In Star Trek: Voyager the doctor at first is not capable of leaving the medical room, but later on he acquires a mobile emitter allowing him to leave the medical room.

Seen on his arm.

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Why don't they create more holographic programs, equip them with the mobile emitter and send them on away missions? Especially in areas that are hostile, or not safe for humans(planets where they have to wear space suits or protective gear).

Even if one of them died, you could re-upload the program to another mobile emitter, provided they keep backups. No more red shirts ;).

2 Answers 2


Why don't they create more holographic programs, equip them with the mobile emitter and send them on away missions?

Because they can't.

Mobile emitters are 29th century techology and Voyager is a 24th century ship.

They can repair/adjust the mobile emitter but they do not have the resources or ability to reproduce the emitter.

The autonomous self-sustaining mobile holo-emitter, or mobile emitter, was a piece of 29th century technology designed to remotely power and enable a single holographic instance away from permanent holoemitters. Constructed of a poly-deutonic alloy unknown to 24th century science, the mobile emitter was approximately the size of a Human palm.

Memory Alpha

In The Light Fantastic (a TNG Novel), Data and Commander Geordi La Forge talk with The Doctor and Lieutenant Reginald Barclay about the possibility of replicating the emitter for general use, but The Doctor confirms that the emitter cannot be replicated by current technological standards.

  • This might be off topic and be better as another question, but what about androids or robots? Especially after Seven of Nine comes aboard Voyager and they are able to understand Borg technology. To me anyways, it just seems with all the tech they have, they can't build something to go on dangerous away mission instead of sending humans, especially since those robots and androids can behave and think like humans
    – user61126
    Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 15:22
  • IMO this did not answer the specific question - Paulie explains that the emitter cannot be replicated but the question reads "Why don't they create more holographic programs, equip them with the mobile emitter and send them on away missions?" This indicated to me that the answer be directed toward multiple holograms using the SAME emitter and not why they didn't create more emitters.
    – Mykewlname
    Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 15:24
  • @Mykewlname - Paulie_D had it right, I meant it as replicate more emitters or build new ones, from my understanding 1 emitter for 1 hologram. WIth that in mind, build more emitters and more holograms. Your answer is good too, so don't remove it, I never thought of it as a possession the doctor could have.
    – user61126
    Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 15:25
  • Voyager doesn't have the resources/knowledge to build things like androids nor do they know how, There are only 3 androids that I know of, 2 created by Soong and 1 by Data himself.
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 15:29
  • @Mykewlname This does answer the specific question. A mobile emitter can only create a single hologram. It's stated right there in the answer.
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 15:31

In Voyager Season One Episode 7 - "The Eye of the Needle" - the Doctor up to that point had been treated as nothing more than an appliance and seemed to have very little rights. During this episode, Kess brings her concerns to Janeway and things begins to change. After she realizes her mistake, Janeway tells The Doctor that he has become a full-fledged member of the crew and from that moment on he was treated as the Chief Medical Officer of Voyager.

After this event, The Doctor was sent on away missions that could accommodate a hologram when a medical officer was needed. And when he acquired the mobile emitter in the "Future's End" episode during season 3, the mobile emitter belonged to the Doctor just as another member of the crew would own something... like a pair of shoes. This is why Janeway did not create an army of red shirt holograms to use the mobile emitter for away missions. The emitter was borrowed on occasion... such as the time the Barclay hologram needed it... but always with permission from the Doctor.

Bottom line, the emitter "belonged" to the Doctor and if a hologram was needed to go on an away mission it would be him. Janeway was not going to upload multiple hologram programs to the emitter... it was for The Doctor.

  • 1
    It's arguable that the mobile emitter belonged to the Doctor since it's actually not his possession. It's a resource assigned to the Doctor. He doesn't own it...it just enhances his usefulness.
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 15:57
  • @Paulie_D - I watched Voyager a long time ago so I don't remember every episode, but if it just enhanced his usefulness, who was the rightful owner of the mobile emitter in the 24th century, Starfleet? If Starfleet did own it, why not study it and attempt o replicate it?
    – user61126
    Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 16:02
  • 1
    @srosemond Because the mobile emitter was on the USS Voyager, which, at the time they found the emitter, was ~80 years away from Starfleet's tech department, at top warp speeds? I'm sure they would've been very eager to do exactly that, just as soon as they were physically able to get ahold of the device.
    – Steve-O
    Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 19:47
  • @Paulie_D agreed and perhaps "owner" was too strong a word but I really think it wasn't a case of a piece of equipment being "assigned" to the Doctor. That's why i compared it to a pair of shoes... yeah sure you can assign them to crewmembers but are you going to share a pair of shoes between many people? Janeway treats him as a member of the senior staff who has a real need for this emitter... so she "gave" it to him alone to use.
    – Mykewlname
    Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 20:14
  • 1
    @srosemond I agree, if they were in the Alpha quadrant the emitter would have went to Starfleet technical immediately.
    – Mykewlname
    Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 20:15

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