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Warp speeds in 'Star Trek' are achingly slow and a simple animation by a former NASA scientist proves it Rate Topic: -----

#1 User is offline   MTP Reggie 

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 12:45 PM

Warp speeds in 'Star Trek' are achingly slow, and a simple animation by a former NASA scientist proves it
Dave Mosher
Oct 7, 2019, 1:00 PM
Business Insider

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In the sci-fi universe of "Star Trek," spaceships with warp drives can zoom past the normally impenetrable limit of light speed, or about 186,282 miles per second (299,792 kilometers per second) in a vacuum. This trouncing of theoretical physics makes reaching alien-rich planets across the galaxy seem like just a convenient TV-commercial-break-length trip away. But a new animation by the planetary and space scientist James O'Donoghue, who used to work at NASA and is now employed by JAXA (Japan's national space agency), grounds the warp drives of those fictional spaceships in reality. He says the work gives him "a sense of despair" about traveling through space, even at superluminal speeds.

O'Donoghue previously animated the speed of light within the solar system, and the results were depressing. After receiving widespread attention for those animations, he began wondering what going faster might look like in reality. So O'Donoghue took the Federation starship USS Enterprise, commanded by Captain Jean-Luc Picard (played by Patrick Stewart) in "Star Trek: The Next Generation," and sent it flying from the sun to Pluto at varying warp-speed velocities.

http://thumbs.gfycat.com/ShowyAgedFlyingfox-mobile.mp4

The animated video above, which O'Donoghue posted on Twitter on Monday, is almost as deflating as the scientist's first set of popular animations. "I have genuinely felt a sense of despair at the distances involved in our solar system and beyond," O'Donoghue told Business Insider, adding: "It's been one of my aims to make everyone else feel as bad as me."

Incidentally, a follow-on series titled "Star Trek: Picard" is scheduled to premiere on CBS All Access on January 23 and on Amazon Prime the following day, according to CNN.

There's no set-in-stone scale of "warp-factor" speeds in the "Star Trek" universe. Over the more than 50 years of productions, different series and episodes and movies throw out conflicting numbers. However, Rick Sternbach and Michael Okuda two technical advisers to "The Next Generation" series published a technical manual in 1991 that includes some solid figures, and it's those numbers (vis-a-vis a Wikipedia page) that O'Donoghue said he leaned on for his animation. That scale suggests a warp factor of 1 is light speed (shown below between Earth and the moon) and the typical upper limit warp of 9.99 is more than 2,140 times light speed.

O'Donoghue chose to depict the Enterprise flying away from the sun and across the solar system toward a finish line at Pluto. The spaceship starts out at warp 1 and eventually accelerates to warp 9.9, or about 2,083 times light speed.

  • Warp 1, or light speed, makes the Enterprise look like it's at a standstill over the sun. At this light-speed rate, the ship would take 5 hours and 28 minutes just to reach Pluto, which is about 3.67 billion miles (5.9 billion kilometers) away from the sun. Meanwhile, Proxima Centauri the nearest star to our own is a dismal four years and three months away.
  • Warp 5 is about 213 times faster, making a sun-Pluto journey just 1 minute and 30 seconds long. Proxima Centauri is still a weeklong voyage.
  • Warp 9.9 makes Pluto less that a 10-second trip away, and Proxima Centauri an 18-hour cruise.

This last rate of travel is thousands of times faster than the physics of our universe may ever permit. However, traveling at a warp factor of 9.9 from one end of the Milky Way galaxy a body of hundreds of billions of stars that may stretch 150,000 to 200,000 light-years wide, according to a recent study to the other could take 96 years. That's almost a decade longer than an average human life span today.

Even considering the fastest "transwarp" (or "beyond warp") speed achieved by the Enterprise, which is about 8,323 times light speed, according to "Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual," a transgalactic voyage would take 24 years. A transwarp voyage to Andromeda, which is the nearest galaxy to ours at about 2.5 million light-years away, would last about 300 years.

A quarter of a century is a grueling amount of time that no holodeck, artificially intelligent companions, and extremely well-stocked spaceship bar may stack up against, let alone three centuries.

(snip)

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This post has been edited by MTP Reggie: 13 October 2019 - 12:45 PM

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#2 User is online   gravelrash 

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 01:23 PM

Quote

A transwarp voyage to Andromeda, which is the nearest galaxy to ours at about 2.5 million light-years away, would last about 300 years.


Never heard of generational ships, more commonly called "arks"?

My Star Trek friends pointed out that the Federation set a restriction on traveling at Warp 10 because the speed was "tearing the fabric of space". Oh, and it's just a TV show.

Though I find the actual science to be... fascinating.

This post has been edited by gravelrash: 13 October 2019 - 01:23 PM

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#3 User is offline   Hieronymous 

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 01:30 PM

Favorite Star Trek episode is still "A Piece of the Action". Isnt there some kind of law against trying to wreck a Star Trek geeks buzz?
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#4 User is offline   Severian 

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 02:04 PM

My favorite two are "Where No Man Has Gone Before" and "Balance Of Terror."

I'm reading a series of scifi books now by Alistair Reynolds, a Brit PhD physicist who works for the European Space Agency, the "Revelation Space" series. Light speed is still the upper bound, but the ships are large, and can accelerate at 1 G up to about 98% of C. They are wrapped in a lot of ice to act as an ablative for running into hydrogen and helium atoms at near light speed. What's interesting is that he has a unique take on how this long travel time and such fragments society. Each planet is very different, and the star ships are run by a class of people known as Ultras. They spend much time at time dilated near light speed travel and often freeze themselves, and adopt a lot of cybernetic and neural implants and mods. They think in terms of centuries, they night not get back to a system in decades or centuries. They are traders with a strong pirate vibe as well, prone to violence, hard for "normals" to understand, very insular and don't think anything about the rest of humanity. Tend to be vicious and selfish.

Sometimes people come out of cryogenic freezing with almost complete amnesia, and there is a religious order, the Ice Mendicants, who exist to help these people. All in all a very unique and creative take on things.

He also wrote the story "Beyond The Aquila Rift" which was made into an anime on the Netflix show "Love, Death, And Robots." In it humanity uses a faster than light technology of gates that were built by a vanished race. Due to a routing error the crew of a ship winds up 150,000 light years off course. It's a great story and a very good anime with a shocking ending. The vignette "Zima Blue" in that show was also written by Reynolds.
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#5 User is online   Dean Adam Smithee 

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 02:10 PM

If we're going to get into SF vs. Reality, I'm MORE inclined to believe in the concept of Tesseract as expressed in Madeleine L'Engle's 1962 "Young Adult" novel A Wrinkle in Time rather that the concept of Warp as portrayed in Star Trek. L'Engle's version is reasonably close to Einstein's 'wormholes'.

As a pre-teen/young teen I was a avid reader. And for all the books I read, NONE affected me as profoundly as A Wrinkle In Time. It tackled not only spacetime but also good vs. evil in a way that made perfect sense to a 12 YO.
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#6 User is offline   Natural Selection 

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 02:49 PM

View PostMTP Reggie, on 13 October 2019 - 12:45 PM, said:

  • Warp 1, or light speed, makes the Enterprise look like it's at a standstill over the sun. At this light-speed rate, the ship would take 5 hours and 28 minutes just to reach Pluto, which is about 3.67 billion miles (5.9 billion kilometers) away from the sun. Meanwhile, Proxima Centauri — the nearest star to our own — is a dismal four years and three months away.
  • Warp 5 is about 213 times faster, making a sun-Pluto journey just 1 minute and 30 seconds long. Proxima Centauri is still a weeklong voyage.
  • Warp 9.9 makes Pluto less that a 10-second trip away, and Proxima Centauri an 18-hour cruise.

This last rate of travel is thousands of times faster than the physics of our universe may ever permit. However, traveling at a warp factor of 9.9 from one end of the Milky Way galaxy — a body of hundreds of billions of stars that may stretch 150,000 to 200,000 light-years wide, according to a recent study — to the other could take 96 years. That's almost a decade longer than an average human life span today.

Even considering the fastest "transwarp" (or "beyond warp") speed achieved by the Enterprise, which is about 8,323 times light speed, according to "Star Trek: The Next Generation — Technical Manual," a transgalactic voyage would take 24 years. A transwarp voyage to Andromeda, which is the nearest galaxy to ours at about 2.5 million light-years away, would last about 300 years.

A quarter of a century is a grueling amount of time that no holodeck, artificially intelligent companions, and extremely well-stocked spaceship bar may stack up against, let alone three centuries.



Uhh....

Wormholes?

Trans Warp Conduits?

Geodesic Folds?

Quantum slipstream drive?

This post has been edited by Natural Selection: 13 October 2019 - 03:21 PM

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#7 User is online   gravelrash 

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 03:15 PM

The spice controls the universe.
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#8 User is offline   Junto 

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 03:38 PM

https://startreklives.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/2-quadrants.jpg

This map shows how little of the Milky Way was explored in the Star Trek Universe even though they have Warp engines. In contrast, in the Star Wars universe, or specifically the galaxy far, far away, their hyperdrive speeds are MUCH faster, and they can basically fly all over their galaxy in a very short amount of time.
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#9 User is online   Dean Adam Smithee 

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 03:38 PM

View PostNatural Selection, on 13 October 2019 - 02:49 PM, said:

Uhh....

Wormholes?

Trans Warp Conduits?

Geodesic Folds?

Quantum slipstream drive?


Best as we humans can grok, "Wormholes" is closest to plausible.

At a certain point, I think that we are little more than fish in a bowl trying to grok what's outside the bowl.
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#10 User is online   gravelrash 

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 03:40 PM

Who made the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs?
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#11 User is online   gravelrash 

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 03:42 PM

View PostDean Adam Smithee, on 13 October 2019 - 03:38 PM, said:

Best as we humans can grok, "Wormholes" is closest to plausible.

At a certain point, I think that we are little more than fish in a bowl trying to grok what's outside the bowl.


Like the "grok" reference but now I have Pink Floyd earwormed.
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#12 User is online   catpat 

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 04:47 PM

View Postgravelrash, on 13 October 2019 - 03:40 PM, said:

Who made the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs?

Han Solo via the Millennium Falcon in less than 12 parsecs, if I remember correctly.
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#13 User is offline   Noclevermoniker 

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 05:25 PM

View PostNatural Selection, on 13 October 2019 - 02:49 PM, said:

Uhh....

Wormholes?

Trans Warp Conduits?

Geodesic Folds?

Quantum slipstream drive?

110 Octane and a four-barrel.

And none of that smog junk!
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#14 User is offline   MTP Reggie 

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 05:31 PM

View Postgravelrash, on 13 October 2019 - 03:40 PM, said:

Who made the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs?







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#15 User is offline   Severian 

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 06:45 PM

View Postgravelrash, on 13 October 2019 - 03:15 PM, said:

The spice controls the universe.

Hell of a sand trap there...I don't know how we'll ever make par.
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#16 User is online   gravelrash 

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 07:22 PM

View PostSeverian, on 13 October 2019 - 06:45 PM, said:

Hell of a sand trap there...I don't know how we'll ever make par.



This post has been edited by gravelrash: 13 October 2019 - 07:22 PM

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#17 User is offline   Rock N' Roll Right Winger 

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 07:22 AM


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#18 User is offline   Rock N' Roll Right Winger 

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 07:24 AM

View PostMTP Reggie, on 13 October 2019 - 05:31 PM, said:






Love your new avatar, Reggie! :2up: :lol:
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