can't remember which one) about what happened when HMS_Coventry was hit by an air-dropped bomb in the Falklands War - the Captain mentions that when the bomb hit, the ship was rocked and the monitor he was looking at disintegrated in a shower of sparks in front of his face. In this case, it appears that it was the physical shock of being hit that caused the "exploding consoles", and not any electrical surge. --80.43.83.101 20:59, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

  • 85.189.0.208 14:16, 21 August 2007 (UTC): I heard somewhere that the consoles explode because the power-grid used in Fedaration starships is based on a high-preasure plasma (the 'EPS' grid) which is tapped directly via a number of different regulator (low, medium and heavy drain). The ship gets hit - a regulator pops - Electro-Plasma is released directly into the back of your console and it explodes. Health and Safety is not a big concearn in a society where there's no money to sue people for ;)

--137.132.3.6 01:33, 8 November 2005 (UTC): "Likewise, the writers used Neutronium to describe a type of dense (and dangerous) matter - this term is now used by many scientific researchers to describe the superdense matter found inside neutron stars."

I am utterly certain that the term "neutronium" predates Trek, though at the moment the earliest citation I can come up with is the Larry Niven short story "Neutron Star," which is copyright 1966: "In one blazing explosion most of the star would change from a compressed mass of degenerate matter to a closely packed lump of neutrons: neutronium, theoretically the densest matter possible in this universe." I'll bet you I can find a 1950s reference before I'm done.

Damn, out-did myself! Hal Clement's first story, "Proof," describes a spacefaring race of "neutronium" creatures who evolved in the Sun. It was published in ... wait for it ... 1942.

I didn't mean to imply that the writers created the term, only that they popularised it. Oppenheimer also used the term as far back as 1938. The reference for "neutronium" being popularised by Star Trek is from Lawrence M Krauss's book "The Physics of Star Trek", (1995), page 141. (Krauss holds the Chair of Physics at Case Western Reserve University). [1].


Yes, but was Hal Clement using the word "neutronium" in its modern sense, or was he just using it as a made up scientific sounding word? (He might have also used electronium, and leptonium, and quarkium, and mesonium, and higgsbosonium, and gravitonium... all of which sound really scientific, but don't actually mean anything.)

On a another topic, article says:

Interestingly, the writers of Star Trek have inadavertently made numerous contributions of their own to the scientific world. Micromachines currently in research and development are almost universally called "Nanites", after the microscopic mechanical lifeforms invented for Star Trek - The Next Generation.

Not that I know much about micromachine research, but are they really universally called "nanites"? I'd love to see a reference for this. -- SJK

Try this - http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/0,,sid9_gci514355,00.html

Universally is probably a bit strong, frequently would be better. There was a Time magazine cover story on Nanites (using that term).

  • They're also mentioned as a plot device in the movie adaptation of I, Robot. I don't know if they're in the book, I haven't read it in years. --Jack (Cuervo) 04:29, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
    • Longer than I thought, I guess; it wasn't a single book. :P Probably got something confused again, beg pardon. --Jack (Cuervo) 04:31, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
They're not. And it was collected as a book, also under that title, which is how I read them more yrs ago than I like to admit... Trekphiler 18:29, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

It seems to me this page raises interesting questions about what the limits are of what we should consider encyclopedic. There are zillions of different ways we can explore the connections in the world, e.g., between Star Trek and physics, between the Bible and the Koran, between Kant and Hegel, between mice and rats. Moreover, comparative essays about each of these things can take hugely different forms. Short of a review of the literature, essentially, many of those essays would constitute original research rather than encyclopedia articles.

I don't see any immediate problem with having an essay or even a whole set of pages saying how Star Trek got stuff wrong. What bothers me is the notion that a whole bunch of people might start a whole series of essays that constitute, essentially, original research on comparative this-and-that. I'm honestly not sure what to think about this yet, but my first impression is that this and similar articles would indeed constitute original research and not an encyclopedia article.

--Larry Sanger

Fine - I said it was whimsical :) We can remove it to somewhere else later. - MMGB

How about as a sub-page of Star Trek? (Like the many sub-pages of Poker or Middle Earth) Ed Poor

By the way, the article is wrong about the molecules breaking apart due to the tremendous acceleration. Every part of the ship accelerates at once, so the characters experience no g-force at all. Ed Poor

ED!!! Think about what you are saying :) Just because the characters experience no acceleration relative to the ship does not mean they experience no acceleration. Even if we consider the entire system as a single entity, the overall accelerative force (equivalent to G-force, ref gen Relativity) would pulverise the atoms as if they were in a staggering gravitational field, like a neutron star.


In space no-one can hear you scream - ...

Surely this was the ad-line for the film Alien? sjc

Of course it was, and if I was using it to try and promote a film, I would be violating copyright. Using it as a phrase in this context constitutes fair usage.

Talk removed from Inertial Dampers page:

Wrong: any number of references -- for example, the "Bioastronautics Data Book" (NASA SP-3006) will point out that, in the right conditions, two minutes at 14G is neither dangerous nor incapacitating. Both Alan Shepherd and Gus Grissom took nearly twelve Gs for around half a minute during their Mercury shots, and during the Soyuz 18-A abort in April 1975, Lazarev and Makarov pulled about fifteen Gs.
Is it too much to expect contributors to an encyclopedia to actually research the subject they are writing about?

My mother has a Star Trek fact file folder, and it reads for a fact that impulse speed is one quarter light speed. Not! 300000 km per second! (:TIM:)


I've pulled the following from the article because it doesn't seem germane to its topic.

A science-fiction show which has consciously attempted to be more true to portraying physics correctly is Babylon 5. The sequel series, "Crusade", went so far as to formally enter into a working partnership with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratories to ensure scientific accuracy.

I hope I haven't offended too many people by doing this. --Michael 02:19 10 Jun 2003 (UTC)


We all know sound isn't able to "exist" in space, but what happened to pure imagination? What about the physics of Q (Q_(Star_Trek)? Our problem is that we don't know (and probably will never know) if there are any beings out there with those capabilites, but if it is (something we again can't know) all physics would have to be rewritten. The physics you're talking about is the physics we know. And there is too much we don't know to neglect the fact that we could be wrong... Don't trust too much on axioms of that kind, they may delude you. - Sigg3.net 18:07, 15 Aug 2003 (UTC)


Would it be appropriate to add a small note on the lack of "primitive" technology, like seatbelts for instance? - Sigg3.net 00:27, 21 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Actually, I believe one version of the captain's chair had seatbelts... maybe I'm thinking of Space Balls. Anyway, at least in ST:TMP, they had those leg things. --Jack (Cuervo)
The seatbelts were part of a cut scene that would have been at the end of the movie, but Picard's new XO did mention that it was about time for them. Comtraya 01:12, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Scientific? No.[edit]

I just read the article, again, and my cunning lack of nerve makes me post this question. "Space is a vacuum, so no sound is ever possible." Again we're taking into account our physics, which means what we know, which again - frankly - is very little. How have we reached such facts? It's probably a physical/mathematic equation, fine, then we've also probably been tasting the chances of a soundwave to move in vacuum, which is quite limited (next to zero). I'd just like to stress that what we define as facts today, might be good-night stories tomorrow. Don't make the mistake that we know, because we don't. We assume, and then try to justify our assumptions. - Sigg3.net 14:57, 8 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Space as a medium is far too tenuous for sound to be transmitted - one molecule of hydrogen gas per cubic meter. Sound is a wave through a medium, unlike light, which because of its wavicle properties is its own medium. :Iceberg3k 12:05, Jul 12, 2004 (UTC)
By way of clarification, sound cannot be *transmitted* through space. If I bang on the outside of a ship with a wrench, aside from the Chief Engineer getting really mad at me, I would produce a sound that you could hear not only inside the ship, but also if you touched your head to another part of the hull.
--Baylink 03:55, 12 September 2005 (UTC)

Don't you people have some sort of Star Trek Wiki you can play on, instead of making poorly written, non-encyclopedic articles about your little TV show here? --NoPetrol 04:20, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Here you go: memory-alpha.org, the Star Trek Wiki Why don't you all go over there and stop trying to turn Wikipedia into a TV guide? --NoPetrol 04:28, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I'm beaming you out into space. I've got a transporter lock, now. (Dammit, Scotty, quit playing with the circuit breakers, I'm trying to——) Trekphiler 18:38, 2 January 2006 (UTC)
No Petrol --one man's trivia is another one's massive cultural phenomenon space drama and the world's most successful TV film and book franchise. --— ⦿⨦⨀Tumadoireacht Talk/Stalk 15:56, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

Cleanup[edit]

The article does not look like an encyclopedia article the way it is now; it looks more like a debate forum or a TV review. I would list it on Votes for Deletion, but I have tried that already with other Star Trek pages and I don't think it would work. Resistance (against Star Trek) is futile. --NoPetrol 01:40, 13 Jan 2005 (UTC)


Cherenkov radiation another possible explanation for the visibility of phasers/lasers?[edit]

I don't know why I bother, and I have a feeling I have got something horribly wrong (I am not a physicist); but couldn't Cherenkov radiation be another possible explanation for the visibility of phasers? After all, as has already been stated, space is not a perfect vacuum, therefore it may be possible for something to travel ever so slightly faster than light does in space, and therefore create Cherenkov radiation. I don't know what kind of particle/other thing would be able to travel faster than light and yet still be able to damage other things made up of normal matter, but is it not ever so slightly possible? This still does not account for the phasers' red colour (although it may explain why the lasers (actually phasers as stated in the article) as used in the early episodes were sometimes blue), according to what I have read, Cherenkov radiation gives off blue light.

As stated earlier, I have a feeling I have got something wrong, and I am no way near being a physicist (although I do enjoy physics), so if there is a mistake, I would be very interested if someone could point it out and explain it. --80.229.152.246 16:45, 8 August 2005 (UTC)

A clever thought, but unfortunately, the density of "stuff" (gas and dust) in interstellar space is just too thin to slow a beam of light appreciably. We get Cherenkov radiation when speeding particles from space hit the Earth's atmosphere, which is thick enough to slow light. A cosmic ray particle might travel faster than the reduced light speed, just momentarily, making a blue flash.
Switching into Trekkie mode: the first use of a laser in TOS was entirely legitimate, because it happened on a planet's surface. In "The Cage", our heroes tried to shoot their way into the Talosians' lair with some very visible laser blasts. It's entirely legitimate to see these lasers, because they're in the atmosphere of Talos IV, which can scatter light.
According to the Technical Manual, phasers use "nadions", one of the umpty-ump dozen fictional particles invented to make Star Trek go. They're emitted by fugishi-nao-umi crystals, if I recall correctly. (Episodes in Voyager and maybe other series have used the particle name, so it's canon.) A nadion can act in any way the writers want: it could release energy in the form of photons, or it could decay spontaneously into other particles, etc. Whether or not we "should" be able to see phasers in empty space is, therefore, a moot point. This is the advantage of fictional substances: they do what is needed. The Enterprise switched from lithium to dilithium in the first few TOS episodes for the same reason. We know what lithium is, what its properties are and how it can be used. Dilithium, on the other hand, can do whatever the story requires: it can be mined on an asteroid (Star Trek VI), recrystallized with gamma rays (Star Trek IV) or open a gateway between universes ("The Alternative Factor"). According to the Tech Manual, its purpose is to moderate the matter-antimatter annihilation inside the warp core — which would require some darn impressive properties.
Anville 16:49, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

Baryons and such[edit]

From TFA:

There is a slight problem with this — the only stable baryons known to exist are protons and neutrons, which constitute the nucleus of all atoms, and hence are the core of all the visible matter in the universe. Getting rid of the baryons would unfortunately eliminate the Enterprise entirely. These baryons may be particles of dust, and the debris from micrometeorite collisions embedded in the hull of the enterprise.*

Emphasis mine. Then again, IANAP.

Also, I hate to get übergeeky, but the Enterprise has a navigational deflector to ward off micrometeorites (among other things; it's like a freaking Swiss army knife). I'd put it in the article, but it already looks like a talk page. --Jack (Cuervo) 04:27, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

Too technical?[edit]

I saw that the "too technical" template had been posted to this article. Proper rules of use state that it should go on the talk page, so I moved it over here, but does it really apply? It looks like it was slapped on without discussion, and frankly, the article doesn't look that technical to me. On a related note, I think we're ready to take off the cleanup-tone notice. Anville 13:25, 16 November 2005 (UTC)

Too expensive?[edit]

From what I recall of Making of ST, it wasn't the opticals that were too expensive, it was the cost of a model of a shuttlecraft that would've broken the budget of "The Cage", already eaten up in sets & props... Trekphiler 18:24, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

Original Research Problem with Citations[edit]

I just came across this article through a link and I can't believe the state this article is in and the fact that so many people suggested it be kept through the last AfD. As was pointed out over a year ago above, this article doesn't remotely read like an encyclopedia article and reads like a debate on a forum or blog. There are only two references provided at the end of the article. These "response" paragraphs are attributed to no one, nor are the opinions, theories, conclusions and other things that are drawn and put forth in them. WP:OR is quite clear on what constitutes original research. I'm not going to tag them all, because the article would become a disgusting mess. See WP:NOT#Wikipedia_is_not_a_publisher_of_original_thought as a number of things it covers are issues here, like primary research, i.e. trying to rationalize an inconsistency that is viewed from the physics side of things, this also reads like a personal essay or merging of two personal essays, a discussion forum. I'll give an interested party who knows more about the subject a reasonable amount of time to address cleanup of the article, but if none is forthcoming I will attempt to clean it up myself.--Crossmr 03:38, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

The book The Physics of Star Trek shows that an article should be possible, so deletion is inappropriate. As I don't have the actually references, I can't determine which comments come from the references, and which may be WP:OR. — Arthur Rubin | (talk) 07:19, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
While an article may be possible, it doesn't mean an article in poor shape that no one is willing to properly write should be kept. I'm all for inclusion of appropriate material, but that doesn't mean people can write whatever they feel like, however they feel like on a given subject, just because the subject itself is notable enough for an article. I'm not suggesting this article needs to be deleted today or tommorrow or anything like that, but it does need a serious overhaul. However it is suffering from an issue that was pointed out 18 months ago, and in that time no one has addressed it. That doesn't speak very highly to the interest in this article. WP:V states that the threshold for inclusion is verifiability not truth, so any theories, opinions, conclusions, conjecture, etc put forth can't be properly referenced, it will have to be removed during a clean up. The article also needs a new style, as that whole "response" thing doesn't really suit an encyclopedia entry.--Crossmr 14:32, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Common Sense ("original research")[edit]

Look over my edit again and tell me that it isn't just common sense. There are difficulties in recreating a space environment on Earth: fact. Just try recreating an accurate depiction yourself. Sound and light in space makes space battles more interesting and increases dramatic effect: fact. Play any such space battle and replay it with the "mute" button on to see for yourself. Creative staff often lack understanding of scientific data: fact. If you want a source, here you go—Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.9.10.235 (talk) 00:56, September 4, 2006

Thats not a valid source, it does say that sometimes trek does take liberties with physics, but it only indicates that TOS used that as for ratings boost, and it doesn't indicate that it was done frequently. The link doesn't speak about the technical abilities or understanding of any crew members. It just says the episode was bad for some technical reasons, it doesn't begin to theorize about why those were put into the episode, and it doesn't support your theorizing about why they're bad.--Crossmr 02:28, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

Banking during turns[edit]

In the section Starships appear to navigate like airplanes, we read how starships bank during turns. However, even without gravity, the banking would help reduce the amount of energy the inertial dampners need to handle. In fact, the ideal bank would be 90°. Basically, you roll 90° and convert the turn into a "climb". Your old intertia now pushs you into the floor rather than the wall. Will (Talk - contribs) 05:28, 23 December 2006 (UTC)

Thrusters[edit]

The ship may need to constanty use its thrusters because of the drag created from intersteller dust. Space generally has a pressure of 1E-16 torr (approx. 1.3E-19 atmospheres), which might not seem like a lot, but when you are going several times the speed of light, that's a lot of dust, and would cause a large amount of friction, especially on the deflectors which are many times wider than the ship. I do agree, however, that the ship would need reverse facing thrusters to slow down, or else it would take a while. Comtraya 01:02, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Temporal Physics[edit]

Would someone familiar with the concepts please work up a temporal physics & time travel section? The coverage in Time travel in fiction doesn't give anywhere near the depth needed, but the Star Trek coverage therein would provide a decent springboard. MrZaiustalk 00:13, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Up and down / Falling out of chair[edit]

My reading of the section on "up and down in space" left me very confused. The fact that all directions are relative does NOT mean that a sudden change in direction wouldn't throw you around. It's simple Newtonian physics -- if the ship suddenly jolts in one direction, it will seem to an observer bolted down to the ship that everything and everyone NOT bolted down was suddenly jolted in the opposite direction. In other words, the objection offered makes no sense.

The REAL objection, as far as I'm concerned, is that starships always seem to meet along the same axes as if they were naval vessels. You never see Enterprise come up on the Klingons upside-down and backwards, for example.

Eleland 19:00, 11 June 2007 (UTC)

  • Ships in ST have inertial dampening fields and artificial gravity - the computer has highly variable control over these fields and changes their density localy to counter specific impulses imparted to objects (or people) due to accelerations of the superstructure. 85.189.0.208 15:14, 20 September 2007 (UTC)
  • As for not appearing upside down, back to front, round the back - I can only come up with two explinations. ST navigation is done by orienting the ship along the 'galactic plane', with a bearing of 0, 0 mark 0,0 (or somethign - can't recall the format) being directly toward the galactic centre. This means that ships traveling point to point would probably orient themselves in a galactic Up/Down position to give their crews some form of reference when they're doing the whole 'See that star? That's Gortrek I' routine whilst chatting up the birds in Ten Forward. 85.189.0.208 15:14, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

Two cents: Non-encyclopedic[edit]

Just to add another opinion to the above discussions. This article is interesting but it is most definitely not an encyclopedia article. Closer to a magazine article. There really is not a coherent, well-defined topic here just a series of random topics loosely connected by having something to do with a TV/movie franchise. Some may argue that the book "The Physics of Star Trek" is similarly incoherent but there is nothing that says that a book has to have a single topic. An encyclopedia article, however, does.

Arguably if one wants to reorganize this as a "Misconceptions about Star Trek and Physics" sort of article that might make it slightly more coherent although I'd still argue that is not particularly encyclopedic either.

Basically this article should not exist here. Again the subject matter is interesting (and some pieces of it might be appropriate in other articles) but the article itself should not be here.

--Mcorazao 18:19, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

IMO, this is a good encyclopedic article. The article itself should be here, but the leading paragraph could be rewritten to tighten the article. J. D. Redding 23:32, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Added ref[edit]

I am no fan of Star Trek, just feels that quite a lot of people think technoblabbles are not encyclopedic and I happen to obtain a source today, so I guess I will help in fellow sci-fi projects to show notability of these fictional techno pages are indeed notable and encyclopedic. The clean up will be up to you guys, I know nothing about Star Trek, not even watched a single episode. If more needs to be sourced, Michio Kaku's Physics of the Impossible might be a good place to start. MythSearchertalk 13:29, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

Per Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Subspace (Star Trek) (2nd nomination), it has been suggested that Subspace (Star Trek) be merged either here, Warp drive (Star Trek), or Hyperspace (science fiction). Any ideas? I prefer here. Crisco 1492 (talk) 09:06, 8 June 2011 (UTC)

In case anybody still cares about carrying out a merge more than two years after there was a consensus to merge but no consensus on a merge target, I feel like Warp drive (Star Trek) would be the best target, since subspace is directly related to the starship drive systems in Star Trek, and often (although not always, since in Star Trek (tech) is (tech) and can pretty much mean literally anything from episode to episode) is just used as shorthand for "not in Warp". --Lost tiree, lost dutch :O (talk) 01:41, 21 September 2013 (UTC)

Whoops, I totally forgot what "subspace" means in Star Trek lingo and its use in subspace communications and etc. Yeah, it should be merged here, not to Warp Drive. To be fair, it's all fake, so it's not like I forgot anything real. --Lost tiree, lost dutch :O (talk) 01:46, 21 September 2013 (UTC)

Concepts that are not considered scientific[edit]

This article only discusses concepts that are probable while ignoring those that are not such as the destruction of matter or time travel or the hollodeck. These need to be added in.-192.0.173.58 (talk) 23:43, 3 July 2013 (UTC)