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Define Warp in Lightyears


Date: 31 Mar 1995 10:40:48 -0500
From: Bruce Fox
Subject: math question

On Voyager, the new Star Trek show, they are 75 years from home. Their
top speed is Warp 9.75.  Can you define "Warp" in lightyears?  In 
other words, Warp 1 = how many lightyears?


Date: 1 Apr 1995 17:05:02 -0500
From: Dr. Ken
Subject: Re: math question

Hello there!

Well, first of all, the term "light-year" is used to denote the distance
light travels in a vacuum in one year, and it's about 186,000 miles per
second.  So we could define Warp as a fraction of light-speed, but not of
light-years.

Second of all, I'm afraid that there's not enough information to solve this
problem, because we don't know how _far_ they are from home.  Consider
this:  let's say the folks are about 9.75 inches from home; then Warp 1 is
1/75 of an inch per year.  To check that, we see that if we travel at Warp 1
for 75 years, we go an inch.  9.75 times that fast will take us 9.75 inches.

If they're 975 miles from home, then Warp 1 is 100/75 miles per year, or
equivalently about 2 inches per second.  So you see that we can make the
value of Warp 1 whatever we want.

Hope this helps.

-Ken "Dr." Math
    
Associated Topics:
Middle School Calendars/Dates/Time
Middle School Terms/Units of Measurement

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