Star Trek Canon Database

Displaying 1 to 14 of 14 records.

Database started: 1999-07-27
Page generated: 2014-04-23

Page 1

TNG Season 7, Ep# 164: "Pegasus"

GEORDI: There's an awful lot of ionizing radiation in this system, Captain. That, combined with the sheer amount of rock is going to slow down our search.

...

PICARD: Commander, how long will it take to search the system?

GEORDI: At least seven days, sir.

Sensors: the ionizing radiation and high density of the asteroid belt both impede the effectiveness of sensors. Systems which can supposedly identify any ship within many light years will now require a full week to find a starship which is deep inside one of the asteroids inside this belt.

And Trekkies snicker that the Imperial fleet spent several days looking for the Millenium Falcon in the Hoth asteroid belt, even though the Falcon is perhaps 1/1000 of the Pegasus' mass (and it was hidden inside a living organism).

TNG Season 7, Ep# 164: "Pegasus"

DATA: I have confirmed Geordi's readings, sir. The resonance signature is originating from somewhere beneath the asteroid's surface.

PRESSMAN: Beneath the surface? How's that possible?

DATA: This asteroid contains several deep chasms large enough for a starship to enter. It is possible the Pegasus drifted into the asteroid's gravitational field and was pulled down into one of the fissures.

...

PICARD: Mister Data, how long will it take to determine the exact location of the Pegasus?

DATA: At least another six hours, Captain.

Sensors: it will take six hours to get a fix on a 400 metre long starship inside the asteroid, even though they're holding station immediately outside!

TNG Season 7, Ep# 164: "Pegasus"

SCRIPT: The ship nears the Devolin system -- a solar system that never coalesced into discrete planetary bodies. It's a swirling disc of rock and other matter.

RIKER: I recommend we destroy the asteroid. It would take almost all our photon torpedoes, but it would preclude any possibility of the Pegasus falling into Romulan hands.

Naval Weapons: based on the pictures below (and scaling work by Graeme Dice), the asteroid appears to be roughly 5 kilometres wide. The close-up shot has been widely used in order to justify a much larger size of 15 km, but as you can see, the asteroid has a potato-like shape, and it is misleading to use the close-up with the assumption of spherical shape

Image


Image


Since the Devolin asteroid field is proto-planetary matter rather than a pulverized planet (like the Hoth asteroid field) and its asteroids are obviously not well-consolidated (since the asteroid in question was hollow), there is a <10% chance that it was metallic. If we use fragmentation figures for igneous rock (see the Asteroid Destruction Calculator), it would take 125 megatons to pulverize the asteroid. If we use cratering figures for granite, it would take 30 megatons to catastrophically disrupt it.

If it takes almost all of the USS Enterprise's 275 photon torpedoes to do this, then we can conclude that photon torpedo yield is between 110 and 450 kilotons (keep in mind that this is a rather generous estimate since the asteroid was hollow so it was obviously not well-consolidated, thus making it easier to fragment).

Note that just one of Slave-1's eight seismic charges (as seen in AOTC) would have easily destroyed this asteroid, which means that Slave-1 can deal out many times more destruction than the entire photon torpedo payload of the Enterprise-D! If a one-man patrol craft carries more destructive power than the Federation's most powerful warship, one can only imagine the overwhelming firepower advantage that an Imperial Star Destroyer would have.

TNG Season 7, Ep# 164: "Pegasus"

PICARD: Mister Data, is it possible to saturate the asteroid with verteron particles? That could mask the resonance signature from the Romulans... prevent them from detecting it.

DATA: In order for the deception to succeed, it would have to appear to be a natural phenomenon. Verteron particles are artificial in nature.

GEORDI: Wait a minute... we could blanket the asteroid with high levels of ionizing radiation. There's so much of it in this system already, the Romulans won't know the difference.

PICARD: Data?

DATA: Theoretically, it should work.

Sensors: ionizing radiation blinds Federation and Romulan sensor systems.

TNG Season 7, Ep# 164: "Pegasus"

PICARD: Mister Worf, where are the Romulans?

WORF: They are out of sensor range on the far side of the system.

Sensors: the Romulans are out of sensor range when they're on the far side of the star system. Now, we know that long-range sensors can pick up a ship at that distance, but this must indicate that they have very poor accuracy and resolution, since they figured they'd be able to fly into the asteroid without the Romulans noticing.

Of course, the Romulans did notice, but that's most likely the result of a clever Romulan commander, who undoubtedly recognized their obvious diversion tactic with the ionizing radiation. Worf's statement was undoubtedly based on the effective range of high-resolution Federation sensors, and it is doubtful that Romulan sensors are that much better.

TNG Season 7, Ep# 164: "Pegasus"

RIKER: So how do we get to it? I wouldn't want to try to transport through that much solid rock.

PICARD: Agreed. What about a shuttle? We could send it down through one of these fissures.

DATA: I would recommend against that, sir. There may be gravimetric or magnetic fluctuations inside the asteroid which would overpower the engines on a shuttlecraft.

Transporters: it's risky to transport through several kilometres of solid rock.

TNG Season 7, Ep# 164: "Pegasus"

RIKER: So how do we get to it? I wouldn't want to try to transport through that much solid rock.

PICARD: Agreed. What about a shuttle? We could send it down through one of these fissures.

DATA: I would recommend against that, sir. There may be gravimetric or magnetic fluctuations inside the asteroid which would overpower the engines on a shuttlecraft.

Propulsion: the subspace field-based technology of a Federation shuttlecraft is remarkably sensitive to magnetic and gravitational fields. Even though a solid, inert asteroid should have no gravitic or magnetic "fluctuations" whatsoever, Data thinks that both would pose a serious threat to a shuttlecraft.

It is doubtful that they have accurate sensor readings of the interior of the asteroid; until they flew inside it, they didn't even know that the USS Pegasus was embedded partly into the rock! Therefore, Data probably doesn't even know whether there are any magnetic or gravitic fluctuations to worry about (although the laws of physics strongly suggest that there should be neither).

The gravitational and magnetic fields of such an asteroid are inconsequential; it had a craggy, highly irregular shape which eliminates the possibility that it is a super-dense object of strong gravity (which would have reshaped it into a roughly spherical shape), although it has come to my attention that some scientifically ignorant Trekkies have proposed precisely that. Furthermore, since it is solid, there will be no "dynamo effect" and no magnetic field unless the asteroid has been somehow polarized into a giant permanent magnet (by the way, if you're a dumb-ass Creationist who's about to E-mail me that the dynamo theory is wrong because one of your precious creationist books says so, don't waste your breath; the underlying mechanism has been experimentally verified countless times).

TNG Season 7, Ep# 164: "Pegasus"

PRESSMAN (with the cloaking device in hand): It's still intact ... what's wrong? Don't you understand? We found it.

RIKER: I know. I just kept hoping it wasn't going to be here ... that it would've been destroyed or buried back there in the rock.

Cloaks: the phase-cloak is a small cylindrical device which can be held in one hand. This makes it similar in size and appearance to the Romulan cloaking device stolen by Kirk in TOS.

Also note that Pressman desperately wanted to find the prototype, and he refused to let Picard destroy the asteroid to keep the Romulans from getting it. This indicates that the designs were never stored anywhere but the Pegasus, so Pressman had to acquire the prototype, or the secret development that allowed their device to work while competing Romulan and Klingon efforts failed would have been lost.

TNG Season 7, Ep# 164: "Pegasus"

RIKER: They were brave enough to risk their lives to stop you from violating a treaty the Federation signed in good faith.

PRESSMAN: That treaty has bound our hands and given the Romulans a tactical advantage for sixty years. I was simply trying to level the playing field.

Culture: the Federation was apparently so desperate for peace with the Romulans that it signed an arms control agreement that was asymmetrical! Arms control treaties in real life are always either symmetrical (ie. a weapon or defensive technology is denied to both sides) or negotiated by the victor (eg. the WW1 armistice which forced harsh restrictions on the defeated Germans).

This suggests that sometime shortly after Kirk's death, the Federation found itself in desperate straits against the Romulans and was forced to sign a highly disadvantageous one-sided treaty (one which the Klingons never had to sign). Perhaps the Federation was staring into the abyss of defeat; there may be an interesting chapter of Federation history here which has never been revealed.

Could such a near-defeat explain the appearance of communism after TOS and before TNG? A disastrous war helped Lenin surge to power in early 20th century Russia, so there are some historical parallels here. Catastrophes and severe hardships can be driving forces behind revolutions and other severe changes in government, and in fact they have been driving forces behind revolutions many times throughout human history. Marie Antoinette wouldn't have lost her head if the people were happy.

TNG Season 7, Ep# 164: "Pegasus"

PRESSMAN: Report.

PICARD: The Romulans fired on the entrance to the chasm with their disruptors... they've sealed us in.

Naval Weapons: the Romulans are able to seal in the chasm. The rock is glowing a dull reddish yellow when they look at it, which suggests that it's been heated to several hundred degrees C. It would appear that a sort of artificial "cave-in" was produced, probably by judiciously using their weapons and tractor beams to disintegrate portions of the chasm walls, fill in the gap, and weld the resulting mess in place by melting some of the rock.

TNG Season 7, Ep# 164: "Pegasus"

WORF: We could use the phasers to cut our way out.

DATA: The asteroid's internal structure is highly unstable. Any attempt to cut through the rock could cause the entire chasm to collapse.

Shields and Forcefields: according to Data, the Enterprise cannot withstand the weight of the asteroid's rock if it falls upon it, even though the asteroid's gravitational field is insignificant. There are two possible interpretations:

  1. Data is an idiot. Trekkies would discount this possibility out of hand but that is premature; incidents of obvious incompetence are starting to add up.
  2. Their shields are very poor at dealing with large quantities of inert matter.
Either explanation works, although I've noticed that a lot of Trekkies are loathe to even consider the first one. They apparently assume that since Data is a computer, he is incapable of error. That's a bizarre leap in logic; these people have obviously never worked with Microsoft software :)

TNG Season 7, Ep# 164: "Pegasus"

RIKER: Understood. I think that's what happened twelve years ago. The cloak blew out the plasma relays on the Pegasus after we left the ship... the plasma ignited in space, and it looked like the ship had been destroyed.

Realism: the writers repeat the laughable incompetence of "The First Duty" in which they claim that plasma will "ignite" in space. What sort of exothermal reaction will it undergo? Nuclear fusion in a total absence of confinement? Combustion in vacuum? Somebody should slap these guys in the back of the head and tell them to go study high school physics.

TNG Season 7, Ep# 164: "Pegasus"

RIKER: The cloak appears to be functioning normally. The ship's matter/energy phasing rate should be sufficient to pass through the asteroid.

Cloaks: there is a "phasing rate" associated with this type of device, and that rate, far from being either 0 or 1, appears to be a continuously variable quantity which must exceed a certain threshold to let them travel through solid rock. This leads to some obvious questions:

  1. How much higher can their "phasing rate" go?
  2. How much higher would it have to go, in order to pass through a much denser substance such as lead or depleted uranium?
  3. How much higher would it have to go in order to pass through shields? Can it pass through shields at all?
Unfortunately, the answers to this question will probably remain unknown. The Romulans undoubtedly demanded the destruction of the prototype upon learning of its existence, and we already know that there were no other records kept of its design.

TNG Season 7, Ep# 164: "Pegasus"

WORF: We have passed through two kilometers of the asteroid... now within one kilometer of the surface.

Misc: they were beneath 3 km of rock when they were trapped.

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