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In a scenario I'm thinking of, the Earth has been nuked bare and a few remnants of humanity are surviving in their underground bunkers. Let's say there is one in North America, one in Central American, and one in South America, then one or two in Europe, four in Africa, I could go on, but I think this is not so important.

Is there a way the bunkers could be connected in terms of communication?

And is there a way the bunkers could share, between one another, or even drain one another of power harvested from solar panels?

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    $\begingroup$ Heck, you could even have traversable tunnels. Imagine a fleet of Boring Company tunneldiggers, with some futuristic strength and a lot of government funding, and prior to your apocolypse Hyperloop travel between continents was common. $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Jun 13 at 17:53
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    $\begingroup$ The chances of any kind of trans-continental electric power distribution infrastructure when "the Earth has been nuked bare" are slim. And anyway, the Earth won't be "nuked bare" in any reasonable scenario -- nobody will drop nuclear bombs on the Congo, on Borneo or on Paraguay. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Jun 13 at 18:37
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    $\begingroup$ I don't have the expertise to write an answer, but I feel like even with infinite money and human power at anything resembling today's tech level it would be impassible to create a tunnel that crosses between 2 continental plates. I would love to see an answer focus on that $\endgroup$ – Andrey Jun 13 at 19:01
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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Worldbuilding.SE Bereft. Please check out our tour and help center. You are asking several different questions at once, in part because you aren't defining "connected." 1) Physically connected by tunnel or another passageway. 2) Connected communicatively, with radio, cell, wires, or another type of communication. 3) On the same power grid. Please pick one and define what you mean by it. $\endgroup$ – Cyn Jun 13 at 21:57
  • $\begingroup$ @Andrey We've built some bridges that span continental boundaries. Tunnels aren't all that different. Don't forget that we're still talking about solid rock, even with boundaries like the mid-oceanic ridge. Of course, it doesn't matter much anyway - crossing the boundary above ground wouldn't be much of an extra hassle if you can already cross thousands of kilometers underground. Especially if you're talking about cables, which already connect continents easily enough (though requiring quite a bit of maintenance). $\endgroup$ – Luaan Jun 14 at 9:25
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Already Exists

Behold, the Submarine Cable Map! A wide network of underwater cable that connects the major coastal population centers. In fact, I believe you may be using it to view this page, or even if not you, someone else.

(By the way, don't use solar power. A nuke-fest that destroys the Earth and forces everyone to live in bunkers will cause a nuclear winter and shroud the world in darkness. Use nuclear generators instead. And that can be sent through subterranean power lines.)

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    $\begingroup$ You went for the same map I did +1 $\endgroup$ – Mr_road Jun 13 at 17:28
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    $\begingroup$ How often do the cables in this net need maintenance? How long before some component fails? I really don't know. Also, I'm expecting that there are a variety of active things at land-based nodes. Things like amplifiers and circuit testing and multiplexers so on. Do these continue to work if the national power grid is gone? $\endgroup$ – puppetsock Jun 13 at 17:44
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    $\begingroup$ @puppetsock: There are signal amplifiers at intervals along the cable, not only at the ends. And no, they won't work without electric power. Which is moot, because modern cables are all digital and won't work without the associated data processing equipment. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Jun 13 at 18:34
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    $\begingroup$ @AlexP: The fact that the signal amplifiers need power is actually the solution to the problem. There must (by necessity) be some whopping great armoured cables to get power to the signal amplifiers. All that needs to happen is someone ramming an analogue electrical signal down that cable and whaddaya know? Communication! $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Jun 13 at 19:18
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    $\begingroup$ Power loss would be too great to share power between continents unless some kind of superconductors. $\endgroup$ – Thorne Jun 14 at 5:03
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It is possible. More so for bunkers in Eurpoe to be connected with one another or with those in Asia, or North to South America. You just lay cables as we do now. or you could just lay them on the surface, if there is no-one left to steal them. If you are thinking of potentially laying thousands of miles of tunnels then this is not a trivial task, but threading cables down them once constructed is simple.

The less relatively easy bit may come when havig to traverse oceanic treaches, subdution zones or mid ocean ridges. But, with current technologies we run cabels between continents to supply the internet to the world.

So communtication would be fine, but shifting power over long distances leads to large percentage losses, so it is possible but expensive. And rather than DC transmission which requires lage conductors, you would want high voltage AC which requires large distances between cables to prevent arcing... this is why pylons hold the cabels so far apart.

You could also use short wave radio to communicate between bunkers bouncing signals of the ionosphere. Then they would not have to be physically connected to be able to exchange information. But bandwidth is low. If there were still satalites these could potentially be used to communicate.

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    $\begingroup$ I think maybe you would have to search around on wavelengths to get a wavelength that worked for being underground, and that got through whatever the nuclear stuff has left in the atmosphere. Subs, for example, use ultra-long wavelengths. The entire sub becomes the antenna and is usually 1/4 wavelength. Bandwidth is small so you probably only send text, and that slowly. $\endgroup$ – puppetsock Jun 13 at 17:41
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    $\begingroup$ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-voltage_direct_current High voltage DC has advantages for very long distance. When the distance becomes 1/4 wavelength at your AC frequency (round about 1250 km for 60 Hz) then your wire becomes an efficient radio transmitter and starts to really lose power to radiation. Plus there are other issues. The equipment to efficiently step up DC voltage is expensive, but could possibly be worth it. It is in use for various links in Europe. There are some in North America. More details in the link. $\endgroup$ – puppetsock Jun 13 at 17:52
  • $\begingroup$ Everything you say is true but I would see he main issue with HVDC after a massive war being the availability of components tobuild and repair the system. HVAC is much simpler and robust. $\endgroup$ – Mr_road Jun 14 at 15:43
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    $\begingroup$ regarding short wave raidio, you could not use it underground to above but you could run a cable to transcieve above ground, then bounce signals around the world. $\endgroup$ – Mr_road Jun 14 at 15:45
  • $\begingroup$ @Mr_road you can use radio from undergroun to surface, but literally only to the surface. See stuff like this: vollok.nl/docs/overview_english.html $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Jun 14 at 17:23
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I think it depends on the level of technology your world possessed before the Great Nuking.

If the world was already connected via deep underground tunnels burrowed miles beneath the surface then sure. But creating them after the Great Shellacking that presumably killed lots and lots of people would be a big challenge since they would require a power source to drive the tunnel boring machines that Solar power is not likely to be able to generate.

If robots were well developed in the world before the Great Burn, then robots could walk power cables to nearby settlements to share power and communicate with each other.

  • The robots would be powered by the cable and even guided by the cable by operators in the originating settlement.
  • The originating settlement would be fabricating the power cables as they were deployed unless they had hundreds of miles of power cable hanging around on spools.
  • Since a robot can only carry so much weight, there would be multiple robots each supporting a length of the cable.
  • The originating settlement would be fabricating the robots too unless they had the 10,000s required to carry heavy cables the 1000s of miles just parked in an underground garage
  • The chain of cable carrying robots would look like a line of army ants moving forage to their nests from tens of mile away.
  • It might not be possible for there to be enough robots to carry the cable all the way across the globe, so the robots might carry it so far and coil it up, then go back for more. The pattern would repeat until they'd moved one end of the cable the entire distance.
  • RObots would break down so Wrecker Robots would be needed to pull the break downs back to somewhere they can be repaired or recycled.
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    $\begingroup$ You do need the power to build the robots, and mines to get the ore to produce the metal, plastic, etc. Unless you already stocked thousands of such robots always from strategic targets. Also, your robots must be able to connect and coordinate with each other, on the other way its a good answer. $\endgroup$ – jean Jun 14 at 13:19
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Communication is easy. After the bombs stop falling, you wait a week for the radiation levels to drop, then have someone carry an antenna to the surface. (Or deploy the automatic system.) This would either use ham radio-style "bounce off the atmosphere" or satellites in order to reach across the earth. Power transfer between bunkers isn't really an option, though. That needs a real cable, and expecting world-spanning infrastructure to survive a nuclear war isn't that realistic.

Also, the bunkers will be using nuclear or geothermal, not solar.

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If they can't access the atmosphere, the 'simplest' way to communicate would be through Extremely Low Frequency radio. That requires a LOT of power, huge infrastructure (many kilometers between antenna elements), and provides bandwidth of around 12 characters per hour.

It's something that could be setup in advance if we had a few years warning of an incoming asteroid. Look for Project Sanguine or Project ELF for more info.

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  • $\begingroup$ Even assuming your massive transmitting infrastructure is intact and functional after a nuclear war you're limited in how much rock you can put between you and the surface. Submarines must be within about 20m of the surface to receiver ELF signals, for example, and I'll bet this distance is much shorter for rock. $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Jun 14 at 17:06
  • $\begingroup$ The non-technical references I found claimed ELF reception down to "hundreds of meters" of seawater. China claims an ELF transmitter that which generates radio pulses that "not only pass through the atmosphere, but travel through the Earth’s crust as well, with a range of up to 3,500km". [Saturday Morning China Post - Dec 31, 2018] $\endgroup$ – J McAdams Jun 14 at 19:48
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    $\begingroup$ If they can't "access the atmosphere" (whatever that means), why do you think they could build the enormous infrastructure needed for an ELF transmitter? $\endgroup$ – Mark Jun 14 at 19:59
  • $\begingroup$ @JMcAdams oops, got my VLF and ELF confused. That 3500km figure sounds suspicious, though. $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Jun 15 at 11:47

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