Why Even Star Trek's Warp Speeds Are Painfully Slow

Retro

Founder
Staff member
Joined
4 Jun 2021
Messages
2,085 (3.77/day)
We all watch Star Trek (as a properly qualified nerd you do watch it, right??) and wish we could zip around space at the superluminal speeds that they do. It gives the impression that they can go anywhere they like. However, in truth, even going from one side of our Milky Way galaxy to the other, about 105000 light years, would take years at fastest warp. Our galaxy is just one of about 125 billion just in the observable universe too, all spaced many light years apart and many way bigger than ours and you get an idea of just how limited even a Star Trek style warp drive is, so flying around the universe is still a no-go even in the Star Trek universe.

To their credit, the creators of ST (any series) understood this and didn't attempt to give the impression that there was no limit to distance. Take Voyager, stuck in the delta quadrant, a "mere" 70000 light years from home, took years to return, spawning 7 glorious seasons in the process.

Incidentally, black holes would be a real menace to any would-be warp speed traveller, as they can't be seen unless they're munching on an accretion disk. And no, even a warp drive at full speed can't get out of one if it crosses the event horizon, because all directions within it lead to the singularity, a nightmare scenario of certain doom. Backwards travel in time would be required for that one. Good luck.

The article has some interesting videos to demonstrate the problem. Check it out.

Enterprise.jpg

 

Retro

Founder
Staff member
Joined
4 Jun 2021
Messages
2,085 (3.77/day)
I never watched that. Could they travel to the farthest corners of our universe?
 

Tiffany

Pixel Princess
Staff member
Joined
13 Apr 2022
Messages
870 (3.63/day)
Total Star Trek fan! :alien: I have the article open to read today, thank you!
 

Arantor

Well-known member
Staff member
Joined
24 May 2022
Messages
739 (3.71/day)
Does Babylon 5 count?

I take the downvotes in stride... wait, this isn't Reddit? xD
Who am I? I am Susan Ivanova, Commander. Daughter of Andre and Sophie Ivanov. I am the right hand of vengeance and the boot that is going to kick your sorry ass all the way back to Earth, sweetheart! I am death incarnate, and the last living thing that you will ever see. God sent me.

----

Also, B5 understands the distance thing as well, and in fact it's actually easily on par with DS9 for writing quality if not *better*, even though the visuals are dated somewhat these days.
 

Tiffany

Pixel Princess
Staff member
Joined
13 Apr 2022
Messages
870 (3.63/day)
I need to revisit B5. I recall @Arantor you wrote about it in another thread how unique it was at the time it was written and there was a 5 year visionary plan or something like that. My husband and I have been recording old series and watching them. Time to look up B5 for this winter.
 

Arantor

Well-known member
Staff member
Joined
24 May 2022
Messages
739 (3.71/day)
I need to revisit B5. I recall @Arantor you wrote about it in another thread how unique it was at the time it was written and there was a 5 year visionary plan or something like that. My husband and I have been recording old series and watching them. Time to look up B5 for this winter.
So, indeed, B5 was written expressly as a 5 year plan. It didn't *quite* turn out that way but still, it's a 5 year plan. It was originally pitched to Paramount who eventually turned it down and WB picked it up. But Paramount was later sued for borrowing material from that 5 year plan, though DS9 didn't exactly follow it that closely in the end, but it *did* have a lot of similarities.

But even DS9 didn't set up things in the first season that later come back into the last season where things are *clearly* set up, rather than remembered later.

There's also lots of clever layering in B5 that you just don't see in shows precisely because they're not normally written years in advance.

B5 doesn't entirely pretend to solve the space distance problem, but it tries to ground things in some sense of proportion, and has 'hyperspace' as a sort of side dimension that ships enter and leave to get through normal space faster.
 

Tiffany

Pixel Princess
Staff member
Joined
13 Apr 2022
Messages
870 (3.63/day)
I always love well written plots, story lines, conflict and in depth character development. Thanks for that refresher and personal input commentary on the series :) I'm sure I'll enjoy it. I've seen some of it, but never got to finish it.....there was likely something in my life that was keeping me too busy at the time. :unsure:
 

Arantor

Well-known member
Staff member
Joined
24 May 2022
Messages
739 (3.71/day)
B5, like DS9, needs to be watched in order and ideally fully, to fully appreciate it. (Though you can kinda skip B5 season 5, the original years 4-5 were condensed into season 4 when they thought they weren’t getting a season 5. Which is why season 5 feels weird, because it wasn’t part of the plan.)
 

Tiffany

Pixel Princess
Staff member
Joined
13 Apr 2022
Messages
870 (3.63/day)
@Arantor I'm pretty sure we've seen DS9 in order, though when that series was new and popular, our lives might have been starting to get really busy. We might have missed some episodes? It's worth looking at that series too....it's been so long since we've seen it.

Thanks for the tips on both and I'll make sure we watch B5 in order. :)
 

Arantor

Well-known member
Staff member
Joined
24 May 2022
Messages
739 (3.71/day)
Well, its really easy to get both now, fully catalogued and in order and not even that expensively.
 

Tiffany

Pixel Princess
Staff member
Joined
13 Apr 2022
Messages
870 (3.63/day)
I keep forgetting we have all of these choices to watch movies and series now beyond cable. We only just got high speed internet recently. Fiber was put in our area this past year, We couldn't stream anything with the broadband internet we had. 😖 Time to look into some of these options this weekend. ;)
 

Retro

Founder
Staff member
Joined
4 Jun 2021
Messages
2,085 (3.77/day)
B5, like DS9, needs to be watched in order and ideally fully, to fully appreciate it.
Oh yeah, with me, it's full availability for any series or nothing. Even if it's just the first episode missing, I won't watch it. Nothing worse than a series with holes in it. A bit like a jigsaw with missing pieces.
 

Arantor

Well-known member
Staff member
Joined
24 May 2022
Messages
739 (3.71/day)
In B5’s case even the original TV movie pilot is original as well as all the actual episodes. The spin-off series, Crusade, sadly, not so much.
 

Tiffany

Pixel Princess
Staff member
Joined
13 Apr 2022
Messages
870 (3.63/day)
Apparently, my choices to be able to watch B5; HBOMax, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and VUDU, Netflix doesn't have it. So many choices now. Even going back twenty years, we didn't have all of these choices? :)
 

Arantor

Well-known member
Staff member
Joined
24 May 2022
Messages
739 (3.71/day)
20 years ago:

HBO was one of those subscription channels you paid for on cable (and that was basically the only way to get their content).

iTunes was just a music player on Mac OS at that point (it still supported Mac OS before OS X until mid 2002), the iTunes Store that would completely change how we look at music. (I don't intend to debate this point; iTunes making songs available for a buck a pop, eventually DRM free, more for albums obviously, and them being available near instantly was probably the most significant change to music distribution in *years* and was the milestone before streaming was realistically a thing, because mp3.com as a storefront just didn't grab people before iTunes did the same thing *so much better*).

Amazon was a retailer selling books, DVDs, etc. - Kindles wouldn't exist for another 5 years.

Google was still 'just a search engine' in 2002; GMail wouldn't exist for another couple of years, Blogger was still independent, and most of the interesting detail in 2002 was that Google and Yahoo were intertwined to form the original power couple as it were. That was when Yahoo was still relevant and for many, 'the internet's home page'. It was also very much the *best* search engine of that era, and was so successful because it was so much better, and actively championed its stance of 'don't be evil'. The notion of Android or Google Play? Years away.

Vudu wouldn't exist until 2004. Video on demand was a specialised game with specialised hardware; you'd need some kind of cable into the house for that to work; domestic broadband likely wouldn't be anywhere near up to the job.

Netflix in this era shipped DVDs by mail. Blockbuster was the much stronger competitor of the era - and was very much going strength to strength at this point in time.
 
Top Bottom