In Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Admiral Kirk holds a large briefing to reveal the threat that the Enterprise will face.

The briefing is interrupted by a distress call from Starfleet's Epsilon IX communications array. It is being attacked by the same energy field (which we later find out is V'Ger) that destroyed the Klingon battle cruiser seen a few moments earlier.

As the array is being disintegrated, we are viewing the events from outside of the array. It is possible that there are external cameras located on the exterior of the array that can see other parts of the array. However, even after the array is completely destroyed, the communication does not end, and the Enterprise crew can still see V'Ger's energy field pulsating on the viewscreen.

During the destruction of the array, what was sending the images to the Enterprise?

  • 1
    Funny; I had that thought myself last night whilst I was watching it. Same point applies to the Klingon Battle Cruiser - they display footage shot from outside the cruiser after it had been destroyed! Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 2:57
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    @N_Soong : Glad I'm not the only one who spotted this! For the battle cruiser, I figured that Epsilon IX might have recorded its destruction, as both the cruiser and Epsilon IX were on V'Ger's flight path...
    – Praxis
    Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 2:58
  • Your video link is dead, please consider replacing it.
    – Jenayah
    Commented Mar 31, 2020 at 1:05

1 Answer 1


It seems to be a goof-up!

I have a theory about this though. Originally, Epsilon IX was supposed to be a planetoid, not a satellite station. In the script it is described as:

A barren, rocky small plantoid [sic] softly lit by the myriad stars. This is a small Starfleet outpost, antennae sprouting everywhere. Tiny figures (WORKERS) servicing one antenna illustrate the size of the installation.

Hence, the external view which we later see could (not the script doesn't verify this, it just says 'external view') have been a satellite orbiting the planetoid itself and wasn't targetted by V'Ger's attack in the original plan.

In terms of what actually happened, the only in-universe explanation I can come up with is either:

  1. Like, as proposed by the OP in their above comment regarding the Klingons, another satellite or some such station was used to make those observations or

  2. The Epsilon IX station was actually orbiting a planetoid which had facilities on it which were recording this (admittedly unlikely, but it fits in with the script a bit) or

  3. It was a computer-generated animation predicting what was happening based on what happened to the Klingon vessel (kudos PlasmaHH)
  • In todays news for all kinds of things where no one was present, you can see simple animations of what (supposedly) happened. Those might have advanced to photorealistic renderings and no one bothers any more if they see actual footage or rendered images of what they thought has happened.
    – PlasmaHH
    Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 11:26

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