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A 22nd century probe

A probe launched by the USS Defiant in 2371

The Mark V torpedo casing of a solar probe in 2371 behind Data

For the Pocket Books novel, please see Probe (novel).

A probe, space probe, or interstellar probe was an automated spacecraft used to gather information. Probes were often used for tasks or environments that were not well suited for manned-missions.

Such tasks included:

The United Earth Space Probe Agency (or UESPA) was an Earth organization responsible for the exploration of space during the early 22nd century, and was later combined with Starfleet. (ENT: "Demons")

Some probes used by Starfleet were modified photon torpedo casings with extended sensor equipment and no warhead. (TNG: "The Emissary"; Star Trek Generations) Deep space probes had casings that contained radioactive material that could potentially contaminate the biosphere of planets if they crash landed on the surface. (TNG: "Thine Own Self")

Two probes were deployed by the USS Enterprise-D to scan the region of space close to a cosmic string, which led to the discovery of a species of two-dimensional beings. (TNG: "The Loss")

Using the data obtained from a series of probes, and the sensor logs of the USS Brattain and the Enterprise-D, Data concluded that the two starships were trapped in a rupture in space. (TNG: "Night Terrors")

A probe was launched by the Enterprise-D to examine a neutrino emission with no visible source in the planet J'naii's star system. When the probe disappeared suddenly, this suggested the presence of null space. (TNG: "The Outcast")

A probe was launched by the Enterprise-D to follow a radioactive trail left behind by the Kataan probe, in order to trace its origins. (TNG: "The Inner Light")

It was speculated that a small glowing ball of energy that left a spatial rupture created by solanogen-based lifeforms shortly before it was closed was a probe of some kind. (TNG: "Schisms")

A probe was launched by the USS Defiant into the corona of the Trialan sun in order to scan the sun's core. (DS9: "Meridian")

Probe was also the designation of some manned spacecraft, such as the Borg probe, a starship class used by the Borg Collective, (VOY: "Dark Frontier") and the Earth-Saturn probe, the first manned flight to Saturn. (TOS: "Tomorrow is Yesterday")

Starfleet probe classes

The class-1, class-3 and scanner probes shared a similar structure

A class-2 probe

A class-5 probe

A class-8 probe

An atmospheric probe

The advanced multi-spatial probe

Other Federation probes

Ancient Earth probes

Alien probes

An Iconian probe

The Kataan probe

See also


Background information

Detailed information on the types of Federation probes are given in the Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual.

Several early Earth probes are visible on computer screens during TOS: "The Cage".

The "class V planetary probe" in "Blink of an Eye" is the same graphic as the "multiphasic probe" in "Extreme Risk".

While Enterprise was preparing to head into the Arachnid Nebula (containing gravimetric shear) in the first draft script of ENT: "Fusion" (which had the working title "Equilibrium"), the captain of the Vahklas-type Vahklas commented to Enterprise captain Jonathan Archer that, if Enterprise was a Vulcan ship, he would probably want to send a series of automated probes into the nebula while his craft remained outside it, in relative safety.

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