In the Season 2 episode of Star Trek: Picard "The Watcher", The Sirena has limited power and uncalibrated systems. Yet there are two instances of use of the transporter: one to beam Picard from France to LA and one to beam Seven and Raffi out from LA.

Now, I had always understood the beaming through extensive solid rock not to be possible. Does beaming between France and California (obviously with no relays in this era) not comprise thousands of miles of rock? Can transporter beams curve around the Earth?

Is there precedent for this kind of thing in the TNG/Picard era or this it simply a matter of plot convenience, ignoring previous canon?

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    It's not a full answer but most sources I can find give a range of 40,000km for TNG-era transporters, citing "A Matter of Honor". If transporter beams can curve around the Earth (or perhaps be reflected off the atmosphere, like shortwave radio) then the ~9,000km distance from Paris to LA could plausibly be within range.
    – Withad
    Commented Mar 30, 2022 at 15:57
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    You just put more thought into than they did. Plus these are JJ's minions they wouldn't blink at beaming to the opposite side of Kronos from Los Angeles let alone the Earth. That said there is a point where too much technology breaks the universe and I reckon that we are well past that with some of the gadgets from season 1. Or possibly Voyager even. Commented Mar 31, 2022 at 5:42
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    @lucasbachmann: Clearly you have not watched Discovery. Commented Mar 31, 2022 at 17:48
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    I recall the old Star Trek Technical Manual gave diagrams of how a transporter from an orbiting ship could cover something like 80% of a planet's surface by skimming the surface, then bouncing off the ionosphere and back to the surface -- but I haven't seen my copy in about forty years.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented Mar 31, 2022 at 19:14
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    @ZeissIkon: That didn't work out so well for Thomas Riker. Commented Mar 31, 2022 at 19:22

2 Answers 2


In TNG "The High Ground" they beamed through 30 meters of rock from orbit without much issue. In TWoK they beamed through rock into the Genesis cave as well.

TNG era Transporters in general had a range of 40,000km and one would assume by the time of ST: Picard that range would have been increased. I'm not 100% sure where in France Chateau Picard actually is, but Paris to LA over land is about 1/4 that distance, so even through the rock would be a lot less than the max distance of TNG transporters.

Additionally, given that energy can be effectively "bounced" off the atmosphere to be received over the horizon (AM and shortwave radio for example) they might have done it that way.

  • Implicitly that 40,000km is vacuum and 60km atmosphere. Commented Mar 31, 2022 at 19:59

[EDIT: On the subject of subspace transporters for distance in prime canon per https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Subspace_transporter

"In 2370, Bok subspace transported himself two times, two Ferengi probes and Jason Vigo instantaneously between a distance of approximately 300 billion kilometers (0.03 light years) from his ship. For comparison, it would have taken twenty minutes at warp 9 for a starship to bridge the distance. Geordi La Forge and Data modified the transporter of the Enterprise-D to subspace transport Jean-Luc Picard to Bok's ship. (TNG: "Bloodlines")"]


In terms of precedent for solid rock - there was a TOS episode that pushed the limits of beaming through solid rock with some advanced alien intervention. One could reasonably expect that a century of innovation might get post-TNG era technology there too...

STAR TREK 2x22 Return To Tomorrow http://www.chakoteya.net/StarTrek/51.htm

KIRK: (dictating log) Since exploration and contact with alien intelligences is our primary mission, I've decided to risk the potential dangers and resume contact. Log entry out. How long before Starfleet receives that?

UHURA: Over three weeks at this distance, sir.

SPOCK: Captain.

KIRK: Got something?

SPOCK: Sensors registering some form of energy deep inside the planet.

SARGON [OC]: Your probes have touched me, Mister Spock.

SPOCK: Reading energy only, Captain. No life forms.

SARGON [OC]: I have locked your transporter device on my co-ordinates. Please come to us. Rescue us from oblivion.

SPOCK: Coming from deep under the planet's surface, Captain. Under at least one hundred miles of solid rock.

SARGON [OC]: I will make it possible for your transporter to beam you that deep beneath the surface. Have no fear.

SPOCK: Reading a chamber now. Oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere, suitable for human life support.

KIRK: Lieutenant Uhura, have Doctor McCoy report to the transporter room in ten minutes with standard landing party equipment.

UHURA: Yes, sir.


[Transporter room]

MCCOY: Jim, why no briefing on this? I'd at least like to know what we're getting into.

KIRK: Easy, Bones. As long as you know there's something down there, you know as much as we do. The rest is only guesses.

SCOTT: I don't like it, sir. The transporter co-ordinates preset by an alien of some sort. You could materialise inside solid rock.

MCCOY: Inside solid rock?

SPOCK: Unlikely. These co-ordinates correspond with the location of the subterranean chamber.


MCCOY: Let's get back to this solid rock business. Just how much rock are we going to go through?

SPOCK: Approximately one hundred twelve point three seven miles, Doctor.

MCCOY: Miles? Are you joking?

KIRK: No, we're not. Let's go.

  • You say yourself that this is an instance of "advanced alien intervention". So it pretty much tells us nothing. Commented Apr 1, 2022 at 16:35
  • It tells us it is physically possible and has happened as a "precedent" albeit a modified one. Likewise alot of the original Enterprise speed records the Excelsior was going to break were due to intervention but in universe it established those speeds were possible. Commented Apr 1, 2022 at 20:43

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