Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Trek Annoyance #2

Continuing my mini-series...

Someone in Starfleet really wants to see his or her ship designs fail easily and in spectacular explosions. There is no other explanation for the fact that the warp engine pods are projected out from the protected main hull on thin and likely weak struts.

Not just Starfleet. Everyone else in the known galaxy places the engines well clear of the body as well. Except for the Borg, but then again, the Borg are the exception to a lot of the ship designs in Trek. That's not particularly difficult when your ship is a cube of hobbled together parts.

I see no reasonable justification for placing the engines in such a vulnerable position. There cannot be environmental issues as in the shuttles and some other ship designs (not many) the engines are placed in close contact with the hull. And even if it were emitting deadly radiation, there's a thing called 'shielding'. I'd gladly trade a small loss of energy or weight to shielding than place the engines outside with bull's eyes painted on them. For the same reason, propulsion does not seem to be affected by distance from the ship as some designs place them close if not outright attached to the ship.

Maneuverability isn't a factor, as it's the warp drive. If you notice, the ship orients itself before engaging warp. I can only conclude it operates in a strict unidirectional fashion. Similar to a motorboat without a rudder. In addition, some designs have only a single engine pod. If two very exposed and distant pods were required to 'turn', these one engine designs would be unviable. And those engine pods don't rotate to thrust vector, either, because I've never seen that occur. Ever.

Since all you need is a single engine pod, which appears to have minimal environmental and maneuverability impact, I would have the engine encased within the hull of the ship rather than outside and exposed on stilts. You could hollow out that secondary hull (after getting rid of the unnecessary civilians) and place the engine right inside of it. It'd be snug, secure, and in the event the shields fail (as they are wont to do) there is an added layer of protection in the hull of the ship itself.


Ari Blackthorne™ said...


Okay, I am *not* a Trek geek. Really.

HOWEVER, I did ask this question several years ago. It turns out a friend i knew had this thing called the Tar Trek Omnipedia that was supposed to be Canon (officially sanctioned as officially blessed as official I suppose).

According to that, the "Warp" engines are set apart from the main body because they develop some kind of energy field...like a magnetic field or some such and so they need to be set away from the main part or else all the food will go rotten or the crew will go sterile or something else to this affect.


I don't remember the particulars, but that was basically it.

One thing I do know without a doubt: all the Star Trek; Star Wars; Babylon 5: Deep 99 Superspaceboy Gallahad Extraordinaire nerds will come-up with a plausible explanation for *everything*.

Even heard a totally plausible explanation why seat-belts aren't requires on all these ships that zip through space at a bazillion miles and hour.

Anna J Tsiolkovsky said...

Unfortunately, that explanation defies a lot of what we actually see:

1)Some ship designs do, indeed, nestle the engines within the hull. At a quicks search:


The warp engines are embedded along the back edge there.


Warp engine right in the back


Wielded right along the side


And some kind of weird half-in/half-out design there.

2) What kind of energy field is it that rather than shielding it, they use physical distance? Even at the cost of ships going up like firecrackers in battle?

There's no material they could use to insulate it if integrated into the hull? No force shield? The only solution was to throw them up on stilts?

If it's a design problem stemming out of the warp field emitting or something from the pods, then there would not be designs like the ones I found above.

This explanation that it needs physical space, separated out on stilts and exposed to the elements, doesn't hold water with me. That just doesn't fit the observations we see.

Not attacking you, to be sure, but that Omnipedia is talking out its ass.

I give some slack on gravity and whiplash and all that. But for sure, the energy required to exert the force necessary to hold the crew in place without plastering them on the walls in excessive g forces is probably huge and unattainable even through libel amounts of bullshitium.

Ari Blackthorne™ said...

I'll give you all that. I was just repeating what I was told LOL I guess if there is no money in Star Trek time, then wasting it to build frivolous parts of spaceships (the struts or whatever they're called that hold the engines outward) doesn't matter.