Awesome Star Trek Concepts We Never Got to See (Part IV)

Star Trek was usually peaceful.

Star Trek: Final Frontier

Since the ’90s, fans have desired to see what the Federation was like years after Picard ran it. CBS never let us see it, choosing instead to disappoint us with the series, Star Trek: Discovery. Maybe Star Trek: Picard will help. Fans almost got what they desired in 2006, though, with Star Trek: Final Frontier.

Instead of a conventional TV show, Final Frontier just a web-only series, with brief animated episodes. But it wasn’t some children’s cartoon show. Final Frontier explored the shady future of the Federation. During a war with the Romulan Empire, years after Next Generation, strange explosions of Omega Particles created big chunks of space difficult to travel via warp, effectively cutting the Federation in half. 

Any person trapped in these regions of space would take years to travel anywhere else, stranding starships in wide nothingness and with viewers not feeling any happiness. No ever. The political uncertainty made the Vulcans leave the Federation, devastated the Andorians, and lets the Romulans occupy the Klingons. That doesn’t seem like the usual peace-loving Star Trek to fans.

Star Trek and Real Issues

CBS wanted to face real issues head-on, developing a show that paralleled the world upheavals after 9/11. They wrote what was essential “Battlestar Galactica meets Star Trek and gets a huge case of the unhappy,” concluded with a run-down and stranded Enterprise. 

CBS ultimately lost interest in the show, which is possible for the better. Most folks don’t want to think about the Twin Towers when they view Star Trek. 

Though, most folks were intrigued. Some people did some digging and found out that the planned storyboards are online, and they’re really, really good. Not a space-Osama on any of them. Hopefully, it stays that way.

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Awesome Star Trek Concepts We Never Got to See (Part III) 

Assignment: Earth had nothing to do with Star Trek.

Assignment: Earth

Less than 12 months after Star Trek premiered, it was already in trouble. NBC was warning to cancel the series. Although a large letter-writing campaign by the sci-fi lovers was getting the executives’ attention, Gene Roddenberry was clueless to if his show would survive. He began creating a new show named Assignment: Earth.

At first, Assignment: Earth had nada to do with Star Trek. It was the story of Gary Seven, a time traveler who journeyed to the past to ensure Earth’s history went the way it was supposed to. Journeying with a super-computer, a secretary, and a shape-shifting cat, Seven would combat evil aliens attempting to mess up Earth history. Basically, it was Star Trek combines with Doctor Who, a Comic-Con dream come true3.

The tides ultimately turned for Star Trek, and Roddenberry soon understood he could only get the new show going if it was linked to Star Trek. He reconsidered the idea as a spin-off, making the not so smart decision of using an episode of Star Trek as a launch-off point for the spin-off. 

This ended up being the 2nd season finale of Star Trek, ending the season as just an advertisement for a different TV show, one hardly featuring Kirk and Spock. To make matters worse, NBC passed on the series.

  1. Michael Straczynski’s Star Trek

Back in the ’90s, there were two sci-fi TV shows with a space station in the middle of an interstellar war: J. Michael Straczynski’s Babylon 5 and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. JMS tried to sue CBS for how alike DS9 was to his show. When the lawsuit failed, JMS had a crazy notion of joining Star Trek.

It’s an amazing idea, one that would’ve given Star Trek some energy. However, CBS and Paramount felt it was too chancy. Then, 24 months, they changed their minds and signed off on J.J. Abram’s reboot. Who knows what else happened behind the scenes, but it really seems like Star Trek was out to get JMS.

 

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Awesome Star Trek Concepts We Never Got to See (Part II)

 

Dollar signs were Roddenberry’s vision. 

Star Trek: Planet of Titans

The original Star Trek show ended in 1969, but that didn’t stop fans from falling in love with the show. Syndication put Star Trek reruns on the television, making the show a cultural phenomenon. By 1975, the show was generating so much money in syndication, Paramount purchased the movie rights and contacted Gene Roddenberry about making a movie. With dollar signs in his head, Roddenberry said yes.

Paramount went forward with a film named “Planet of Titans,” but didn’t agree on a single plot or a cohesive script. Most versions were about Kirk getting stranded on an alien world for years. For some reason, his crew just leaves him there, but ultimately Spock stops being a jerk and rescues his captain. 

When the Enterprise shows up, they find Klingons encircling the planet, the enemy race having found this home planet of the Titans. Hijinks occur. In some versions, Spock trips out with a Klingon and discovers the secrets of sex. If that doesn’t make you want to see the film, what does?

The Paramount Problem

Possibly due to the Spock acid trip scenes, Paramount was smitten. Ralph McQuarrie, a concept artist from Star Wars, came on board and drew a redesigned Enterprise. However, in 1977, when all involved were ready for the movie to start, Paramount cut the project. 

Nobody knows why, though it may have had something to do with Star Wars. Paramount realize the funding nightmare George Lucas had and got nervous there wasn’t a market for science fiction. 

Not all the pre-production work was lost, happily. McQuarrie’s concept art got used for Star Trek: Discovery. Eventually, Paramount made Star Trek films. Worse off were the screenwriters. For all their trouble, they only got Star Trek t-shirts. 

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Awesome Star Trek Concepts We Never Got to See (Part II)

Star Trek fans were thrilled when “Plant of the Titans” was made. 

Star Trek: Planet of Titans

The original Star Trek show ended in 1969, but that didn’t stop fans from falling in love with the show. Syndication put Star Trek reruns on the television, making the show a cultural phenomenon. By 1975, the show was generating so much money in syndication, Paramount purchased the movie rights and contacted Gene Roddenberry about making a movie. With dollar signs in his head, Roddenberry said yes.

Paramount went forward with a film named “Planet of Titans,” but didn’t agree on a single plot or a cohesive script. Most versions were about Kirk getting stranded on an alien world for years. For some reason, his crew just leaves him there, but ultimately Spock stops being a jerk and rescues his captain. 

When the Enterprise shows up, they find Klingons encircling the planet, the enemy race having found this home planet of the Titans. Hijinks occur. In some versions, Spock trips out with a Klingon and discovers the secrets of sex. If that doesn’t make you want to see the film, what does?

The Paramount Problem

Possibly due to the Spock acid trip scenes, Paramount was smitten. Ralph McQuarrie, a concept artist from Star Wars, came on board and drew a redesigned Enterprise. However, in 1977, when all involved were ready for the movie to start, Paramount cut the project. 

Nobody knows why, though it may have had something to do with Star Wars. Paramount realize the funding nightmare George Lucas had and got nervous there wasn’t a market for science fiction. 

Not all the pre-production work was lost, happily. McQuarrie’s concept art got used for Star Trek: Discovery. Eventually, Paramount made Star Trek films. Worse off were the screenwriters. For all their trouble, they only got Star Trek t-shirts. 

 

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Awesome Star Trek Concepts We Never Got to See (Part I)

 

After 50 years, Star Trek executives and writers have had plenty of ideas, but most get cut before they hit the airwaves. It’s too bad since a lot of them sounded quite interesting. Here are good Star Trek concepts we never got to see.

There was a full-sized enterprise ship in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas Enterprise

The Las Vegas Strip has two parts: the trashy side in the city of Las Vegas, and the incredible side in the unincorporated city of Paradise. The Vegas side doesn’t get a lot of tourists. However, this hurts the gambling revenue. Therefore, in 1992, the city came up with an enterprising plan. They would get tourists away from the flashier casinos, with a full-size model of the Starship Enterprise.

Development company Goddard Group got the contract and planned to get started. The Enterprise would be constructed exactly like the fictional specifications of the TV show, sadly leaving out the photon torpedoes and phasers. It would appear as the ship dropped right in the middle of Las Vegas. 

Guests could tour the ship and see good reproductions of the sets from the films and TV shows. Also, with no exterior supports, so the reproduction stays faithful, the ship was a slight engineering miracle, a thing that would have even made Spock proud.

What Happened? 

Ultimately, Paramount killed the project for being too risky. According to Paramount, if they made a bad film, people would forget about it in a year. However, if this tourist trap didn’t work out, it’d be around eternally.

Apparently, Paramount has never heard of demolitions, but that was the end of that. Vegas went with the less-exciting Fremont Street Experience, which is just a goofy tunnel with lights. Millions of Star Trek fans were more upset than when Spock died.

 

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The Geology of Star Trek’s Strange New Worlds (Part III)

Star Trek aired before the first man ever stepped foot on the moon. 

The first episode of Star Trek aired September 8, 1966, three years prior to the 1st manned Moon landing and practically nothing was known about the geology of other planets or moons. Yet, the writers of Star Trek got several things right. Little ice moons are real common and the Jupiter moon is also physically very active, with a surface shielded in sulfuric lava. 

In the episode “The Naked Time,” the Enterprise is circling Psi 2000 to study the disintegration of the planet. The doomed world is totally covered in snow and ice. Geological evidence implies that almost 600 million years ago our planet also briefly became a “snowball Earth.” 

How this occurrence is unknown. The discharge of gases by volcanoes possibly saved the planet and its 1st terrestrial life forms, as the planet warmed because of the greenhouse effect. Way before becoming a snowball, Earth was a lava planet just like in the 3rd season episode “The Savage Curtain.” 

Hadean

In the Hadean, the young planet was still predominantly molten, and the surface enclosed in oceans of lava. As the Earth cooled and a crust developed, the planet’s geological activity got weaker but never totally ceased. The outer crust isn’t a rigid shell, but a mystery of sliding continents and subducting oceanic plates. Plate tectonics is one of Earth’s essential characteristics.

It is important to note that chief medical officer McCoy finds unknown organic molecules in the ice of Psi 2000. Some sort of geological activity is thought to be necessary to accommodate complex life. Hot springs can offer energy and nourishment to simple life forms and tectonic activity, such as mountain building, can aid evolution, as the life forms has to adjust to the changing environment.

Could life really exist on such planets?  

It’s not known yet. One of the top achievements of Star Trek has been to present both intriguing scientific and ethical questions. With any luck, any questions will be answered by the future generations.

 

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The Geology of Star Trek’s Strange New Worlds (Part II)

Stars can also be clues.

Realizing the mass, it is possible to gage the gravitational force on the planet’s surface and decide if it can hold an atmosphere. The distance and sort of star in the alien star system can offer clues about the temps found on the planetary surface. New advanced observation methods made it conceivable, in some cases, to watch the atmosphere of an exoplanet and classify the chemical composition.

Yet, there’s no commonly accepted classification system for exoplanets. Names such as Hot-Jupiters and Super-Earths are frequently used. Though, numerous astronomers complain that such names signify certain properties of the planets we don’t know. 

In the 2011 published paper Taxonomy, the following planet classification system was suggested:

Class F: Planets of the “freezing class” – covered by snow and ice.

Class W: Planets of the “water class” – like Earth, circling a star in the habitable zone in which temps let liquid water to exist.

Class G: The “gaseous class” – too hot for liquid or solid water to exist, but ultimately the planet has an atmosphere.

Class R: The orbit of a “roasters class” planet – around its host star is very narrow, resulting in planetary surface temp is extreme enough to melt rocks.

Class P: “Pulsar class” – planets orbit the distorted remains of a star and are continuously bombarded by high radiation and exposed to sturdy magnetic fields.

Geophysical Classification with Composition Codes

Another method told in the paper “Geophysical Classification of Planets, Dwarf Planets, and Moons: A Mass Scale and Composition Codes” utilizes composition codes, such as G for Gas Planetary bodies, R for Rocky Planetary Bodies, and I for Icy Planetary Bodies. 

As a planet can have a big core of iron or be made up of nearly completely of silicate minerals, a tinier moon can be comprised of rock and ice.  

 

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The Geology of Star Trek’s Strange New Worlds (Part I) 316 words

The episode of “The Man Trap” was set in a desert.

In “The Man Trap”, the 1st episode of Star Trek aired on television, the starship Enterprise went to an archaeological excavation site on the planet M-113. The planet was enclosed by a desert with little vegetation and the remnants of a former civilization. The atmosphere is seemingly breathable by humanoids, a plot device used in a number of later episodes.

In the 3rd episode “Where No Man Has Gone Before”, the crew of the Enterprise is stuck on the planet Delta Vega, a planet like Earth except it had a somewhat smaller size, with a lithium cracking station functioning there. 

In many episodes of the original Star Trek series, the Enterprise searches the geology of numerous planets, sometimes occupied by humanoids or alien lifeforms. The class of planets in the Star Trek universe is grounded on size, composition, geological activity, atmosphere, and includes over 13 planet types.

Discovering Planets

For instance, planets fit for humans, small, rocky worlds with geological activity and oxygen-atmosphere, are categorized as M after Minshara, the native name of Vulcan, home of Commander Spock. Aboard the Enterprise, Spock can simply scan and categorize a planet. 

In the real world, the first exoplanet was found in January 1992 and today over 3,600 planets in other star systems are known. However, we can only guess about the environment discovered on an exoplanet. The shape of the orbit can be utilized to estimate the mass of an exoplanet. 

Therefore, even if the category system in Star Trek is fictional, true science might adopt a similar one. M-class planets are well-known in the Star Trek universe. In the real world, it is only a couple of rocky planets that may host liquid water, a critical ingredient of life. Desert planets are the most visited by the crew, a plot scheme to limit the costs of the set. 

 

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NASA Orbiter Spots ‘Star Trek’ Symbol on Mars

Mars, the red planet.

It might be time to hail Starfleet and see if they’ve set up a station on Mars.

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter got an image of an odd chevron on the Martian surface that appears to be the symbol for “Star Trek’s” Starfleet, an association of diplomacy, space exploration, research, defense, and peacekeeping.

The Red Planet

The shapes were discovered in the southeast Hellas Planitia part of Mars, made by dunes, wind, and lava. At some time in Martian history, crescent-shaped dunes were in the setting. An eruption had lava spilling out, going around the dunes but not covering them. As the lava cooled, the dunes erected like islands.

But they were still dunes. So, the wind can move them and the dunes more or less migrated. Their footprints, referred to as “dune casts,” were left behind in the lava field.

So, it’s not an alien habitat or Starfleet base, unless the UFP has some to say. 

William Shatner, the actor who played Captain James Kirk on “Star Trek,” also had a little fun with it, calling out Star Wars that Star Trek appeared on the red planet first.

The dune was made by lava flows and wind long ago on Mars when the lava solidified, and the wind formed it.

Eventually, the sand piles that were the dunes drifted away, leaving “footprints” in the lava plain. These are referred to as “dune casts” and noted the presence of dunes that were encompassed by lava.

The dune on Mars is not the only Star Trek reference recently seen in space.

A real-life “Planet Vulcan” was seen years away from Earth. The planet is linked with the real-life star 40 Eridani A, a star that was linked to Vulcan in the books Star Trek Maps by Jeff Maynard (Bantam, 1980) and Star Trek 2 by James Blish (Bantam, 1968).

Live long and prosper.

 

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What ‘Star Trek’ May Have Right—and Wrong—About Alien Life (Part II)

Amino acids can travel to Earth by hitching a ride with an asteroid. 

Supporters of this theory argue that life on Earth might have been planted by hardy microbes. Or at least, by raw elements like amino acid that traveled here with asteroids and comets. While there is no exact evidence to back up this claim, missions like the Rosetta orbiter have discovered the building blocks of existence on comets. There are tough organisms like tardigrades that can live unprotected in space.

Also, scientists think that early Earth was showered by meteors, which could have provided a “starter kit” for life from somewhere else in the galaxy.

Building on the panspermia concept, Star Trek proposed that an early humanoid life-form deliberately seeded worlds around the Milky Way, producing new species that took on their basic shape. While every one of these species might have split off on its own path, they are all basically long-lost relatives. Star Trek is somewhat right about practically everything.

While there is a case for panspermia, odds are slim that we’ll face humanoid life-forms in the real universe. Some speculations suggest that local ecological conditions and evolutionary events left to chance will probably shape the future of any life-form, making it absolutely unique.

It’s a Small Galaxy?

Instead, with the only example available, some researchers propose that the most typical form of life across the galaxy might be what’s most plentiful here on Earth: microbes.

On Earth, it just a somewhat short period for life to emerge and have the ability to photosynthesize. However, it took years for animals to emerge. Technical civilization and intelligence have only been present for about 0.000001% of Earth’s past. What this says is that our planet’s history has been ruled by a vast array of microscopic life.

Also, there’s a good chance that the elementary molecular building blocks we see on our planet will be mutual throughout the universe.

 

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