I thought when I saw the movie that it was suggested that the Whale Probe had been in contact with whales on Earth for years and came to Earth in order to discover why they had stopped communicating (they had gone extinct).

Does anyone want to investigate this?

You're right: That was the premise of the film. I'd also like to know, from a more dedicated Star Trek fan, whether this loose end was ever tied up. The movie leaves unexplored the subject of these whales and their alien origin (?). I know there are many Star Trek novels, comic books, fan stories, etc. Did any author ever address this point?
The novel called Probe (novel). The author complained that Pocket Books editted out a lot of her true work and replaced it with ghostwriting, she's circulated an uncensored manuscript under a different name.
The novel features a Romulan change of regime, a large part for Kevin Riley, and an encounter with a Whale Probe doing its thing to another area of space -- it featured an explanation of the Probe's behavior, contacting whale-like creatures and flooding worlds to make homes for them (thats what it was doing by causing excessive humidity and cloud cover -- flooding Earth)
There was even a mention of the Whale Probes fighting the Borg. -- Captain Mike K. Barteltalk 05:18, 5 Aug 2005 (UTC)

If anyone's interested, the whole story can be found here:

One (other) thing that's never adequately explained is how the probe's signal causes so much damage. Can anyone offer a reasonable explanation? Spatula 22:56, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

I had assumed the probes transmission was at least partially sonic/ultrasonic in range although with a staggering amount of power behind that

range it. Following this, the sonic waves induced energy into the large bodies of water on earth, the extra energy induced evaporation on a massive scale. Evaporation leads to clouds leads to torrential rain.

The problem with this is that if the probe was looking for whales, it's output likely would have cooked them by increasing the temperature of the bodies of water so much. Not that it made much sense in the first place to tear up the oceans when searching for ocean dwelling life, but I suppose it could be analagous to rampaging through ones house in search of a lost or missing child who could be hiding.
Naturally, it's safest and probably best all around to consider my assumptions wrong. ~Anon80
Consider you wrong. Got it.
The big problem with sonics is that in space, no-one can hear you calling whales. The fact that the probe never enters the atmosphere all but completely rules that out. I was thinking that perhaps it's something similar to microwave cooking. But that poses two big problems:
1. Why would it affect the ocean, but not the water inside living beings?
2. Why would that disable ships' systems so terribly?
In short, I'm still stumped. - Spatula 21:06, 30 April 2006 (UTC)
The Probe would not have sent "sound waves" from space, because there is no air. Sound as we know it is vibration of the air itself, at enormous speed. The only viable way the Probe could send a "sound wave" to a planet would be to send out energy waves that are capable of interacting with gaseous matter; these energy waves could, ostensibly, cause the air to vibrate when impacted. The precision of fine-tuning the energy to a pattern-inducing form, however, and specifically the EXACT pattern of the call of the humpback whale (or language, in Star Trek), would seem to indicate a level of advancement that would make the Probe novel entirely apocryphal, since the total lack of Federation knowledge, even before the Probe visitation, of a cetaceous species of such advanced level suggests an origin outside of the galaxy...if cetaceous life is comparatively rare throughout space, then perhaps "keeping an eye on it" wherever it was/is found.
On the other issues:
1.A. It probably did effect the water inside living beings, only in a different way. If we're talking about a species that cause a sound to be produced over an entire planet at once, they probably know how to impact things in different ways. The look of the officer seen on USS Yorktown, especially in the eyes, would invite the speculation that one could become sick from it over prolonged direct exposure. Just more theory, though, again.
2.A. The energy necessary to produce the sonic effect of the Probe on planets would likely be on the order of 10,000 or so times the power a modern 24th century Federation starship could handle, let alone a 23rd.
Another thing of note: I think the size comparison is wrong. Spacedock was in the foreground, so I think it looked larger than it actually was. The Probe wasn't huge, it was gargantuan. --ChrisK 07:42, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
A. It affects water differently depending on whether it's in an ocean or inside a body? That's a terrible excuse. Water is water. If it can make the seas boil, it should do more than just make one officer feel a little queasy.
B. 10,000 times? Remarkable guess, cos it's actually 10,001 times! Seriously, why bother throwing numbers like that around? What are you even basing it on? We have absolutely no idea what the power capabilities of a Federation starship are, let alone what the output of the probe was. Apparently the probe puts out more than the starships can handle, but we have no idea if it was just too much or way, way too much.
C. The size comparison is relatively simple: The size of spacedock has been calculated to be around 5km high. The whale probe is known to be around 75km long. Do the maths.
D. Yet another question that's popped into my head just this second: How did Georgie & Gracie transmit their own signal back to the probe? Surely it doesn't have such stupendous hearing as that?
- Spatula 11:39, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

Willing suspension of disbelief. If you are going to accept that a group of astronaughts from the future travelled back in time on a alien ship to find some whales, you really shouldn't have much difficulty accepting the rest. Jaz talk 00:59, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

Actually, time travel pisses me off. And the rest (astronauts, aliens, the future) require virtually no suspension of disbelief. But I digress.
I'm not so much interested in "What the writers intended", because apparently they didn't put much thought into the technical questions. I'm asking "How should the technical questions have been approached to produce the same end product"? Consider it an exercise in improving your scifi writing skills. - Spatula 23:29, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
2.A. Godlike alien technology = ability to hit different bodies of water with energy at different levels. Or perhaps the power damages only electrical systems, like some of the Bermuda Triangle stories claim, and the Federation could stand some more industrial-grade internal combustion engines as backups on their starships. That sort of concept was in the DS9 episode where Ezri goes after the killer with a chemically-powered (read gunpowder) rifle.
2.B. Basing it's power on a mass to energy ratio of the Probe being approximately 75 km long (if that number is to be believed), and the admitted assumption of the amplification wave giving roughly ten times more energy than its outer size would grant it already.
2.C. How far away is the Probe from Spacedock when its shadow falls over it? How can we really know the distance?
2.D. It does. If it's expected to be able to talk to them in the ocean from space, it should be able to pick up the sonic vibrations of everything on the planet from space, including everything in the ocean. -- ChrisK 11:28, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
You guys are forgetting something. Once the Bounty arrived in 1986, Uhura reports that she is recieving whale songs. This implies that the whale song is carried on a subspace frequency, since it's unlikely that she would just happen to hear sonic vibrations from space without specifically looking for them.
Isn't it likely that the humpback whales just had a natural ability to send subspace transmissions? Humans never would have observed this, since the whales went extinct long before subspace radio was developed. This could help to explain the nature of the probe's transmission. If it was an immensly powerful subspace transmission, then it could also cause immense subspace distortion.
The audible part of the transmission was what the ships subspace recievers interpreted as sound. For the sequences of the probe in space, the sound could have simply been added for effect, similar to the way sound is added when a torpedo or phaser fires in space, or when a ship explodes. These really is no sound in space, but that would make for a pretty boring explosion.
Captain MAJ =/\=|**** 19:13, 8 September 2006 (UTC)
You calling Firefly boring! :P --OuroborosCobra talk 19:17, 8 September 2006 (UTC)
What? I said an explosion with no sound is boring. I think Firefly and the Movie Serenity were great. This is a Star Trek Wiki, though, not a Firefly one. Captain MAJ =/\=|**** 19:37, 8 September 2006 (UTC)
I was making a joke. That is why I included ":P" (sticking my tongue out at you). I see my sense of humour needs work. Nothing new there. --OuroborosCobra talk 19:40, 8 September 2006 (UTC)
Just want to say, I always wondered about this, but your theory of explanation actually kind of fits, and (given the nature of the subject matter) is definitely plausible. Thank you! Drego5 00:47, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

Forum:Alien Probe in The Voyage HomeEdit

I have just watched The Voyage Home again I was wondering if the alien race that sent the destructive probe to earth has been identified in any future book or TV episode. dmc5007 03:45, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

Try here. -- Connor Cabal 04:50, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for your help! The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk).


Question: Is it possible the makers of the probe are in any way connected to the Xindi? I don't know, the combination of sentient aquatic creatures (having a "full-fledged language" would lead me to believe the wales are sentient) and the similarity in the appereance of the probe's destruction to that of the Xindi weapon, it just made me wonder.

Huh? For one thing, the whale probe was not destroyed, and therefore had no similarity to the Xindi weapon in that respect. For another, it was made pretty clear that the whale probe was by s race far more advanced than the Federation, something the Xindi were not. In addition, there would be no reason for the probe to be sent, as the Xindi had been in contact with Earth for a century. --OuroborosCobra talk 06:15, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

The Xindi aquatics seemed pretty advanced & mysterious. Perhaps it's a remnant of the temporal cold war. Archer told them of ancient Whales, n they sent a probe. Perhaps it was a pact or insurance. For the not so advanced, perhaps it's an ancient Xindi probe, the journey took so long because it's ancient technology.

I won't even dignify this with a response other than "no, you're wrong." --OuroborosCobra talk 01:25, September 6, 2009 (UTC)
Hey I don't know if that's a fair response. We don't know if the theory is wrong, just that there's absolutely no evidence to support it and it would be ridiculous in anything other than a fanfic. There's a subtle difference... --Andorian Blues 18:16, September 17, 2010 (UTC)