Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I ask this as I have just been looking at the designs fro the original series torpedo systems and was wondering if the magnetic seals on a torpedo would fail in the even of an EMP event.

The ship might be externally dampened from EMP but if someone beamed a device inside the ship to the torpedo room for instance, would this cause the seals to fail and subsequently the torpedoes to explode?

I realise I am not well versed in Physics but any pointers would be great, thank you.

Here is the corresponding diagram:

Internal schematic of a TOS period torpedo

share|improve this question
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Considering that radiation hardening is already a focus of research for military systems designers, it seems unlikely that systems built hundreds of years in our future wouldn't employ the most up to date components and techniques.

Active weapons system, such as photon torpedoes, are the kind of thing that you don't want to fail in any conceivable situation. Since EMP is well within the bounds of conceivable, the answer to your question is no.

share|improve this answer
Thanks, that does make sense. Just seemed that as the torpedo would be so small that hardening to those kinds of things would be less likely to be 100% perfect. – MrDobilina Apr 4 '14 at 15:24
Nothing is 100% perfect. Engineering is about creating a design that works to a set of specifications. The Federation doesn't have the technology to protect a torpedo against EMP generated by a member of the Q Continuum, but I don't think the Federation engineers are going to lose much sleep over that. If a Star Fleet ship or facility armed with torpedoes is going up against a Q, the ability of said torpedoes to withstand EMP is the least of their problems. – Donald.McLean Apr 4 '14 at 15:56

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.