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Does Mass affect warp drive needs?

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I've got this cargo ship that empty has a mass of 1,000,000 metric tons. I load 32,000 metric tons of stuffed teddy bears on my ship and wind up the warp engines to their max and achieve warp 5 all the way to Bajor. There I load up 900,000 metric tons of Bajoran Granite counter tops for Terra Nova. I want to go warp 5. Do I need bigger Warp engines? Will I spend more anti-matter per light year?The preceding unsigned comment was added by UncleRice (talk • contribs).

Hey - we're not here to do your college homework, young man! ;)
Seriously, though: none of that has explicitly been mentioned in canon, but there are hints that gravity might affect warp drives somehow - for example the fact that warp drives are typically not used near stars, the existence of a slingshot effect, or the fact that gravity from a dyson sphere interfered with the flight path of the Enterprise-D. The section Warp factor#Background information describes some of the non-canon ideas about how gravity might affect warp speed. -- Cid Highwind 09:23, September 30, 2011 (UTC)

Ok, not mentioned in cannon, that obfuscates things. I know you need a bigger warp system for a bigger ship I just wasn't sure if mass mattered. One theory I'm working with is that because warp drive warps space around the ship instead of being an actual propulsion system, it may be the volume of the ship that matters rather than the mass. This leads to the question of: while a star ship can't latch onto a planet and tow it way, what about a proton mass that would be small enough to fit inside the warp bubble? Does the warp drive just warp space while the impulse drive generates the actual movement? The preceding unsigned comment was added by UncleRice (talk • contribs).

Please sign your posts with ~~~~ or click the Signature button(it looks like a scribble) Also, it's "canon" not "cannon".--31dot 14:13, September 30, 2011 (UTC)
It is never explained exactly how warp drive works. For the purpose of storytelling it is necessary only that it DOES work. There are instances in the shows of gravity having some effect on warp fields, or of similar things (dropping to impulse to traverse a wormhole for example) but the implication is that the warp drive is indeed a DRIVE. It doesn't just warp space to shorten the distance or to reduce the ship's effective mass -- it propels the ship in some manner. It's not clear that larger ships need larger drives; Archer's warp 5 engine was tested on a tiny vessel and worked fine on the much larger NX-01. Presumably the warp field had to be reconfigured to encompass the larger hull, but it was the same engine. Did it require more power to generate the larger warp field? Probably -- the NX-01 engine room was larger than the entire test ship.
EDIT - UncleRice: Since it would seem the warp field itself produces the propulsive effect, and it's not just making it possible for the impulse drive to propel the ship faster (impulse drives are not engaged at warp), I think you are correct that it is the VOLUME and not the MASS that matters. But I think that a larger warp field or one with a more complex configuration (such as to encompass some weird sort of hull design) probably requires more power. Bat'leth 06:27, October 1, 2011 (UTC)
I don't think mass affect's warp drive. In the episode where Q looses his powers, they use a warp field around the moon that is following to lower its mass so they can move it with a tractor beam. Warp Drive on the other hand does affect the mass of something. Gravity affects the warp field by distorting it enough that it will collapse if they don't know something is there. Like a Dyson Sphere. Warp drive does not propel a ship, it manipulates the space around it, causing the space in front of it to shrink and the space behind it to expand. The preceding unsigned comment was added by Chrisw 2003 (talk • contribs).
Please note that this is not a general-purpose forum to discuss Star Trek. It's a place to ask for pointers to specific articles. For further discussion, please visit one of the available Trek forums, such as http://www.trekbbs.com/ - Thanks. -- Cid Highwind 09:52, October 1, 2011 (UTC)

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