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Quote of the Week: "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within." - Will Durant, American historian (1885-1981)


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 Post subject: Could the Federation destroy a planet? PostPosted: 2011-04-05 12:55am
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I got to wondering this and decided to put it here, simply because it might pertain to a war with the Empire that they would resort to such drastic measures. Alright, the basic premise is this: The Federation is losing, they've sent what little they have in military resources to destroy the heart of the Empire, and somehow make it to Coruscant. Could a single starship destroy the entire planet? Could a small fleet? At all? The parameters for this scenario requires the planet to be rendered completely uninhabitable in such a way that there is little to no warning for the general population to be evacuated and losses must be a minimum of 75% of the planet's population.



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 Post subject: Re: Could the Federation destroy a planet? PostPosted: 2011-04-05 01:34am
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Yes, Tractor Beams + Large rock and lots of time to accelerate it. If you don't mind waiting six months for the forty mile rock you've gotten up to .1 C directly into the path of the oncoming planet




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 Post subject: Re: Could the Federation destroy a planet? PostPosted: 2011-04-05 01:46am
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You're more asking how much it would take for the Federation to do a BDZ, as opposed to outright busting the planet, right?

Simplest way would be to dust off the plans for the Genesis Device... but with ships?

Going with 64MT photon torps, it would take around 1.3million hits to wipe clean an Earth-sized surface area (this is based on the 10.8km airburst radius for near-total fatalities).

If we just go for 'widespread destruction' (which refers to all buildings* being flattened), the radius is 64km, so you'd only need ~39,000 photorps.

How many torpedos does a GCS carry again?

* Meaning buildings that aren't bunkers, bomb shelters, or other specially reinforced structures that were designed to withstand nuclear attack- this may not apply as well to the skyscrapers of Coruscant. There is also the issue of the underground levels...



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 Post subject: Re: Could the Federation destroy a planet? PostPosted: 2011-04-05 01:48am
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Mr Bean wrote:
Yes, Tractor Beams + Large rock and lots of time to accelerate it. If you don't mind waiting six months for the forty mile rock you've gotten up to .1 C directly into the path of the oncoming planet

How many ships would it take to tractor a forty mile rock around?



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 Post subject: Re: Could the Federation destroy a planet? PostPosted: 2011-04-05 02:27am
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Darth Tedious wrote:
Mr Bean wrote:
Yes, Tractor Beams + Large rock and lots of time to accelerate it. If you don't mind waiting six months for the forty mile rock you've gotten up to .1 C directly into the path of the oncoming planet

How many ships would it take to tractor a forty mile rock around?
You don't have to tractor it around, just give it a nudge in the right direction and gravity will do the job. Which is why it takes "six months" or somesuch.

Really, ANY civilisation capable of interplanetary travel could do that. Find a big asteroid, calculate the relevant gravitational forces in the solar system, nudge it in the right direction - and you've got yourself a really big impact.
Mind you, it would be equally easy to divert the asteroid from it's impact path, which is presumably why it's very rarely used.



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 Post subject: Re: Could the Federation destroy a planet? PostPosted: 2011-04-05 02:56am
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Well, the asteroid trick could be quite workable with a Wars cloaking device and way to make sure the bastard has power for the entire trip. Of course, it would be a bitch and a half to make sure the cloak has six months of power off a supply that won't leave any sort of trail behind. Once it's pointed in the right direction it's undetectable with CGTs and will do its own thing. Of course, you'd need an enormous asteroid for it to achieve the goal here. The subterranean population a few thousand miles away from the point of impact would quite probably survive unless you found an obscenely huge chunk of rock floating around in space.

And if they found out a big-ass rock was coming to visit but didn't have enough time to find out its path they'd just flip on the planetary shield, hunt you down, and kill the shit out of you. The shield may well fail to stop such a big asteroid, but it would definitely decrease the damage simply by making the asteroid spend a bunch of its energy on the shield itself.

Without an effective cloaking device, though, the asteroid trick would simply result in an ISD hopping on over, vaporizing the asteroid in question, then killing you. Even with the cloak there exists the possibility that Palpatine or Vader would sense the asteroid approaching in time to get CGTs in place. The Force makes some tactics a lot less viable.

Mass-extinctions take truly epic events, especially when they are taking place over a short period of time.


Now, if the one ship they sent in happened to have a cloaking device that either allowed them to escape sensors or was of the type that makes them invisible and insubstantial while active, they could try to find a part of Courscant that stores substantial quantities of hypermatter or the like and then make the jump to warp while pointed right at it. This tactic would be their best hope of fucking up the planet without a six month or longer wait while Mr. Asteroid gets to his destination.



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 Post subject: Re: Could the Federation destroy a planet? PostPosted: 2011-04-05 04:21am
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Serafina wrote:
Darth Tedious wrote:
Mr Bean wrote:
Yes, Tractor Beams + Large rock and lots of time to accelerate it. If you don't mind waiting six months for the forty mile rock you've gotten up to .1 C directly into the path of the oncoming planet

How many ships would it take to tractor a forty mile rock around?
You don't have to tractor it around, just give it a nudge in the right direction and gravity will do the job. Which is why it takes "six months" or somesuch.

Really, ANY civilisation capable of interplanetary travel could do that. Find a big asteroid, calculate the relevant gravitational forces in the solar system, nudge it in the right direction - and you've got yourself a really big impact.
Mind you, it would be equally easy to divert the asteroid from it's impact path, which is presumably why it's very rarely used.

Up to .1c, though? That's some pretty intense acceleration under gravity...

And unless there happens to be a convenient rock in the Coruscant system, it might be a much longer-term plan...

Seriously, how many photorps does the average ship carry? I'm actually somewhat confident that a BDZ should be within the Federation's power (even if it took the whole of Starfleet to carry it out).



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 Post subject: Re: Could the Federation destroy a planet? PostPosted: 2011-04-05 06:37am
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I hate to find myself arguing for Trek technobabble, but since it is established in cannon, and they have at least a vague idea of how to do it...

What if they rigged u a trilithium or protomatter weapon and lobbed it into Coruscant's primary? That apparently produces an almighty shockwave that totals planets quite neatly.

Oh, as for torpedo counts darth tediuos, IIRC the GCS armoury was 250.



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 Post subject: Re: Could the Federation destroy a planet? PostPosted: 2011-04-05 07:14am
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Eternal_Freedom wrote:
I hate to find myself arguing for Trek technobabble, but since it is established in cannon, and they have at least a vague idea of how to do it...

What if they rigged u a trilithium or protomatter weapon and lobbed it into Coruscant's primary? That apparently produces an almighty shockwave that totals planets quite neatly.

Oh, as for torpedo counts darth tediuos, IIRC the GCS armoury was 250.


Well technically the Federation has never used a trilithium weapon to my knowledge. The Romulans though were apparently looking into trilithium in Generations, and the Dominion used one in an effort to blow up Bajor's star as I recall.

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 Post subject: Re: Could the Federation destroy a planet? PostPosted: 2011-04-05 07:26am
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Hence why I said they know it can be done and they have at least a vague idea of how it works.



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 Post subject: Re: Could the Federation destroy a planet? PostPosted: 2011-04-05 08:05am
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And they saw Dr. Soran's trilithium missile. They probably had a good idea of how it works. But I'd still say Genesis- it would rape everything on Coruscant, and we know the Feddies can build one.

250 photorps per GCS, eh? Based on my rough calcs earlier (and I was working on full-planet figures, not 75%), Starfleet should totally have the firepower to do it (though, that was with 64MT photorps, so I'm probably being generous).



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 Post subject: Re: Could the Federation destroy a planet? PostPosted: 2011-04-05 08:09am
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That figure doesn't account for the very good planetary shielding we know Coruscant enjoys. If X-Wing Wedge's Gamble is used as an example, it is really two full planetary shields, projected one inside the other.



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 Post subject: Re: Could the Federation destroy a planet? PostPosted: 2011-04-05 08:27am
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Eternal_Freedom wrote:
That figure doesn't account for the very good planetary shielding we know Coruscant enjoys. If X-Wing Wedge's Gamble is used as an example, it is really two full planetary shields, projected one inside the other.

Well, yeah. There is that. That'd probably fuck the asteroid's chances, too. Go for the trilithium probe, then. Damn having to rely on Treknology, instead of good, old-fashioned obscene firepower.



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 Post subject: Re: Could the Federation destroy a planet? PostPosted: 2011-04-05 08:33am
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Given that the "level 12 shockwave" sears everything of the planets, then somehow rips them apart, I doubt the plnetary shields would do much good. And of course, without transporters the Empire would have great difficulty evacuating even important personnel.



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 Post subject: Re: Could the Federation destroy a planet? PostPosted: 2011-04-05 09:55am
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So far I think that the two weapons almost guaranteed to work are the Genesis Device and the Trilithium torpedo. However, reviewing Memory Alpha, I came across the article for a Gravimetric Torpedo, which was seem in VOY: The Omega Directive. Apparently, this torpedo is used to detonate Type 6 stars and form wormholes, and also to detonate Omega Particles.

The Omega particles I find particularly interesting, given that the Federation not only knows how to create this molecule but can also detonate it. If the omega particle were to be synthesized and sent to Coruscant, in sufficient mass they would not only severely damage/destroy the surface, but it would prevent warp travel for quite a distance around the planet. Whether this applies to hyperdrives or not, the damage and radiation would be devastating, and if it were to damage hyperspace, it would hamper any evacuation and relief efforts.

So that's... three weapons, not including the Federation's own brand of BDZ, though even if you could get enough starships, I think you'd have a bunch of Picards who would object to bombarding a species from space.



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 Post subject: Re: Could the Federation destroy a planet? PostPosted: 2011-04-05 01:22pm
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Outright bombing is out of question: Coruscant planetary defenses includes not just the planetary shield but also a minefield, dozens (and possibly more) Golan Defense Platforms and an insane number of ground-based turbolasers, and that's without counting whatever fleet is located there or the ships that may come to the rescue. A direct attack would need an armada more immense than the entire Starfleet and composed of superior vessels, and would still suffer immense losses (as happened in the Yuuzhan Vong attack: even with the defensive fleet divided and thousands of refugee ships used as living shields, the losses were horrible).
As far I know, the only way to destroy Coruscant would be to sneak in the Genesis device or blow up the sun with the trilithium torpedo.

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 Post subject: Re: Could the Federation destroy a planet? PostPosted: 2011-04-05 07:34pm
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If we're tossing technobabble planet-busting ideas...

I've never actually seen Nemesis (thank God), but wasn't there something to do with red-matter and universe-destroying capabilities?



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 Post subject: Re: Could the Federation destroy a planet? PostPosted: 2011-04-05 07:52pm
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That'd be the reboot Star Trek movie, not Nemesis, and while that stuff (to my knowledge) was never mentioned to be able to destroy the universe, it could destroy a planet...if you managed to deposit it deep inside one. Which is going to be a tad difficult with all those pesky defensive installations, the planetary shield and all that in the way.
That might work if the phase cloak did everything its wankers say it does...except the nuTrek universe doesn't have the phase cloak, at least so far, and classic Trek doesn't have Red Matter. :P



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 Post subject: Re: Could the Federation destroy a planet? PostPosted: 2011-04-05 07:59pm
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And even if you have both, phase-cloak doesn't really do anything to evade detection that old cloak didn't do. In fact, if we assume the accident in "The Next Phase" turned Geordi/Ro into effectively phased-cloaked people, then we know there are in fact more *weaknesses* in the process which make it even more detectable [excess Chromiton particle emission on phasing-through-matter or whatever which apparently the enterprise routinely scans for and can readily reverse using anions.]

Ultimately, with defenses up, I think it's safe to say Coruscant will be impenetrable. Hell, the best Grievous' clone army could hope for - even WITH the advantage of surprise and an army on-parity with the Galactic Empire's - was a temporary advantage in combat conditions to secure the capture of Palpatine. An advantage that even without Jedi help was promptly shredded by the defensive forces.



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 Post subject: Re: Could the Federation destroy a planet? PostPosted: 2011-04-05 08:17pm
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The issue with using something like the Genesis device is you need to get into position without being detected, and the Federation hasn't, from what I've seen, made use of cloaking technology. Yeah, if you could get the thing in position you'd be able to kill everyone on the planet. But that's a pretty big if. Same thing goes for the other two tactics. You need to be in a certain range, and a planet like Coruscant is important enough that they'll be watching closely for anything that tries to come in and raise hell. It'd be akin to trying to fly and old B-25 in to make a bombing run on the White House during a war on US soil. It's possible to succeed, but it'd require a fuckton of luck.



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 Post subject: Re: Could the Federation destroy a planet? PostPosted: 2011-04-05 08:29pm
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Actually, the federation has, however reluctantly, made use of cloaking devices in the past. Kirk used one back in 'The Enterprise Incident', and so did the Sisko aboard 'Defiant'.
Genesis is pretty much a no go because there's no way you're gonna get the device onplanet until considerably after you've been conquered already, but a cloaked ship (assuming the cloak-conventional, phasing, or otherwise) actually works against Wars sensors launching a Trilithium torpedo at Coruscant's primary would at the very least not inconsiderably inconvenience them, though I very much suspect the shields would be up to the task.



'Next time I let Superman take charge, just hit me. Real hard.'
'You're a princess from a society of immortal warriors. I'm a rich kids with issues. Lots of issues.'
'No. No dating for the Batman. It might cut into your brooding time.'
'Tactically we have multiple objectives. So we need to split into teams.'-'Dibs on the Amazon!'
'Hey, we both have a Martian's phone number on our speed dial. I think I deserve the benefit of the doubt.'
'You know, for a guy with like 50 different kinds of vision, you sure are blind.'

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 Post subject: Re: Could the Federation destroy a planet? PostPosted: 2011-04-05 10:15pm
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Batman wrote:
Actually, the federation has, however reluctantly, made use of cloaking devices in the past. Kirk used one back in 'The Enterprise Incident', and so did the Sisko aboard 'Defiant'.
Genesis is pretty much a no go because there's no way you're gonna get the device onplanet until considerably after you've been conquered already, but a cloaked ship (assuming the cloak-conventional, phasing, or otherwise) actually works against Wars sensors launching a Trilithium torpedo at Coruscant's primary would at the very least not inconsiderably inconvenience them, though I very much suspect the shields would be up to the task.

It is possible that the planetary shields could withstand the sun being destroyed, but being left a starless planet could be more than an inconvenience...
Even if the planet could heat itself (which is likely), there is a damn good chance that evacuation would happen. If there is any solar ionisation plants used for power, problems will increase dramatically.



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 Post subject: Re: Could the Federation destroy a planet? PostPosted: 2011-04-06 01:58am
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Darth Tedious wrote:
It is possible that the planetary shields could withstand the sun being destroyed, but being left a starless planet could be more than an inconvenience...
Even if the planet could heat itself (which is likely), there is a damn good chance that evacuation would happen. If there is any solar ionisation plants used for power, problems will increase dramatically.


I'm currently in a lab where we work with machinery and power networks. From what I've found out, some generators are ideal for steady loads and some are more suited for peak times. Nuclear power costs about the same whether the station is producing power or not, so nuclear power plants produce power around the clock, while coal power plants are usually run during the day to handle the peak power requirements of the grid. So with that in mind, that has me thinking back to one of the EU books.

In the book Han is nearly hit by a giant machine that uses heat to drill through the polar ice of Coruscant. The primary reason for this is to provide drinking water to the people of Coruscant, but in water is the key to fusion power: Deuterium. If the water being harvested was processed to extract the deuterium, it would provide a nearly constant amount of fuel to feed the power grid of Coruscant. And unlike our own real world reactors, Coruscant would remain about the same, load wise, as the planet rotates instead of having continents that draw power during the day and then drop the load at night. If there was a need for more, solar plants could come online.

The reason I say all this is that if Coruscant does lose its star, it might not be drastically hit, power wise, except when the shield come online. That might cause brownouts, but whatever. I would imagine that would be the least of the average citizen's concerns in that case.



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 Post subject: Re: Could the Federation destroy a planet? PostPosted: 2011-04-06 01:47pm
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Darth Tedious wrote:
Even if the planet could heat itself (which is likely), there is a damn good chance that evacuation would happen. If there is any solar ionisation plants used for power, problems will increase dramatically.


Evacuation is doubtful. For one thing Coruscant is HORRIBLY overpopulated - they only have estimates of the total population at best (and that for the permanant, knonw populace. Nevermind the underlevels, or transients, ro whatever.) Even with just the oft-quoted one trillion figure that's a ton of people to cope with (find, transport, etc.). They could survive if they could go underground or a sealed enviroment (there probablty exist some like that) or they could adapt eventually using hte construction droids, but it's likely that people will be dying whilst that happens and in any case I suspect that just the rich and important fucks would do that and tell everyone else to fuck off.

I'm curious why you consider the solar ionisation plant is an "issue" though, considering we have absolutely zero idea how they function.



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 Post subject: Re: Could the Federation destroy a planet? PostPosted: 2011-04-06 01:58pm
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As far as the main topic: I really think it depends on how you define "destroy" (EG render uninhabitable or blow apart?) I don't find it unreasonable to think they could amass scores or hundreds of ships, load them to the gills with high yield torpedoes and drop them on an inhabited planet. They also seem to be able to weaponize trilithium weapons into at least a low-level mass extinciton weapon (those Trilithium resin torpedoes from "in the uniform.") TOs had whatever mechanism blew off the atmosphere (purportedly at least. Assuming it isn't hyperbole). Hell, if we take TDIC as an example, they could, with enough time and resources, probably "destroy" a planet by taking it mostly or totally apart, although how much required for that is unknown. I also suspect its not something they can just do "off the cuff" - ie it takes some preparation and outfitting.

IMHO logistics is the real issue rather than capability. If you look hard enough you'll find many different examples in various episodes, movies, etc. The problem is always of weaponizing it and putting it into mass production. Or rather, how easily it can be weaponized and how effectively it can be mass produced and deployed. That's where the debate always hinges and breaks down (one side presents it as an unbeatable game winner, the other side tries denying that it is, et al.)



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