I am trying to get my head around this as it doesn't make sense to me at the moment.

We are in 2256 and the Discovery is currently experimenting with a spore drive. During the show it is saying how it can travel vast distances pretty much instantaneously. However, in other series a lot of speed is mentioned as a particular warp speed.

I am struggling to compare the differences. This spore drive seems to indicate that it is the fastest available ever.

In Enterprise, the titular ship Enterprise NX-01 could go at a maximum warp speed of 5.06.

In The Original Series, set after the Discovery timeline, USS Enterprise NCC-1701, could run at a maximum speed of warp 8.

So between this time, during the Discover timeline we have a spore drive which can go at X, beating any current warp speed (around 5), but then this seems to be over when it comes to warp 8.

I am assuming the series will go into this detail later on, maybe the spore drive dies or cannot be used so they go back to warp engines, but for now I can't work out how to compare these speeds that the ships are all going at. I am a rather new Star Trek viewer, I was only old enough when Stargate was showing so that was my original entry into sci-fi!

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    It should also be noted that Warp Speed itself is an inconsistent scale - memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Warp_factor
    – Paulie_D
    Oct 10, 2017 at 13:50
  • Just to note that this Star Trek seems like it wants to get into the more "covert" aspects of Star Trek/The Federation and so there are going to be things presented that are probably going to be limited to this ship, this crew that go beyond what Trekkies may believe to be true. Oct 10, 2017 at 13:55
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    Indeed, Section 31 (as seems likely) might be involved and they have no qualms about dangerous tech.
    – Paulie_D
    Oct 10, 2017 at 14:02

3 Answers 3


There is no comparison.

The spore drive is, for all intents and purposes, instantaneous travel to any part of the galaxy.

I think there is a reference to 1.3 seconds to the Beta Quadrant but this might include power-up time but, apparently, distance is not factor and if that is the case then there is no velocity equation that can be used to compare.

The Discovery it would appear (since we are only early in the series at the time of writing) has "normal" warp engines to get where it's going but has the experimental spore drive in development in the hopes of a significant miltary advantage.

Akiva Goldsman (EP) had this to say..

We are not the Kelvin timeline…which is a reboot of the original timeline…We are not part of that timeline, we are the original timeline with the TV shows and the movies that fit into that. We are ten years before The Original Series…Where Constitution Class ships are in comparison to where this Discovery prototype – well one of two prototypes, well now one of one prototypes – are technologically is obviously a variant. We are wildly aware of everything that appears to be a deviation from canon. We will will close out each of those issues before we arrive at the 10 year period and hit TOS.


  • Thanks. I won't make this the answer just yet (if I don't get a better answer which is likely, I will mark it later on tonight), but this was my understanding. It just now doesn't make sense how in 10 years, the ships aren't using that but are only using warp engines again. I must assume the series will go into this later on. Oct 10, 2017 at 13:58
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    Indeed, I suspect that this will be a major point of the series (ongoing). Apparently CBS are very keen not to break canon. They may abandon Spore Drive for technical, safety or even ethical reasons. The latter seems the most likely.
    – Paulie_D
    Oct 10, 2017 at 14:00
  • Well, given the Short Trek Calypso (massive time travel/jump), with S1 B's plot (universe and astral plane travel), and now knowing we may be getting more into section 31 (Michelle Yeoh is almost set to star in her own section 31 series), I definitely think we may learn how this may have been kept isolated... Jan 16, 2019 at 23:46
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    There's all kinds of reasons the spore drive could be abandoned. Examples: - turns out to be a massive failure - turns out to be way to tedious/expensive to build vs traditional warp nacelles - turns out to be dangerous, especially in certain spacial environments - turns out to have an environmental impact - StarFleet is forced to abandon the technology due to something that happens to Discovery towards the end of the series and hitting TOS, and thus "Scrub" the tech and seal it away forever. The same type of situation occurred in Voyager with the neural gel pack tech. Jan 18, 2019 at 22:38
  • @MissouriSpartan So true! I'm trying to figure out what's going on in Calypso (Short Trek), has the Discovery really been waiting for 1,000 years for the crew to return or did it just time travel to 1,000 years into the future and has actually been waiting less time? At any rate, it could be that the time travel factor with the spore drive will play a role later on and maybe Discovery does not stay in the pre-TOS era?! Jan 19, 2019 at 0:47

Episode 2 of Season 2 has the answer.
A distance of ~51 000 light years would take 150 years using warp drive, while spore drive is instant like in a blink of an eye.


Spore drive doesn't traverse space in the classical Newtonian sense. Spore drive displaces matter into a fibrous network which permeates a dimension allowing swifter transit. Since time is meaningless in the mycelial network.... However the USS Glenn achieved moving 90 lightyears in 1.3 seconds Captain Pike authorized the use of the drive to travel 51,000+light years to the planet Terralysium but time spent was not illustrated. the jump appears instantaneous or least few seconds time delay. Its not a matter of speed but calculating destination.

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