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I would like to restrict this to televisions shows. It can be a 2 part answer or other answers where novels discuss even faster hyper-drive style technology.

Is the jump mechanism of FTL in Battlestar Galactica (in particular the Cylon base ships), a clear winner. Or does the Trek Universe warp factor 9.985 outpace the jump mechanism?

I would like to also rule out types of Transwarp in the Trek universe, like the conduits the Borg use, and even the power of the Tardis from doctor who, as these seem to out pace the standard hyper-drive style technology that forms the main story lines in the various universes.

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closed as primarily opinion-based by PearsonArtPhoto Jul 18 '13 at 20:42

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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Are StarGates and other "teleport" type in scope? –  DVK Jan 3 '12 at 14:05
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Do infinite improbability drives count? –  gnovice Jan 3 '12 at 14:42
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The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy has spaceships with infinite speed... But I guess they are ruled out in this comparison ;] –  Nils Munch Jan 4 '12 at 13:31
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What about Spaceballs? –  Wikis Jan 5 '12 at 12:56
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I just thought of a ship that exists simultaneously in every location, dimension, time, thought, and possible reality. Does that mean I have just invented the new correct answer? (curse original research taboos) –  Mark Rogers Jan 6 '12 at 16:01

11 Answers 11

  • B5: No specific metric has ever been given to exact hyperspace distances in the Babylon 5 universe, and series creator Straczynski has stated on at least one occasion that distances are not linear

  • BSG: I wasn't able to find anything canon yet, but this page stipulates that they use some form of wormhole - so it'd be disqualified together with Borg transwarp conduits.

    The effective speed is somewhat limited but not by theoretical technology limits but by navigational issues causing jump length limits.

  • Andromeda: Unlimited, apparently. From http://andromeda.wikia.com/wiki/Slipstream#Excerpt_from_Directors_Bible:

    One interesting thing about moving through the Slipstream is that travel time has almost nothing to do with the distance between stars. If you're lucky and the Stream unfolds just right, you could get from here to the next galaxy in minutes. But if you're not lucky, and things get hairy, the same trip could take weeks or even months.

    Therefore I'm gonna disqualify Andromeda into the same transwarp/wormhole bin.

  • ST: Exact velocities were only given in the Voyager episode "The 37's" where Tom Paris describes Voyager's velocity at warp factor 9.9 (under the new warp table formula) as being about 4 billion miles per second, which would be over 21,000 times the speed of light (although Voyager cannot maintain this velocity for very long). Normalized, that would be 6.437376×1012 m/s

  • StarGate: When the Daedalus is powered by its Asgard Hyperdrive, it takes 18 days to travel to Atlantis in the Pegasus galaxy; however, when the engineers rigged the Zero Point Module (ZPM) sent for Atlantis' Ancient shield into the system, it took only 4 days. General Hank Landry states that the distance between the Pegasus and Milky Way galaxies is "three million light-years," suggesting that the series takes place in the Pegasus Dwarf Irregular Galaxy. This means that the speeds reached are (2.83815852 × 1022 m/345 600sec) = 8.21226424*1016m/s (273,931,649 times speed of light)

  • StarWars: We will go with general universe info, assuming that TV series (Clone Wars) follows canon.

    As per Daniel Bingham's calculations in answer to Was the Millennium Falcon too slow? ; the fastest known hyperdrive (class 0.5, though Zonama Sekot's ships were 0.4 class) was 28 light years per hour = 7.35818876 × 1013 m/s (245,442 times speed of light).

    The same answer had a comment from Aramis stating that this was corrected in the canon and that the actual traversal time was 2 orders of magnitude faster than Daniel's figures, so that brings us to ~20million times c - but only after I confirm the canon source for this.


Summary

So far, StarGate Asgard Hyperdrive seems to be a clear winner by 3-4 orders of magnitude (or by 1-2 orders of magnitude if Aramis' comment re: Star Wars galaxy traversal time is correct).

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Sources: Wiki, for most part. –  DVK Jan 3 '12 at 14:44
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BTW, as far as "Star Wars" - Either surprisingly (for such a large Universe) or predictably (we are dealing with Lucas's "12 parsec Kessel run" universe), I wasn't able to find any actual quantification for SW hyperdrive speeds, beyond the standard class system (starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Hyperdrive#Classes). Most of the flight speed seems to be largely affected by routing (due to necessity to avoid gravity wells) as opposed to pure hyperspace speed. –  DVK Jan 3 '12 at 17:37
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What are all these in Warp Factor? Oh, and what about Threshold? <trollface> –  Nick T Jan 5 '12 at 20:02
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In Ep 6 of the first series of TNG (Where none have gone?) they're shot into space 'above warp ten'. From the show having travelled ~2.7MLy it would take "300 years at maximum warp" Given the max warp on Memoryalpha for the Enterprise is 8, that gives warp 8 at 9006c. In fact getting there only take 55 seconds screen time they travel at 1.549×10^12 times the speed of light in vacuum. Extrapolating from the voyager data, at that point the enterprise reaches between warp 24-28 (assuming there is an exponential relation between warp factor and speed, the exponent is between 2.7121 and 3.1216) –  Pureferret Jan 5 '12 at 22:49
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@NickT - your comment made me sorry I posted the answer. I have previously successfully blocked that episode from memory. –  DVK Jan 6 '12 at 2:52

The ship Bistromath from the H2G2 series travels at several thousand times the Speed of R due to the Bistromathic drive. R is the fastest one can travel safely*. Assuming all other ships travel safely, then surely Bistromathic is the fastest ship.

Q.E.D.

  • Note:

    “R is a velocity of measure, defined as a reasonable speed of travel that is consistent with health, mental well-being, and not being more than, say, five minutes late. It is therefore clearly as almost infinite variable figure according to circumstances, since the first two factors vary not only with speed as an absolute, but also with awareness of the third factor. Unless handled with tranquility, this equation can result in considerable stress, ulcers, and even death.”

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But then if you travel faster than R safely, wouldn't you have traveled at R?... –  Nick T Jan 5 '12 at 20:05
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@NickT Who said the Bistromath was safe? –  Pureferret Jan 5 '12 at 21:01
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Just because you survived something doesn't mean it was safe - quoth my childhood. –  Chris B. Behrens Jan 5 '12 at 22:56
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Scratch that; Who said warp 10 was safe. Especially when it leads to episodes like Threshold. –  Pureferret Jan 5 '12 at 22:59

I'm not sure if this would fit within your limitation of "hyperspace technology", but in the Star Trek TNG episode "Where No One Has Gone Before" a being known as The Traveler used his unique ability to alter time and space, combined with the warp drive of the Enterprise, to propel the ship at unheard of speeds. In this sense, it isn't a pure hyperdrive system that was propelling them, but instead a sort of hybrid organic-hyperdrive system where The Traveler himself was a component (The Traveler only performed this feat while the ship's warp drive was engaged, so it doesn't appear he can move the ship at these speeds on his own).

I don't recall how long the high-speed travel sequences took, but it was likely under a minute or so for each. They made a first trip of 2.7 million light years to the M-33 Galaxy and a second trip of 1 billion light years to the edge of the known universe. Assuming 1 minute of travel time, that places their speed for the faster second trip at around 1.5768×1023 m/s, or over 5×1014 times the speed of light.

...although, nothing can beat the "mere nothingth of a second" that it takes to travel with an infinite improbability drive. But that probably doesn't count as an answer because it doesn't involve "mucking about in hyperspace". ;)

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I timed it at 55 seconds from the 'woosh' as it breaks warp 10 to them saying full stop. See my comment above. –  Pureferret Jan 5 '12 at 22:58
    
+1 for your comment re: AT-ATs –  DVK Jan 19 '12 at 23:09

Stargate takes the cake for me, not only can the hyperdrives used in the T.V carry ships between galaxies in hours, in stargate universe they open a wormhole to a ship hundreds of galaxies away and travel to it in seconds.

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Star Trek: Voyager. In one episode, Tom Paris tests a new type of warp drive and achieves warp 10, which is an infinite velocity.

The episode does not make it clear whether this qualifies as 'transwarp'.

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It has to be the Dune universe. The folding of space makes any distance of travel basically instantaneous. The big time lag for them was loading a planets worth of passengers at once since it was so expensive for the navigators to operate in pure spice.

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Star Trek: The Original Series. In By Any Other Name the Kelvins modified the Enterprise's warp drive to reach speeds fast enough to travel to Andromeda in 300 years. That's around 8400c.

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My Choice is the T.A.R.D.I.S. from Dr. Who

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Thx Brian, but can you add some justification? (I suppose the TARDIS can arrive before it leaves...) –  Wikis Jan 6 '12 at 6:13
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@Wikis Exactly... or go back in time to rearrange the future so the event you're travelling to happens where you start so there is no need to travel. –  Richard Jan 6 '12 at 8:42
    
The T.A.R.D.I.S. is not a hyperspace vessel. –  bitmask Jan 10 '13 at 21:13

In Stargate the Asgards using Asgards ships could travel from Orila to Earth in minutes, this is millions of light year in minutes. And while towed the Prometheus they reach the Asgard homeworld in just hours.

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Dune by far has the fastest travel by being able to fold space onto itself.

Star Trek's warp technology is log base 10, where full impulse was actually c (1x lightspeed).

  • warp 1 = 10c
  • warp 2 = 10*warp 1
  • warp 3 = 10*warp 2
  • warp 4 = 10*warp 3
  • etc, etc. up to warp 9. Then:
  • warp 9.1 = 10*warp 9 up to 9.9

And so on until you have an infinite number of 9s (e.g. warp 9.99999999...) never reaching warp 10, because at warp 10 you have infinite speed and infinite mass and infinite power and you would exist in every point in the universe simultaneously.

So Dune's folding space and warp 10 in star trek is the fastest way to travel, but warp 10 is impossible to reach it would require infinite energy.

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The Q in Star Trek probably have the fastest. They are pretty much summed up as "I can, especially if it's funny or it annoys you, or if I feel like it/plot/script says so"

Though the Ascended/Ancients/Ori in Stargate have the same powers, they just dont use them.

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Annon, could you edit this slightly so it's on par with the other answers? –  Pureferret Jan 5 '12 at 21:01
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The people you mention all use teleportation, which is explicitly disallowed in the question. –  Jeff Jan 5 '12 at 22:34
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@Jeff: Not to mention the fact that Q is not a 'ship' :) –  Kevin Laity Feb 1 '12 at 14:59

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