Ask an Engineer: Beam me up!

Ask an Engineer: Beam me up!

“Scotty, Beam me up!”  -Kirk
Q: What are the steps to beaming someone up from a planet’s surface?
A: In an emergency without your transporter chief, any officer might need to beam their comrades out of a difficult situation. Here are the six steps and what can go wrong!
1. Targeting
Starfleet officers are usually tracked by their commbadge, but transporting others requires careful use of external sensors. Maintaining a lock on moving subjects can be difficult, and is one of the key skills of a good transporter operator.
2. Confinement
At this point the annular confinement beam can surround the subjects. The transporter crew should determine roughly the transport parameters to avoid transporting the surrounding environment inside the confinement beam or other unwanted materials.
3. Dematerialization
The transporter’s Heisenberg compensator enables an accurate record to be taken of each particle’s location and velocity before the matter stream is dematerialized and sent up to the ship. This work is done by the long range virtual-focus molecular imaging scanners.
4. Transport
Now pure energy, the matter stream is directed along the confinement beam to its destination, with a maximum range of approximately 40,000km. Like any other energy signal, this transport can be disrupted by dense materials, shields, or deflection fields.
5. Pattern Buffer
The matter stream is dematerialized and placed inside the pattern buffer. The “pattern” is a complex algorithm for keeping track of each particle in the high-velocity matter stream. Even with Heisenberg compensators, the matter stream will inevitably deviate from the computer’s predictions, which results in “pattern degradation”, and is the reason that subjects should not be suspended in transport for long periods of time.
6. Rematerialization
At this stage any undesired matter that was missed during dematerialization can be discarded, and the matter stream is run through the biofilter to remove any known pathogens acquired from the environment.

“Uhura: Captain, our final six replacements are ready to beam aboard, but one of them is refusing to step into the transporter.
Kirk: Oh! I’ll make sure he beams up!”

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