The animal I envision is very protective over its planet. It goes out into space and eats anything that gets close to it. To do this, the animal can float through space, and leave/re-enter the atmosphere without any trouble.

Could such an animal live off of eating any rocks or planets in space? Is any of this theoretically possible?

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Worldbuilding! Your question seems pretty far-fetched and asks for quite the super-animal. Could you describe more accurately your animal (maybe your definition of "animal" would be useful as well)? $\endgroup$ – PatJ Nov 28 '16 at 16:41
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to the site, icefire. Please note that it is generally discouraged to accept an answer within an hour of asking a question. Doing so may discourage others from answering, reducing the answer selection. It is general practice to wait a day or two but, if you're happy with what you have, go ahead and leave Andy's answer as accepted. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Nov 28 '16 at 17:21
  • $\begingroup$ thank you. I just found this site today so I'm still learning. $\endgroup$ – icefire Nov 28 '16 at 20:42
  • $\begingroup$ my animal has the toughest skin in the galaxy and is hard to kill. in my head it can eat small ships like the one Starlord has in Guardians of the galaxy. it eats basically everything which is why it is so big. it is highly protective over its planet that it lives on. it is not the smartest animal. it can live in space but prefers land. if it does eat anything bigger it smashes its body into it to break it apart to eat. $\endgroup$ – icefire Nov 28 '16 at 20:46

So having the toughest skin would allow for reentry. Getting out of the atmosphere and moving through space is another matter, but this is your creature in your world that you are building. If you want it to eat rocks then have it eat rocks.
Skies the limits when you are making all the rules. Just make the rules consistent and it'll be fine. If the creature all the sudden starts shooting rainbows out of it's butt for no good reason then that would possibly ruin it for some people.

If you want it to be hard science then you'll have to put a lot more thought into it, but for other stuff as long as you make it entertaining and plausible and don't draw attention to some of the wilder elements then most people will just suspend disbelief and go along with it.

If you want more advice on how to do some of those things (space propulsion, leaving the planet, etc) then make a new question focusing on one aspect of the problem with your rules written out. Overly broad questions usually get closed.

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  • $\begingroup$ thank you very much. i appreciate your answer! ill make a more specific question next time. $\endgroup$ – icefire Nov 28 '16 at 16:34
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    $\begingroup$ @icefire Yeah no problem. When asking questions around here, having some indication that you've done a little due diligence (thought through the problem/did some research) is good. Reality Check (I have a fully fleshed idea, do you see any holes) = Good. Well Constrained (This is what I want to do, here's what I've figured out, this is the part I'm having trouble with) = Also good. Idea Generation (I want to make this happen but have no idea how to do it so someone do the work for me) = Bad. Stick around, it's a fun place to ask and answer questions, and you'll get the hang of it! $\endgroup$ – AndyD273 Nov 28 '16 at 17:59

I'm going to go with No way on this one.

In order for your animal to "eat anything that gets close to its planet", the following would have to be true:

  • It can detect object in space, so far away as to give it time to react to the "threat"

  • It can launch itself off the ground, and into orbit

  • It can survive in deep space (radiation, super cold, pressure, etc.) without any sort of protection for extended periods of time

  • It can move in space incredibly fast (it needs to if you want it to intercept those "dangerous objects" before they smack into the planet)

  • It can perform complex interception calculations and actually "hit" its target (the fast moving comet/asteroid)

  • It can survive intercepting a fast moving object in space (asteroids move at thousands of kph)

  • It can consume absolutely massive amounts of "food" (aka rocks, metals, frozen water, etc.). I'm talking about thousands, if not millions of tons of rock.

  • It finds the rocks nourishing

Give me a break. None of these conditions are realistic in a flesh and blood, naturally evolved creature.

Maybe this thing is a custom built robot of some kind, but even then it would have to be absolutely massive in order to consume meteors and comets. We're talking Mass Effect Reaper type creatures.

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  • $\begingroup$ i was worried about it not being able to do all those things. thank you for your feedback. $\endgroup$ – icefire Nov 28 '16 at 20:52

Your creature does not sound like it follows the laws of conservation of momentum and energy. Remember that, just because you "ate" something doesn't mean its momentum goes away. You still have to expend energy and propellant to offset that momentum.

Also, the closing velocities for most space collisions (which is what eating has to be) are typically very very fast. Like "makes fighter planes look like their standing still" fast. A F-16 tops out at 1350mph. Micrometeorites are known to cause issues for spacecraft by traveling at 22,500mph or more. At these speeds "eating" a rock is more like eating a bullet from a revolver. You would be obliged to match its speed first, then eat it, then move. This means a tremendous amount of energy expended accelerating and decelerating your own body.

The only way I can think of to generate that kind of energy is if this creature has somehow figured out how to do cold fusion of atoms which are too heavy to be fused in stars. Even then, it would be the single most energy inefficient "animal" ever devised. Not even we humans are that wasteful.

In all, I'd recommend walking away from the reality-check on such an animal, and just explain their behavior with magic.

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  • $\begingroup$ luckily there is magic in my universe that I'm building so i can work with that. $\endgroup$ – icefire Nov 28 '16 at 20:53

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