Category Archives: Space

The Cardassians: Resource Scarcity and War

Hutet_prototype

The Hutet-class Battleship

The Cardassian Hutet-class starship was a powerful battleship designed by the Cardassians around the time of the Dominion War. The Cardassians were a resource-poor polity that was ever-expanding its empire to remedy that lack of resources. Ironically, this expansion meant a further drain on their empire’s resources, thus fueling further expansion.

How many times have we seen the same vicious cycle at work here on Earth? Resource scarcity begets war begets resource scarcity begets war. Perhaps the only way to truly reduce or eliminate this vicious cycle here on Earth is to expand out into space and acquire resources from other worlds in our own solar system. The cynic in me, though, would only surmise that we would just expand our wars into space. The optimist in me, however, would hope that we could spin the exploration of space as a conquest requiring the unity of all humanity to succeed.

 

Mars, here be water!

The Utopia Planitia shipyards above Mars in the 24th century.

According to this article, there is now definitive proof that Mars once contained flowing water. We’ve suspected for years that Mars once harbored liquid water on its surface, a good indication life may have once been found on our near planetary neighbor. Now we know for sure that it definitely did have liquid water. What does this mean for us? Might we, as the picture above, eventually terraform and colonize Mars and build something like a Starfleet Presidio-class space station in orbit over it? My question is whether we have the right to do so. I think the answer depends on whether there is any life on Mars today. If there is, we would more than likely destroy it by terraforming Mars’ environment to better suit ourselves. But then we run into a bit of a conundrum, because don’t we as a species have a right to propagate and ensure our survival? Right now we are confined to Earth, and as the saying goes, we’ve got all our eggs in one basket. What is the measure by which we determine how possible alien life on Mars compares to the billions of humans of Earth?

Perhaps if NASA develops its warp drive in the next few decades such a terraforming and colonization of Mars would be more likely, and such an academic question will become more existential.

Star Trek-style travel in our lifetime

It sounds like science fiction, but in fact NASA is working on a real-life warp drive. Theoretically, with this technology we could achieve interstellar travel with effective speeds of 10c! We would be able to travel to nearby stars and the planets that surround them all within a human lifetime. The possibilities are just endless. It fills me with such terrible hope for the future of humanity that we will be able to escape the womb of mother Earth and finally reach the stars! What wondrous opportunities for humanity will this herald?

Simultaneously I am filled with equal amounts of trepidation, for what terrible dangers will we discover? Aggressive species? Unforeseen space phenomena? Technical difficulties that lead to us being lost in space? Unknown killer viruses from alien worlds?

Perhaps we will discover less-advanced species nearby and instead of following our own history and taking advantage of them, we will, like the Vulcans in Star Trek, merely send something like a Vulcan Survey Ship to observe and perhaps help them on their way to the stars.

Perhaps.

The Kazon, the Klingons of the Delta Quadrant

Nog, as a Kazon that looks like a Klingon.

I’ve grown to enjoy a lot of Star Trek: Voyager in the years since it aired its last episode. One thing I have not grown to love is the Kazon, or Neelix. Before I digress too much in a discussion of anthropomorphic porcupines and their mindless cheerfulness, let’s look at the Kazon. Every species in Star Trek serves as a foil for some aspect of humanity, whether it be the honor-bound Klingons, the cunning Cardassians, or deceptive Romulans. Unlike those three well-documented species, the Kazon just don’t seem to capture my attention. Perhaps they needed more airtime on Voyager to be further fleshed out (though I know many Trek fans that would say they received too much air time), or perhaps they needed to be unique.

That’s the problem though, they aren’t unique, in my mind they’ve always come off as cheap knockoffs, the Delta Quadrant’s Klingons, who do what Klingons do, except not as well. Perhaps it’s not entirely the fault of the Kazons themselves, and perhaps it’s the whole Voyager series. Let me clarify. What I mean is that the very premise of Star Trek: Voyager is one that runs contrary to the spirit of Star Trek. To me, Star Trek is all about humanity journeying out to the stars, stepping away from our cradle Earth and discovering new life while simultaneously discovering more about ourselves in the process, and thus learning and improving ourselves through contact with those diverse cultures. Voyager seems to have this completely in the reverse, it’s a starship far away from home and spends the entire 7 seasons of its episodic run finding a way home. It’s a knockoff of Lost in Space, Star Trek’s version of Lost in Space, doing what Lost in Space did, except not as well because Voyager gets unlost by actually finding Earth. Ah well, there was always the Doctor.

Here are some Kazon ships for you to blow up in your game:

Space Stations

The I.S.S., the International Space Station, that intricate marvel of human engineering floating in space, the single largest artificial satellite ever built by humankind. A place of experiments and observations, a place where humans from all Earthly nations can work together, striving for peace and goodwill, all alone in the night.

In the spirit of that august installation, I’ve updated my starships page with two new … well, not starships, but space stations. First up is the venerable Starfleet K-class outpost, made famous by the Trouble with Tribbles classic episode.

Set in the same era, but covered mostly in the Vanguard novels, is the Starfleet Watchtower-class starbase. I’ve got to say that I don’t normally get into reading Star Trek novels set during the Original Series timeframe. But for whatever reason, I’ve just started this series and really enjoy revisiting the classic crew of Kirk, Spock, etc. Perhaps it’s the fact that they have a cameo appearance by Matt Decker, such a tragic starship captain, forced to watch his crew get eaten by the Planet Killer. Whatever quality sets it apart from the other novels I’ve tried to read in that era, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable read so far!