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Short Range Active Sensors

Multiple short range active sensors can be installed on each ship. They can each be set to operate at different levels of resolution and to scan specific areas of space (or all around the ship). The higher the resolution of the scan the longer it will take to perform the scan. They each have a 1 light year range.

The table below shows the difference between the resolutions and the length of time it would take to scan a 0.1 by 0.1 by 0.1 light year section of space.

Scan Resolution

Time to scan

Smallest object detected


1 second

100 metres or more


2 seconds

20 metres or more


5 seconds

1 metre or more / Rough Ship Outline


10 seconds

1 cm or more / Ships Shield strength etc.


20 seconds

Dust density / Details of ships systems

Sensors can either be targeted at a cube of space (defined by three points), an object (such as a ship or planet) or set to scan the area around the ship out to a specified distance (up to 1 light year). When concentrated on an object, depending on the resolution the scan will return varying details of information. A resolution 3 scan will show the basic ship layout. A resolution 4 would detect the ships shields, weapons status etc. A resolution 5 would allow targeting of individual sub-systems – such as weapons etc. Once a scan is complete there is no need to keep re-scanning, the sensors will have gathered enough information to continually scan the ship at that resolution while being directed elsewhere. Scans are cumulative. Therefore 5 seconds into a resolution 5 scan the ships rough outline will be available. 

For example, if a resolution 2 scan detected a ship, the LCARS operator should be able to change the target of the scan to the ship and then change the resolution of that scan to 5. This would stop that sensor from scanning for other ships in that area, but would provide a detailed scan of the ship.

Power Requirements

The short range active sensors each draw 10MW * Resolution Level when they are in operation, regardless of the damage to them. This means that higher resolution scans require significantly more power (and more time). To scan a 1 light year cube at resolution 1 would take a total of 10,000 MW spread over 16 minutes. To do the same scan at resolution 5 would take 1,000,000 MW spread over 5.5 hours.


Research can be used to extend the range and to reduce the time required for each scan.