If Starfleet has Anti-Gravity....

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If Starfleet has Anti-Gravity....

Postby LaughingCheese » Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:28 am

And its pretty clear that they do, or at least should, given the fact that they create artificial gravity with ease, why then was atmospheric flight for starships depicted as so dangerous even for atmospheric rated vessels such as Voyager?


Obviously their shuttles employ anti-gravity, despite their aerodynamic look, I doubt their bodies produce enough lift for flight. I guess you could say they use thrust alone, but the many times their shuttle craft gracefully swing in for landing does not indicate some kind of thruster.



Anyway, why did the producers leave the question of anti-gravity for capital starships in question?

Weather or not the Enterprise-E saucer module separates, if Starfleet has anti-gravity (and it did at least in TOS) should not atmospheric "flight" be a trivial matter even for the largest ships in Starfleet or indeed the Trek universe?


Instead atmospheric reentry is always treated as something to be avoided, next to falling into the sun or a black hole.



I know I know, this is probably just yet another fail, probably for dramatic reason given the episode, but I'm curious if there's an IU explanation or the directors just didn't think of it.

Too Star Wars-y?






EDIT: Indeed, gravity control appears to be so easy for Starfleet that even the smallest ships have artificial gravity:

http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Artificial_gravity

See the caption on the picture.


Thanks


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Re: If Starfleet has Anti-Gravity....

Postby Mikey » Fri Feb 17, 2012 3:58 am

Differential forces on different parts of the superstructure. Start subjecting the hull to the stresses of AG of the magnitude needed for atmo, and you'll have radial bending of stupendous proportions.
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Re: If Starfleet has Anti-Gravity....

Postby Vic » Fri Feb 17, 2012 7:32 am

That's just a control issue, this society can technologically tear down an object to the sub-atomic level and beam it great distances. Then they put it back together again with close to if not perfect accuracy, why should they not be able to apply such monumental control capabilities to artificial gravity? One would think that this is an important aspect of technology that would be explored exhaustively.
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Re: If Starfleet has Anti-Gravity....

Postby Mikey » Fri Feb 17, 2012 2:15 pm

Why? Such a feat may be possible, but only with a degree of risk. Why take that chance? They don't seem to have missed that particular capability much.
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Re: If Starfleet has Anti-Gravity....

Postby LaughingCheese » Fri Feb 17, 2012 7:17 pm

Mikey wrote:Differential forces on different parts of the superstructure. Start subjecting the hull to the stresses of AG of the magnitude needed for atmo, and you'll have radial bending of stupendous proportions.


Soo, let me see if I understand this in English :P , your saying it would be too difficult to have gravity generation at the same time as repulsive anti-gravity in atmosphere?

I always just thought they would turn off artificial gravity if descending to an earth like planet. But yeah the case issue is a planet with more or less earth gravity.

Also, I can't even begin to imagine the stresses and control issues with artificial gravity and repulsive gravity if you want to fly into a gas giant, like Enterprise did in Broken Bow...

Mikey wrote:Why? Such a feat may be possible, but only with a degree of risk. Why take that chance? They don't seem to have missed that particular capability much.


That's true, beaming gives them the ability to not need to land like some other sci-fi. But we also don't see a whole lot of bulk transporters altho they do exist. Usually the parties they beam down are squad size.

I guess that's just a testament to the power of phasers tho. :D
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Re: If Starfleet has Anti-Gravity....

Postby Mikey » Fri Feb 17, 2012 7:35 pm

LaughingCheese wrote:Soo, let me see if I understand this in English , your saying it would be too difficult to have gravity generation at the same time as repulsive anti-gravity in atmosphere?

I always just thought they would turn off artificial gravity if descending to an earth like planet. But yeah the case issue is a planet with more or less earth gravity.

Also, I can't even begin to imagine the stresses and control issues with artificial gravity and repulsive gravity if you want to fly into a gas giant, like Enterprise did in Broken Bow...


Not what I meant at all, but you make an additional and very valid point. (BTW, it was ENT: "Sleeping Dogs," and it was a good illustration.)

What I meant was stress on the hull due to differential application of antigravity - independently of internal gravity generation. Even miniscule differences in anti-gravity forces across the hull would result in larger-than-comfortable "radial bending," or differential reaction to stress.
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Re: If Starfleet has Anti-Gravity....

Postby stitch626 » Fri Feb 17, 2012 9:00 pm

It may not be the gravity that is the issue, but the rapid changes it atmospheric conditions.

The rapid temperature and pressure changes may be considered too much stress on the hull materials for regular entry.
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Re: If Starfleet has Anti-Gravity....

Postby Graham Kennedy » Fri Feb 17, 2012 11:28 pm

They have antigravity, but they don't equip ships with any kind of antigravity engine that we know of; impulse engines are non-canonically described as essentially fusion rockets helped out by mass reduction, and in canon never really described at all - but they do call them impulse engines, and not antigravity engines.

As for why, I'd imagine it's a matter of scale. After all, we have wings and jet engines but you try flying a 700,000 ton airplane around with them and see how you get on! As I recall the biggest thing we've ever seen antigravity life on Trek is cargo pallets, maybe shuttles though it's not even clear that they have antigravity as such.
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Re: If Starfleet has Anti-Gravity....

Postby LaughingCheese » Sat Feb 18, 2012 6:07 pm

GrahamKennedy wrote:
As for why, I'd imagine it's a matter of scale. After all, we have wings and jet engines but you try flying a 700,000 ton airplane around with them and see how you get on!


Ooo! That should be fun! :lol:


As I recall the biggest thing we've ever seen antigravity life on Trek is cargo pallets, maybe shuttles though it's not even clear that they have antigravity as such.



See, to throw a little wrench in that, what about that anti-gravity city from TOS? :lol:

If Starfleet couldn't generate an anti-gravity field big enough for star ships couldn't they have learned from the people of that city[Stratos]?


I guess my fallacy is that I was assuming something with anti-gravity is immune to other forces like hull stress and such.


Though why shouldn't I think that? I mean Star Trek is replete with all sorts of magic force fields to hold their ships together. I was thinking the same was in place with anti-gravity and thus would make atmospheric flight a sinch.
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Re: If Starfleet has Anti-Gravity....

Postby Mikey » Sat Feb 18, 2012 6:37 pm

LaughingCheese wrote:See, to throw a little wrench in that, what about that anti-gravity city from TOS?

If Starfleet couldn't generate an anti-gravity field big enough for star ships couldn't they have learned from the people of that city[Stratos]?


IIRC, Stratos was not a constituent of the UFP.

LaughingCheese wrote:Though why shouldn't I think that? I mean Star Trek is replete with all sorts of magic force fields to hold their ships together. I was thinking the same was in place with anti-gravity and thus would make atmospheric flight a sinch.


There certainly are SIF's and the like; but nothing that would have to accommodate quite so many variables as variable-altitude atmo flight - the constant flux of gravity, pressure, shifting atmospheric conditions, etc., etc. It's a lot more complex than the comparatively straightforward SIF calculations necessary for space flight. Perhaps 'Trek-level automation could handle it, but since M-5 I don't think the UFP is willing to relinquish that much control to an AI.
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Re: If Starfleet has Anti-Gravity....

Postby Graham Kennedy » Sat Feb 18, 2012 6:55 pm

LaughingCheese wrote:See, to throw a little wrench in that, what about that anti-gravity city from TOS? :lol:

Aha, excellent point.

(And yes it was, Mikey. They actually specifically say "Ardana is a member of the Federation.")
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Re: If Starfleet has Anti-Gravity....

Postby Mikey » Sat Feb 18, 2012 8:12 pm

Like I said, "IIRC." Which, apparently, I didn't.
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Re: If Starfleet has Anti-Gravity....

Postby Graham Kennedy » Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:20 pm

Mikey wrote:Like I said, "IIRC." Which, apparently, I didn't.

I had to go read through the episode transcript myself :)
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Re: If Starfleet has Anti-Gravity....

Postby RK_Striker_JK_5 » Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:51 pm

Took me a minute, too. And it was stationary, so wouldn't it be a lot easier for antigravity to keep it up than a starship?
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Re: If Starfleet has Anti-Gravity....

Postby Graham Kennedy » Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:58 pm

Best I can think to suggest is that they did call it something like the most amazing implementation of anti gravity in the known galaxy. Maybe antigrav on that scale is one of those "prestige project" things that just isn't too practical to go around sticking in ships?
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