As a Star Trek fan I’ve always had the question, why is the universe of the Federation so Empty?  So, I posed this question to ChatAI:

Question:Using the United States as a reference and the size of its military as a template for a Star Trek organization, how many support spaceships would be needed if there were 100 planets in the federation? Such as cargo ships, general merchant ships, tankers, people transports, and non-combat related ships.

Response: “Estimating the exact number of support spaceships needed for a fictional Star Trek organization with 100 planets in the federation is challenging, as the Star Trek universe does not provide specific guidelines or detailed information on the size and scale of its interstellar transportation infrastructure. However, we can make some rough assumptions and comparisons based on the United States military and extrapolate from there.

The United States military maintains a large fleet of support ships to enable its operations worldwide. These include cargo ships, general merchant ships, tankers, and transport vessels, among others. While the specifics of the United States military fleet may not directly translate to a Star Trek organization, we can use them as a reference point.

Assuming the United States military’s support fleet is proportionate to its overall military capabilities, we can use the ratio of support ships to active military personnel as a rough estimate. Let’s say the United States military has approximately one support ship for every 10 active military personnel. This ratio takes into account the logistical needs of supporting a large force and their equipment.

Now, let’s make some further assumptions for our fictional Star Trek organization:

1. Each planet requires a minimum number of support ships to cater to its specific needs, including cargo transportation, resource extraction, and passenger transport.

2. The number of support ships needed per planet is proportional to the planet’s population, industrial capacity, and resource requirements.

Given these assumptions, we can estimate the number of support spaceships needed for our Star Trek organization. Here’s a general approach:

1. Determine the total population of the federation. Let’s assume an average planetary population of 10 billion people, resulting in a total population of 1 trillion (100 planets * 10 billion people).

2. Determine the ratio of support ships to population based on the United States military example. For instance, if we assume one support ship per 10 million people, we would have 100,000 support ships for the entire federation (1 trillion people / 10 million people per support ship).

3. Adjust the number of support ships based on the relative importance and capabilities of each planet. Planets with larger populations, greater industrial capacity, or strategic significance may require more support ships compared to less developed or less populated planets.

Keep in mind that these estimates are speculative and heavily dependent on fictional assumptions. The Star Trek universe often relies on advanced technology, such as replicators and transporters, which could significantly impact the need for traditional cargo and transport ships. Additionally, the Federation’s resource allocation and distribution systems may differ from our current understanding of logistics and transportation.