Welcome to the Science of Star Trek, a podcast series inspired by my review of Star Trek, the Original Series in the summer podcast special series Trekking Through Compliance.In this series I am joined by Astrophysicist and Healthcare Futurist Ben Locwin. In this podcast, we consider the TOS episode Where No Man Has Gone Before as a starting point for the consideration of the science around the phaser.
The Federation starship Enterprise is on an exploratory mission to leave the galaxy. At the edge of the galaxy, the ship it encounters a strange barrier which damages the ship’s systems and warp drive, forcing a retreat. At the same time, nine crew members are killed and both helmsman Gary Mitchell and ship’s psychiatrist Dr. Elizabeth Dehner are knocked unconscious by the barrier’s effect. When he awakens, Mitchell’s eyes glow silver, and he begins to display remarkable psychic powers. Alarmed that Mitchell may take over the Enterprise, Kirk decides to maroon him at an unmanned lithium-cracking facility on the remote planet of Delta Vega. Once there, the landing party tries to confine Mitchell, but his powers have become too great. Kirk follows with a phaser rifle, the only time in the Original Series it was seen. Kirk uses the phaser rifle to create a rockslide, killing Mitchell.
- Why aren’t there phasers being used today?
- Why is air the biggest problem in creating a phaser?
- How can you aim and shoot at a target using a phaser?
- How do you deal with the energy loss?