Of course, most sci fi fans and all Star Trek fans know that the new series, Strange New Worlds (regarding the voyages of the Enterprise when it was commanded by Christopher Pike) has started on Paramount Plus. Summaries and reviews abound on the internet, so I won’t rehash. However, I will mention a few things interesting to me. The crew was interesting to me. I laughed when I saw Nurse Chapel, because of course in the original series, Chapel (at least as presented later in that series) couldn’t have appeared in the few Pike scenes we get via “The Menagerie” because actress Majel Barrett (eventually to play Chapel) was too busy playing “Number One” in that same episode. Also, there’s got to be some foretelling (or at least some interesting genealogical back story) in one crew member being surnamed “Noonien Singh” because of course that is Khan’s surname.
Interesting to me in terms of physics was the use of a “warp bomb” by the first society we see. Apparently, though they are a pre-warp society in terms of the true development, they had witnessed the use of this technology by visitors from the future (not explained how that was enough to actually develop this complex technology). Instead of copying the technology for use as a space ship, they used it for making a weapon to destroy their enemies. This is unexplained as well, but I have some ideas. First of all, in order to significantly warp space, you would need access to a tremendous energy source. If this amount of energy were released in a targeted way, it would be enough to destroy a planet, for sure. However, that doesn’t really get at why that has anything to do with the actual warp technology. Since the idea of warp drive is to stretch space ahead of you and contract it in back of you in order to go from one place in The Galaxy to another that would be inaccessible by more conventional sub-light means, perhaps there is a way of using this over very small scales through, say, solid matter, that would lead to some sort of stress causing it to break apart, or maybe altering space in some other way that would not be tolerated by the matter of space ship. That’s, of course, highly speculative!
The second episode seemed to be a bit more of a re-hash. That the comet appears to be guided by some sort of technology has elements of both the mediocre original series episode “For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky” and the abysmal ST: Next Gen. episode, “Masks.” Then came the recycling of the idea that the comet could seed other planets with life (Fred Hoyle’s Panspermia Hypothesis) and not to mention (much) the use of music as a means of communication or cryptography.
So, the series has some interesting potential, but I hope they don’t rest on too many old ideas (though there may not be too many new ones out there!).
If you are interested in some of the ideas discussed here, take a look at my (Steve Bloom) book, The Physics and Astronomy of Science Fiction, published by Mc Farland, and available through Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com