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The Star Trek Warp Drive vs The Alcubierre Drive vs The Spore Drive - Star Trek Physics Fun!

The Star Trek warp drive, the Alcubierre drive, and the spore Drive... what a mouthful.  The Star Trek warp drive is a fictitious propulsion system which allows space craft in Star Trek to travel at velocities faster than light. The warp drive does not break the laws of physics because instead of actually traveling faster than light, it simply bends the space time around the space craft which results in faster than light travel. As you can see in the image below, a region of space around the ship remains in unchanged space. The area around this unchanged space is warped.  Star Trek Warp Drive The Alcubierre drive is a real life attempt to create a Star Trek warp drive. It's only an idea at this point, but in 1994 theoretical physicist Miguel Alcubierre proposed a solution in which a spacecraft could achieve faster than light travel assuming that negative matter could be harnessed. The math is very complicated, but the short answer is that it requires this exotic matter. Ex

How Star Trek Transporters Work

Transporting really is the safest way to travel.                           -Geordi La Forge Star Trek transporters. One of the most iconic technologies in the entire Star Trek franchise, and all science fiction. Most people, even those who do not consider themselves fans, know the phrase, "Beam me up, Scotty".  It is arguably one of the most famous lines from a tv show ever. As a near instantaneous method for human beings, and objects, to travel short distances, these transporters provide an extremely important service for members of the federation, and the show writers. The short answer: Imaging scanners scan the subject's subatomic particles to get a perfect snapshot of what it is. The transporter then breaks down the subject into a bunch of particles which are stored below the transporter in the pattern buffer. The transporter system then sends the particles in a beam to the destination where the particles are put together using the data from the scan. The su

My beef with the holodeck

There are some who believe the holodeck is the most advanced technology used in Star Trek. I may be among those people. The holodeck uses holographic and teleporter technology to build a fantasy environment that is indistinguishable from real life. Season 2 Episode 3 of The Next Generation, "Elementary, Dear Data", is a prime example of how advanced holodeck tech really is. The computer uses teleporter like technology to construct and control physical characters who can fully interact with real life visitors.  Now we get to the good part, which makes the holodeck technology really shine. What happens when multiple real people enter the holodeck?  Let's say Data and Geordi are on a quest to solve a murder and they are inspecting a clue together. They then separate and walk in opposite directions until they are half a mile apart... or, are they?  The holodeck is not a half mile long. To each of their perspectives, they look a half mile away, but are maybe 50 feet away. What

Do Star Trek Transporters... Murder You?

This question has been raised since the very origins of Trek. Since the old days of "beam me up, Scotty". The question is: are you the same person before after a transport? or are you just a really good copy? Do you die everytime you step foot in a transporter room? This philosophical debate, raging on for decades, will finally get an answer. . . with physics. The short answer to this question is yes, but real question that should be asked is: are you the same person before and after transporting? Here's why. So why is the short answer yes? Well according to the Star Trek TNG Technical Manual, transporters work by use of a annular confinement beam and dematerializing the subject. You can read more about the transportation process here.  An annular confinement beam is the actual transport process from point A to B. Every subatomic particle is perfectly dematerialized, sent by use us annular confinement beam, then perfectly reconstructed at the destination. The demateri

Star Trek Discovery: The Mycelial Network and Spore Drive

The veins and muscles that hold our galaxies together.                        – Paul Stamets, "Context Is for Kings" Star Trek Discovery Season 1 introduced a new technology to the Star Trek universe called the spore drive. The spore drive was never mentioned before in Star Trek cannon, meaning that this technology will not exist, or at least not be common, in TOS or later. So spore drive technology, as amazing at it is, begins in Discovery, and ends in Discovery.  The Spore Drive Also known as the displacement activated spore hub drive, the spore drive is an organic propulsion system created by Paul Stamets and Straal in the year 2244 that would allow for near instantaneous travel of a starship anywhere in the universe. The USS Glenn traveled 90 light years back and forth from the beta quadrant in 1.3 seconds, just before it was destroyed. The propulsion system accesses the mycelial network via mycelium spores from the Prototaxites stellaviatori fungal species

Starfleet Has a Speed Limit, And It's Lower Than You Would Think

Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That's relativity. ― Albert Einstein Time Dilation - A little known fact about the Star Trek Prime Universe, mentioned only in the Star Trek TNG Technical Manual ,  is that there is a Starfleet enforced speed limit. If you own the technical manual, it's in section 6.2 Relativistic Concerns . This speed limit only limits impulse speed for normal ship operations, not warp speed. Now, that probably seems backwards because warp speed is much much faster... but actually there's a very good reason for it. Why the impulse speed limit? Impulse speed is sub-light speed star ship travel. That means when using the impulse engines, star ships are going less than the speed of light while warp speed is faster than light. Anything traveling at or near the speed of light, as you can see in the grap