Destructionator XIII wrote:
I'd prefer some creative interpretation of the line, actually. Perhaps that planet's mantle is relatively small, like our own friend Mercury.
Perhaps the destruction wasn't required to be complete - perhaps they just wanted to blanket the whole thing.
The blanket interpretation would mean they take about 1 hour to blanket the crust entirely, some ~4 hours to phaserize the crust out of the picture, then the last hour is spent doing some punishment on the mantle.
Here's the actual line for reference:
Computer analysis indicates that the
planet's crust will be destroyed
within one hour, and the mantle within
Eh, it's not a great fit at all, but taking out the whole crust is such ridiculous overkill and the mantle is really pretty absurd on top of it.
Could be that they meant upper mantle rather than the whole thing too. As we learn more about the structure of planets, we add more layer classifications - upper mantle, inner core, etc. Maybe in Star Trek, the word has changed it's meaning a little.
(Or maybe Ron Moore didn't realize/care about the implications of what he wrote!)
Regardless, I wouldn't read too much into it.
Well, like I said alot of this hinges on what you mean by "destroy". Most Trekkies I've seen dealign with this actually prefe rto hinge the bulk of their argument on that particular passage, especially the mantle destruction, so I've gotten used to having to cope with it in aggregate. I don't mind tossing it out or being looser in interpretaton, but I know some trekkies would scream about it. (especially igven my "Filthy Warsie" status.)
A small or unusual mantle is a possibility, but then again that argues that the crust composition (or ell the planetary composition) could be unusual too. I'm hesitant to be definitive on this because my knowledge of geology and planetary composition in general is limited, and for all I know there could be some hard and fast requirements for habitable/earthlike planets.
Another possibility is that "destroying" the crust or mantle involved disintegrating some key/essential elements in it, or maybe just causing some massively nasty tectonic activity - perhaps they feared the Founders might have some deep-ground faciltiies and they wanted to use quakes/laval to break them up or something. That sort of thing wouldn't need huge amounts of energy (magnitude 10 quakes are single digit TTs as I recall, and they work on a global scale. So do supervolcanos)
Heck, for all we know they bombarded the planet with the ST equivalent of seismic charges, and the surface disturbances were from massive groundquakes and volcanic activity. That wouldn't involve massive and blatantly obvious thermal effects, but I think it could fuck over a planet. (I'm also not sure the founders could survive contact with lava.)
That parenthetical doesn't follow. Even if they do have a massive advantage in this area, it's not something they could really use to win wars, and probably not even battles.
If your starship can fuck up planets, but can't make it's way through the other guy's ships/planet defense guns, it's not of much help. (shields may be very effective at stopping this kind of thing. Actually, shields might work on planets too.) Or if it can fuck up a planet, but the other guy can outproduce you and smother your worlds, it's not much help.
Like in hard sci fi discussions: eggshells and hammers. You might have the bigger hammer... but you're still an eggshell.
That said, I don't think this is likely.
How heaviyl defended is your average federation planet? I can buy that they couldn't blow up EArth that way, for example, but what about some random colony in the middle of bumfuck-nowhere? I know they have at least some of those around. Hell, Trek has never been big on the sorts of large scale ground warfare or planetary invasions like you see in (for example) 40K, where millions of soldiers invade or hold territory, which woudl argue that "densely populated" urban type worlds aren't typical, but that's just me.
That said, I still wouldnt rule this out as a weapon, given the existence of weapons platforms like Dreadnought. Stick a MIRV equivalent on a number of those, cut them loose at the enemy, and see what happens.
This is more compelling. I don't like giving tech capabilities that ruin other drama.
However, there was one case with a comet, where they did plan to vaporize the whole thing. DS9's season 3's "Destiny":
Chief... Dax feels that we can't
risk using tractor beams to deflect
DEEP SPACE: "Destiny" - REV. 12/19/94 - ACT FOUR 40.
30 CONTINUED: (2)
It would probably break up into
smaller pieces and we'd have a bigger
mess on our hands.
The same thing would happen if you
tried to destroy it with a phaser
Not necessarily. I could modify the
Defiant's phaser array to generate a
beam wide enough to encompass the
Vaporizing it evenly so it won't
It was a special mod, but he did it in just a few hours. (Funny thing in that episode: they do to red alert to shoot at a comet. I guess they wanted people to be prepared in case a fragment hit the ship, but I laughed a bit when I watched it. Ambushing the scary comet warrants the klaxon!)
The plan didn't work, but only due to sabotage causing the phasers to fire normally (thus blowing up in the comet - the Defiant's phasers are made to kill ships by default - and leaving large fragments behind.). All the people who would know thought the plan would work - O'Brien, Dax, and one of the visiting Cardassian specialists after the plan was explained. The others didn't object, and one decided it was worth blowing her cover to sabotage it!
Now, it was fairly small and icy - not a rock big moon like in, say, Deja Q, so your general point still stands. If thirty ships can do it to a planet, surely one ship can do it to a much smaller asteroid, and that ruins some drama.... though this "Destiny" example is still a counter point too. The tech can do it, at least on some level, and it's come to mind before. (I think the Deja Q asteroid was just way too big.)
That actually sounds more like brute force to me. If the thing could be scaled, and the timeframe measured, it might be a viable calc for phasers.
What I find especially odd about that is that they need to "modify" the phasers for widebeam - I mean nevermind TOS where they could widebeam stun from orbit, but hand phasers are easily adjustable for widebeam (we've seen that several times). And even then, disintegration effects have never been reliant upon widebeam or narrow beam effects anyhow.
I like this a lot. It covers the cases, is on a similar vein to what O'Brien did in the quote above, and has some direct support.
We know there were some special modifications to the Obsidian Order ships. From "Defiant" DS9:
48 INT. CARDASSIAN WAR ROOM (OPTICAL)
Everyone watching the tactical display as the two ships close
in on the Defiant.
Those are faster than any Keldon
class ships I've ever seen.
What's going on in that system?
(Note: both "Defiant" and "The Die is Cast" were written by Ronald D. Moore - he surely thought at least some of this stuff this out ahead of time.)
If the engines were beefed up, and cloaking devices added - as we see in TDiC - it's not too big of a stretch to think they would have put special weapons on for the job too, and perhaps beefed up power plants as well.
The ships were essentially built to order for this special mission, after all.
It wouldn't require phenomenal modifications. We know the energy weapons can be modified to fire other kinds of particles out of them (I think they've discharged antimatter from the phaser banks, for example.) Just because we see a glowy colored pulse fire doesn't always mean it has to be the exact same weapon (I use this line of argument for Star Wars as well WRT turbolasers.)
For all we know they were shooting some special/unusual/new kind of special "planet killing" radiation or some such. It wouldnt be the first time they made up a magic particle for specific purposes *coughcoughNemesiscough*
Indeed. As a side note, while I don't think there was too much time compression there, since the characters were standing and watching mostly in real time (if they were sitting I buy skipping time more easily than standing or leaning..), there might have been a little bit. Maybe several minutes actually went by, but it was cut because watching ships constantly fire is boring. These few minutes would give the Jem'Hadar some more time to get in position too.
Regardless, we definitely only saw a small percentage of the total.
No comment on yield, we agree.
I will note in Mike's "Planet Killers" page he notes specifically that even large nuclear detonations (50-60 megatons) are unlikely to produce significant large scale atmospheric or dangerous effects the way certain large (EG gigaton or higher) yields would, and multiple smaller yields (even in the tens of megatons) won't behave the same way as one large, single yield. Hell, I remembe r reading and hearing that the entire world's nuclear stockpile, even at its height (single or double digit gigatons) would not neccesarily produce severe global effects like that (it would still kill alot of life, though) If these aren't as I think, airbursts but some sub-surface "underwater" detonations inside the Founder ocean thingy itself, the observable effects probably wouldn't be close to what we expect.
But even with atmospheric detonations, you don't heed a stupendously huge yield to kill a giant organic lake the way you need a single asteroid impact. double digit TT could probably kill off all life on the surface reasonably well, nevermind ancillary or other effects, and TTs spread over a matter of hours is going to degrade that even further.
Could be. Even if the warp core is ~1 TW, PW phasers are still possible, especially since the phaser banks charge - they can do big shots at times but that needn't be available for continued action. Trek battles seem to either be fast or slow - fast means the charged banks did their job. Then it slows down since they are stuck in steady state power.
The deflector dish can perhaps take all the charged power and release it at once - something that would burn out a phaser emitter; they are meant to stream rather than burst the full load.
I always figured that the e16 watt figure Mike estimated from Deja Q to move that giant asteroid/moon thingy was a good order of magnitude figure for a GCS. It fits in with True Q's power estimation of "gigawatts per.." (per minute or per hour, I figure.. that would put it in single to triple digit petawatts). There's also some voyager bits where they can run 5 million GW or something through some major conduit, which sets something of a lower limit. Like torpedo yields though, power generation won't be fixed due to various requirements (need to conserve onboard fuel, etc.) so they won't neccesarily be able to run at max power for long or do it very often (zero safety margin, increased strain on the systems, etc.)
If you figure phaser output is something like 10-20% of the maximum reactor power (other power going ot engines, shields and other important combat systems) you still get into high TW/low petawatt range. And like you say, there could be a charge up via capacitor as well.