Author Topic: Reason for low warp speed?  (Read 533 times)

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Offline Arrun Dihsar

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Reason for low warp speed?
« on: July 18, 2018, 06:57:02 am »
So, since the beginning: star fleets have had various factors of warp from warp 1 to 10 (higher in certain systems of measurement). Now, I accept that starships cannot go at maximum warp due to strain on the core and propulsion systems. Indeed ships have listed cruising speeds if a ship wants to move quickly and it SAFELY can. My question is: why go any slower than cruising speed?

In certain segments of space I can understand slowing down or being forced to by slow down by stellar phenomena; but why, in normal space travel would a Captain order say warp 1 or 2 for a ship capable of cruising at 7?

Offline Kinley Garrison

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Re: Reason for low warp speed?
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2018, 07:33:44 am »
Perhaps it would be to save fuel, or for maintenance purposes, or if they were heading to a certain planet, to not overshoot said planet. or maybe there are certain "speed limits" that ships have to go in populous routes in order not to smash into smaller ships.
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Offline Solluk

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Re: Reason for low warp speed?
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2018, 09:57:32 am »
Hello,

I agree with those above who suggest that fuel consumption and engine maintenance are primary motivators for less-than-maximum warp speed. 

Imagine that you had a truck capable of reaching a speed of 100 miles-per-hour, and that there was no traffic anywhere in the United States.  You had the road to yourself.  Would you drive at 100 miles-per-hour everywhere you went?

Perhaps you would.  But the wear and tear on the engine would be immense if you did this day after day after day, week after week after week, month after month after month.   Your truck might break down twice as often as it would if you'd maintained 50 or 60 miles per hour.

Also, it might be a bit of a gas guzzler to maintain 100 miles per hour, but might have an efficiency 'sweet spot' at lower speeds. 

Although I use automobiles as an example, these same principles are true of airplanes, boats, and even space vessels.  They choose speeds to conserve resources and prevent excessive wear.  I suppose a Captain could order maximum warp everywhere he went, but he would probably be chastised by his superiors for running his ship ragged and wasting fuel.
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Offline Arrun Dihsar

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Re: Reason for low warp speed?
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2018, 11:05:35 am »
Quick background, I have driver's ed training about a decade ago plus years of driving; also worked as a car reservation sales agent, which exposed me to learning a bit more about cars than I really wanted to. I am not an expert of cars or have any engineering education beyond lay-person.

The above said: to my understanding...

With automobiles: I was taught there is an ideal speed to maximize miles-per-gallon and the concept of maintaining speed and minimizing acceleration/braking. Most cars have an ideal speed around 62 MPH or 100 KPH. If you want to get to point A to Z in a straight line as fuel efficient as possible: you want to be at ideal speed. However, city driving, residential areas, geological obstacles, road paths and so on: force a reduction in speed. So you are forced to slow down and your engine burns gas for every minute it operates, even while idling; however, if you were to go faster than ideal speed you may get to your destination faster: but, most car engines are not efficient enough to go that fast without wasting fuel. So, even if your car CAN go 100 MPH, generally it isn't worth it regarding fuel efficiency.

Then we get to space (and, admittedly, science fiction space travel at that)...

Space is mindbogglingly big, with lots of void in between. So if you're going from star system to star system: you generally don't have to worry about anything getting in your way. Also, my understanding is that Cruising Speed of a starship is basically its "ideal speed" - as in how fast it can go while still being fuel efficient: Captains being told to not go above that speed unless it's an emergency situation.

Though, I can imagine a ship going less than cruising speed as it leaves a star system or initially distancing itself from an armada or other dense space traffic. But once at what I would call "open space" (no nearby ships or stellar objects) I would think it best for a ship to then go to cruising speed.


Offline Max Fortune

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Re: Reason for low warp speed?
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2018, 03:35:52 pm »
There are many valid points here, but there is also some missing possibilities.

it is true that almost all craft have a 'sweet spot' which would be standard cruise.

With rare exceptions there is no reason that a ship should not travel at cruise.
the exceptions boil down to
- local conditions (eg nebulas and anything that would react to the ward eddies
- even through the ships are kept in good condition - it can be necessary to take parts offline for maintenance.  in these situations the captain will have been informed to keep the energy requirements lower to reduce the strain on systems (eg half the antimatter injectors are being cleaned etc)

Offline Kirok

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Re: Reason for low warp speed?
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2018, 03:44:01 pm »
There was an episode, I want to say on The Next Generation, in which it was proved that subspace beings lived in a territory of space.

High warps speeds were hurting and killing the beings - so the solution was to travel at either impulse. 

Point being that warp 1 may also be a higher limit of speed in some regions to reduce the effect the ship has on the 'ecosystem' in the area - possibly.

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