Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Picard Finally Shows TNG’s Daystrom Institute

Star Trek: Picard has finally shown the Daystrom Institute, the academic research establishment constantly referenced in Star Trek: The Next Generation. The Daystrom Institute has traditionally been treated as one of Starfleet's most important facilities, a research base situated in Okinawa, Japan. It was named after Richard Daystrom, the inventor of the duotronic computer.

The Daystrom Institute was mentioned time and again in Star Trek: The Next Generation, and was particularly associated with the development of artificial intelligences and androids. By the 2360s, the Institute had expanded to establish colleges across the entire galaxy, including the Daystrom Institute of Technology on Mars. And yet, as important as the Daystrom Institute may have been to Star Trek: The Next Generation, it was never actually shown.

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The season premiere of Star Trek: Picard has finally given a glimpse of the Daystrom Institute - and it seems like a shadow of its former self. When Jean-Luc Picard begins to suspect that there are still synthetic beings in the Federation, somehow connected to Data, he decides to head to the Daystrom Institute to investigate. Picard arranged a meeting with Dr. Agnes Jurati, one of the few staff who still worked in the department of artificial intelligence. Research had stalled in light of the ban on synthetics, but Jurati recognized Picard's account, linking the synthetic he had encountered to her old colleague, Dr. Bruce Maddox.

Viewers may remember Bruce Maddox from the classic Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, "The Measure of a Man," where he earned the support of Admiral Nakamura to disassemble and reverse-engineer Lieutenant Commander Data in order to duplicate Dr. Noonian Soong's work on androids. Fortunately, Picard intervened in Data's favor, and he convinced Starfleet that Data was a living being who should be allowed to live his own life.

The Star Trek: Picard premiere doesn't explicitly state it, but it's possible the Daystrom Institute was somehow involved in the synthetic uprising on Mars at the time of the Romulan supernova. After all, the college on Mars would be one of the main research hubs in the Federation, and they could have some of Maddox and Jurati's synthetics on hand. The synthetic uprising is still something of a mystery, even to the Federation, and it's possible the Daystrom Institute could be the key to explaining the terrorist attack that caused the Federation to retreat from galactic affairs. If so, Picard is sure to return and learn the truth.

Star Trek: Picard airs Thursdays on CBS All Access.


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