I have a population living in a dome, and they have been for generations, totally sealed off from the outside world.

What type of engineering would need to be in place to effectively convince the population that they're experiencing a spaceship landing—while the actual dome stays located on the surface of the planet?

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    $\begingroup$ Just to clarify, you want to convince everyone in the dome that they are actually on a spaceship which is landing on a planet? Or that a different spaceship is landing near the dome? $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 26, 2019 at 16:40
  • $\begingroup$ Earthquake generators and visual projectors and a few high quality speakers. $\endgroup$
    – Cyn
    Commented Apr 26, 2019 at 17:03
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    $\begingroup$ This question is unclear. What is the nature of the people? their education? demographics? governmental type? philosophies? how gullible are they? what's the tech level? nature of the dome? are we convincing them they are on a ship that's landing, or that a ship is landing near them? Must everyone be fooled, or only the general public? how many people are we talking about? do they know what a landing even is? should we deal with panic over the unknown? Before you clear this up, read about primarily opinion-based. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Apr 27, 2019 at 0:35
  • $\begingroup$ Easyly enough. 1. (collect underpants) Suicide burn the rocket so it stops a few meters shy of the dome. 2. (???) Have it hover the dome, burning a hole through it. 3. (profit) Land ontop a scorched pile of dome material. ... Depending on the drive used you will get slightly different results. 1. Economy engine: Everyone will die of old age/rocket will run out of fuel trying. 2. Muzzle engine: Some damages, mission accomplished. 3. Torch drive: Spaceship lands in the crater where the dome used to be. Mission accomplished? (Cannot guarantee that dome stays on the surface at third drive type) $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 14:53

3 Answers 3


Social engineering

Those people have been literally living in a dome. It would be easy to convince them of anything. They don't necessarily know that an airplane landing can be a bumpy experience, let alone a spaceship.

In our own world there are people who believe the Earth is flat, vaccines spread autism, airplanes give off mind controlling chemtrails...

For one time fictional events, we have plenty of examples of people being convinced despite a considerable amount of nothing happening. Think of end of world cults. One of the most famous ones predicted the world would end between 100 and 150 years ago and when it didn't, the higher ups of the cult said "it DID end, we are in a new world now". People still believe that to this day.

So for the dome dwellers, you could just say that there was no bump because maybe the ship teleported, and a yone who claims that the ship was always there is either a paid actor or some gullible person fooled by the Illuminati-run NASA.

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    $\begingroup$ “Of course you didn’t feel anything when the ship landed. That just shows the automated inertial regulation systems worked.” $\endgroup$
    – Joe Bloggs
    Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 16:49

A smoke machine and a good sound/ lighting stage would be a good place to start. Loud low noises would shake everyone to their core, and if the exit of the dome made hissing sounds and had flashing lights AND opened to a cloud of smoke that'd convince me if i was a dome dweller. Even better, install a speaker system IN the dome, or drop leaflets to the population saying that the landing sequence has been initiated. Everything that happens from then on will be seen from that context, as they have little else to base their happenings on.


The question can actually be reduced to the other one - what preconceptions do those people have about the spaceship landing? If they think the dome their whole world and do not know of the possibility of the spaceships, it will be hard to make them consider this possibility.

If they have their own science fiction with spaceships, they will already have some preconceptions. Something vaguely corresponding to what they see in the movies will convince most of the people.

If some entity has a control of the dome itself, it will be trivial to convince them - the main task will be convincing them they 'live' in the spaceship. Mechanical voice that gives dome-wide announcements from time to time will be able to do that. 'Approaching final destination, two years seven days to landing', etc. A big clang at the end may be convincing, even if you will not be able to simulate turbulence.


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