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I have followed this forum for quite some time. Now is the time to ask my first question :) I'm currently working on a story in which a future, civilian luxury submarine is used to research some lifeforms in a water world. I am aware that current submarines would sink if turned upside down, but I'm curious is a future submarine with some science-fiction technology would be able to navigate in a freer mode, with greater flexibility to turn, go almost vertical and so forth.

Thank you!

EDIT: Thank you for your replays and sorry for the ambiguity. I will try to elaborate a more specific question. The submarine is trying to contact a suspected "intelligent" undersea species which uses movement as a way of communication. In trying to imitate their movements, the submarine should have to perform complicated movements such as those described: upside down, vertical, so forth. So, it doesn't matter if it's impractical or if it causes some minor damage in interior equipment: it's a matter of necessity (and, in the context of the story, rather urgent). The "general" submarine appearance is based on current luxury designs such as these: Phoenix 1000 I'm mostly interested in what kind of flotability technology would allow it, if there is such or its planned.

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    $\begingroup$ It would certainly be possible to built submarines capable of such feats, even with modern technology - but why would you need to? $\endgroup$ – Klaus Æ. Mogensen Apr 4 at 8:32
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    $\begingroup$ Of course, since you don't specify what technology you have in your hand, everything can be done. $\endgroup$ – Gianluca Apr 4 at 8:32
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    $\begingroup$ welcome to worldbuilding. Please take the tour and the visit the help center to better understand our scope. We are not a forum, in the sense that we don't promote endless discussion threads, but we prefer sharp answers to sharply asked question. Your question lacks this sharpness: with science-fiction technology which is not specified anything can be achieved. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Apr 4 at 8:40
  • $\begingroup$ Hi, welcome to Worldbuilding.SE! If you havent already, please take a Tour of our website. Edit: Ah, it seems @L.Dutch beat me to it $\endgroup$ – Liam Morris - Reinstate Monica Apr 4 at 8:41
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    $\begingroup$ How big is the submarine? Is it like a luxury liner? Do you really want to turn it upside down, including the toilet facilities? Sounds highly impractical. $\endgroup$ – chasly from UK Apr 4 at 9:27
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According to your edit, probably it is not necessary to develop a complete submarine (it would of course depend on the minimal the size you need to communicate, assuming that a dolphin-sized machine could be big enough).
The submarine could approach the intelligent creatures and then release an unmanned, remote or wire-controlled submarine drone (much more versatile and easy to drive) to communicate.

For instance, the drone could use this technology under development at MIT.

The reason for having such a drone on board (if the meeting with these creatures wasn't planned in advance) is that it is a standard equipment, to be used for either scientific or recreational use (as a kind of support for subs for instance or to explore dangerous or hard to reach underwater caves)

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It's quite possible to build a sub that doesn't mind what orientation it is in even now--it's just humans want floors to stand on so there's no good reason to make the ballast tanks any more complex than they need be. Simply put enough pipes (I think 4 will do it) on your ballast tank that one is sure to be underwater and when pumping air in only pipes which are underwater have open valves.

Note that even a current submarine can go up/down vertically. It's avoided for safety reasons (you can end up turning vertically if you're not careful enough), not because it's impossible.

One might think that military subs would want such a system anyway because they can be knocked around in battle. It's not relevant because any weapon hit strong enough to seriously alter the orientation of your sub is going to break your sub up anyway.

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Since many worlds would have oceans of water or other fluids an interstellar research ship might be built with the ability to be a submarine as well as a starship.

Such a starship submarine might be a long narrow cylinder containing several spherical sections within it, each spherical section being mounted on gimbals allowing it to rotate.

Each spherical section would have several flat decks in it, and artificial gravity generators to generate gravity pulling things downward toward the decks.

There would be motors to rotate the spherical sections to align their decks in a specific configuration and mechanisms to lock them in place until they need to be realigned in a different configuration.

When the starship is traveling in interplanetary or interstellar space the spherical sections would be aligned so the decks were perpendicular (at right angles) to the direction of travel and the direction of the generated gravity would be away from the direction the ship was headed. Thus it would be configured like a cylindrical skyscraper on Earth.

When the starship is traveling as submarine in an alien ocean the spherical sections would be aligned so the decks were parallel to the direction of travel and the direction of the generated gravity would be perpendicular to the direction the ship was headed. Thus it would be configured like a ship or submarine on Earth.

And possibly when the starship/submarine was maneuvering the spheres would be unlocked and free to turn on the gimbals.

And a submarine which only travels the oceans of a single world and never travels in space could have a similar design. The main design differences would be the lack of space travel mechanisms and probably the lack of generated gravity in the spherical sections instead relying on the natural gravity of the planet.

And during rapid maneuvering it might be possible to unlock the spherical sections and let them rotate freely on their gimbals. If the spherical sections were weighted under their lowest decks so that side was heavier than the top side, they would always swing so that the bottom side was lower and the decks were level, like the seats in some amusement park rides.

Thus the submarine would be able to assume a vertical posture, like RP FLIP. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RP_FLIP1

And it could dive and rise at steep angles, and travel upside down, as long as the maneuvering allowed time for the spherical sections to rotate and remain upright.

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Depends

A small fast personal sub could be made to do so like a fighter jet but a large sub won't be made to do that as it's full of stuff that won't like being tossed around such as kitchenware, scientific equipment or tourists.

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