# What would happen if a Star Trek ship rammed a planet at speed?

A question for the Trek geeks in the house: What would happen if you cranked the Enterprise up to warp (lots), and rammed it into a planet. It would do some damage, no? How much?

Yes, the planet would indeed do some damage.

It’s not exactly canon, but in Starfleet Command I have bounced off a planet at moderate speed. Wrecked my shields and banged up the ship, but I survived the impact- I was driving a Fed Heavy Cruiser, just like Enterprise. I didn’t survive the Klingon assault that followed, though.

I think they’ve established that such an impact may ruin a biosphere, but the energy is insufficient to really hurt anything much larger than an asteroid.

Ship go boom.

You may get thrown into a space-time loop. Experiencing the same collision over and over until you realize your mistake and change course.

[WAG] The force of the impact would compact the atoms of the ship’s hull enough that nuclear fusion would be initiated. The ship would explode like an H-bomb, leaving a huge crater in the ground, similar to the one in Arizona. [/WAG]

You can’t reallly say. Since “warp” is faster than the speed of light good old equations like F=MA don’t apply. You would need to know what the nature of warp drive is. It could be that the actual speed of the ship is negligable because it does not move through space, but “warps” the space around it.

Since you’re going faster than light, it seems to me that the energy of any collision would have to be infinite, and would destroy the entire universe

How fast exactly in MPH are the warp factors?

Warp 1 is the speed of light.
Warp 9 is something like 8,100 times the speed of light, IIRC.

The speed of light is 670 million MPH.

This site, which I posted in a thread not too far below this one, should help with your question.

The site’s numbers are verified by the Star Trek The Next Generation Technical Manual.

In one of the non-canon books, when NCC-1701 went to warp too close to a planet, it blew off the planets atmosphere and left some some sort of tell-tale signature for other warp species to find.

But, here’s a kicker. Since the warp field actually warps time/space around the vessel, wouldn’t the planetary body behave as though a mini black hole passed through it? A Tungaska effect, but the planet survives and the ship is unscathed. Any takers on why that would be right or wrong?

You guys are forgetting one of the most important pieces of Treknobabble in existence: “Mass lightening”. The idea goes that, to reduce inertia on the ship, a ST vessel shunts some of its mass into subspace (boy howdy, subspace is useful for anything, ain’t it?). In any case, if a ST ship gets going at a high STL speed, its mass is ultimately reduced and the kinetic energy of the impact is lessened. If it’s going FTL, the planet enters into the ship’s warp bubble and the overall impact is STL anyway.

Unless you believe that the laws of thermodynamics can be broken… 'course, this IS Star Trek we’re talking about.

Uh huh huh huh. You said “rammed.”

No no no, your mass (and therefore your kinetic energy) would only be infinite if you were travelling AT the speed of light.

When travelling faster than light, your mass would be a finite negative imaginary number. (Try it yourself! The formula is M = [rest mass] / SQRT(1 - v[sup]2[/sup]/c[sup]2[/sup]). At twice the speed of light, v[sup]2[/sup]/c[sup]2[/sup] = 4, so you’d have to divide your rest mass by the square root of -3.)

Okay, then the planet would become imaginary and unicorns and leprechauns would live there

In “the best of both worlds, part 2” Riker ordered Crusher to ram the borg cube at warp speed.

Apparently, it is known that such a collision is catastrophic.

Prime Directive by Judith and Garfield Reeves Stevens… easily one of my favorite books of all times. I think I’ve read it a dozen times or more.

By the way, it went to warp inside its gravity well and it sheared off one of the warp nacelles… the biosphere remained intact. Later on, lots of nukes go boom and that’s what the other species found.

For canon material, I’m pretty sure the Bird of Prey in ST: IV went to warp in Earth’s atmosphere. Earth obviously survived. Bad oversight on the writers’ behalf.

Oh yeah, and what laws of science allow the Force?

Bistromatics is the only math that fully explains and corralates Star Trek with Star Wars. And it proves Star Trek is better, even on a quantum level.

:dubious: