Time travel is a real thing in the Star Trek universe, and common enough that there is even a Temporal Prime Directive. Starfleet Academy has courses on temporal mechanics, and there have been multiple instances of intentional time travel. Each time someone takes a ship back in time via the slingshot effect, they have to perform certain calculations.

While Spock was the first (as far as I know) to formulate the math needed for the slingshot effect, is it now something that all Starfleet officers know? Are they limited to senior command officers? What's keeping rogue ships from traveling back in time?

  • If we ignore one episode and one movie, this is impossible. If we don't, this is apparently commonplace knowledge. Honestly, I doubt you're going to get a satisfactory answer. Sorry. – Lightness Races in Orbit Jan 1 '17 at 3:54
  • Two episodes, "Tomorrow is Yesterday" and "Assignment: Earth". – Kyle Jones Jan 1 '17 at 11:03
  • The TOS episodes "city on the edge of forever" and "all our yesterdays" both shows that time travel tech are apparently regularly developed by non-federation civilizations, so even if the Federation classifies time travel, there are always all those aliens. Sort of like the US classifying hard encryption when the rest of the world already knows how to do it. The Schrödinger's cat has already escaped that box, man. – Mark Ripley Jan 1 '17 at 15:15
  • In my experience, the one thing time travel is (almost) universally good for is generating plot holes that really can't be answered satisfactorily. – Steve-O Jan 1 '17 at 16:29
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    It's not really special knowledge. The Star Trek universe is Einsteinian (and even contained Albert Einstein), so the rules of spacetime apply. Superluminal travel means your direction of motion becomes time-like for some observers, i.e. you're traveling in time. The real question is how ships using warp drive manage to avoid appearing to travel in time when they just want to get somewhere quickly. – Kyle Jones Jun 1 '17 at 0:26

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