In Star Trek Voyager, S6E10, Pathfinder, Lieutenant Barclay is able to create a micro-wormhole in order communicate with Voyager.

Meanwhile, the real Voyager, far in the Delta Quadrant, detects the micro-wormhole and a communication signal which Seven of Nine disbelievingly identifies as Federation in origin on a Starfleet Emergency Channel. The crew attempts to clear up the signal while, back on Earth, the jubilant officers and Barclay assist.

For a few seconds, the team on Earth clear up the return signal, two-way communication is established for 86 seconds before the micro-wormhole collapses. A few words are exchanged and data from Voyager's logs, crew reports, and navigational records are transmitted to Earth.

Barclay sends "data on some new hyper-subspace technology", along with recommended modifications to the ship's communications system, so that Voyager's crew will be able to keep regular contact with home. In the final seconds, the crew hear some moving words from Admiral Paris ending with, "I want you all to know we're doing everything we can to bring you home."

So, the Wormhole collapses after a few seconds / minutes. Why didn't they just "reopen" it, e.g. be placing the array next to the needed anomaly in order to be able to have it open permanently (or at least such that they can contact Voyager on a regular basis)?

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1 Answer 1


Creating the microwormhole relies on a rare stellar object (an "itinerant pulsar") passing within a microscopic fraction of a light year of a specific Federation communications array.

BARCLAY: I've been going over the interstellar phenomena forecasts from Deep Space Nine. They are predicting er, a class B itinerant pulsar will pass within four billion kilometers of the MIDAS array in three days.

HARKINS: You think the pulsar might damage the array?

BARCLAY: No, no. The shields will hold. Actually I was thinking, we could use the pulsar to our own advantage

Theoretically, I suppose they could build another gigantic array that just happens to be in the path of one of these pulsars, but it would take vast amounts of time, effort and energy to achieve another data burst.

  • So, they could "tow" the communications array along the pulsar in order have the ability to communicate frequently with Voyager? Or what prevents them from doing this?
    – Shade
    Oct 23, 2019 at 9:36
  • 5
    @Shade - Presumably the same thing that stops them moving DS9. It's enormous and presumably extremely fragile. Since the pulsar is only in range of the array for a few seconds, it must also be moving at relativistic sublight speeds. Imagine trying to drag an oil platform behind a fleet of speedboats all moving along at top speed
    – Valorum
    Oct 23, 2019 at 9:51
  • @Valorum but there's no drag in space Oct 23, 2019 at 19:47
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    @AzorAhai — The parts of the array all have inertia, which works sort of like atmospheric drag. If the towing force isn't applied evenly to all parts of the array — including internal components — or if the array's inertial dampers fail or even waver a bit, the array could be damaged.
    – Gaultheria
    Oct 23, 2019 at 19:58
  • @AzorAhai - That's not quite true; vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/memoryalpha/images/d/d9/…
    – Valorum
    Oct 27, 2019 at 21:59

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