warp drive

<<So you can see that rocket science isn’t really all that difficult. The question you should be asking is: How does a dilithium-powered anti-matter warp drive work? I have no clue, but I’m sure there are plenty of geeks on the message boards who would be willing to explain it. In Klingon.

Straight Dope Science Advisory Board>>

I’m afraid I’m not geeky enough to speak Klingon, but I do own a copy of The Physics of Star Trek (can’t remember the author’s name right now), which has a section on warp drive. If I remember correctly, warp drive is not dilithium-powered, but is powered by the reaction of matter and anti-matter. The dilithium crystal is used to regulate the reaction. So saying warp drive is dilithuim-powered would be kind of like saying your car is carburetor-powered. But I will defer to the truly geeky who I’m sure would have a much more thorough explanation.

Does the SDMB support klingon fonts? I’d hate to think I was missing out on a good explanation of warp drive technology because of something as banal as poor font support.

And just so this thread continues to make sense after the article falls off the main page, the link is How do rockets work in the vacuum of space?

blowero wrote:

Lawrence Krauss.

Warp drive and dilithium crystals replaced pixie dust and happy thoughts, that was used in the STAR TREK pilot.

In the book History of Space Flight for the Star Trek Universe, after the invention of the Warp Drive, it was discovered that dilithium crystals could be used to focus the energy coming out of a matter/anti-matter reaction and allow the Warp Drive to use all of the energy rather than a same fraction thereof.

As for Warp Drive, itself, I’m going to WAG from what happened in the 1st ST movie with the engine imbalance.

Warp Drive causes a wave to form in the local space-time around the starship. This wave is shaped and formed by the Warp Drive to curl, but never completely close, much like a wave ridden by a surf-boarder would curl over, propelling the board (and rider) faster than normal over the surface of the water.

What happened in Star Trek; The Motionless Picture was that the engines, only be minimally balanced, allowed the wave to completely close and form a wormhole. Normally the engines are finely tuned to keep the wave curled, but not closed.

Asimov once said that “Star Trek” was 90% explainable, or at least conceivable. Whether that is true, I don’t know.
Be that as it may, there is no particular barrier to “dilithium;” if you condensed it cold enough, you ciold make it. Making crystals from it, though…hmmm. Perhaps “dilithium” is a starting point for a Bose-Einstein condensate, and persists in 24th century English as popular but archaic term.
Beyond that? Well, let us not forget that “Star Trek” is a fantasy…:slight_smile:
I always preferred “Star Wars” anyway, which makes no attempt to justify what it is…

Bose-einsteinian condensate?
Bah, dilithium was just the magic crystal that let them fly through the heavens.
In one episode, a visiting dignitary from a planet with a great deal of dilithium wanted by both klingons and federation wore a necklace made out of it.

“Elain of Torres” I belive was the episode. Also, in the Episod “Mud’s Women” they visited a plant that was currently habitated by 3 Dilithium Miners. These men supposedly worth a lot of cash, dollars, credits, whatever, so Dilithium Crystals must have been considered Valuable.

As far as the Warp drive, it is simply that. It creats a Space/Time warp that allows the ship to travel faster than the speed of light. It is based on the cancelation properties of matter/antimatter reactions. In another episode, whose name escapes me for the now, it is mentioned that when two like particles of matter/antimatter meet in an uncontroled enviornment, it would mean distruction of the universe, in fact both universes +/-.

It is my belief that it is the controlled/localized common annihilation of particles of matter/antimatter that creates the warp through which the ship travels.

Bu, Ca’tain, she kenna tayk no mure. Ahm givvin yu awl she 'as. De dilithium crystals are gunna blow!

I can’t believe I’m wading into this. For one thing, I started getting a life around age fourteen, when I started noticing girls and vice-versa. But, God help us, there are some things one never forgets.

The episode in which the woman had a piece of dilithium jewelry was called “Elaan of Troiyus.” As for the relationship between matter/antimatter annihilation and warp drive, it’s just that nothing but matter/antimatter produces enough power. The dilithium crystals supposedly “focus” the reaction in some way that allows Scotty’s engines to use it more efficiently. Warp drive up to about factor 4.2 or so is possible without dilithium. The warp factor numbers originally were the cube roots of the respective multiples of light-speed that the ship could attain (factor 4=64C); later they changed that in order to confuse people. For further Trek-oriented fun, I recommend
http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a3_367.html, Cecil’s column on Stardates. Hoo-Haw!

Did someone save a link to that site that translated stuff into Klingon? I need it and can’t find it. Thanks.

Karen Too:

Here, it is. :slight_smile:

No that wasn’t it. The one acknowledged when this thread was featured in “Threadspotting” was a fake Klingon translator that just wrote your input backwards. That’s the one I’m looking for.

It just wrote everything backwards? Don’t know of that one, sorry. I thought you were seeeeerious! :smiley: Backwards isn’t Klingon; it’s Sdrawkcab. Altogether different. 'Fraid I can’t help you on that one…but hey, I tried.

Alas, I am trying to translate some design specifications, and the real Klingon translators don’t do such a good job. That’s why I need the fake. Thanks anyway.

Next Generation technology is now such that the multiple of the speed of light is the warp factor to the 5th power. They scaled the numbers back because having warp factors up to 27 would be too confusing.

Their justification for this increase in speed is that they discovered that the transition from normal space to the warp space is done at a rate of speed that is actually exponentially faster than travel in warp space; they found that if they had a second pair of warp drives (remember the Stargazer? 4 engines), they could generate two warp fields and constantly shift from one to the other, like some batter stuck between the blades of an eggbeater, and get a turbo-charged kind of effect. There are a pair of warp engines in each of the Enterprise V’s nacelles.

You’d think that, Ethelrist, from reading the old tech manuals (set at the time of TOS, and descibing potential future advancements), but if you read the NextGen tech manuals, they’ve changed the system completely, in such a manner that it follows no conceivable pattern and maxes out at infinite speed at Warp 10. Don’t ask me how the three-nacelle Enterprise in “All Good Things…” manages Warp 13 and borg cubes regularly hit 30.

My guess (aside from the “they screwed up” explanation…) is that the logarithmic warp scale was re-scaled for convenience. If warp 1=c, and warp 10=infinity, then you have a really big difference between warp 9.9 and warp 9.91.

So as technology increases and you have a ship able to travel at warp 9.999999999999973 (which would be a whole lot faster than warp 9.99999995, which would be really fast to begin with), it would be more convenient to rescale it so that 9.999999999999999999918241 would now be called warp 30.

Just my WAG, but if I were in charge of the show, that would be my official explanation.

BTW, Voyager sucks.

Learn the lingo.
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