15

Latinum cannot be replicated via a replicator because < hand waving >. Replicators and transporters are based on the same underlying technology. Therefore, it seems reasonable that latinum also cannot be transported for the same reason. Does it ever get beemed in the shows/movies?

  • It doesn't require much handwaving to have unreplicatible substances if you assume the same raw materials have go in the replicator as come out. Latinum in, latinum out. – Kyle Jones Jan 4 '13 at 18:49
  • If you have to create latinum with nuclear fusion, then that's another matter altogether. Assume latinum is a stable transuranic element way down the nuclear packing curve, then you need a supernova to create it. Then the value of latinum is naturally tied to the cost of controllable stellar flux energy at one end, and the cost of locating and extracting latinum from supernova remnants at the other. Whatever the value, no replicator is ever going to be able to create such a substance like a glass of root beer. – Kyle Jones Jan 4 '13 at 18:53
  • I'm fairly certain there's got to be a few DS9/VOY episodes where this has been done. At the very least, I do recall some characters having favorite pieces of jewelry that had latinum - those must have been beamed at least once or twice. Don't have time to dig through it all to see for sure, though. – Iszi Jan 4 '13 at 19:11
  • 3
    People can't be replicated, but they're transported all the time. – Martha Jan 4 '13 at 19:20
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    @Martha Ah, but people can be replicated - using transporters, no less! – Iszi Jan 4 '13 at 20:54
10

I can't say for certain, but it's in fandom it's commonly said that transporters work on the quantum level, while replicators only work on the molecular level. This could lead to slight errors in replicated material, as with the replicated DNA in the TNG episode Data's Day.

The fact that latinum can't be replicated, or at least isn't economical to replicate, suggests that it can't be produced from the raw material used in common replicators (or perhaps that raw material would have to be more valuable than the latinum itself). However, it may still be possible to store it in a transporter pattern.

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    However, transporters have pattern buffers, so one could replicate bars of latinum simply by reusing the pattern buffer contents. This seems to be simply an inconsistency which one is expected not to examine too closely. – Paul A. Clayton Jan 4 '13 at 19:23
  • I believe the general idea is something along the lines that you can't scan the pattern without destroying it (which sounds sort of like a sci-fi approximation of quantum mechanics), which is also why you can't use it to make duplicates of people (except in extraordinary cases such as TNG: Second Chances, so arguably that's a technological problem rather than a theoretical one). – loghaD Jan 4 '13 at 22:38
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    @loghaD This is basically correct AFAIK, and I think it's actually a dual problem in replicator-land. Storing people at the quantum level was shown to take so much memory that it's extremely impractical (and was only done in a panic at the time). Storing the patterns for everything a person would want to replicate at the quantum level would be similarly infeasible, if they could even be scanned, which sort of further explains the latinum-replicator side, but not the transporter side. – Izkata Jan 5 '13 at 0:49
  • @Izkata And then there's Relics. No massive holodeck database there. Just the transporter buffer. – Iszi Jan 7 '13 at 17:35
  • @Iszi That was a hack that essentially had Scotty in an infinite transporter loop, and as shown in that same episode it resulted in the effective death of the other person the method was used on. – JAB Jan 30 '18 at 18:22
19

Yes.

In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Ferengi Love Songs" FCA agent Brunt beams into Quark's closet on the Ferengi homeworld. On a chain attached to his collar, Brunt wears a bar of gold-pressed latinum.

enter image description here

There is other, circumstantial evidence.

  • It seems unlikely that ultra-capitalist Quark travels without any currency on him, yet he was beamed down to a planet in "The Siege of AR-558."

  • Morn, we learned, carried an enormous fortune in pure latinum in one of his stomachs. If latinum could not be transported then Morn would lose it all should a transporter ever be used on him. Given that transporters are the preferred method of evacuation in some circumstances, Morn would be taking a tremendous risk engaging in any sort of space travel.

  • 1
    majQa'! {Well done!} Wish I could write that in Ferengi, but Klingon will have to do for now :) – loghaD Jan 12 '13 at 21:22

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