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Author Topic: 1701 built on earth's surface?
FawnDoo
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That's an excellent point - with the technology available to the UFP there is nothing to say that starships can't just float themselves off the surface. Come to that, depending on how powerful Federation antigrav technology is, they might even be able to create a zero-G "funnel" for a ship that would allow it to float up right into orbit. They do seem to be pretty good at controlling gravitational and magnetic fields, manipulating spacetime with warp fields, etc - I would imagine lifting a few hundred thousand tons of equipment into orbit wouldn't pose too much of a challenge. The construction area might even be a low gravity area to allow for ease of movement around such a large structure (and ease pressure on the frame being constructed).

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Shik
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That is, without a doubt, stupendously retarded.

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Lee
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Yes, it'd be easier to just build the thing in orbit after all, and generate a force field containing an atmosphere around it. Boom, instant combination of zero-G ease of construction with a shirt-sleeves environment.

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FawnDoo
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quote:
Originally posted by Shik:
That is, without a doubt, stupendously retarded.

Yes, and I recall the same "arguments" being put to me the last time such an idea came before our august company for consideration. [Razz] Well, at least we're consistent! [Wink] Though, like last time, I'd just like to stress that this is just fun. None of this is meant to rile anyone up, ok?

However unlike last time it's not a matter of speculation, it's a matter of canon - which by the way is a word I hate as it embodies everything that's wrong about the sheer weight of self-importance Star Trek's backstory lumbers along with - so it's not for me to refute, is it?

The teaser trailer shows a starship under construction on a planet surface. The executive producer of the film has gone on record in an interview stating that it was built on land. It would stand to reason that if the ship was built on land as shown in the teaser trailer and was next (in terms of the show's chronology) seen in space in "The Cage" then there should have come an intermediate point where the ship stopped being on land and came to be in space - in other words, where it took off, flew through the air and achieved orbit. I'm just having fun imagining the methods as to how this was achieved. [Smile]

Like I said, this is the runup to the Transformers movie all over again! ;-) Though I suppose "stupendously retarded" is better than someone going on a discussion forum and claiming that Michael Bay raped their childhood because Optimus Prime had flame decos on his truck mode! [Smile]

Believe me though when I say I'm just as surprised as anyone at the direction taken in the teaser trailer. Up to now I always assumed the whole "San Francisco" thing on the Enterprise's plaque meant an orbital construction facility located over the city, not somewhere on the planet surface itself...but that's half the fun of being into a show like this, isn't it? [Smile]

quote:
Originally posted by Lee:
Yes, it'd be easier to just build the thing in orbit after all, and generate a force field containing an atmosphere around it. Boom, instant combination of zero-G ease of construction with a shirt-sleeves environment.

I would agree that the method you propose is also a good way to go about it - the transporter would remove the huge energy cost of getting components up into orbit and the atmosphere would allow construction teams to work on the ship without bulky spacesuits, but I don't know if they would rely purely on a forcefield to keep them alive. Any time we've seen them used on the show has been in a backup capacity, not as the primary means of keeping the air on the inside, so I'm not sure Starfleet would be ok with trusting a lot of lives to a forcefield. Again though, another method the Federation might use to construct ships.

One more idea (my little Columbo moment there) - what if the ship in the teaser trailer is being built on the moon, or another planetary body with micro-gravity conditions? By the time of TNG we know the moon is populated (Riker's lines to Zefram Cochrane in "First Contact" prove as much) so chances are people were on there during TOS. Might it have been given a breathable atmosphere but retained the light gravity, perhaps making it an ideal ship construction environment? There was a mention of a crewman living on the moon once - think it was on DS9..."Valiant", that was it. I'm sure one of the ill-fated cadets in that episode came from Luna. I'll try to dig the ep out at one point and see what was mentioned.

EDIT (update): Ah well, that was nice while it lasted. Memory Alpha has an excellent article on the moon and it would seem that even by DS9's time you still need a suit to go out onto the surface:

"In the 24th century, the moon possesses a lake, called Lake Armstrong, visible from Earth. Since Dorian Collins said one still needs suits to travel on the moon's surface, it is unlikely that this means the moon possesses an atmosphere. Rather, it appears the lake must exist within an enclosed dome. (Star Trek: First Contact; DS9: "Valiant")"

Well, maybe shipyards could also be in enclosed domes? Ones that open up to allow the ship to launch? I can see Starfleet trusting a pressurised dome with a forcefield system as a backup. Any thoughts?

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AndrewR
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If they show Pike, are they going to show any of the other 'members' of Pike's crew? "No. 1"? "Pike's Doctor"?

Hmmm, Angelina Jolie could be a good "No. 1". [Smile]

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FawnDoo
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That's a good point, I suppose they might. If they show any of them I'd rather it was the Doctor, because "The Cage" gave the impression that they went back a long way. Pike certainly seemed to adopt a more formal approach with his crew than Kirk did, so I imagine Boyce had a valuable role as the one person on board he could open up to. As for Number One...meh. The character never really seemed all that interesting to me, and the thought of Angelina Jolie bringing her usual multifaceted approach to the role (ie, pout, thrust chest, pout, repeat as required) doesn't exactly fill me with enthusiasm.

I wonder if we will see Spock smile again, like he did in "The Cage"? [Smile]

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aridas
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quote:
Originally posted by FawnDoo:
That's an excellent point - with the technology available to the UFP there is nothing to say that starships can't just float themselves off the surface. Come to that, depending on how powerful Federation antigrav technology is, they might even be able to create a zero-G "funnel" for a ship that would allow it to float up right into orbit. They do seem to be pretty good at controlling gravitational and magnetic fields, manipulating spacetime with warp fields, etc - I would imagine lifting a few hundred thousand tons of equipment into orbit wouldn't pose too much of a challenge. The construction area might even be a low gravity area to allow for ease of movement around such a large structure (and ease pressure on the frame being constructed).

Excellent point. it would only be stupid to someone that can't add two and two together and see that if you can control gravity enough to let you walk in one gee comfort... no, if you have command of antigravity sufficient to power deflectors and screens and force fields... NO -- if you can control gravity AND antigravity enough to create a space warp(!), then you'd have absolutely no problem lifting a few hundred thousand tons of starship off the surface of a planet into orbit.

Though I doubt that was the original intent. TMoST says the major components were built on the surface at the San Francisco Navy Yards and lifted into orbit for completion. If this film is true to that intent, the image we see in the teaser is a saucer and nacelles that are either together and will be disassembled for lift into orbit, or that aren't together but just in close proximity.

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Lee
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GK front view.

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Mark Nguyen
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Voyager is stated as massing 700,000 metric tons. We don't know how much a Connie (any iteration of one) weighs, but it'll still be in the neiborhood of 290-300m long IMO. By comparison, a 317m Nimitz-class aircraft carrier displaces around 88,000 metric tons fully loaded.

Now, the NX-01 Enterprise seems to have had no problem whatsoever flying AND fighting in Earth's atmosphere, with no one complaining a bit about it. Likewise, while Voyager made a big deal of entering an atmosphere and landing DRAMATICALLY, I don't think there's any evidence in dialogue that it was a huge deal. And finally, when someone whined about the Defiant entering the atmosphere of a gas giant, I think people were more concerned about the extreme pressure and temperatures more than simply going there.

Anyway, my point is that there has always been evidence that starships can tool around the atmosphere of most planets without any issues. BUILDING them there is still an issue; EVERYTHING NASA has thown at us in forty years has told us that it's simpler to build stuff in space rather than on Earth and launching it skyward.

The picture itself is fine by me; I'm just wondering why it looks like they're building the Enterprise rather than just refitting it for the time Pike hands it over to Kirk.

Mark

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FawnDoo
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quote:
Originally posted by Mark Nguyen:
Anyway, my point is that there has always been evidence that starships can tool around the atmosphere of most planets without any issues.

It's worth pointing out that the much larger Galaxy class has also operated in atmospheres ("Arsenal of Freedom") and the much harsher environments to be found in close proximity to stars ("I, Borg", "Descent") so as you say, it's well and truly established that they can operate in and around a planet/atmosphere/extreme gravity well quite handily. I just don't see it as much of a jump from there to say they could possibly lift off from a standing start.

quote:
The picture itself is fine by me; I'm just wondering why it looks like they're building the Enterprise rather than just refitting it for the time Pike hands it over to Kirk.
To be honest I think it could be either - the ship might be in the advanced stages of construction or it could be in the middle of an extensive refit (similar in scale to the one it went through between TOS and TMP).

I'm sure Pike states the crew complement of the Enterprise in "The Cage" as being in the 200 range, while in Kirk's time it was always in the 400 range, so something had to happen to allow for such a rise in the crew - upgrades to the saucer, larger life support systems, installation of more complex machinery requiring more crew to maintain it, etc etc.

IMO there is enough scope for the possibility of the teaser trailer being a refit scene, but as I said it could also be the ship being built for the first time. I'd rather it was a refit, to be honest, for the reasons stated previously - that it allows the established history of the ship and crew to (mostly) fit in as expected.

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AndrewR
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Wouldn't a warp-field lower the apparent mass of what is contained with in that field - relative to the surrounding universe? Isn't that what happens?

Or, anti-grav units.

I'm picturing the launch of the Prometheus in Stargate-SG1 here.

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Fabrux
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Is there any precedence in other material for space-going vessels being assembled on a planetary surface? Two examples that come close in my mind are the Archangel from Gundam SEED and the Minerva from Gundam SEED Destiny, but to be accurate they were constructed on the PLANTs and the Minerva was launched by an elevator going from the surface to space...

EDIT: Andrew swept in ahead of me. I had forgotten about the Prometheus. And all the rest of the ships were built at Area 51 as well, I believe. The Asgard were constructing the O'Neill on the planet's surface, too, as I recall.

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Mark Nguyen
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Well, it was floating above it by some distance, and assuming it was being built there, antigravity would be a huge part of it. Do YOU imagine seeing all those little grey guys asssembling ANYTHING by hand?

Also, the Archangel was built secretly at Heliopolis, but in the zero-gravity core of the asteroid portion of the colony. Minerva was apparently built under gravity conditions, and "launched" a la dropship from "Aliens" in an ultra-cool sequence that gave me shivers. [Smile]

Mark

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Fabrux
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I guess what I was getting at was the launching mechanisms for the ships. The Minerva was launched through that elevator-thing but the Archangel just flew out of a hole in Heliopolis... it was probably going to be launched in a similar manner as the Minerva, though. But we know that within the tech of the Cosmic Era, the Archangel still needs a mass driver to reach orbit (then again, antigrav seems to be limited in usage in these shows).

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Mark Nguyen
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Getting a little off topic here... But in the case of the Archangel, the regular hatches out of the asteroid base were destroyed by ZAFT. That's why they powered up her positron cannons and blasted their way out the OTHER end of the asteroid, into the pressurized colony cylinder itself. Heliopolis was ultimately destroyed thanks to this, plus all the fighting that was going on inside over the first three episodes.

Other cool ship launchings we've seen, for comparison:

-The NSEA Protector from its spacedock in "Galaxy Quest"

-seaQuest launching SLOWLY and only when the tides were right

-Gunstar One in "The Last Starfighter"

-The SDF-1 Macross launching via antigrav, falling back to Earth when the AG engines tore away from the ship because they were too strong, and then launching again via conventional rockets

Mark

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