Tuesday, February 01, 2011

10 Greatest Star-ships of all Time!

Charlie Jane Anders, writing for the IO9 blog has put together a list of the 10 greatest starships of all time. The list doesn't contain just the prettiest or the biggest but, as she writes,
  • ...."for the purposes of this list, we're going by the definition of "starship" from the venerable "Starship Smackdown" event. Which means, a starship has to travel between star systems, and ideally ought to have a crew and a mission. So no Serenity, sorry."
But under that criteria I say, as she did also, feel free to write in and disagree.

10) The Andromeda Ascendant (Andromeda)

9) Space Battleship Yamato (Space Battleship Yamato)

8) SDF-1 Macross (Macross/Robotech)

7) NSEA Protector (Galaxy Quest)

6) Moya (Farscape)

5) SSV Normandy (Mass Effect)

4) Rama (Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke)

3) Battlestar Galactica (new version)

2) U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D

1) Millenium Falcon

Now I KNOW there is going to be dissension here. First us old TOS guys are bound to say Falcon better that Enterprise?!!! NFL! And a D class? well, a D would kick major ass. But all that aside, read the original IO9 article HERE to get a jist of the complete idea of how the choices were made. I have a couple of ideas but I will let you people take a run at it first. So, ideas? Suggestions? Death threats?


JoshM said...

Yeah, I have to say the Enterprise D is my least favorite Trek ship. The biggest, fastest, most powerful ship in Starfleet, with the best crew, at some point it all seemed too much, somehow. On the list here it seems somehow out of place, especially sandwiched between an antiquated war relic with conventional weapons and a smuggler's ship held together by duct-tape and chewing gum.

Beam Me Up said...

JoshM Yeah I can remember the first time I saw the D...ain't it purty now?
It is like they never GOT why the 1701 was built like that. The engines narcels were up on straight pylons to get the hellish things away from people and put them on line with the impulse engines. D got it ALL wrong. It's pretty but nothing lines up. 1701 is the Federations big stick. D is a lesson in blended curves. The Enterprise would vaporize the M.Falcon and tap dance on Galactica's head. It's true, everyone knows it. I know its a list and its opinion, but say that they chose the D because of power and then put it second to a flying pancake. I like top 10 lists like this but someone needs a dose of reality. lol

Blizno said...

I will add my voice that 1701 is obviously the most important starship ever.

The movie version, with Klingon nacelles, looked a lot faster and cooler but I'll still go with the huge cylinders.

I always thought that the pencil-thin pylons holding the mighty engines to the ship were meant to show that future materials and mechanical engineering techniques were so advanced that a single spindly twig was strong enough to hold such power.

My interpretation of nacelles being far away from the hull is that the warp engines create the space/time warp that must enclose the entire ship. They're far enough from the hull that they can create a "bubble" that contains the lower hull plus the saucer.

Why a "saucer" is needed still escapes me.

I watched the world's first broadcast of Star Trek in my jammies after I got my parents' permission to stay up past my bedtime. After seeing "Where No Man Has Gone Before", no force on Earth could have stopped me from watching all of the following episodes.

Beam Me Up said...

Great points Blizno!
I think that we are on the same page with the 1701. I never considered the bubble effect that the warp puts out, but that has to be a major part of it. I never had a problem with the pylons. The warp engines dont provide thrust as much as the warp field distortion (which never made sense in speed...huh? your here then your there but then no exciting space chases because I dont even think you could see another ship in hyperspace...) Now as for the saucer shape....thats Roddenberry having fun with us...He already knew he was going to do time travel and so the saucer can detach...the possibilities are endless!

JoshM said...

I seem to remember reading somewhere (one of the ST Technical Manuals, I think) that the saucer did have something to do with warp propulsion, at least in the ST universe. Something about the warp field has to be expanded forward of the nacelles to encompass the saucer, and the resulting imbalance provides the forward momentum. Or something.

Beam Me Up said...

Ya gota give the Star Trek writers credit...They can techno babble with the best of them!

Thanks JoshM


Blizno said...

"The warp engines dont provide thrust as much as the warp field distortion (which never made sense in speed...huh? your here then your there but then no exciting space chases because I dont even think you could see another ship in hyperspace...)"

BMU, I believe that the warp engines warp space along a continuous scale. At warp 1.1 (a little faster than c, if I recall correctly) space just outside the warp bubble is a little shorter in the forward direction than the sideways direction. At warp 8, space is warped so severely around the bubble that the ship, never breaking the c-barrier inside its bubble, covers hundreds of light years in weeks.
I believe that this allows ships traveling at warp speed to still observe the outside universe and interact with gravity wells and other ships that are moving at far different relative speeds.

There's some willing suspension of disbelief required because traveling toward a star at much faster than the speed of light means that the star's light entering a porthole couldn't possibly be visible.
Watching stars sliding past out of ordinary windows can't make sense...unless the warp field "undistorts" the FTL-distorted view of stars, galaxies, etc.

Two of the most groanworthy moments during Trek happened during ST IV: The Voyage Home and ST: First Contact.
In ST IV, Sulu pilots the stolen Klingon Bird of Prey toward Sol at very high warp. We see Sol slowly getting larger while distant stars whip past. Wh-huh?
In ST: First Contact, Cochrane, Geordi and Ryker fly Earth's first FLT prototype to NEO, then engage the tiny warp engines and maintain warp for a few seconds, with stars whipping past. The rickety ship drops out of warp and pivots around. Instead of a view many stars away from the Solar system, we see Earth slightly farther away than when we started.

BMU, I agree that the warp engines don't actually "push" the ship along. They simply distort space around the ship. Mighty support structures aren't necessarily required.

Side rant about Enterprise D; I thought it was wart-hog ugly. It had none of the grace of previous Enterprises and those wide, curved nacelle supports were clumsy. After D got crashed and E came out, I was much happier. That is one fast-looking ship!

Beam Me Up said...

"At warp 8, space is warped so severely around the bubble that the ship, never breaking the c-barrier inside its bubble, covers hundreds of light years in weeks." See, at first blush it still didn't make sense, then I though of the photon duality (ie Hiesenburg) ok, so its a wave. A wave of probability mind you, but a wave. So how would the "severe distortion" be represented? How about as a fold in paper or more a wave across the paper's surface. A greater distortion draws more of the surface into the peak and trough. So moving very little the ship can be many lightyears away. I still dont see how anyone could see them or they see anyone else. They are in a warp field that drops their little bubble out of normal space. Some one else would have to touch their field with their own in perfect sync and for something that can be both here and there at the same time....It just cant be possible....but then.... Anyway I think I have a handle on how you are viewing the warp bubble and it makes sense now. Yeah they really got the representation of speed wrong in many of the movies. If anything the stars along the side should barely move while the screens in front show massive changes. I mean we have already agreed that the warp field is elongated, so the most radical change has to be along the longest distortion. That makes sense right?

Great comments! Thanks!