As science holds a very broad range of disciplines within it, the facilities listed here are many, varied, and while not all of them are used directly by the Science Department, they all cater to one or another scientific discipline. One notable example is the defense strategy lab, which almost never sees a science officer. As not every vessel is built for the same purpose or with the same resources, the information listed here is not precise for every commissioned Starfleet vessel. For the most part, however, it is accurate for vessels with the science department of a Galaxy-class starship or larger. It should also be noted that many vessels contain multiple laboratories of the same type (a Galaxy-class starship, for example, contains 40 medical science labs).
Lastly, for purposes of discussion and brevity, the term 'vessel' will be used to mean any Starfleet or Federation starship, starbase, outpost, colony, university, or other institution, although there is a distinct focus on space-faring vessels. If a facility is likely to only be present on one or two of the above installations, it will be so noted.
Science laboratories are intended as locations where specific experiments and investigations can be conducted during a starship's tour of duty. These facilities can vary widely, from archaeology laboratories where bones and relics are examined, to medical research labs studying new suturing techniques, to the massive (and famous) stellar cartography lab where maps of the stars are drafted and reviewed.
To facilitate the duties of these workspaces, all science laboratories share a dedicated optical data network that connects directly to the science modules of the primary and secondary computer cores. This allows data processing and collaboration to be both swift and reliable, while also not encumbering the primary ODN lines. This dedicated network allows laboratories to continue functioning during alert statuses without impacting upon tactical operations, admittedly with a minor slow down in computing power. If a vessel is playing host to a particularly sensitive experiment, the Chief Science Officer may allocate up to two computer core modules (for reference, each of the three computer cores on a Galaxy-class starship contain approximately 40 such modules) to that investigation, reserving them for science use even during alert modes. This allocation may be rescinded by the CSO, HCO, First Officer, or Captain.
All laboratories are equipped with at least a medium-duty EPS linkage (as opposed to the light-duty versions used by most consoles and crew quarters), and some of the larger ones, such as a stellar cartography lab, contain a heavy-duty linkage. Most laboratories do not possess dedicated backup power sources, relying instead on the vessel's own primary and secondary power systems.
For most vessels, which almost never feel the wind across their hulls, understanding the complex interplay of forces at work in an atmosphere is something that will only rarely be required for a mission. For others, however, such as those vessels that are capable of landing upon a planet, or that conduct massive atmospheric shuttle operations, that knowledge is of the upmost importance. Being able to predict a planetary body's atmospheric movements can vastly improve the safety and success of a mission, and the atmospheric physics laboratory exists to that effect. Typically a small, round room with a central display console, the lab contains specialized equipment to record and simulate atmospheric conditions, a dedicated subprocessor, and clusters of omnidirectional holographic diodes (OHD) to display all of that information as accurately as possible.
The anthropology laboratory is often simply a redress of a nonspecific laboratory, although some vessels may very well possess a specialized anthropology lab. This lab provides working space for materials to be laid out, cleaned, and examined in proper fashion. Specialized versions possess advanced sensor suites, quarantine areas, at least six library computer access and retrieval system (LCARS) terminals, two dedicated subprocessors, and priority access to at least one core module. Traditionally, such specialty versions exist on those vessels conducting extensive research on a known species, those designed for first contact, and those that fill in the gaps after an exploration vessel has roughly mapped out a new area.
Astrometry is the study of the positions, motions, and magnitudes of stars. As such, the astrometrics lab (or just 'Astrometrics') functions as a more hands-on version of the stellar cartography lab. Where the latter would be used to create maps of the stars and plot courses involving large numbers of variables and stellar bodies, an astrometrics lab typically deals with much a much smaller sample size. The narrower focus allows this laboratory to be much more precise in its investigations, studying individual stars, their characteristics (magnitude, position, arity), and how they interact with the universe (motion, flares, novae).
Of course, with a little work, Astrometrics can easily serve as a vessel's stellar cartography lab, and it regularly does so on smaller vessels that do not have the space for a full stellar cartography lab. The average astrometrics lab typically possesses two dedicated subprocessors, at least a half-dozen science consoles, a handful of workspaces with LCARS terminals and wall-embedded displays (number and composition vary by vessel), and a large wall-embedded display that curves in imitation of the spherical display in a stellar cartography lab.
As biophysics is an interdisciplinary science that applies the methods and theories of the physical sciences to biology, a biophysics laboratory requires a great deal of flexibility. One moment, powerful neural scanners might be used to map alien brain patterns; the next, a cellular synthesizer could grow special membranes to filter toxins from a patient's bloodstream; and the next, holographic models may be constructed of a replacement heart or limb before the prosthetic is constructed on-site. A dedicated subprocessor is provided to drive the specialized equipment, which can vary from vessel to vessel, along with multiple LCARS terminals, a medium wall-embedded display, OHD clusters, and an engineering-grade replicator.
Contrary to popular belief, cybernetics does not deal specifically or solely with cyborgs, robotics, or artificial replacements of organic tissue. In scholarly terms, it is the study of communications and control, typically involving regulatory feedback, in living organisms, in machines, and in combinations of the two. This can include a nervous system, optical data network, or even a government. As cybernetics is a largely abstract science - that is, it is not grounded in any one empirical field - the cybernetics laboratory is often a redressed nonspecific laboratory. Typically, the only addition is a dedicated subprocessor to drive complex computer models. Every now and then, however, models of communication and control systems will be fabricated elsewhere and brought in for closer study.
The defense strategy laboratory (along with the tactical labs) is used to develop and implement the field of military science, specifically the defense of the vessel and the Federation. Oftentimes, this laboratory is used most often by mission specialists and the tactical department during their planning and analysis sessions. Shaped like a standard briefing room, each short wall of the rectangular room contains a medium wall-embedded display, while the central table is a sophisticated holographic display unit with its own small fusion-based power supply and two dedicated subprocessors. The power supply and extra processors allow the laboratory's holographic elements to function even during combat, when power is otherwise directed away from such frivolities.
The high-energy biophysics laboratory is a specialized version of a standard biophysics laboratory designed to conduct experiments and research involving forces and quantities of energy that are deemed unsafe to be in the presence of without due protection. The laboratory itself contains a viewing area complete with wall-embedded display, LCARS terminals, and science consoles for consolidating and analyzing the data gathered. The rest of the laboratory is shielded from the vessel through high-grade stuructural materials and forcefields. Inside of this space, a heavy-duty EPS linkage and two dedicated subprocessors drive several specialized instruments. The exact instruments may vary from vessel to vessel, but most high-energy laboratories contain at least one powerful sensor cluster for in-depth analysis, if not two or three.
Not every scientific advance can be done through electronics or quantum mechanics. Sometimes, a scientist needs to push around some sort of compressible medium (water, air, etc..) and that is where fluidics comes in. These studies are especially important on the nanoscopic level, where some of the more delicate aspects of fluidics (such as surface tension and viscosity) become much more powerful. It is labeled as a 'high-energy' laboratory because it also deals particularly with particle physics and how that branch of science interacts with fluidics. Many of the instruments and much of the equipment in this laboratory is designed to deal with very small areas and volumes, so it is practically the reverse of the high-energy biophysics laboratory in that the majority of the lab is an observation section with very small experimental chambers. Each such laboratory possesses a heavy-duty EPS linkage, two dedicated subprocessors, multiple LCARS terminals and science consoles, several medium and multiple small wall-embedded displays, and a holoprojection system for observing experiments in real-time and three dimensions.
With the advent of new technology, the blind can see, the deaf can hear, and the lame can walk. While some of these modern day miracles have come about through the use of gene therapy and advanced surgery techniques, others are made possible only by replacing faulty organic tissue with artificial equivalents. Some of the more famous items to come out of an implant research lab were the VISOR and EARS devices. The implant research laboratory contains not only the equipment to properly develop and test new implants, but also fabricate and perform advanced maintenance on those same devices. Thus, this lab can, at any given moment, play host to doctors, scientists, or engineers, many of whom must work together to solve a given difficulty. The implant research laboratory contains a very precise dual-mode scientific / medical replicator, a three-dimensional polymer printer, fabrication equipment, a medical sensor cluster and examination bed with medical readouts for length observations, several consoles, two LCARS terminals, and two medium wall-embedded displays.
Medical laboratories are divided into two main categories: Medical Research and Medical Science. The former deals with medical studies based upon observation and experimentation, whereas the latter houses specialized equipment that, for one reason or another, is not present in Sickbay. If you wish to study the effects of radiation on cabbage development, head to a Medical Research lab. On the other hand, if one of your crewmembers has contracted an unknown and rapidly-spreading purple fungus, rush them to a Medical Science lab for further tests.
Medical research laboratories can, more than any other lab, vary greatly in size and sophistication. Most sickbays have at least one small, closet-sized medical research lab attached to host the Chief Medical Officer's latest experiment. Elsewhere in the vessel, other, larger versions of this laboratory might exist, complete with LCARS terminals, observational sensor clusters, research apparatus, at least one medium wall-embedded display, a backup power source, and an independent life support system.
While the main sensor cluster in Sickbay is powerful enough for everyday and crisis usage, the medical and science staff occasionally find themselves in need of a more powerful or more specific medical sensor. The medical science laboratory can also vary in size, but typically not as much as a medical research lab. Here, cells and tissues can be cultured, examined, dissected, and disposed of properly. The highlights of a Galaxy-class vessel's 40 medical science laboratories are a multi-particle microscope (scanning electron, neutrino, graviton, etc.), artificial environment chamber, accelerated growth inducer, alpha-class inhibitor field generator, advanced neural imaging scanner, protodynaplaser, and other specialized devices. While all of the medical science laboratories possess a dedicated subprocessor, LCARS terminals, numerous small wall-embedded displays, and dedicated ODN lines running between them and to Sickbay, only about one-quarter of them have backup power sources and independent life support systems. This fourth of the labs contain the equipment that regularly requires a patient to spend extended lengths of time inside (such as the artificial environment chamber).
Micro-gravity research labs are fairly common in Starfleet, with almost every vessel not designed solely for combat possessing at least one. This is a somewhat less surprising fact when one considers that all it takes to turn a nonspecific lab into a micro-gravity research lab is a bit of graviton insulation and variable output artificial gravity generators, which most modern vessels come with automatically. Given that there is typically not a need for a dedicated micro-gravity lab, they normally are just modified nonspecific laboratories and micro-gravity experimenters have to share time with other scientists. Usually, the medical department receives priority usage of micro-gravity labs for therapeutic purposes.
Nonspecific laboratories are just that: laboratories designed with no single, specific purpose in mind. As such, they are simultaneously more and less complex than their more specialized cousins. Half of these labs are little more than medium-sized rooms with movable desks, wireless LCARS terminals, and a medium wall-embedded display. The other half are far more adaptable workspaces with modular desks, EPS linkages, and ODN connections for consoles, LCARS terminals, and other instruments. The more 'advanced' versions possess a flexibility unmatched by any other type of lab, but the price paid for that flexibility is the inability to serve as a truly specialized lab. For example, an astrophysicist may use a nonspecific lab to mimic a subspace research lab, but what he can accomplish there would pale in comparison to what he could at his university's fully-stocked subspace laboratory.
Null Gravity Research
Generally speaking, when the universe is filled with an overwhelming abundance of something, it becomes quite difficult to create an area of nothing. A null gravity research laboratory does just that, however, using multiple artificial gravity generators of varying sizes, a private ODN, five dedicated subprocessors, and a series of gravitometers sensitive enough to detect the gravitational force generated by a walnut, all to create a spherical section of space completely devoid of outside gravitational influences (typically through graviton cancellation principles). It is, understandably, a very power- and space-intensive operation, which is why null gravity research labs are almost always found on starbases, preferably deep space stations well away from the gravity wells of planets and stars. The null gravity chamber itself is a sphere between 3 and 20 meters in diameter with only one physical access port, and that only for maintenance purposes. Any samples to be studied are transported into the chamber and can be held in place with low-power tractor beams. Sophisticated labs have their own small transporter systems, while others must rely on the vessel's transporters. Either way, once a sample is inside the chamber, sensors can be used to examine how the sample reacts in a null gravity environment, and then how it reacts when various gravitational forces are imposed upon it.
Particle accelerators are devices used to accelerate subatomic particles to very fast speeds, slam them into something (often each other), and watch to see what pops out of the crash. Advances in technology have vastly decreased the amount of space needed for a moderately powerful accelerator, but they still require more volume and power than most starships can easily spare. So, most particle accelerators exist on starbases, planetside, or their own, free-floating installations. Detectors located in and around the accelerator keep careful track of the particles as they accelerate, impact one another, and what new particles result from the collision. This information is fed through a private ODN to four dedicated subprocessors and, typically, from there to a control room full of science consoles, displays, and scientists who play with some of the smallest objects known.
Power Systems Research
The power systems research laboratory also serves as a power systems maintenance bay on most vessels. Large vessels (Galaxy-class science department or larger) have 6 or more of these labs, with at least one each dedicated to antimatter, nuclear fusion, and battery backup power systems. The remaining labs study various other methods of power generation, to both improve existing forms and research new ones. Each laboratory possess a heavy-duty EPS linkage (some possess two), specialized equipment for fabricating unique parts, powerful insulating forcefields, numerous sensors, and a supply of engineering tools specialized to the power source that each lab is studying. An observation section takes up one corner of the room near the main door, containing consoles and displays to keep careful track of an experiment's progress, and some labs contain a large wall-embedded display used to view the vessel's entire EPS grid at once. The observation section can be quarantined from the rest of the lab, should it be found necessary. The power systems lab is populated by engineers running diagnostics or repairing EPS nodes as often as it holds scientists delving into new methods of powering Starfleet's finest, and the two departments require the occasional meeting to smooth out conflicts.
While the good mental health of the crew is the purview of the ship's Counsellor, the vessel may occasionally play host to teams of psychologists researching the psychological effects of long-term space travel on one's mental health, the influences of foreign cultures on one's paradigm, and numerous less exotic travels into the depths of the sentient mind. These scientists work closely with the Counsellor and Chief Science Officer to ensure that all proper procedures are followed. The actual psychological studies lab is a redressed nonspecific laboratory with an examination section that very closely resembles a pleasant waiting room with chairs, a coffee table, and pleasing decor. The main difference between this space and the living room of a standard family's quarters are the optical and medical sensors watching from behind one-way holographic panels. These sensors feed their data to a separated observation section where the psychologists can make notes and collect their data without distracting their subjects.
One science officer standing on the bridge of a vessel in combat is not the best individual to run all of your sensor information through. The key to effective sensor sweeps is delegation, especially on larger vessels, which is where the sensor systems laboratories come in. In these rooms, each filled with a dozen consoles, LCARS terminals, science technicians, priority-access ODN uplinks, a reserve power supply, and a large wall-embedded display, up to sixty distinct processes can be run, with sensor feeds coming in from all over the vessel, probes, and even from other vessels. Here, science technicians watch the consoles, adjust for interference, draw conclusions, and especially provide another level of checking to ensure that the computer is not making a mistake. As there are numerous different requests for sensor usage at any given moment, this facility provides a technician and processing power to facilitate those requests, without the need to bother the bridge science officer whenever a visiting astronomer wishes to make observations of the surrounding stars. Any priority access to sensors (such as the Bridge or Engineering) causes the data feed to be split, with the main feed going to the priority access console, and a duplicate being transmitted to a console in a sensor systems lab for additional review. In many respects, this mildly busy room often resembles a 'mission control' facility, with each technician tending to their own tasks for a majority of the time. The number of sensor systems labs varies by vessel size. While a Defiant-class vessel might only possess a single sensor console, a Galaxy-class vessel contains six of these such labs, and a starbase might contain over several hundred such facilities, many of them dedicated to sensor feeds from other laboratories.
Perhaps the most famous of all the laboratories on a vessel is stellar cartography, where the maps that keep track of every known star and planet are located. The lab physically resembles a three-story, spherical chamber with a catwalk extending to the middle of the room, where it supports a circular platform and 270° of control consoles. The walls of the chamber are a series of specially-curved medium wall-embedded displays that join together into a seamless 360° display. Modern stellar cartography labs also incorporate OHD clusters, which permit the display of stellar maps in three dimensions. This process can be a trifle disorienting to some individuals, but most have little difficulty, and being able to view space as it truly is can prove very beneficial for many investigations. Most vessels contain, at most, a single stellar cartography laboratory, which is put to use every hour of every day updating old maps, creating new ones, and performing special searches. Each vessel is expected to double-check its maps as it travels, updating them as necessary and sending the information back to Starfleet Command on a daily basis. The lab possess a heavy-duty EPS linkage for the occasional holographic display, priority access to no less than three computer core modules, a slew of dedicated subprocessors, a single permanent chair, three movable stools, and a replicator next to the door.
All Federation vessels have a vested interest in the study of subspace, be it for communications, propulsion, or a myriad of other reasons. To this effect, the subspace systems laboratory exists to study subspace, the mechanical systems that interact with it, and their effects upon one another. Sets of experimental subspace transmitters and relays are fabricated and tested here, before being put out in the field for further testing. In fact, there exists heavy collaboration between the subspace systems labs on different vessels, and many proposed systems (especially transmitters) have been built on two separate vessels and then tested by talking to each other. The lab also contains a powerful cartographic sensor suite that, on mobile vessels, passively maps subspace as the vessel travels along, along with fabrication equipment, very precise sensing instruments, and a double-handful of consoles. Of course, subspace systems are not limited to transmitters. They can also include warp engines, metaphasic shields, sensors, and FTL components in computer systems, long-range sensors, and impulse engines.
The tactical laboratories (along with the defense strategy lab) are used to develop and implement the field of military science, specifically the ability of the vessel to function in a theatre of war or other crisis situation. These labs are used most often by mission specialists, the tactical department, and the operations department for planning and analysis sessions, and they are divided up along that line. Both tactical laboratories are shaped like a standard briefing room, with each short wall of the rectangular room containing a medium wall-embedded display, while the central table holds a sophisticated holographic display unit with its own small fusion-based power supply and two dedicated subprocessors. The power supply and extra processors allow the laboratory's holographic elements to function even during combat.
The tactical analysis lab is designed with the mission's obstacles in mind, be they enemy vessels, an asteroid belt, or the logistical nightmare of evacuating an entire planet. Tacticians and specialists use this lab to plot out the challenges to a mission's success and discover ways to surmount them. In many cases, this may be a simple matter of giving the captain a proposed itinerary for a mission based on tactical efficiency. On the other hand, it may involve being in the lab during a battle to examine the enemy vessels and formations for exploitable weaknesses. After combat operations have ended, this lab is often busy analyzing the conflict to see what went wrong, what went right, and why.
When multiple Starfleet vessels engage military operations together, their tactical planning labs will be manned nearly every hour of every day. Here, tactical and operations officers coordinate their vessel's actions with those of every other vessel in the combat operation so that the taskforce operates as efficiently as possible. Sensor sweeps, communications, firepower, and a thousand other details are communicated to the various tactical planning labs and synced properly. Nothing says 'proper tactical planning' like having a dozen vessels of varying types and classes simultaneously pivot and fire at an enemy in a single, concentrated salvo. At other times, this lab's workspace is utilized to prepare combat drills
New technologies are developed every day, often by Starfleet officers who were forced by circumstances to 'invent' a new way of doing something. Starfleet acknowledges that necessity is the mother of invention and it certainly does not want to let that anti-polaran cannon, triphasic amplifier, or warp overdrive capacitor just sit by the wayside and rust to pieces. Thus, the small technology assessment laboratory exists as a small complex connecting to one of the vessel's fabrication facilities, designed as a space where new technologies can be modeled, analyzed, and properly tweaked before being put to fleet-wide use. Featuring dedicated sensor clusters, the widest variety of tools outside of Main Engineering, a spider-like set of robotic manipulator arms, and powerful forcefields, this lab is capable of not only perfecting new technologies, but also reverse engineering alien ones. Its location next to the fabrication facilities allows any needed materials or tools to be specially built immediately for the lab's use. One of the most notable features of the technology assessment laboratory is the recording system that maintains computer records of all work done in this lab and transmits that information to the Starfleet Science Division on a regular basis. In this manner, the start to finish progress on perfecting or analyzing a technology can be distributed to other scientists and engineers for further analysis and verification.
Temporary Cryogenic Storage
Cryogenics refers to the creation, study, and effects of very low temperatures (less than - 180° C / 93.15 K). The technology directly concerned with the cryopreserving living organisms is cryonics. The temporary cryogenic storage lab is designed to create very low temperatures for the storage and preservation of materials, both organic and otherwise. The lab is segmented into a number of storage lockers varying in size from six-inch cubes used for research, all the way up to a shuttle-sized locker for storing very large samples. the majority of the space devoted to the lab, however, is ultimately taken up by the equipment necessary to create and maintain these low temperatures. So, what most visitors see is a wide hallway with a master observation room at the end and a few short side-branches. These hallways are lined with doors to the various lockers, and each possesses a small wall-embedded display containing vital information concerning the locker and its specimen.
All science offices are on the same network as the laboratories, sharing the same dedicated optical data network to minimize the impact on the rest of the vessel's ODN. The offices also all possess a light-duty EPS linkage, similar to many crew quarters and other offices. Wireless uplinks for PADDs and tricorders are present in all offices, while all LCARS terminals and most wall-embedded displays have isolinear chip readers to facilitate the transmission of data.
Chief Science Officer
The Chief Science Officer, like all Department Heads, has their own office with an attached briefing room for holding staff meetings and dealing with the general day-to-day responsibilities of running a science department. This office comes fully equipped with a desk, two chairs, an LCARS terminal, a replicator, a medium wall-embedded display, and modular cabinetry (which can be configured as shelving, cabinets, or some combination thereof).
The attached briefing room can vary in size or presence depending on the vessel. On a Galaxy-class starship, the briefing room can comfortably seat twelve individuals, with standing room for an additional dozen. Large wall-embedded displays exist on either short wall of this roughly rectangular room, while holographic projectors are built into the ceiling and table for three-dimensional presentations. Each seating position contains a small set of embedded controls for the two displays and the holographic projection system.
Assistant Chief Science Officer
Also attached to the main briefing room is a smaller office that, on larger vessels, is typically assigned to the Assistant Chief Science Officer (smaller vessels lack both the position and the office). This officer contains a desk, two chairs, an LCARS terminal, a small wall-embedded display, and modular cabinetry. Their office is intended for personal work and small one-on-one meetings with staff scientists or technicians.
Depending on the size of the vessel, each staff scientist may... (options are descending in vessel size)
Each office, when available, possesses a desk, one chair, and an LCARS terminal. The modular file structure of a starship's computer core allows any user to access their files from any LCARS terminal, making it an ideal companion for smaller vessels, where eight staff scientists across four duty shifts have to all share the same three offices.
All but the smallest of starships will play host to at least one scientific team probing at the universe's mysteries. Each of these teams is headed by a principal investigator, sometimes drawn from the vessel's crew, and other times a Federation scientist and mission specialists may be brought aboard. In all cases, these individuals need a place from which to work and organize their information.
Each office contains two fixed desks, one fold-away working surface, four chairs, a replicator, two LCARS terminals, a medium wall-embedded display, and modular cabinetry. Each office is designed to comfortably hold five working individuals, which provides ample space for the typical three officers to spread out and keep track of their large volumes of information.
Office locations within the vessel can vary, but on larger vessels, at least two of them are located side-by-side with a removable wall between them, offering the possibility of one large office for investigations that require many individuals in close communication. The largest of vessels and bases may contain even larger office spaces, but such would be very specialized, indeed, and likely laboratories in their own right.
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