According to this answer:

During the 22nd century, standard Earth transporter systems had a range of 10,000 kilometers

In the Star Trek reboot, Scotty manages to transport himself and Kirk aboard the Enterprise while it's traveling at high warp.

If warp 1 is the speed of light (186,000 mi/sec), and the Enterprise is travelling at high warp, we can only assume it's moving several hundred times the speed of light.

So in the time it took Scotty's finger to depress the button to activate the transporters, the Enterprise has traveled some ridiculous distance I can't figure out in my head.

Can anyone tell me roughly how far Scotty beamed himself and Kirk?

I've listened to Scotty's explanation several times, but it's not really helped...

  • 1
    I'd suggest the ability to calculate the coordinates accurately was from Spock bringing back Scotty's transwarp equations from his alternate future. As far as boosting the distance, they just added handwavium to the transporter coils :)
    – Jane S
    Mar 10, 2016 at 10:50
  • 5
    Yeah; Abrams's universes are made to seem tiny. Very annoying. Recall how the Enterprise warped to Vulcan in what appeared to be only a few minutes. Mar 10, 2016 at 11:15
  • 3
    @BarryTheHatchet Yeah, and you can see planets being blown up basically in real time, although they are supposedly not in the same solar system as you ... oops.... wrong universe
    – BMWurm
    Mar 10, 2016 at 11:22
  • 1
    @BarryTheHatchet - One of the few things I really didn't like about the remake ... Abrams really doesn't get the idea of how long it should take to get anywhere, by any means. It was something I had to let slide before I really started liking the reboot. Mar 10, 2016 at 12:21
  • 1
    @Gaius: I can forgive continuity resets but common sense and internal consistency would be nice! Mar 10, 2016 at 13:12

1 Answer 1


Best guess, the Enterprise had traveled approximately 0.0005 of a light-year (or approx 5.3 million kilometres).

This is based on the known last speed of the Enterprise on course to the Laurentian System (warp 3), the known conversion between warp speed and c (e.g. the speed of light) and the amount of time that transpired between Kirk being marooned and the beam-out (approximately 10 minutes in realtime).

Note, please, that Kirk could have been unconscious on the surface for much longer. We simply don't know how long he was down there, potentially resulting in the figure above being out by many times.

From the helm Sulu looked over at the straight-backed figure standing at command. It was a relief to be able to break the silence with something as straightforward as a status report.

“Warp three, Captain. Course one-five-one mark three, for the Laurentian system.”

enter image description here

Within the novelisation, Scott merely describes it as a "considerable distance".

“Even if I believed ye, that I’m the genius who wrote that code—and I’ve plenty o’ confidence even in a version of meself that hasn’t happened yet—we’re still talking about slingshottin’ onto a ship travelin’ at warp speed that by now is a considerable distance from here. And one without a properly activated receiving pad or engineering team awaitin’ us. It’ll be like tryin’ to intercept a bullet with a smaller bullet. Blindfolded. While ridin’ a horse.”

  • "and the amount of time that transpired between Kirk being marooned and the beam-out (approximately 10 minutes in realtime)." I felt like Kirk was on that moon for a lot longer than 10 minutes. He had to find Spock, he had to get to the base... Mar 10, 2016 at 15:58
  • @JackBNimble - I'll accept that it could have been anything between 10 mins and a couple of hours.
    – Valorum
    Mar 10, 2016 at 16:00
  • For the record, Spock's plan was really dumb. Basically they were beaming blind onto into the path of the Enteprise, hoping it would be where they expected it to be. That makes no sense. No bloody sense at all. Dumb.
    – Valorum
    Mar 10, 2016 at 16:40
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    The reboot movies are the type of movies where it's best to just not think too hard about it. All you end up doing is make it less enjoyable because you immediately destroy any sense of realism that they pretended to have.
    – Ellesedil
    Mar 10, 2016 at 18:16
  • @Ellesedil - No, but this is just really stupid. It's like trying to use a sniper's rifle blindfolded to shoot the end of someone's cigarette off from a mile away, by knowing what time they leave for work on a morning. There are so many variables as to make the prospect impossible.
    – Valorum
    Mar 10, 2016 at 18:25

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