In Star Trek when one is transported, does it feel instantaneous regardless of if there is a need to store the person's pattern in the pattern buffer for any length of time? Is the sensation of transport instantaneous regardless of length of time between dematerialization and rematerialization?

NOTE: This answer is probably going to have to come from the expanded Star Trek media (prose novels, comics, etc.) as we don't really get a first person perspective from the shows/movies during transportation.

  • Mark Twain wears a watch while being transported. But I doubt it has sufficient precision to measure if time has passed for it or not.
    – Einer
    Aug 2, 2014 at 18:16
  • 2
    There's two different questions here - 1) What is people's perception of transport and 2) Is transport instantaneous?
    – Valorum
    Aug 2, 2014 at 18:30
  • @Richard apologies for the confusion, my focus of the question is if the sensation of transport is instantaneous regardless of time between dematerialization and rematerialization.
    – Monty129
    Aug 3, 2014 at 14:22
  • In which case the question needs rewording.
    – Valorum
    Aug 3, 2014 at 14:33
  • @Richard I have removed the portion dealing with the watch as that's an objective observation and I'm looking for more of a subjective one.
    – Monty129
    Aug 3, 2014 at 14:38

1 Answer 1


Yes, while transporting you have no perception of time. This is why Scotty still thought Kirk came to rescue him when he actually spent 75 years in the transporter buffer.

RIKER: I'm Commander William Riker, starship Enterprise. Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge.

SCOTT: The Enterprise? I should have known. I bet Jim Kirk himself hauled the old girl out of mothballs to come looking for me. Captain Montgomery Scott. Tell me, how long have I been missing?

However, we get some insights in how it is to be transported. In "Realm of fear" the camera "witnesses" the moment of de-materialization:

enter image description here

In that episode, Barcley finds some of the survivors of the USS Yosemite "parked" in the transporter in a similar way Scotty saved himself 75 years before.

  • 1
    This doesn't address the question of time dilation
    – Valorum
    Aug 2, 2014 at 18:40
  • @Richard True. The way I read the question, it was only about the perception of time. And my answer is (in a nutshell): You don't have any. I just didn't read the objectively instantaneous / beam takes time to travel part into the question.
    – Einer
    Aug 2, 2014 at 20:08
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    Time dilation and the perception of time is the same thing. There is no perception of time, no time dilation. There can't be since all the mass is converted into an energy beam and if there is no mass, there can't be any time dilation.
    – Sulthan
    Aug 2, 2014 at 21:34
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    @Sulthan - They are most certainly not the same thing. You and are are almost certainly experiencing differing amounts of time dilation right now, due to our relative positions on Earth. Just because something is imperceptible to a human doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
    – Valorum
    Aug 2, 2014 at 23:42
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    In Scotty's case it may be that an extended stay in the transporter system causes short term confusion, since Scotty was present on the Enterprise B when Kirk was lost to the Nexus, and should have known that Kirk couldn't have came to rescue him.
    – Xantec
    Aug 3, 2014 at 15:15

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