Sensor Efficiency at Warp

Does traveling at Warp speed add negative traits to sensor operations tasks? Are there any ST canon precedents indicating a sensor performance degradation while running at warp speed?

Off the top of my head: Yes. But I cannot cite, at the moment. Sorry.

While I don’t have an in-episode example of sensor performance dropoff at warp speed, it does make sense. There’s a thread on reddit (link: ) which asks why starships don’t travel at maximum warp all the time that touches on sensor performance. Could be worth some consideration.

My tuppence, for what it’s worth, would be that the spaceframe and Talents matter. An Intrepid class ship with an Advanced Sensor Suite would have less of an issue than an Ambassador class without such technology. Perhaps this would be a good time to increase the Complication range of a Task, especially if it calls for more than basic readings?

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The GM can always drop a few threat to have speed related issues crop up.


From a basic point of view, I’d suggest that moving at high speed means that you are only able to spend a limited amount of time scanning any one given place, as opposed to a longer duration while at impulse. That must have an effect on the detail you will be able to gather.

I’d also suggest that the warp field and high energy output of a ship at warp would probably have an effect on sensors, even if this was somewhat negated by design.


Although there are no in canon degradations for simply moving at higher warp velocities, there are serious limitations for sensors doing localized scans with numerous radiations, particulars and forces interfering with scans. The suspension of disbelief in a TV show does not bother us when watching the program, we simply accept the limitations we are given by the writers as the episode progresses. By logical extension, there should be considerable limitations on details, but very few if any for “fixed” objects like planets, or the presence of ships. I think of it as scanning versus studying. The range at which we can do either is up to the writer of the episode.

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