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Sensors detect the presence of target objects either by detecting energy emitted by the target or by reflecting energy off them and detecting the reflection.

  1. The first type of sensor is known as a passive sensor, since it does not emit energy of its own.
  2. The second type is known as an active sensor, since it projects energy and bounces it off the target object.

Description (Specifications)[edit]

Types of Sensors: There are two broad types of sensors in the game, active and passive.

  • Active sensors detect targets by sending out pulses of energy, such as radio waves or lasers, which then bounce off their targets and back to the sensor. The time that it takes the pulse to return, the shift in frequency of the pulse, etc., can be used to determine the distance and direction of the target, its motion relative to the sensor, etc. The two major drawback, of the active sensor are that it broadcasts its own presence by filling space with pulses of energy, and that it requires a lot of power to generate pulses powerful enough to bounce back from very distant target.
  • Passive sensors do not betray themselves by emitting energy; rather, they detect targets by sensing the energy given off by those targets. Passive sensors are typically less effective than active sensors in terms of absolute range, but are more tactically useful for ships that wish to remain unnoticed. [1]

Computer Control Standards[edit]

Computer Controls: In almost all cases where the ship's computer can control a given ship function (gravity, doors, etc.), orders fed in at the central bridge computer take precedence over those fed in at local controls - this precedent is inherent in shipboard sensor systems. Only if the computer is inoperative will a computer override be ineffective.[2] Some ships have been known to be built with a different system set-up, but this arrangement is commonplace on most vessels within Charted Space. [3]

Passive Sensors[edit]

  • Passive EMS uses large antenna arrays to detect any radiation in the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) from the target object, such as heat or radio waves, or naturally reflected light waves. It is an extremely sophisticated and precise passive sensor.
  • High-Resolution Thermal (HRT) are sophisticated visual sensors, sensitive to infrared radiation.
  • Densitometers are passive survey instruments which allow determination of celestial object mass and mapping of mineral deposits and gravitic anomalies.
  • Neutrino sensors are passive sensors used when surveying a star system . They enable a ship to measure the intensity of fusion taking place within a star as well as determine if any of the gas giants are failed stars.
  • Neural Activity Sensors (NAS) are extremely short-range passive sensors which detect and classify life forms according to their level of brain activity.
  • Hydrophones detect sound

Active Sensors[edit]

  • Radar is an active sensor which bounces radio waves off target objects and then detects the returning echoes. Distance is determined by the time it takes for the echo to return. Doppler radar is used to determine if an object is moving.
  • Ladar is a tight beam active sensor that bounces laser light off the target object and detects the reflection. As the laser can scan a very small area, it is used exclusively to lock onto a target after some other search sensor has located it.
  • Active EMS is an active sensor incorporating a variety of active emitters and passive detectors covering most of the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS), making it a much more sophisticated version of radar.
  • SONAR uses sound for detection


The use of sensors to provide military or commercial information may be contested and this contention is known as Electronic Warfare.

History & Background (Dossier)[edit]

Except for a few gifted sophont species, most NILs lack the bodily ability to sense more than a very limited part of the electromagnetic spectrum. As technology develops, particularly in relation to the construction of electronics in the TL:7-9 technological epoch, sophonts create sophisticated devices to sense that which their bodies cannot and translate that data into information that they can. [4]

Technological Overview of Sensory Devices[edit]

References & Contributors (Sources)[edit]

Smallwikipedialogo.png This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at List_of_sensors. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. The text of Wikipedia is available under the Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
This list of sources was used by the Traveller Wiki Editorial Team and individual contributors to compose this article. Copyrighted material is used under license from Far Future Enterprises or by permission of the author. The page history lists all of the contributions.
  1. Frank Chadwick. Battle Rider (Game Designers Workshop, 1993), 6.
  2. Jordan Weisman. "Book 2." Adventure Class Ships Volume 1 (1982): 6.
  3. An unpublished factoid written by Maksim-Smelchak
  4. An unpublished factoid written by Maksim-Smelchak