Friday, August 25, 2006

Advanced Airbags

Science Fiction is often more fiction than science, of course, but sometimes even within the fictional universe there are some easily overlooked points. One of the most important inventions in the Star Trek universe (or any future where interstellar travel is possible) is what has often been called an inertial damper. If a ship is going to accelerate to light speed at a moment's notice, everything inside the ship must remain stationary. Otherwise, anything with inertia that is NOT the ship will get smashed as the ship moves forward and objects (humans?) stay still.

So inertial dampers are essential. But inertial dampers are also basically really advanced airbags. If you crash into something, move suddenly, stop suddenly, you won't smack into your own carp/ship. So why doesn't every single starship and craft have emergency inertial dampers linked to its own exclusive power supply? If a ship gets hit or crashes, the emergency dampers activate and nobody gets hurt. Yet no ship in the Star Trek universe seems to have airbags. Everybody gets tossed about the moment a ship is fired upon. WTF?

And of course, no ship makes whiiiiiinevroom noises in space.

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