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Old 10-19-2018, 02:46 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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What was the nature of the Enterprise's five year mission?

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Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.
Was it ever clarified what defined the five year period? Was the Enterprise sent out on a long voyage from Earth and five years is how long it would be before they returned to Earth? Would the current crew work together for five years and then be broken and given new assignments? Would the ship itself be decommissioned and replaced after five years? My question is basically what event was going to happen in the fifth year that was substantially different than what happened in the fourth year or the sixth year? (ST:TNG avoided this issue by saying they were on a "continuing mission" with no set time period.)

On a related note, the Enterprise was already in the midst of its mission when the series began (unlike ST: The Next Generation or ST: Enterprise). Was it ever established what year of its mission it was in?
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Old 10-19-2018, 02:50 PM
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Was it ever clarified what defined the five year period?
The number of seasons they hoped the show would be renewed by the network?

Seriously, it must have been written early, right? I doubt the writers thought it about it that hard when they wrote the original intro. I think any ideas we might have would be - is the word retconning?

I guess you're asking about whether there was any elaboration in the original series. I can't remember any, they were usually fairly self-contained episodes, not much broader context.

Last edited by Riemann; 10-19-2018 at 02:54 PM.
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Old 10-19-2018, 02:52 PM
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I would have assumed that in five years they'd return for crew rotation and a possible reassignment of mission. It's just the tour of duty length.
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Old 10-19-2018, 02:55 PM
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show was canceled after year 2 but a big letter writing campaign saved it for 1 more year. Which turned out to be important since back then shows with less than 3 seasons were unlikely to get shown in reruns via syndication. No reruns and that might have been the end of Star Trek - no movies, no more shows, etc.
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Old 10-19-2018, 03:01 PM
Uosdwis R. Dewoh Uosdwis R. Dewoh is offline
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I would have assumed that in five years they'd return for crew rotation and a possible reassignment of mission. It's just the tour of duty length.
Also, one could fanwank that the Constitution-class ships were designed to operate for about five years before needing to return to starport for major repairs and retrofits. The more advanced Galaxy-class (TNG) could probably independently maintain it's systems a lot longer.

Last edited by Uosdwis R. Dewoh; 10-19-2018 at 03:02 PM.
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Old 10-19-2018, 03:20 PM
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I wouldn't even call that a fanwank. It's not like it was a colony ship never expected to return.
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Old 10-19-2018, 03:40 PM
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The Gene Roddenberry novelization for Star Trek: The Motion Picture makes it clear that the ship would remain in deep space and was not expected to return to Earth for at least five years. When it did, there was major crew turnover and, as it happens (although this was not planned when they first set out), the ship then underwent a major overhaul and rebuild. Something that never really came across in the movies but did in the book was that Capt. Kirk was just a bit emotionally messed up by the stress of five years' responsibility for his ship and crew, and for the losses suffered on his watch. We joke about redshirts's short life expectancies, but Kirk was grieving and paid a price in mental health for those deaths.

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Old 10-19-2018, 03:54 PM
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...Kirk was grieving and paid a price in mental health for those deaths.
I'm not sure how much deep psychological analysis of that alien skirt-chaser I want to get into.
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Old 10-19-2018, 04:07 PM
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Something that never really came across in the movies but did in the book was that Capt. Kirk was just a bit emotionally messed up by the stress of five years' responsibility for his ship and crew, and for the losses suffered on his watch. We joke about redshirts's short life expectancies, but Kirk was grieving and paid a price in mental health for those deaths.
At the rate they were lost i just assumed he reconstituted replacements out of dried embryos like Sea Monkeys or replicated clones. I’ve always thought you could set a game of Paranoia on an Enterprise-like scenario complete with control by “the Computer”.

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I'm not sure how much deep psychological analysis of that alien skirt-chaser I want to get into.
Oh, I don’t know; there are a lot of psychic depths to plumb there, espeically in the original show before the original movies reinvented him as this pretty simple-minded maverick captain and the J.J. Abrams movies turned him into a futuristic frat brah.

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Old 10-19-2018, 04:18 PM
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The "Five Year Mission" (sounds like "five year plan". I've always said the Communists won WWIII in the Star Trek universe. but I digress) seems like it should be on the edges of the Federation space for five whole years. Maybe there would be resupply and crew rotations from "frontier" star bases. But no real return to the inner systems. You were supposed to use Hornblower as the role model. Long durations away from home (and the chain of command), which is why Kirk had so much leeway.

Of course, that got thrown out in the first season. If you're close enough to travel back to earth in 1968 accidentally, you aren't that far away to begin with. And they don't recall you from the edge of known space to ferry diplomats around the central systems.

I'd more categorize what the Enterprise did as "troubleshooting". When you have an undefined problem, send in Kirk. Planet killing weapons, wayward asteroids, giant space amoebas, loss of contact with planets, missing ships, spacial anomalies, non-corporeal killers. They live for that shit!

Last edited by Just Asking Questions; 10-19-2018 at 04:21 PM.
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Old 10-19-2018, 04:31 PM
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I assume that the writers called the voyage of exploration a five year mission because the most famous voyage of exploration of all time was a five year mission--nothing deeper than that.
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Old 10-19-2018, 05:28 PM
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From the series original 1964 format, reproduced in The Making of Star Trek (Whitfield and Roddenberry, 1968):

(Excerpted from orders to Captain Robert T April) ...

IV. Nature and duration of mission:
Galaxy exploration and investigation;
5 years.

V. You will patrol the Ninth Quadrant, beginning with
Alpha Centauri and extending to the outer Pinial
Galaxy limit.

VI. Consistent with the limitations of your vessel and
equipment, you will confine your landings and
contacts to Class "M" planets approximating Earth-
Mars conditions.

VII. You will conduct this patrol to accomplish primarily:
(a) Earth security, via exploration of intelligence and
social systems capable of a galaxial threat, and
(b) Scientific investigation to add to the Earth's body
of knowledge of alien life forms and social systems, and
(c) Any required assistance to the several Earth colonies
in this quadrant, and the enforcement of appropriate
statutes affecting such Federated commerce vessels
and traders as you may contact in the course of your
mission.


The same kind of mission performed by the British Royal Navy in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The "Five-Year Limit" was apparently a rotational thing, since the range of the Enterprise is given as "18 years at light-year velocity," whatever that means.
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Old 10-19-2018, 05:38 PM
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The "Five-Year Limit" was apparently a rotational thing, since the range of the Enterprise is given as "18 years at light-year velocity," whatever that means.
What it means is, Hollywood writers didn't understand science very well back then. It seems that is still true.
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Old 10-19-2018, 05:57 PM
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What it means is, Hollywood writers didn't understand science very well back then. It seems that is still true.
I'll bet someone from the future would know what it means.
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Old 10-19-2018, 06:05 PM
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I'll bet someone from the future would know what it means.
Yes, Just Asking Questions' post just demonstrated that.
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Old 10-19-2018, 06:14 PM
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I assume that the writers called the voyage of exploration a five year mission because the most famous voyage of exploration of all time was a five year mission--nothing deeper than that.
I have to say - I'd assume not. Is it really a well known (or significant) fact that Darwin's trip lasted 5 years?

Last edited by Riemann; 10-19-2018 at 06:14 PM.
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Old 10-19-2018, 06:18 PM
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I'll bet someone from the future would know what it means.
"It's the ship that made the Kessel run in five warp speeds!"
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Old 10-19-2018, 06:38 PM
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Is it really a well known (or significant) fact that Darwin's trip lasted 5 years?

Yes? (See last posts on this page.)
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Old 10-19-2018, 06:47 PM
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What it means is, Hollywood writers didn't understand science very well back then. It seems that is still true.
In 1966 understanding that you couldn't go faster than light by hitting the accelerator pedal harder was way advanced. Space 1899 never figured it out, after all.

Anyhow, it is clear that the speed of the Enterprise is whatever is required by the script.
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Old 10-19-2018, 06:52 PM
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Yes? (See last posts on this page.)
My counter-cite is that I'm an evolutionary biologist, and if asked I would not have known the exact number of years; nor thought it significant.

From that thread:

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It was famously referred to as a "Five-Year Circumnavigation"
It's the line below the main title (what do you call that?) on the book. But if you google Five Year Circumnavigation without quote marks none of the hits are Darwin; and if you google with quote marks (specifically for the complete phrase), some hits are just picking up on the extended book title. I can't find any Google hits for that phrase other than that book cover.

If Colibri knows that the extended name of the book includes that phrase, I will concede your point!

Last edited by Riemann; 10-19-2018 at 06:56 PM.
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Old 10-19-2018, 06:54 PM
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In 1966 understanding that you couldn't go faster than light by hitting the accelerator pedal harder was way advanced. Space 1899 never figured it out, after all.
In fairness, that would’ve been asking a lot of them.
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Old 10-19-2018, 07:01 PM
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Well, they had impulse drive and warp drive. So they were using a different kind of drive for FTL. That's significant.
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Old 10-19-2018, 07:13 PM
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My counter-cite is that I'm an evolutionary biologist, and if asked I would not have known the exact number of years; nor thought it significant.

From this site:


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The Lieutenant was cancelled after a year due to its continuous controversies, but Roddenberry was already developing an idea called Hawaii Passage that involved a multi-racial ship crew that explored the ocean. One of his influences for the series had been The Voyage of the Beagle, which referred to Charles Darwin’s five year journey around the world to discover strange, new species of animals. Roddenberry then decided to switch the concept from a sea-going ship to one in space, and Star Trek was born.



Booyah, baby!
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Old 10-19-2018, 07:15 PM
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Booyah, baby!
Okay, but I was disputing whether you were right to assume this, not whether it was actually true
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Old 10-19-2018, 07:55 PM
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Quote:
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I have to say - I'd assume not. Is it really a well known (or significant) fact that Darwin's trip lasted 5 years?
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Originally Posted by Darren Garrison View Post
Yes? (See last posts on this page.)
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Originally Posted by Riemann View Post
My counter-cite is that I'm an evolutionary biologist, and if asked I would not have known the exact number of years; nor thought it significant.
...
If Colibri knows that the extended name of the book includes that phrase, I will concede your point!
The "extended name" of the book doesn't include that phrase at all. That's just the subtitle of the 2001 edition published by Narrative Press, which of course came out 35 years after Star Trek, and is one the publisher evidently came up with. The subtitle wouldn't have had any influence on Roddenberry, because he never read it. Of course, if he had read the Voyage of the Beagle he would have known it lasted five years.

My own copy is a reprint from the Minerva Library of Famous Books, published in 1889. The title on the cover is Darwin's Journal During the Voyage of HMS "Beagle" Round the World. The title page gives the "official" title of Journal of Researches into the Natural History and Geology of the Countries Visited During the Voyage of HMS "Beagle" Round the World Under the Command of Capt. Fitz Roy, R.N. (They knew how to title books in those days.) The book is most commonly known as simply The Voyage of the Beagle.

If you had asked me, I wouldn't have been able to tell you offhand that the voyage lasted five years specifically (though I would have known it was in that ballpark). I wouldn't say it's particularly well known fact about the voyage. Roddenberry may well have selected five years in reference to the Beagle's voyage, but it's not a reference anyone else, even an evolutionary biologist, would be expected to get.

Last edited by Colibri; 10-19-2018 at 07:58 PM.
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Old 10-19-2018, 08:04 PM
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V. You will patrol the Ninth Quadrant,
Now I have a question. How the heck do you get nine Quadrants? A quadrant is a division into four parts. (I believe that TNG did actually use four quadrants.)
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Old 10-19-2018, 08:19 PM
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Roddenberry may well have selected five years in reference to the Beagle's voyage, but it's not a reference anyone else, even an evolutionary biologist, would be expected to get.
It may not be a "household word" but it also isn't something deeply obscure, like Darwin's uncle's butler's shoe size.
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Old 10-19-2018, 08:22 PM
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Two general-audience educational links.
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Old 10-19-2018, 08:23 PM
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...Darwin's uncle's butler's shoe size.
12 1/2 EE

Whether or not the 5 years is a widely known specific thing about Darwin's trip, it's pretty cool to know that Roddenberry had it in mind.

Last edited by Riemann; 10-19-2018 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 10-19-2018, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Darren Garrison View Post
It may not be a "household word" but it also isn't something deeply obscure, like Darwin's uncle's butler's shoe size.
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Originally Posted by Darren Garrison View Post
Yeah, but two evolutionary biologists didn't know it off hand, including at least one who has read the book.

The length of the voyage may well have influenced Roddenberry, but even your cite doesn't say that's the reason he made the Enterprise's mission five years.
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Old 10-19-2018, 08:41 PM
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Now I have a question. How the heck do you get nine Quadrants? A quadrant is a division into four parts. (I believe that TNG did actually use four quadrants.)
As a fanwank, start with 4. But as political/military boundaries, they become unwieldy as the Federation expands in space. So we start cutting them off and make new administrative areas around the edge--but those areas have been called "quadrants" since the birth of the Federation, and it's easier to keep it that way, even if it's no longer meeting a strict dictionary definition.

The Ninth Quadrant, then, would presumably be on the edge of Federation-claimed space, which would make sense for the Enterprise.
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Old 10-19-2018, 09:14 PM
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I always assumed five years was the time it would take for Earth to self-destruct. Hopefully, that is.
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Old 10-19-2018, 09:31 PM
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Now I have a question. How the heck do you get nine Quadrants? A quadrant is a division into four parts. (I believe that TNG did actually use four quadrants.)
In Voyager, too. The Galaxy was divided into four quadrants: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, the first four letters of the Greek alphabet.

The word obviously had some other meaning in TOS. In "Mark of Gideon," Kirk looks at the viewscreen and says "I'm not familiar with this quadrant." So I'd assume it did indeed denote some smaller territorial division within the Galaxy.

Recall that in TNG's "Conspiracy," the map at SFHQ shows Federation space divided into cubes, so that may have something to with it (even though a cube has six sides, if you count the top and bottom).
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Old 10-19-2018, 09:36 PM
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I'd more categorize what the Enterprise did as "troubleshooting". When you have an undefined problem, send in Kirk. Planet killing weapons, wayward asteroids, giant space amoebas, loss of contact with planets, missing ships, spacial anomalies, non-corporeal killers. They live for that shit!
I've long maintained that Starfleet is not composed of the best and the brightest, but instead the ADHD afflicted and uncontrollable wreckers that were transported off Earth and its civilized colonies and off into deep space where they could get into trouble without bothering the adults. To that end, conflicts are concocted by the ship's computer (which is actually fully autonomous and capable of running operations all on its own without any 'help' from the crew) in order to occupy their attention. This includes creating simulated enemies, performing 'analysis' to ambiguous and often nonsensical commands, and

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Now I have a question. How the heck do you get nine Quadrants? A quadrant is a division into four parts. (I believe that TNG did actually use four quadrants.)
In astronomy, the four quadrants of the sky are also broken into north and south. So that gives you eight. I don't know where the ninth one comes from. Maybe it is imaginary. ;-)

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Old 10-19-2018, 09:46 PM
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It was a five year deep space mission.

The crew would want to return home and reconnect with family. The ship gets repaired and resupplied. Perhaps, updated with newer technology.

It's similar to long military postings today.

Last edited by aceplace57; 10-19-2018 at 09:49 PM.
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Old 10-19-2018, 09:49 PM
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In 1966 understanding that you couldn't go faster than light by hitting the accelerator pedal harder was way advanced. Space 1899 never figured it out, after all.

Anyhow, it is clear that the speed of the Enterprise is whatever is required by the script.
Surely you mean 1999?

My favorite warp discrepancy came in "The Changeling": NOMAD's energy bolts take seconds to reach the Enterprise at Warp 15, but the ship's photon torpedoes travel the same distance almost instantaneously. And in "Elaan of Troyius," how can they fire the torpedoes while the ship is pivoting at Warp 2? Do the torps have their own warp drives, or do they stay inside the ship's FTL bubble until they hit their target?
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Old 10-19-2018, 09:51 PM
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It was for Kirk to spread his space seed in the waiting wombs of wanton alien women and cogenitors.
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Old 10-19-2018, 09:53 PM
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I would have assumed that in five years they'd return for crew rotation and a possible reassignment of mission. It's just the tour of duty length.
This is what I always thought. I figured it was kind of like a nuclear sub on a long duration voyage. I also assumed it would be 5 years subjective to the crew, since I always assumed that 'warp speed' entailed somehow going super luminal, so time would pass differently for the crew than for those not on the ship.
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Old 10-19-2018, 09:53 PM
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Surely you mean 1999?
Or perhaps he means Space: 1889

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Old 10-19-2018, 09:53 PM
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In astronomy, the four quadrants of the sky are also broken into north and south. So that gives you eight.
I was the Astronomy TA at Macalester for two years. Please elaborate.
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Old 10-19-2018, 10:01 PM
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This is what I always thought. I figured it was kind of like a nuclear sub on a long duration voyage. I also assumed it would be 5 years subjective to the crew, since I always assumed that 'warp speed' entailed somehow going super luminal, so time would pass differently for the crew than for those not on the ship.
Time dilation was studiously ignored in all iterations of the series. From the way they were able to communicate with Starfleet Command whenever they really needed to, it obviously didn't apply to them. There was never any obvious discrepancy between the way time was passing on Earth (or anywhere else in the Galaxy) and on board the Enterprise.

Five year missions actually sound reasonable when you factor in shore leave, crew rotation, replacements joining the ship at Star Bases, et cetera. It wouldn't be like being cooped up inside a submarine for five years.
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Old 10-19-2018, 10:03 PM
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It was for Kirk to spread his space seed in the waiting wombs of wanton alien women and cogenitors.
Nice work, if you can find it!
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Old 10-19-2018, 10:06 PM
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Or perhaps he means Space: 1889

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Aha.

Sorry, never heard of it. I'm not into RPGs. (Unless you can blow up tanks with them. )
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Old 10-19-2018, 10:07 PM
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I've been reminded now of A.E. Van Vogt's The Voyage of the Space Beagle (1950)


Quote:
A huge globular spaceship, manned by a chemically castrated all-male crew of nearly a thousand, who are on an extended scientific mission to explore intergalactic space, encounters several, mostly hostile, aliens and alien civilizations. On board the spaceship during its journey, both political and scientific revolutions take place.
Clearly Roddenberry's inspiration.
  #45  
Old 10-20-2018, 12:02 AM
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Chemically castrated? That's it! Kirk was the only man on board who could still impregnate women, so he felt it was his duty to do it on behalf of the whole crew.
  #46  
Old 10-20-2018, 12:12 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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Space 1899 never figured it out, after all.
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Surely you mean 1999?
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Or perhaps he means Space: 1889
Space 14.95 and that's my final offer.
  #47  
Old 10-20-2018, 12:17 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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My favorite warp discrepancy came in "The Changeling": NOMAD's energy bolts take seconds to reach the Enterprise at Warp 15, but the ship's photon torpedoes travel the same distance almost instantaneously. And in "Elaan of Troyius," how can they fire the torpedoes while the ship is pivoting at Warp 2? Do the torps have their own warp drives, or do they stay inside the ship's FTL bubble until they hit their target?
I actually saw this issue addressed in some fanwanking forum. They argued that photon torpedoes were encased in a warp-capable sabot.
  #48  
Old 10-20-2018, 09:21 AM
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Chronos Chronos is offline
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You can't say that the Ninth Quadrant is way out in the periphery of known space, when a mission in the Ninth Quadrant starts at alpha Centauri.

And I've never heard of astronomers using eight quadrants. If for some reason you're dividing the sky into eight sections (already an unusual practice-- it's more likely to refer to imprecise locations by constellation), you'd refer to them as octants.
  #49  
Old 10-20-2018, 10:04 AM
Stranger On A Train Stranger On A Train is online now
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And I've never heard of astronomers using eight quadrants. If for some reason you're dividing the sky into eight sections (already an unusual practice-- it's more likely to refer to imprecise locations by constellation), you'd refer to them as octants.
Constellations are sometimes referred to being in the north or south quadrant x, e.g. Sagittarius is in SHQ1. That gives eight divisions, but you are correct that is is not appropriate to refer to tnorth and south as separate quadrants; I was just looking for a rationale as to how one could interpret more than four quadrants. The entire notion of mapping the galaxy in tems of rectilinear divisions dowsn’t make much sense, anyway. It would make far more sense to break it into sectors not based on current position but association with comoving groups of interstellar clouds, and beyonfd that with structures of the galactic arms. Since stars are in constant motion with respect to one another calling out a fixed position on a map makes no sense.

But then, Star Trek was conceived as a Wagon Train to the stars any many episodes of the original series were as metaphorical as anything from The Twilight Zone, so presenting grounded science was never a concern for the original producers, and subsequent entries to the franchise have essentially used science as trappings for a superficially plausible narrative universe which just happens to work like an “Age of Sail” C.S. Forester novel.

Stranger
  #50  
Old 10-20-2018, 10:14 AM
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terentii terentii is offline
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I actually saw this issue addressed in some fanwanking forum. They argued that photon torpedoes were encased in a warp-capable sabot.
... While Kirk-era shuttlecraft had no warp capability at all. Right.

Still, they were able to get really deep into space really fast on their own....
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