Gene Rodenberry was a genius…let’s just hope that he wasn’t a prophet!

Voyger 1 and 2″ current location
Voyger space probe
V’ger from Star Trek the Motion Picture (1979) Let’s just hope this doesn’t happen!…

Voyager 1 and its twin, Voyager 2, were launched 16 days apart in 1977. Both spacecraft flew by Jupiter and Saturn. Voyager 2 also flew by Uranus and Neptune. Voyager 2, launched before Voyager 1, is the longest continuously operated spacecraft. It is about 9.5 billion miles (15 billion kilometers) away from our sun.
Voyager mission controllers still talk to or receive data from Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 every day, though the emitted signals are currently very dim, at about 23 watts — the power of a refrigerator light bulb. By the time the signals get to Earth, they are a fraction of a billion-billionth of a watt. Data from Voyager 1’s instruments are transmitted to Earth typically at 160 bits per second, and captured by 34- and 70-meter NASA Deep Space Network stations. Traveling at the speed of light, a signal from Voyager 1 takes about 17 hours to travel to Earth. After the data are transmitted to JPL and processed by the science teams, Voyager data are made publicly available.
“Voyager has boldly gone where no probe has gone before, marking one of the most significant technological achievements in the annals of the history of science, and adding a new chapter in human scientific dreams and endeavors,” said John Grunsfeld, NASA’s associate administrator for science in Washington. “Perhaps some future deep space explorers will catch up with Voyager, our first interstellar envoy, and reflect on how this intrepid spacecraft helped enable their journey.”
Scientists do not know when Voyager 1 will reach the undisturbed part of interstellar space where there is no influence from our sun. They also are not certain when Voyager 2 is expected to cross into interstellar space, but they believe it is not very far behind.
JPL built and operates the twin Voyager spacecraft. The Voyagers Interstellar Mission is a part of NASA’s Heliophysics System Observatory, sponsored by the Heliophysics Division of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. NASA’s Deep Space Network, managed by JPL, is an international network of antennas that supports interplanetary spacecraft missions and radio and radar astronomy observations for the exploration of the solar system and the universe. The network also supports selected Earth-orbiting missions.
The cost of the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 missions — including launch, mission operations and the spacecraft’s nuclear batteries, which were provided by the Department of Energy — is about $988 million through September.

NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft officially is the first human-made object to venture into interstellar space. The 36-year-old probe is about 12 billion miles (19 billion kilometers) from our sun.
New and unexpected data indicate Voyager 1 has been traveling for about one year through plasma, or ionized gas, present in the space between stars. Voyager is in a transitional region immediately outside the solar bubble, where some effects from our sun are still evident. A report on the analysis of this new data, an effort led by Don Gurnett and the plasma wave science team at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, is published in Thursday’s edition of the journal Science.
“Now that we have new, key data, we believe this is mankind’s historic leap into interstellar space,” said Ed Stone, Voyager project scientist based at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. “The Voyager team needed time to analyze those observations and make sense of them. But we can now answer the question we’ve all been asking — ‘Are we there yet?’ Yes, we are.”
Voyager 1 first detected the increased pressure of interstellar space on the heliosphere, the bubble of charged particles surrounding the sun that reaches far beyond the outer planets, in 2004. Scientists then ramped up their search for evidence of the spacecraft’s interstellar arrival, knowing the data analysis and interpretation could take months or years.
Voyager 1 does not have a working plasma sensor, so scientists needed a different way to measure the spacecraft’s plasma environment to make a definitive determination of its location. A coronal mass ejection, or a massive burst of solar wind and magnetic fields, that erupted from the sun in March 2012 provided scientists the data they needed. When this unexpected gift from the sun eventually arrived at Voyager 1’s location 13 months later, in April 2013, the plasma around the spacecraft began to vibrate like a violin string. On April 9, Voyager 1’s plasma wave instrument detected the movement. The pitch of the oscillations helped scientists determine the density of the plasma. The particular oscillations meant the spacecraft was bathed in plasma more than 40 times denser than what they had encountered in the outer layer of the heliosphere. Density of this sort is to be expected in interstellar space.
The plasma wave science team reviewed its data and found an earlier, fainter set of oscillations in October and November 2012. Through extrapolation of measured plasma densities from both events, the team determined Voyager 1 first entered interstellar space in August 2012.
“We literally jumped out of our seats when we saw these oscillations in our data — they showed us the spacecraft was in an entirely new region, comparable to what was expected in interstellar space, and totally different than in the solar bubble,” Gurnett said. “Clearly we had passed through the heliopause, which is the long-hypothesized boundary between the solar plasma and the interstellar plasma.”
The new plasma data suggested a timeframe consistent with abrupt, durable changes in the density of energetic particles that were first detected on Aug. 25, 2012. The Voyager team generally accepts this date as the date of interstellar arrival. The charged particle and plasma changes were what would have been expected during a crossing of the heliopause.
“The team’s hard work to build durable spacecraft and carefully manage the Voyager spacecraft’s limited resources paid off in another first for NASA and humanity,” said Suzanne Dodd, Voyager project manager, based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. “We expect the fields and particles science instruments on Voyager will continue to send back data through at least 2020. We can’t wait to see what the Voyager instruments show us next about deep space.”

Voyager 1 and its twin, Voyager 2, were launched 16 days apart in 1977. Both spacecraft flew by Jupiter and Saturn. Voyager 2 also flew by Uranus and Neptune. Voyager 2, launched before Voyager 1, is the longest continuously operated spacecraft. It is about 9.5 billion miles (15 billion kilometers) away from our sun.
Voyager mission controllers still talk to or receive data from Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 every day, though the emitted signals are currently very dim, at about 23 watts — the power of a refrigerator light bulb. By the time the signals get to Earth, they are a fraction of a billion-billionth of a watt. Data from Voyager 1’s instruments are transmitted to Earth typically at 160 bits per second, and captured by 34- and 70-meter NASA Deep Space Network stations. Traveling at the speed of light, a signal from Voyager 1 takes about 17 hours to travel to Earth. After the data are transmitted to JPL and processed by the science teams, Voyager data are made publicly available.
“Voyager has boldly gone where no probe has gone before, marking one of the most significant technological achievements in the annals of the history of science, and adding a new chapter in human scientific dreams and endeavors,” said John Grunsfeld, NASA’s associate administrator for science in Washington. “Perhaps some future deep space explorers will catch up with Voyager, our first interstellar envoy, and reflect on how this intrepid spacecraft helped enable their journey.”
Scientists do not know when Voyager 1 will reach the undisturbed part of interstellar space where there is no influence from our sun. They also are not certain when Voyager 2 is expected to cross into interstellar space, but they believe it is not very far behind.
JPL built and operates the twin Voyager spacecraft. The Voyagers Interstellar Mission is a part of NASA’s Heliophysics System Observatory, sponsored by the Heliophysics Division of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. NASA’s Deep Space Network, managed by JPL, is an international network of antennas that supports interplanetary spacecraft missions and radio and radar astronomy observations for the exploration of the solar system and the universe. The network also supports selected Earth-orbiting missions.
The cost of the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 missions — including launch, mission operations and the spacecraft’s nuclear batteries, which were provided by the Department of Energy — is about $988 million through September.

NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft officially is the first human-made object to venture into interstellar space. The 36-year-old probe is about 12 billion miles (19 billion kilometers) from our sun.
New and unexpected data indicate Voyager 1 has been traveling for about one year through plasma, or ionized gas, present in the space between stars. Voyager is in a transitional region immediately outside the solar bubble, where some effects from our sun are still evident. A report on the analysis of this new data, an effort led by Don Gurnett and the plasma wave science team at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, is published in Thursday’s edition of the journal Science.
“Now that we have new, key data, we believe this is mankind’s historic leap into interstellar space,” said Ed Stone, Voyager project scientist based at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. “The Voyager team needed time to analyze those observations and make sense of them. But we can now answer the question we’ve all been asking — ‘Are we there yet?’ Yes, we are.”
Voyager 1 first detected the increased pressure of interstellar space on the heliosphere, the bubble of charged particles surrounding the sun that reaches far beyond the outer planets, in 2004. Scientists then ramped up their search for evidence of the spacecraft’s interstellar arrival, knowing the data analysis and interpretation could take months or years.
Voyager 1 does not have a working plasma sensor, so scientists needed a different way to measure the spacecraft’s plasma environment to make a definitive determination of its location. A coronal mass ejection, or a massive burst of solar wind and magnetic fields, that erupted from the sun in March 2012 provided scientists the data they needed. When this unexpected gift from the sun eventually arrived at Voyager 1’s location 13 months later, in April 2013, the plasma around the spacecraft began to vibrate like a violin string. On April 9, Voyager 1’s plasma wave instrument detected the movement. The pitch of the oscillations helped scientists determine the density of the plasma. The particular oscillations meant the spacecraft was bathed in plasma more than 40 times denser than what they had encountered in the outer layer of the heliosphere. Density of this sort is to be expected in interstellar space.
The plasma wave science team reviewed its data and found an earlier, fainter set of oscillations in October and November 2012. Through extrapolation of measured plasma densities from both events, the team determined Voyager 1 first entered interstellar space in August 2012.
“We literally jumped out of our seats when we saw these oscillations in our data — they showed us the spacecraft was in an entirely new region, comparable to what was expected in interstellar space, and totally different than in the solar bubble,” Gurnett said. “Clearly we had passed through the heliopause, which is the long-hypothesized boundary between the solar plasma and the interstellar plasma.”
The new plasma data suggested a timeframe consistent with abrupt, durable changes in the density of energetic particles that were first detected on Aug. 25, 2012. The Voyager team generally accepts this date as the date of interstellar arrival. The charged particle and plasma changes were what would have been expected during a crossing of the heliopause.
“The team’s hard work to build durable spacecraft and carefully manage the Voyager spacecraft’s limited resources paid off in another first for NASA and humanity,” said Suzanne Dodd, Voyager project manager, based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. “We expect the fields and particles science instruments on Voyager will continue to send back data through at least 2020. We can’t wait to see what the Voyager instruments show us next about deep space.”

Star Trek: The Motion Picture is a 1979 American science fiction film directed by Robert Wise and based on the television series Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry, who also served as its producer. It is the first installment in the Star Trek film series, and stars the cast of the original television series. In the film, set in the 2270s, a mysterious and immensely powerful alien cloud known as V’Ger approaches Earth, destroying everything in its path. Admiral James T. Kirk (William Shatner) assumes command of the recently refitted Starship USS Enterprise, to lead it on a mission to save the planet and determine V’Ger’s origins.
When the original television series was canceled in 1969, Roddenberry lobbied Paramount Pictures to continue the franchise through a feature film. The success of the series in syndication convinced the studio to begin work on the film in 1975. A series of writers attempted to craft a “suitably epic” script, but the attempts did not satisfy Paramount, who scrapped the project in 1977. Paramount instead planned on returning the franchise to its roots, with a new television series titled Star Trek: Phase II. The box office success of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, however, convinced Paramount that science fiction films other than Star Wars could do well, so the studio canceled production of Phase II and resumed its attempts at making a Star Trek film.
In 1978, Paramount assembled the largest press conference held at the studio since the 1950s to announce that Wise would direct a $15 million film adaptation of the original television series. With the cancellation of Phase II, writers rushed to adapt its planned pilot episode, “In Thy Image”, into a film script. Constant revisions to the story and the shooting script continued to the extent of hourly script updates on shooting dates. The Enterprise was modified inside and out, costume designer Robert Fletcher provided new uniforms, and production designer Harold Michelson fabricated new sets. Jerry Goldsmith composed the film’s score, beginning an association with Star Trek that would continue until 2002. When the original contractors for the optical effects proved unable to complete their tasks in time, effects supervisor Douglas Trumbull was asked to meet the film’s December 1979 release date. Wise took the just-completed film to its Washington, D.C., opening, but always felt that the final theatrical version was a rough cut of the film he wanted to make.
Released in North America on December 7, 1979, Star Trek: The Motion Picture received mixed reviews, many of which faulted it for a lack of action scenes and over-reliance on special effects. Its final production cost ballooned to approximately $44 million, and it earned $139 million worldwide, short of studio expectations but enough for Paramount to propose a less expensive sequel. Roddenberry was forced out of creative control for the sequel, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982). In 2001, Wise oversaw a director’s cut for a special DVD release of the film, with remastered audio, tightened and added scenes, and new computer-generated effects.
Contents
1Plot
2Cast
3Production
3.1Early development
3.2Phase II and restart
3.3Design
3.4Props and models
3.5Costumes and makeup
3.6Technical consulting
3.7Filming
3.8Post-production
3.9Music
3.9.1Charts
3.10Sound effects
4Themes
5Release
5.1Theatrical release
5.2Home media
6Reception
6.1Box office
6.2Critical reception
6.3Accolades
7See also
8Notes
9References
10External links
Plot[edit]
In the 23rd century, a Starfleet monitoring station, Epsilon Nine, detects an alien entity, hidden in a massive cloud of energy, moving through space toward Earth. The cloud easily destroys three of the Klingon Empire’s new K’t’inga-class warships when they fire on it and disintegrates Epsilon Nine when it tries to investigate. On Earth, the starship Enterprise is undergoing a major refit; its former commanding officer, James T. Kirk, has been promoted to Admiral and works in San Francisco as Chief of Starfleet Operations. Starfleet Command assigns Enterprise to intercept the cloud entity as the ship is the only one within range, requiring its new systems to be tested in transit.
Citing his experience, Kirk uses his authority to take command of the ship, angering Captain Willard Decker, who has been overseeing the refit as its new commanding officer. Testing of Enterprise’s new systems goes poorly; two officers, including the ship’s Vulcan science officer Sonak, are killed by a malfunctioning transporter, and improperly calibrated engines nearly destroy the ship. Kirk’s unfamiliarity with the ship’s new systems increases the tension between him and Decker, who has been temporarily demoted to first officer. Commander Spock arrives as a replacement science officer, explaining that while on his home world undergoing a ritual to purge himself of emotion, he felt a consciousness that he believes emanates from the cloud, making him unable to complete the ritual because his human half felt an emotional connection to it.
Enterprise intercepts the energy cloud and is attacked by an alien vessel within. A probe appears on the bridge, attacks Spock, and abducts the navigator, Ilia. She is replaced by a robotic replica, sent by the entity, which calls itself “V’Ger”, to study the “carbon lifeforms” on the ship. Decker is distraught over the loss of Ilia, with whom he had a romantic history. He becomes troubled as he attempts to extract information from the doppelgänger, which has Ilia’s memories and feelings buried inside. Spock takes an unauthorized spacewalk to the vessel’s interior and attempts a telepathic mind meld with it. In doing so, he learns that the vessel is V’Ger itself, a non-biological living machine.
At the center of the massive ship, V’Ger is revealed to be Voyager 6, a 20th-century Earth space probe believed lost in a black hole. The damaged probe was found by an alien race of living machines that interpreted its programming as instructions to learn all that can be learned and return that information to its creator. The machines upgraded the probe to fulfill its mission, and on its journey, the probe gathered so much knowledge that it achieved sentience. Spock realizes that V’Ger lacks the ability to give itself a purpose other than its original mission; having learned what it could on its journey home, it finds its existence meaningless. Before transmitting all its information, V’Ger insists that the “Creator” come in person to finish the sequence. Everyone realizes humans are the Creator. Decker offers himself to V’Ger; he merges with the Ilia probe and V’Ger, creating a new life form that disappears into space. With Earth saved, Kirk directs Enterprise out to space for future missions.
Cast[edit]

The main cast of The Motion Picture in the film’s costumes on the bridge set. Clockwise from far left: director Robert Wise: Collins, Barrett, Nimoy, Doohan, Shatner, Kelley, Whitney, Nichols, Koenig, producer Gene Roddenberry, Takei, and Khambatta. These and other publicity shots were taken after screen tests for the actors on August 3, 1978.[5]
William Shatner as James T. Kirk, the former captain of the USS Enterprise and an Admiral at Starfleet headquarters. When asked during a March 1978 press conference about what it would be like to reprise the role, Shatner said, “An actor brings to a role not only the concept of a character but his own basic personality, things that he is, and both [Leonard Nimoy] and myself have changed over the years, to a degree at any rate, and we will bring that degree of change inadvertently to the role we recreate.”[6]
Leonard Nimoy as Spock, the Enterprise’s half-Vulcan, half-human science officer. Nimoy had been dissatisfied with unpaid royalties from Star Trek and did not intend to reprise the role, so Spock was left out of the screenplay. Director Robert Wise, having been informed by his daughter and son-in-law that the film “would not be Star Trek” without Nimoy, sent Jeffrey Katzenberg to New York City to meet Nimoy. Describing Star Trek without Nimoy as buying a car without wheels, Katzenberg gave Nimoy a check to make up for his lost royalties, later recalling himself “on my knees begging” the actor during their meeting at a restaurant to join the film; Nimoy attended the March 1978 press conference with the rest of the returning cast. Nimoy was dissatisfied with the script, and his meeting with Katzenberg led to an agreement that the final script would need Nimoy’s approval.[7][8] Financial issues notwithstanding, Nimoy said he was comfortable with being identified as Spock because it had a positive impact on his fame.[6]
DeForest Kelley as Leonard McCoy, the chief medical officer aboard the Enterprise. Kelley had reservations about the script, feeling that the characters and relationships from the series were not in place. Along with Shatner and Nimoy, Kelley lobbied for greater characterization, but their opinions were largely ignored.[9]
James Doohan as Montgomery Scott, the Enterprise’s chief engineer. Doohan created the distinctive Klingon vocabulary heard in the film.[10] Linguist Marc Okrand later developed a fully realized Klingon language based on the actor’s made-up words.[11]
Walter Koenig as Pavel Chekov, the Enterprise’s weapons officer. Koenig noted that the expected sense of camaraderie and euphoria at being assembled for screen tests at the start of the picture was nonexistent. “This may be Star Trek,” he wrote, “but it isn’t the old Star Trek.” The actor was hopeful for the film, but admitted he was disappointed by his character’s bit part.[12]
Nichelle Nichols as Uhura, the communications officer aboard the Enterprise. Nichols noted in her autobiography that she was one of the actors most opposed to the new uniforms added for the film because the drab, unisex look “wasn’t Uhura”.[13]
George Takei as Hikaru Sulu, the Enterprise’s helmsman. In his autobiography, Takei described the film’s shooting schedule as “astonishingly luxurious”, but noted that frequent script rewrites during production “usually favored Bill” [Shatner].[14]
Persis Khambatta as Ilia, the Deltan navigator of the Enterprise. Khambatta was originally cast in the role when The Motion Picture was a television pilot.[6] She took the role after Roddenberry warned her that she would have to shave her head completely for filming.[15]
Stephen Collins as Willard Decker, the new captain of the Enterprise. He is temporarily demoted to Commander and First Officer when Kirk takes command of the Enterprise. He was the only actor that Robert Wise cast; Collins recalled that although “every young actor in Hollywood” auditioned he benefited by being completely unfamiliar with the franchise, more interested in meeting the legendary director than in the role. Others advised him after being cast that Star Trek “is going to be in your life your whole life”.[8] Kelley’s dressing room was next to Collins’, and the older actor became his mentor for the production.[16] Collins described filming as akin to “playing with somebody else’s bat, ball, and glove” because he was not a part of the franchise’s history. He used the feeling of being an “invader” to portray Decker, who is “an outsider who they had to have along”.[8]
Other actors from the television series who returned included Majel Barrett as Christine Chapel, a doctor aboard the Enterprise,[17][18] and Grace Lee Whitney as Janice Rand, formerly one of Kirk’s yeomen. David Gautreaux, who had been cast as Xon in the aborted second television series, appears as Branch, the commander of the Epsilon 9 communications station.[6] Mark Lenard portrays the Klingon commander in the film’s opening sequence; the actor also played Spock’s father, Sarek, in the television series and in later feature films.[19]

V’ger

…On its journey back, it amassed so much knowledge, it achieved consciousness itself. It became a living thing.“– James T. Kirk2270s (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

V’ger was a massive entity and one of the most extraordinary lifeforms ever encountered by the United Federation of Planets. It generated enormous levels of power and threatened Earth with destruction until it found a way to evolve.

V’ger chose its own name. Before the name of the vessel was discovered, Starfleet personnel referred to the ship as “the intruder“.

Contents

Approaching Federation space

Initial contact

First detected when passing through Klingon territory in the 2270sV’ger was unlike anything that Starfleet had ever encountered. Its initial appearance – that of a vast, luminous cloud, capable of emitting enormous amounts of energy – was described as a “twelfth-power energy field“, a scale beyond the energy-generation capacity of even “thousands of starships“.

During a battle with a fleet of three Klingon K’t’inga-class battle cruisers led by the IKS AmarV’ger launched a series of powerful, spherically-shaped “bolts” of plasma energy that emerged from within the cloud and eliminated the Klingon assailants. The cloud and its encounter with the Klingons, while occurring within Klingon space, was detected and monitored by a sensor drone from Starfleet’s Epsilon IX communications station, which was in close proximity to the then-disputed Federation-Klingon border.

Shortly after the elimination of the Klingon vessels, the cloud passed into Federation space near the Epsilon IX station, which was able to perform limited scans on it, although most of its sensor sweeps were reflected back. The relay station‘s crew was able, however, to determine that it measured a diameter in excess of two astronomical units, which, at almost three hundred million kilometers, would have made the cloud at least as large as Earth’s entire orbit; they also detected a null reading at the heart of the entity, indicating a solid form or vessel of some kind. Unfortunately, V’ger appeared to interpret Epsilon IX’s scans as a hostile act, and eliminated the space station in the same manner as it had the Klingon vessels.

Threatening Earth

We’ve plotted a course on that cloud, commander. It’ll pass into Federation space, fairly close to us.”
“Heading?”
“Sir, it’s on a precise heading for Earth.
“– Epsilon IX crewmember and Branch2270s (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

With the cloud just fifty-four hours away from Earth, Starfleet dispatched the only starship within interception range, the newly refitted USS Enterprise, to determine both what the intruder was and how to stop it, if possible. When the Enterprise arrived at the cloud’s coordinates, it determined that the entity had an energy output surpassing that of thousands of starships.

By assuming a non-threatening posture, the Enterprise was able to deeply penetrate the cloud surrounding V’ger and begin gathering information. During this critical time, however, the starship was cut off from all communication with Starfleet. As V’ger entered the Sol system, the cloud surrounding it began to rapidly dissipate, and spherical energy “bolts” similar to those that had destroyed the Klingons and the Epsilon IX station, only vastly more powerful, were launched by the entity. The energy spheres proceeded on courses that would place them into equidistant orbits around the planet, at which point it was predicted Earth’s entire surface would be devastated.

Making contact

The Enterprise tried to make contact with V’ger, but all linguacode messages were ignored, and it became apparent that the object at the heart of the cloud was unable to comprehend the hailing signals. It was determined that the intruder communicated on a frequency of more than one million megahertz (over one terahertz) and that, at such a high rate of speed, an entire message lasted only a millisecond.

Aside from the plasma energy spheres, V’ger had other, less destructive means of gathering data. It scanned the Enterprise with a plasma-energy beam that gave some of the crew an electric shock, but otherwise left people unharmed. However, the same beam removed the Deltan navigator of the EnterpriseLieutenant Ilia.

V’ger was able to analyze Ilia in extraordinary detail, at least down to the cellular level. It then constructed an extremely accurate bio-mechanical replica of her, which acted as a probe. This device was such a precise copy of the original that it even had her memory patterns. They were, however, suppressed, and the Ilia probe had only rudimentary knowledge of humanoid behavior, presumably reflecting V’ger‘s own level of experience; the probe required considerable education to act as liaison between V’ger and the crew of the Enterprise.

Physical aspects and organization

It could hold a crew of… tens of thousands.
Or a crew of a thousand, ten miles tall.“– Nyota Uhura observing V’ger with Leonard McCoy2270s (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

Structure and layout

The USS Enterprise makes contact with the intruder

Surrounded by layer upon layer of cloud formations, the vessel aspect of V’ger was enormous, with even the largest starship seeming microscopic in comparison.

Roughly cylindrical in shape, the construction of the exterior and interior of the vessel was mostly of a “hexad”, or six-sided axially symmetric nature, with the axis generally running from “bow” to “stern“, but with few indications as to its nature or purposes. Portions of the outer hull seem to have been composed of energy rather than matterOrganic in appearance, despite harboring no biological lifeforms, the interior was multi-chambered, and contained circular apertures that could be closed or opened to prevent or allow passage from one section of the vessel to the next. The most prominent of these apertures, at the forward end of the interior chamber where the Enterprise was located before accessing the intruder’s core, possessed a hexad of six symmetrical “petals” constantly oscillating in unison, appearing much like the mechanical iris of a camera shutter, but of enormous proportions, with the entire aperture’s outer diameter measuring in excess of one kilometer wide.

In one area of the vessel, there was a three-dimensional data storage facility. This stored representations of all data collected by V’ger. The plasma energy weapon which the vessel used to defend itself not only had extreme destructive force, but also functioned as an unusual data-gathering system; as V’ger destroyed a vessel, it gathered an enormous amount of information, and created what appeared to be a holographic record of it, later referred to by the Ilia probe as a “data pattern”. In essence, V’ger didn’t so much destroy a target as “remember” it to death. When the science officer of the EnterpriseCommander Spock, entered the area, he could see images of everything that the powerful entity had encountered on its long journey, including planets, star systems, and entire galaxies, though the images remained indeterminable as to whether they had been destroyed or simply explored. When Spock came to an image of a gigantic Lieutenant Ilia, he noticed a glowing “node” at the base of the image’s throat. He was being guided telepathically by V’ger, and attempted to access the data through a mind meld. He quickly suffered a sensory overload, losing consciousness, and was flung back through the spiral “orifice” toward the Enterprise.

V’ger was able to control atmospheric conditions within its chambers. In the area near where Spock encountered the image of Ilia, there was an “inner sanctum,” a central nexus where V’ger could create an M-class environment. In this nexus was a large circular area, resembling an amphitheater, with data conduits running into the center. Lightning constantly lit the background, possibly the visible “nerve” transmissions of V’ger itself.

The heart of V’ger

The heart of V’ger

Beyond the oscillating hexad of iris-like petals that Spock had to pass through during his EVA spacewalk to meld with the intruder, the center of the enormous vessel contained the oldest part of V’ger – Voyager 6, an unmanned deep space probe launched by NASA in the late 20th century. The entire vessel surrounding the Voyager probe had been built by an unknown race of machine entities in order to help it complete what the latter interpreted to be its primary programming: “learn all that is learnable,” and return that knowledge to its creator. During its journey, the probe had come to think of itself as V’ger after the only remaining legible letters from its original name (the “O”, “Y”, “A”, and “6” on the nameplate having been obscured from encounters with previous spatial hazards), and amassed knowledge to such a degree as to become self-aware.

Evolution of V’ger

“V’ger must evolve. Its knowledge has reached the limits of this universe and it must evolve.“– Spock2270s (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

The machine planet

V’ger had an extraordinary ability to evolve. It was discovered that the evolution of this once-simple probe into a complex, powerful entity began after it was pulled into an anomaly once called a black hole, shortly after leaving Earth’s solar system.

Voyager 6 emerged from the anomaly in what was believed to have been the far side of the galaxy, and fell into the gravitational field of a planet populated by living machines. These beings found Voyager 6 damaged by its travels, and the identifying plaque attached to the probe’s exterior had been burned, leaving only the letters “V”, “G”, “E”, and “R” legible; the inhabitants of the machine planet called the probe “V’ger“.

These entities found V’ger to be primitive, but of a kindred spirit. They discovered the probe’s simple, 20th century programming, “learn all that is learnable and return that knowledge to the creator,” and interpreted these instructions literally.

Reprogramming

Reconstructed through highly advanced technologies as a vast space-faring artificial organismV’ger was augmented with a three-dimensional data collection and storage apparatus, magnitudes beyond anything previously known to Federation science. The inhabitants of the machine planet likewise provided V’ger with effectively immeasurable defensive and sensory capabilities; these gave V’ger the ability to fulfill its programming in a far more complete fashion than the scientists who had originally built and launched the vessel at its core had ever imagined.

Sentience

At the heart of V’ger, the crew of the Enterprise finds the ancient Voyager 6 probe

While traversing the vast distance back to Earth, V’ger collected data via its 3D imaging system, but in doing so destroyed the objects that it encountered along the way. However, it accumulated so much knowledge that it eventually achieved consciousness and became, like its benefactors, a living machine. As a machine, it was only capable of pure, cold logic with no emotion, but with its new-found sentience, V’ger began to question its own existence. It asked the philosophical questions faced by so many lifeforms: “Is this all that I am? Is there nothing more?” The answers, V’ger decided, could only be found with its creator on Earth.

Resolution

Upon merging with Humanity, V’ger evolves into a higher level of existence

Realizing it lacked the intuitive, irrational elements which allow Humans to deal with some complex, non-scientific concepts, it came to believe that only its Creator could help it to leap beyond logic. In order to obtain the answers it needed, V’ger wished to meet and become one with its Creator. To this end, it sought not only to receive the acknowledged signal from the Creator, but to merge with the Creator.

But V’ger had been reprogrammed to such an extent that it had come to think of biological lifeforms as an “infestation“, and destroyed any that it encountered. When V’ger encountered the crew of the Enterprise, its confusion over its true nature was so great that it could not comprehend what it was told – that it had been created by the organic lifeforms it saw only as imperfections that must be cleansed.

In an effort to meet its Creator, V’ger refused to accept the pre-programmed transmission that would signal it to transmit its accumulated data. The probe burned out a relay connection, hoping to force the Creator to come to its heart, so that they could merge. Realizing that the only way V’ger would understand was to add Humanity to its experiences, Captain Will Decker, who was deeply affected by the loss of Ilia, his former lover, sacrificed himself to become one with the machine lifeform. Decker rewired the relay connection and keyed in the final sequence of the transmission manually. This prompted V’ger to begin transmitting its data, effectively merging with Decker and the Ilia probe, thus taking V’ger to a new level of existence. At last satisfied with its answers, V’ger disappeared in a blinding flash of white light, leaving Admiral James T. Kirk, Commander Spock, and Doctor Leonard McCoy of the Enterprise to discuss the possibility that they had just created a new lifeform made of V’ger‘s logic and of Humanity’s ability to feel and to believe. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

Appendices

Background information

The concept of V’ger, an Earth-launched space probe that becomes a powerful, sentient being in its own right, is in many ways a revisiting of the Nomad probe featured in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode “The Changeling“.

According to the writers of the Star Trek Chronology (1st ed., p. 17), shortly after “Q Who” was produced, “Gene Roddenberry half jokingly speculated that the planet encountered by Voyager might have been the Borg homeworld.

When Spock attempts a mind meld with V’ger and is quickly overwhelmed, among the images visible on the screen multiple times, when in slow motion, amid the background of his face, can be seen the dedication plaque carried not by Voyager 1 and 2, but by Pioneer 10 and 11. Other images include a Klingon cruiser seen earlier, the bridge and two crewmembers of (presumably) the IKS Amar, Epsilon IX, the Epsilon IX lieutenant, and Ilia.

A picture tweeted by Ted Sullivan on 28 November 2017 of a star chart supposedly used for Star Trek: Discovery, largely taken from the Star Trek Star Charts, included a few anachronisms such as the “Route of V’ger.”[1]

Concept and effects development

Spelling of the name

The spelling “V’ger” was used in the shooting script of Star Trek: The Motion Picture[2] The alternative spelling “V’Ger“, with a capital “G”, was used in most other reference sources, including such works as Star Trek Encyclopedia (3rd ed., p. 539) and Star Trek Star Charts (p. 39) and at StarTrek.com[3]

The label of the soundtrack LP record, and more significantly the text of the novelization of the film, itself written by Gene Roddenberry as the only Star Trek novel ever written by the series’ creator, both use the alternative spelling “Vejur“, which in the novel exists from its first mention on page 179 onwards in the novel’s first paperback edition. This was to mislead the reader in case they had not yet seen the movie, as both the soundtrack and novelization were released before the film’s premiere.

The size controversy

The physical size of V’ger has been the subject of speculation from the time Star Trek: The Motion Picture was first released, at the end of 1979. In the original theatrical release of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the V’ger energy cloud is given a size measuring eighty-two au in diameter, in dialogue from the Epsilon IX commander, Branch. That measurement is equivalent to over 1.2271×1010 kilometers or 0.001 light years. Placing V’ger at the same central position as the sun would mean that the energy cloud would extend beyond the Kuiper belt, extending into the orbit of Eris, and essentially swallowing our entire solar system. For the later-released Directors’ Edition DVD of the film, the cloud size was drastically scaled down to two au, which is the distance between Sol and a point between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. [4] This revision was achieved by editing the spoken dialogue to clip out the “eighty” and leaving just the “two”. As one au is precisely the average distance between Sol and Earth, this more reasonable measurement reduces the size of the cloud to “merely” the diameter of Earth’s orbit. More recent releases of the film, however, retain the original dimension and it is unclear which should be considered canonical. Additional dialogue established that the cloud dissipated rapidly as it slowed to enter the solar system, allowing V’ger ultimately to enter Earth’s orbit without disrupting the entire system and destroying Earth, in essence making both size measurements “correct”. In the Director’s Edition, the dramatically decreasing cloud had disappeared entirely when V’ger entered Earth orbit.

The size of V’ger‘s vessel has also been a subject of debate. In dialogue cut from the theatrical version of the movie, Decker says the spacecraft was seventy-eight kilometers (forty-eight miles) in length. The novel adaptation of the film gives the same dimension for the ship and states it as displacing six million times the amount of space as Enterprise. One popular non-canon site for Star Trek technical details, the Daystrom Institute Technical Library, listed V’ger‘s overall length at a staggering ninety-seven kilometers, stated as being determined from apparently careful measurement of the image of the refitted NCC-1701 from the movie’s scenes, as the Enterprise traveled closely (at only five hundred meters distance, from the movie’s dialogue) over the various parts of V’ger‘s exterior structures, during the Federation starship’s initial close examination of the “intruder” vessel. Another estimate places V’ger‘s colossal length at a much more conservative twenty kilometers instead, possibly based on the statement of replacement navigator DiFalco‘s “distance inside the intruder as seventeen kilometers,” spoken just after Chekov reports that V’ger‘s “orbiting devices” were eighteen minutes from reaching their equidistant deployment points in Earth orbit, during the approach to Voyager 6‘s “island,” in the most extreme part of V’ger‘s interior that the Enterprise was allowed access to. The latter estimate, however, would make V’ger impossibly smaller than the roughly seventy kilometer-long Whale Probe featured in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, given that the latter was passed by a Federation starship within minutes, rather than the near-hour it took to traverse even half of V’ger at a faster pace, much of which was carried out at only a half-kilometer distance from the “intruder’s” hull.

Apocrypha

The idea that the Borg homeworld was the machine planet which V’ger had encountered was further developed in the William Shatner novel The Return, where Spock’s mind meld with V’ger not only protected Spock from being assimilated (since the Borg Collective was already present in Spock’s mind, the Borg assumed he was already one of them), but provided the Federation with the coordinates of the Borg homeworld for a final attack. It may also be significant that Spock, when referring to V’ger, says, “Resistance would be futile.

In the game Star Trek: Legacy, it is said that V’ger itself created the Borg to gain the knowledge by assimilation. The Star Trek: Voyager episode “Dragon’s Teeth” seems to contradict the game’s storyline, as the character of Gedrin states to Seven of Nine that his species, the Vaadwaur, had encountered the Borg over nine centuries prior to his revival, placing the Borg’s genesis at least as far back as around the year 1400 AD. The story writers for Star Trek: Legacy, however, claimed on the official game forum that Voyager 6 was meant to have been thrown back in time as well as across the galaxy, an aspect mentioned in the “extras” cut-scenes of the game itself.

Star Trek Online also hints at a connection to the Borg, as vessels closely resembling V’ger are featured as Borg mini-bosses, even including the disintegrating plasma weapons and the V’ger-style low-pitched sound effects. [5]

V’ger and the Narada

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