WARP DRIVES AND TACHYON WAVES

Garry and I binge watched the entire “Star Trek: Next Generation.” On Netflix. We had missed the show’s initial run. 1987 through 1994 were busy years full of work, moving houses, digging into careers. Getting married. Moving again. Watching TV wasn’t a priority back then.

BBC America showed the series last year, but not in order. When Netflix gave us the opportunity to catch up, we did, viewing two, three, four episodes each night.

star trek next gen cast

There’s a lot of tech talk on the Enterprise. No problem. Pass the warp drive. I’ll have a side of tachyon particles. I understand their science as well as I understand anything. Which is to say, not at all. I understand the engines on the Enterprise as well as I understand my toaster oven.

Tachyon energy is crucial to all kinds of weaponry and fuel. They are part of what powers the warp engines on the Enterprise. The warp engines are what lets the Enterprise be the Enterprise, travel at speeds faster than light … fast enough to explore the universe. Slither through wormholes. Travel through time.

For your information, a tachyon particle moves faster than light. The complementary particle types are luxon (particles which move at the speed of light) and bradyon (particles which move slower than light). If you live in the Star Trek universe, tachyon particles are as common as dirt. Or electricity.

enterprise next gen

Effectively, life and everything in it is a giant mystery to me, yet I feel as if I understand it. When they talk about it, I nod because I get it. I’ve been listening to this mumbo jumbo for so many years, it has achieved a pseudo-reality. Because when I look closely, there’s nothing there. I understand the technology of the 24th century exactly as well (and as much) as I understand the technology of the 21st.

How many of you know how the stuff you use works? Some of you do, but most of us know how to use our devices and gadgets, but have no idea why or how it works. I know how software is designed, how code is written and compiled. I used to know a little coding. In the end, though, I have no idea why code does anything. Why, when you compile a program, does it work? It’s just text. Why does it do what it does?

Why does anything work? Tachyon particles, warp drives, internal combustion engines, electricity, cell phones, WiFi. It’s all the same.

Magic.

And now, back to the Enterprise, already in progress.

29 thoughts on “WARP DRIVES AND TACHYON WAVES

  1. The most useful gadget in the Star Trek universe is probably the Replicator. Without it I have no idea how Voyager, lost in the Delta Quadrant for seven years would have been able to survive. I’m sure they blew up more shuttlecraft than one starship could possibly carry let alone all those photon torpedoes.
    The Replicator is most defintely Magic.

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    • I still favor the Transporter. Even though it completely rearranges your entire bodily structure (I can only shudder at what might happen should it not work QUITE properly), you don’t have TSA, hours of waiting on long lines, extra fees for luggage (do you get to take your luggage?) … and you need not worry about dinner during the flight. And no smoking guaranteed for all.

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      • While I agree with Bones that I’m not crazy about letting that thing scramble my molecules all over the universe, there is a possible upside to the “Transporter” concerning TSA. There may be a way, and i’m just sayin’, there may be a way that this machine can examine the structure of a person to determine if they are terrorists or not, and the kicker, reassemble that person’s molecules, upon successful transport and eliminate the evil terrorist parts in the process. That really would save TSA a bunch of paperwork and give us all some pease of mind, but then that would be considered an invasion of privacy, resulting in law suits ‘n’ stuff provided that the suing party could remember what his original make up and purpose was all about. If that happened could he be prosecuted for “recalled intention? Awww CRAP! I’m sorry.., this is getting too complicated as all we really want to do is get from point “A” to point “B” WHOOOSH!.

        I know Tommy will have something to say about this. My problem is I’ve been watching Star Trek for way too many years.

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    • And have you noticed how many “science fiction” devices that Star Trek invented are now real? The communicator. A flip phone. Isolinear chips. A USB thumb drive. The Replicator. A 3D Printer. And sometime this year a medical company is coming out with a medical tricorder. It will interface with your smartphone.

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  2. Well I’m impressed with your knowledge of things. What worries me is when the darn stuff doesn’t work. I used to give the old TV set a bang on the noggin when it acted up but it doesn’t seem to work with the new technology.
    Leslie

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  3. A tachyon is a particle that travels faster than the speed of light. This is, of course, Impossible! Einstein proved that a particle’s mass increases in proportion to it’s velocity such that if it were to reach the speed of light it’s mass would be infinite, which is, of course also impossible. The mass of the known Universe is about 3×10 ^55 grams so having a single particle with more mass than this is clearly impossible. For a tachyon particle to travel even faster, then the only way it could is for it to have no mass at all so that multiplying by infinity would give, at most, the value of 1 (whatever) and this is clearly also impossible, for if a particle had no mass it would no longer be a particle. A tachyon is actually best defined as a localised wave form probability (hands up all those who’ve ever actually seen one of them??) It only becomes a particle when someone or something ‘observes’ it in a particular ( excuse the pun) way. But to observe it we need to stop it (or the very least, slow it down some) as we are not able to actually see anything travelling faster than light in our universe!

    Digressing a little, Dr Who fans may better understand the idea by considering the Weeping Angels. These dastardly things look to us like Stone Angel Statues (often with a mouthful of fangs) and cannot move while we are looking at (observing) them. But avert your gaze for a second and they move lightningly fast and try to bite your head off! The key here is looking at them prevents their natural movement/tendencies from being allowed to occur ‘freely’.

    Same thing with tachyons.

    The trick is to get them to do their stuff without you looking at them in any way but getting them to take you along for the ride as if it was their own idea and not yours!

    Good luck with that Captain! (or should that be Scotty/Le farge?)

    love.

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