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Star Trek: A Thought Experiment

I've been a fan of Star Trek for a long time, but I am not a fanatic--I own no Star Trek memorabilia nor have I donned a Star Trek costume.  I've yet to see the new Star Trek movie, but I've read that it is excellent and am looking forward to watching it.  But thinking about Start Trek something came to me--a little disturbing, perhaps. 

In the scene in my mind there is this villain who has commandeered a star ship (not unlike Khan) and warped around the galaxy destroying and terrorizing. Capt. Villain has a right hand man who I'll just call mr. mini.  So Capt. Villain suspects that mr. mini is plotting a coup and plans to kill him after taking the ship.  Obviously Capt. Villain is angered and so, as one would expect, he plans his own small plot to get rid of mr. mini, but he wants to do it in such a way that mr. mini suspects nothing and to send a powerful message that mutiny is a bad idea.

So mr. mini happens to also be an engineer and knows how to repair stuff on ships.  Capt. Villain hatches an evil scheme to rid himself of all those who oppose him. He gives a task to mr. mini to go for a spacewalk on the outer hull to repair some damage in a bulkhead.  So off mr. mini goes to repair the bulkhead.  He puts on his space suit, heads to a pressure hatch, straps on the tether and exits the ship.  Mr. mini pokes about to find the damage and at that Capt. Evil locks the hatch and, after revealing his plan to a now terrified mr. mini, orders his navigation officer to go to impulse and then full warp.

So, after an unnecessarily long winded bit of prose, I wondered what would actually happen to mr. mini.  Yes, Star Trek is fiction, of course, but let's assume that it's all real.  Would mr. mini suffer a horrible death?  At first I thought yes, but then I thought perhaps not.  Given that mr. mini is still tethered to the hull and is surrounded by the ships "warp bubble", would he not also just move with the ship?  It's kind of like riding on a train or in a car and tossing a ball up in the air.  The ball, you, your coffee, etc., is moving with the vehicle and so given your point of view, these things seems to be still. 

So now what would happen if the captain also cut the teather holding mr. mini thus forcing him to float free from the ship as it goes to impulse.  Of course mr. mini would eventually exhaust his oxygen and just die.  But that's not the point.  Say the Capt. orders the ship to go to warp at the point when mr. mini is no just past the warp bubble barrier.  If the ship goes to warp, will something grizzly happen to mr. mini.  Maybe he would be dragged in to the warp worm hole (or whatever it is called) and thus forced to travel perpetually at warp speed until his body reaches the end of the universe, assuming there is an end to it.  Without navigation, would his body warm into a star or a black hole?  And how the hell does a star ship, traveling at warp, avoid such obstacles?  Does the ship's computer have the ability to "look" ahead and so move the ship around these obstacles?

And last (and perhaps the most important thing), will I ever stop writing about this stupid thought experiment? 

Yes.



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