It seems that Starfleet safety guidelines were somewhat stricter in the era prior to Captain Kirk's original five-year mission, as evidenced by one of the promotional photos released for upcoming prequel Star Trek: Discovery.
The photo shows Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Captain Phillipa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) preparing to be beamed out via the transporter room of the USS Shenzhou. They each have some distinctly old school looking phasers at their sides, but they also have something no away team has ever come equipped with before: armor.
Captain Georgiou and First Officer Burnham are both wearing protective armor over their uniforms in the photo. This seems like it should have always been the standard Starfleet procedure, but even just a decade later, in Star Trek: The Original Series, safety standards seem to have fallen to practically nothing.
Those lax standards then remain in place for at least a century. Even under Jean-Luc Picard, the Enterprise would regularly dispatch unprotected away teams to unexplored and likely hostile environments. Even when actual war broke out in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, officers were regularly sent to the front with nothing but an everyday fabric uniform.
There's an argument to be made that armor wouldn't protect against phaser weapons anyway, so what's the point? But phasers aren't the only thing that can kill you when you're in the field.
Star Trek: Discovery was created by Bryan Fuller and Alex Kurtzman. Fuller was originally intended to be Discovery's showrunner but was forced step down due to commitments to Starz' adaptation of Neil Gaiman's American Gods. Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts have taken over as showrunners.
Star Trek: Discovery takes place roughly a decade prior to the five-year mission of Star Trek: The Original Series. In breaking with franchise tradition, the show's main protagonist will not be a captain. Instead, it will be First Officer Michael Burnham, played by The Walking Dead alum Sonequa Martin-Green.
Star Trek: Discovery follows the adventures of Starfleet on their missions to discover new worlds and new lifeforms, and one Starfleet officer who must learn that to truly understand all things alien, you must first understand yourself. The series will feature a new ship, new characters, and new missions while embracing the same ideology and hope for the future that inspired a generation of dreamers and doers.
Star Trek: Discovery's cast also includes Jason Isaacs as the starship Discovery's Captain Lorca, Rainn Wilson as Star Trek: The Original Series character Harry Mudd, James Frain as Sarek, Spock's father, and Michelle Yeoh as Captain Georgiou, the captain of another Starfleet ship, the Shenzhou, which will be important to the plot of Star Trek: Discovery. Doug Jones and Anthony Rapp both play science officers. Mary Wiseman will play a final year Starfleet Academy cadet.
Star Trek: Discovery premieres Sept. 24, 2017.
More Star Trek New: Star Trek: Discovery To Abandon One Of Gene Roddenberry's Golden Rules / Star Trek: Discovery Star Addresses Critics Of The Show's Diversity / Star Trek: The Next Generation Actor Shares Throwback Photo With William Shatner / Star Trek Comics Coming In Septemeber 2017