The Starfleet science officer combines a capacity for analyzing technical information with an ability to communicate it in terms that non-specialized personnel can understand. The science officer is responsible for overseeing scientific investigations, and for providing the captain with data that may be required to make command decisions. The relative importance of this role differs according to the nature of the vessel or station to which the science officer is assigned; a Starfleet vessel primarily designated as a research vessel, has a very high concentration of scientists aboard compared to ships designed primarily for exploration. Science officers are often called upon to analyze and explain newly encountered phenomena and technology, especially if it threatens the safety of the crew or ship.



Duties and Responsibilities

Chief Science Officer's duties

  • The primary responsibilities of the Chief Science Officer is control of starship or unit sensor arrays, coordination of scientific endeavors, and interpretation of sensor data. Since sensor systems are a shared resource the Chief Science Officer is usually involved in a number of scientific projects. Departments such as stellar cartography often contact the Chief Science Officer for advice and input. Command decisions are made based on all available information; this includes scientific information. The Chief Science Officer is responsible for the interpretation and dissemination of all scientific data collected by available sensor systems. The Chief Science Officer is a liaison between the Command Staff and the Science Department.

  •  Science Officer's duties

  • The primary responsibilities of the Science Officer is operation and shared control of starship or unit sensor arrays, coordination of scientific endeavors, and interpretation of sensor data. Since sensor systems are a shared resource the Science Officer is usually involved in a number of scientific projects. Departments such as stellar cartography often contact the science officer for advice and input. Command decisions are made based on all available information; this includes scientific information. The Science Officer is responsible for assisting in the interpretation and dissemination of all scientific data collected by available sensor systems. The Science Officer is a liaison between the Science Department and the Chief Science Officer.

  • Sensors

  • The Chief Science Officer has control of all sensor systems*. Sensors are vital to starship operations, providing the ability to detect phenomena at great distances. They have wide application in scientific, engineering, medical and defensive endeavors. There is no single all-purpose sensor on a ship; rather, they tend to be grouped together in sensor arrays. Most sensors work by detecting various energy fluctuations, such as electromagnetic oscillations, spectral wavelengths and gravimetric distortions, which are then interpreted by the main computer into usable information.  

  • Starfleet vessels have three primary sensor types: Long-range, lateral (short-range) and navigational sensors. The main sensors are located at the front of the ship, designed to sweep far ahead to gather navigational and scientific information. The lateral sensors provide coverage in other directions – aft, port, starboard and so on. Both are tied into the science stations and various laboratories on board. The final group is the navigational sensors, which keep track of the ship’s position and velocity, and are tied directly to the Conn’s flight control systems. This combination provides starship crews with extensive capability for astronomical observation, planetary analysis and remote life-form analysis.

  • Astrometrics Lab

  • Ships that have these labs on board, the Science Department has sole control. Its main function is to correlate all the data collected through the sensors and represents it in a visual form. The information is just not limited to the sensors. Information can be received form the Computer Library, manual inputs, and from personal/duty logs.

  • Departmental Support

  • Medical – Sciences are used by the Medical Department to help study new life forms, help cure diseases, and to help with the general smooth running of the department.

  • Biologist - Studies living things from cells to sentient beings and the processes that occur in living things.

  • Microbiologist - Biology concerned with very small and microscopic-sized, living cells and organisms.

  • Exobiology - One who specializes in the study of alien life form physiology.

  • Zoologist / Vet as needed - Life scientist concerned with the study of animals and their evolution, characteristics and behavior.


  • Tactical – The Tactical Department uses the Sciences, but not to the extent as some of the other departments. When a tactical situation arises, a hostage situation for example, it may draw on the resources of the Political Sciences to get a feel for the volatility of the situation, or the Geologists to discover a possible hidden base on a planet.

  • Operations – When Ops encounters a new life form and is unable to communicate with them, linguists will assist Ops with the langue so a line of communication can be established.

  • Linguistics - The study of languages past and present, including idiosyncrasies, slang and dialects.

  • Flight Control – With the aid of the Astrophysicists and the sensor array, the FCO will be able to plot the ships course and avoid any stellar matter that the FCO feels might be a threat to the ship and/or crew.  

  •  Engineering – Even though the Engineering Department is not to concerned with Science Department as a whole, they still utilize members of the Science Department to aid the department in its daily work and repairs.

  • Cybernetics Specialist

  • Computer Specialist (hard and soft ware)

  • Away Team – Depending on the nature of the Away Team’s mission, a variety of scientists may accompany the Away Team. Main mission of the scientists on an Away Team is to study the environment, culture, and the planet in general.

  • Science Departments

    Physical Sciences

    i. Geologist - Concerned with the structure of planets, their behaviors, and what can be expected to happen in its future.

    ii. Archaeologist - Study of fossil relics, especially remnants of past sentient societies.

    iii. Oceanographer - Studies the evolution, characteristics and life forms that inhabit the oceans of a world. This can range from mapping the ocean floor to finding new organisms and communicating with intelligent life forms.

    iv. Chemist - Deals with the behavior of elements, compounds, mixtures, and solutions and with the nature of the reactions that occur among elements.

    v. Physicist - One who teaches, does research in, or does experiments with the nature and behavior of matter, energy, and forces in the universe.

    vi. Astrophysicist - Concerned with the behavior of celestial bodies and the structure and evolution of stars, galaxies, and the universe in general.

    Life Sciences

    i. Botanist - The study of plant life

    ii. Anthropologist - Studies the behavior, customs, religious, sciences, and beliefs of a society.

    iii. Political sciences - Studies governments, their laws and judiciary systems.

    iv. Paleontologist - Studies ancient life forms based on fossil remains

    Computer Access

    The most important single operational element of any starship next to the crew is the computer system. The computer is directly analogous to the autonomic nervous system of a living being, and is responsible in some way for the operation of virtually every other system of the vehicle

    Crew interface for the main computer is provided by the Library Access and Retrieval System software, usually abbreviated as LCARS. LCARS provides both keyboard and verbal interface ability, incorporating highly sophisticated artificial intelligence routines and graphic display organization for maximum crew ease-of-use.


    Research is one of the functions of the Science department. On larger ships research is accomplished with the aid if Science Departments working together. On smaller ships, Science Officers rely more heavily on the computer to provide answers to questions due the lack of crew resources. On any size ship, there are two forms of research conducted by the Science Officers

    i. Practical

    Science Officers use information already gathered by other people via LCARS to further their own course of study. Often time’s answers will be readily available due to the wealth of information stored in the computer. The Science Officers can input updated or new information into the computer for other people to view at a latter time.

    ii. Theory

    When situations arise that have not been encountered or recorded before, Science Officers have to study and examine the situation. Often times the Science Officers will ask the computer to if it can provide a theory about the situation. The computer uses the information it has and rely the information to the Science Officers. If the computer is unable to provide a theory. The Science Officers will have to begin inputting information into the computer.

    Computer Library

    One of the functions of the computer is to store information for retrieval by the crew. The Computer Library can be accessed by anyone on a ship. The level of access is restricted to the person’s security level. The library has a wealth of information on any topic. In larger ships where families are authorized to be on board, school courses and family oriented entertainment have been included in the library. The crew also uses the Computer Library in their workday. Sciences uses the Computer Library heavily since it would be impractical to have books on all the subjects on the ship that the Science Department needs to accomplish their goals.

    Data Transfers

    Data transmissions may be established between any standard Starfleet hardware units equipped with radio frequency or subspace transceiver assembly devices, either by manual key presses or by vocally commanding the computer to handle the data transfers. In most cases, the computer will automatically execute the desired functions; on occasion, the computer may request identification key presses for specific pieces of hardware, usually for verification of device type, data transmission protocols, or sequencing of multiple devices. During both voice and data transmissions, channels may be secured by either manual\el inputs or vocal request, depending on the respective locations of the parties or devices involved.



  • i. Green

  • During Green Alert all sensor information and sensors resources are shared by all departments. Operations Manager having final say on whom has priority if there is a conflict.

  • ii. Yellow

  • During Yellow Alert, all departments cease the use of sensor resources except for the Bridge Stations and Engineering. Bridge Stations and Engineering will still share the resources. At the discretion of the Captain and/or Operations Manager, this can be overridden.

  • iii. Red

  • During Red Alert, all departments cease the use of sensor resources and the sources are no longer shared. Each Bridge Station will have direct control over the respective sensor array.

  • Modes

  • i. Reduced Power

  • All departments cease the use of sensor information and resources will not be shared, except by the Bridge Stations and Engineering. All Sensor arrays will be used at minimal power and hourly power consumption will be sent to the Commanding Officer or Designee.

  • ii. External Power Support

  • While hard docked or receiving power from other source, all sensor arrays will be shut down. All sensor information will be received from Base or Support Ship. Only exception will be if in combat or hostile environment. Then only necessary arrays will be operational and at reduced power.

  • Diagnostic

    All key operating systems and subsystems aboard a ship have a number of pre-programmed diagnostic software and procedures for use when actual or potential malfunctions are experienced. These various diagnostics protocols are generally classified into five different levels, each offering a different degree of crew verification of automated tests. Which type of diagnostic is used in a given situation will generally depend upon the criticality of a situation, and upon the amount of time available for the test procedures.

  • i. Level 1 Diagnostic

  • This refers to the most comprehensive type of system diagnostic, which is normally conducted on ship’s systems. Extensive automated diagnostic routines are performed, but a Level 1 Diagnostic requires a team of crew members to physically verify operation of system mechanisms and to system readings, rather than depending on the automated programs, thereby guarding against possible malfunctions in self-testing hardware and software. Level 1 Diagnostics on major systems can take several hours, and in many cases the subject system must be taken off-line for all tests to be performed.

  • ii. Level 2 Diagnostic

  • This refers to a comprehensive system diagnostic protocol which, like a Level 1, involves extensive automated routines, but requires crew verification of fewer operational elements. This yields a somewhat less reliable system analysis, but is a procedure that can be conducted in less than half the time of the more complex tests.

  • iii. Level 3 Diagnostic

  • This procedure is similar to Level 1 and 2 Diagnostic but involves crew verification of only key mechanics and system readings. Level 3 diagnostics are intended to be performed in ten minutes or less.

  • iv. Level 4 Diagnostic

  • This automated procedure is intended for use whenever trouble is suspected with a given system. This protocol is similar to Level 5, but involves more sophisticated batteries of automated diagnostics. For most systems, Level 4 Diagnostics can be performed in under 30 seconds.

  • v. Level 5 Diagnostic

  • This automated procedure is intended for routine use to verify system performance. Level 5 Diagnostics, which usually require less than 2.5 seconds. Are typically performed on most systems on at least a daily basis, and are also performed during crises situations when time and systems system are carefully managed.

  • Tools

  • i. Science Stations

  • Science stations I and II are the first two aft stations located directly behind the Tactical station on the upper level of the Main Bridge (different ship configurations may place this elsewhere). They are used by bridge personnel to provide real-time scientific data to command personnel. These stations are not assigned full-time technicians, but are available for use as needed. In ACTD, station one is frequently manned by the CSO and if the ship has an SO, to station II.

  • In some cases, the science stations are used by personnel attached to secondary missions including researchers, science officers, mission specialists, and others who need to coordinate operations closely with the bridge. Science I and II are generally configured for independent operation, but can be linked together when two researchers wish to work cooperatively. The aft Science stations have priority links to Conn, OPS and Tactical. During Alert status, science stations can have priority access to sensor arrays, if necessary over ridding ongoing science department observations and other secondary mission upon approval of the CSO.

  • The Science I station incorporates an isolinear ship matrix panel that permits specialized mission profile programs to be loaded as needed, and also permits investigators to accumulate data for later study.

  • Primary functions of Science stations include:

  • - The ability to provide access to sensors and interpretative software for primary mission and command intelligence requirements and to supplement OPS to providing real-time scientific data for command decision making support.

    - The ability to act as a command pst of coordination of activities of various science laboratories and other departments, as well as for monitoring of secondary mission status.

    - The ability to reconfigure and recalibrate sensor systems at a moment’s notice to specific command intelligence requirements.

  • ii. Tricorder

  • The standard tricorder is a portable sensing, computing, and data communications device developed by Starfleet R&D and issued to starship crew members. It incorporates miniaturized versions of those scientific instrument found to be most useful for both shipboard and away missions, and its capabilities may be augmented with mission-specific peripherals. Its many functions may be accessed by touch-sensitive controls or, if necessary, voice command

  • Tricorders are extremely compact and powerful sensory devices. In addition to containing a wide range of miniature electromagnetic, magnetic, audio, chemical and subspace sensors, tricorders also include extremely detailed databanks on a wide range of scientific and historical information. The computer in the tricorder can rapidly identify known lifeforms, materials and energy sources by comparing its sensory reading with its databanks. Tricorders can also attempt to analyze unknown lifeforms, materials or energy sources, although this could take up to an hour, during which the tricorder may still be used for other tasks. Tricorders also contain subspace communicators with ranges like those of personal communicators. The can send and receive data of all types from a starship computer or other distant source.

  • The normal range a standard tricorder is 2,000 meters for long range scans, 25 meters for short-range for short-range scans. All long-range scans are omni directional, but the user must aim the tricorder at a specific location to perform a short-range scan. Various types of ionic and other interference can greatly reduce the range of a tricorders scans.


  • iii. PADD

  • In its primary role aboard a starship, the personal access display device (PADD) is a handheld control and display terminal. Small, easily managed terminals and computers are in daily use throughout Starfleet, as a natural response to crew members’ needs to 1.) execute hardware functions in a variety of functions, and 2.) manipulate visual information and communicate that information to others aboard ship. Access to the ships computer and other pieces of equipment can be accomplished through he usual control display and larger terminal screens, of course, but the PADD has become a convenient adjunct to those panels.


  • iv. Deflector Dish

  • Although the density of the interstellar medium is extremely low, significant hazards to navigation exits, especial for a starship traveling at relativistic or warp velocities. Among these are micrometeroid particulates, as well as the much rare (but more hazardous) larger objects such as asteroids. Even the extremely tenuous stray hydrogen atoms of the interstellar medium itself can be a dangerous source of friction at sufficient velocities.

  • The heart of the navigational deflector system is three redundant high power graviton polarity source generators. The flux energy output of these generators is directed and focused by a series of powerful subspace field coils. The main dish is attached to the actual emitter array. The dish is steerable under automatic computer control. Subspace filed coils are used to shape the deflector beam into two primary components. The first shields the ship two kilometers ahead of the ship. These low-powered fields are relatively static and are used to deflect the stray hydrogen atom as well as any submicron particles that escaped the deflector beam. The navigational deflector, also controlled by the subspace field coils, is a powerful tractor/deflector that sweeps thousands of kilometers ahead of the ship, pushing aside larger objects that may present a collision hazard.

  • Because the main deflector dish radiates significant amounts of both subspace and electromagnetic radiation, it can have detrimental effects on the performance of many sensors. Which is why the LRS array is located behind the main deflector, allowing sensors to ‘look’ directly through the axis of the fields.


  • v. Probes

  • Automated sensor platforms propelled by micro fusion reactors or warp field sustainers, used to extend starships sensor range and sensitivity, to perform routine surveys, or to reconnoiter an area where a threat may exist. Probes can be retasked and piloted from the mother ship, although specialized scans typically require manual replacement of sensor pallets. All probes are roughly cylindrical and approx. 2 meters long, about the same size as a photon torpedo launcher.

  • There are nine classes of probes, classified by mission type. Increase in class number does not necessarily indicate a corresponding increase in utility, although it does usually indicate an increase in speed and range.

  • Listed probe ranges indicate the expected distance before the probe ceases to function. Limiting velocity or thrust time can usually extend this range.

  • Probes have no Power characteristic; they are assumed to have sufficient internal power to run their systems until they reach their maximum range or otherwise cease to function.






    Class I


    200,000 km

    Short-range astronomical. Capable of analyzing EM radiation, interstellar chemistry and subspace fields.

    Class II


    400,000 km

    Short-range astronomical. Capable of analyzing EM radiation, interstellar chemistry and subspace fields.

    Class III


    1,200,000 km

    Designed to land on planets and return samples, providing a detailed on-site analysis of the planet.

    Class IV


    3,500,000 km

    Used to perform close observations of stars and other high-energy phenomena.

    Class V

    Warp 2, .5c

    430 billion km

    Designed to land on planets and return samples, providing a detailed on-site analysis of the planet.

    Class VI


    430 billion km

    Are communicator relays and emergency beacons. The beacon has no warp capability (to limit detection by subspace sensors) but has a high relativistic velocity. Once the probe’s fuel is exhausted it coasts at speed, broadcasting a recovery signal toward Federation space. The probe has a navigational module to facilitate recovery and trajectory tracking.

    Class VII

    Warp 1.5, .5c

    450,000,000 km

    Designed to orbit an inhabited planet for up to three months, gathering data bout the inhabitants and relaying it to a ship. Designed to be invisible to all sensors used by pre-stellar civilizations.

    Class VIII

    Warp 8/9

    See Notes

    Long-range sensor probe that can travel at warp 9 for up to 12 hours. On rare occasions, has been used to ferry a lone passenger on emergency mission.

    Class IX

    Warp 8/9

    See Notes

    Long-range sensor probe that can travel at warp 9 for up to 12 hours. On rare occasions, has been used to ferry a lone passenger on emergency mission.


  • 1. Class V and Class VII probes are built with ‘stealth’ technology that makes them harder to detect with sensors.

  • 2. A class VIII’s range depends upon which speed it uses. It can use warp 8 to ravel a distance about 12 light years. At warp 9 it can travel for a maximum of 6.5 hours. A class Viii probe’s long-range sensors have a range of 6 light-years.

  • 3. A class IX’s Range depends upon which speed it uses. It can use warp 8 to ravel a distance of about 76 light-years. At warp 9, it can travel for a maximum range of 12 hours. A class IX probe’s long-range sensors have a range of 12 light-years.