In Episode 4 of Star Trek: Discovery we see that when Captain Lorca orders Black Alert to activate the Spore Drive, the two parts that form the saucer section start to spin, the outermost in a direction and the innermost in the opposite one1.

Here is what I mean:

Is it explained somewhere the (fictional) technical reason of this, apart being seemingly related to the aforementioned Spore Drive?2

I'm also interested in background information if it is available, since, AFAIK, no explanation was given in the show (yet).

1. Also, when the "jump" actually starts, the whole ship seems to spin around the front-rear axis, but maybe this is just a visual effect to denote a FTL inception, pretty much like Starships seemed to be "stretched" when entering Warp Speed in previous series.
2. Except, maybe, being the ultimate weapon against the dreaded Giant Space Pizza Monster?

  • 4
    The only hint we have so far is a reference to "excess energy cavitation" -- the implication seems to be that the spin stabilises the ship in transit, possibly offsetting, from an internal perspective, the axial spin we see as an effect. This is another question that I expect we'll need another week or two to answer clearly, though. Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 23:33
  • 4
    What is stranger though is that its not the whole sections moving (the windows on the outside part are completely unmoving. oO
    – Thomas
    Commented Oct 13, 2017 at 11:14
  • 1
    @Thomas I suppose that it is for structural integrity purposes; you need a fixed part to provide a supporting structure that also serves the moving parts.
    – Sekhemty
    Commented Oct 13, 2017 at 11:32
  • 2
    I don’t know how plausible this is, but mumble mumble energy + spinning saucer put me in mind of a flywheel: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flywheel_energy_storage
    – alexwlchan
    Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 6:52
  • 7
    It has to spin and lock 7 positions into place before it can engage the spore drive. Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 13:18

2 Answers 2


Well since rotating saucer is actually called "excess energy cavitation system" and we know its somehow related to the spore drive. My Guess: Cavitation is the formation of vapour cavities in a liquid, small liquid-free zones ("bubbles" or "voids"), that are the consequence of forces acting upon the liquid. And excess energy is probably something like excess heat and that is the heat which is delivered to or withdrawn from the environment by an mixing process. So maybe there are similar effects when jumping back to normal space or while inside the Network maybe something like an rest energy on the hull that needs to be delivered to the surrounding space since it would otherwise harm the hull with an effect like the cavitation on modern turbines. The spinning of the jump itself is just an in universe optical illusion if you look at the lorca maneuver we get one shot from inside the discovery while jumping and there it doesn't spin around. The Idea of the Sporedrive itself is kind of strange but an organic quantum entanglement drive why not? There are many examples even today where nature found ways we can't rebuild with our technologies and we've seen in StarTrek living Crystals, organic space lifeforms which are able to go to warp, beings of pure energy and even gods like the Q so why shouldn't there be something like the Mycelnetwork?^^

  • 8
    You've provided quite a bit of speculation, is there any chance there are some canonical sources to help provide a more canon backed answer?
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 21:26

It could have more to do with keeping the ship stable like a spinning wheel being difficult to turn. And the inner section offering some counter rotation so there's no counter spinning of the ship.

  • 4
    Can you cite any canon sources to back this up? Commented Jan 28 at 2:41
  • @LogicDictates - Spoiler, he could not.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 28 at 10:03

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