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Questions tagged [engineering]

For questions about the use of engineering to create structures and devices in other worlds, including whether or not a device could be made or what materials would be needed to make a device.

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What torch-ship engine requires the least complex control system?

A side shot from my series on a computer-less future; see here, here, here, and here. Project Rho defines a torch-drive as an engine with both high acceleration and high exhaust velocity. A torch-...
5
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3answers
896 views

Post-Apocalyptic Earth. Escape from Warehouse Moon

In its heyday Earth was a great interplanetary trading post on account of its low gravity moon which was used as a warehouse for all kinds of goods. The Moon was covered almost entirely in large ...
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11answers
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+250

A clock for interplanetary travel

Introduction See background information here. 1000 years after darkness fell on Old Earth, humanity is scattered throughout the solar system. Apart from the Harmonious Republic of Mars, there are ...
3
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1answer
112 views

Underwater Farming

In my colonizing business, some colonists build a underwater base on a all-about nice planet. They are using food storage right now; but now they need to start farming. Ive looked up some farming ...
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3answers
135 views

How might a group (with an electrical engineer) restore downed power lines post-apocalypse?

In the scenario I'm envisioning, my group is in a city. They've got a source of hydroelectric power, but a few downed power lines/utility poles are making it difficult for them to transmit the ...
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8answers
362 views

What would be a plausible speed for a 22nd century military ship?

No, I am not talking about space ships, I am talking about water-based ships sailing the oceans on planet Earth. What would be a plausible cruise speed and maximum speed for what would be the ...
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3answers
250 views

TOP SECRET: How long before new technology becomes declassified?

A common trope in sci-fi is the idea of humans reverse engineering alien technology which results in breakthroughs in our own technology. My question is this: If a military/governmental organisation ...
7
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6answers
259 views

Realistic hovering mechanism for my sci-fi drone

What realistic mechanism could be utilized to allow my drone to hover and move around in a visually pleasing and non distracting way? I am currently working on a short sci-fi film, which, among other ...
27
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8answers
5k views

The lava waterfall door

Some areas of the evil meant lair are not for the eyes of the average minion. There is only one way in and out of this area, there is no door blocking the way, but a lava waterfall pouring from the ...
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3answers
100 views

Would Be Possible To Build A Small, Lightweight Boiler For Airships

I am wondering if it would be possible to make very lightweight and small steam engines for airships. Said airships engines are actually electric, but the boiler generates the electricity (via a ...
1
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4answers
145 views

Fastest Underwater Speed of a 2 Person Privately Built Submersible? [closed]

I'm currently in the process of writing a sci-fi underwater monster book, and I need to get specs for a commercially built two person submarine that can reach speeds of close to what a Russian Akula ...
5
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3answers
200 views

Sea pumps to create rain using windmills to control weather?

I'd love some science advice and facts for this question: If they use wind power to bring up water from the ocean in the day time and spray it on prevailing winds going into land (i.e. 10-15 km from ...
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14answers
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How can I ensure my Evil Tower is always stormy?

It's been a good year for me as an Evil Overlord. Lots of princess kidnapping turned into sizable ransoms, several of my Doomsday Devices were sold for high prices at auction, and my Minions have been ...
5
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5answers
255 views

What is the best way to vent gas to cool a star cruiser?

Generating physical effects with energy generates waste heat. Using a lot of energy, say, by firing a rail gun or a MW laser, generates a lot of heat. A discussion of waste heat issues can be found at ...
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10answers
5k views

How to mine the underside of a floating continent?

Background The known world consists of dozens of continents floating in an airy void. These continents range from small islands a few square kilometers in size, to great land masses up to 1,000 ...
5
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3answers
293 views

How do I power Goldeneye?

I've been spending some time thinking about putting a satellite weapon into space. It would look something like this. Don't worry about those letters, they stand for something else. This weapon can ...
23
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10answers
5k views

How to improve TCP/IP for an interplanetary WAN?

Background It is the near future. After a major world war and limited nuclear exchange, the nations of Earth have consolidated into a few blocs. The threat of further war and the cumulative damage to ...
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8answers
5k views

How would a Mars colony living in a giant dome protect against rapid decompression?

Giant dome concepts are beautiful, but I can't help but wonder how they could be so fragile. If there is even the tiniest rip, the whole thing would rapidly decompress. How would you protect against ...
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5answers
6k views

What do you make bricks out of in the rainforest?

Problem statement There exists a thriving Bronze Age civilization in a gigantic rainforest, bigger than the Amazon and Congo put together. This civilization is built in on the flood plains of a might ...
8
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3answers
439 views

Could mirrors be put in space to see ourselves in the past?

Could a mirror/s be made to reflect one side of the Earth from the edge of the solar system and viewed with a optical or radio telescope that is in orbit? With night vision, along with radio and ...
8
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3answers
489 views

Compact Arm Gun Prosthetic?

In the DC universe, there exists a hero known as Sister Superior with prosthetic arms that are capable of turning into any weapon she desires. Interestingly, her arms look no different from a regular ...
0
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1answer
70 views

What would aliens use as raw materials? [closed]

I just realized that on earth many natural resources used for building throughout history could be considered unique to earth, materials such as bone and wood are products of terrestrial evolution and ...
5
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5answers
171 views

The practicality and feasibility of a fully-submersible aircraft carrier

There's this organisation with an underwater naval base on Île Pott masquerading as a third rate hotel resort. Said base features several underwater hangars housing a considerable fleet comprised of ...
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4answers
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Why weren't medieval city gates backed with a system that would turn the gate into a rubble filled wall?

Before gunpowder, one of the common ways to break a city is to break the gates. Since they have to be opened and closed they are intrinsically weaker than the wall itself. There were various ...
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10answers
4k views

Is it possible for an ancient contraption to survive modern-day attempts of breaking in?

Some Context I watched a generic Da-Vinci-Code-like french movie that, in a certain point, featured a secret society trying to find an item of great value that was lost in a vault built centuries ago ...
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3answers
218 views

Could magnetics circuits be invented before electric circuits?

Magnetic fields behave in many of the same ways as electric fields. Could a society develop a magnetic based system of computation before they invent an electric method like modern integrated circuits?...
2
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3answers
186 views

Best Rocket Engine for a 12 Light Year Journey?

I'm writing a Colonization story, and I'm trying to determine which propulsion system would be the best option. The destination is Kapteyn b, 12.76Ly from Earth, and our 40K colonists will be in ...
8
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15answers
789 views

Where on my spaceship can I justify more space for my humans?

Spaceships are a peculiar thing; as are the Humies - the hardy folks working and living inside these hunks of metal for weeks or months at a time. Ironically in space living-space is at a premium. Any ...
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2answers
76 views

Storing 200TJ of Electricity for rapid discharge

Here's the problem I'm having. I need a solution for the following situation. I have a sci-fi starship drive that needs 140TJ of energy every 6 hours. I have a Fusion Reactor that can produce 200TJ ...
7
votes
8answers
360 views

How to balance my magic robots so they don't monopolize my story?

A setting I've been planning for a while involves a function of magic that can animate objects using the magical equivalent of programmable functions. A wizard/witch/magic-user uses a magic language ...
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2answers
142 views

How to travel through tubes? [closed]

We are in new new York, year 3000-ish. The city is quite big but there is a new transport system. Tubes, they are everywhere. They suck you in and out: you fly in them, basically. Those tubes can be ...
6
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3answers
479 views

The practicality of Wild Dog's arm-mounted gatling gun

In the Time Crisis series of games, terrorist-for-hire and recurring antagonist, Wild Dog has a cannon mounted in place of his missing left arm. Throughout the series, this weapon takes various ...
4
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7answers
237 views

What pockets should Spider-man use?

Before we get into the question, I'd just like to say that this isn't specifically for Spider-man, but more of a general "character who moves around a lot and finds themselves upside-down quite often"....
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2answers
96 views

If engineers were to create an entirely new human species, what factors would they consider? [closed]

Say engineers wanted to create a new human species that is perfectly suited to the environmental and seasonal changes of the current world: What features would they consider? The new species is also ...
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1answer
59 views

How might an advanced civilization separate astronomical amounts of Magnesium Ions from astronomical amounts Oxygen Ions?

An advanced civilization collects enough Magnesium and Oxygen, from all over the Galaxy, to equal the mass of a star, and then reacts the Magnesium and Oxygen to produce Magnesium Oxide. The ...
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1answer
94 views

How might a civilization artificially keep a supermassive black hole electrically charged for the lifetime of the black hole?

A civilization creates a supermassive black hole with an electric charge such that the radius of its inner horizon is 3/4 the radius of its outer horizon. In nature, a black hole with this much ...
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1answer
86 views

Viability of a Space Submarine [duplicate]

While designing / justifying elements of spacecraft design on this forum over the last year or so, it has struck me that (superficially at least) submarines have a lot in common with my prototypical ...
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6answers
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Reality of glass (or some sort of transparent composite) windows on spaceships

In the relatively realistic (hopefully), near future, scifi book I am writing I am at a point where I am describing the observation deck of a large ship belonging to a wealthy "business man" (see ...
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3answers
204 views

What are the practicalities and impracticalities of ultraheated forearm-mounted blades utilized by a robot? [duplicate]

I have a series of humanoid combat robot dubbed the Atlanta-Types created specially to fight someone (codenamed Heracles) with the powers of electrokinesis and Low-Mid regeneration on equal footing. ...
3
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5answers
272 views

Will be possible in the far future to use megascale engineering to create a ringworld around Earth?

I mean in the far future megascale be advanced enough to allow the construction of a ring world around Earth or around a low mass star( a red dwarf for exemple). If yes, how big Earth would look from ...
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8answers
2k views

Can Zeppelins and Blimps replace cars in the future?

It would be cool if this entire planet could use zeppelin roadways instead of tarmac roads. Especially for countryside transport away from cities. A zeppelin for one person is about the size of a ...
6
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1answer
171 views

Aircraft that can endure high winds and storms

I'm building a world where all continents are Islands. Since I was interested in giving a little bit of science backup on this particular thing, I decided that the weather was mostly windy and ...
41
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25answers
11k views

Advantages of “Spider Mechs” over Tanks?

I've seen the discussion on how bipedal mechs are inferior to treaded and wheeled vehicles in almost every way. However, all of these questions appear to be related to bipedal mechs. I'm wondering if ...
4
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3answers
217 views

Is this aircraft plausible?

I'm thinking of constructing a flying machine in the comic story I'm working on. Since I'm not an aviation expert, I'll try my best to describe this aircraft and you guys can tell me if this machine ...
5
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1answer
281 views

What useful information could a post-post apocalyptic world glean from a 4chan-like resource?

My post-post apocalyptic society (200+ years after the fall) is extremely technologically stratified, with the haves hoarding near-future technology and the have-nots making do with pre-industrial and ...
6
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2answers
231 views

Is there a way to counter high gravity to make it livable for humans?

I was not entirely sure how to word the title question, so allow me to put my question into more detail here: Suppose there was a planet with just the right conditions to allow humans to live there (...
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3answers
127 views

How might a slow fire energy weapon reliably neutralize its target?

Inspired by this question, so credit to them for the core idea. How might a slow fire energy weapon reliably neutralize its target? Here are some details about the precise design I had in mind: It ...
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7answers
3k views

Could a city be built out of Balloons?

I would like to use this scenario in writing a book. Using only countless balloons that permanently hold helium possibly hydrogen made from water could a city be built in the sky? Workers from the ...
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1answer
135 views

Destruction of modern suburbia by railgun

Jormungandr, the Snakebot of Doom, was intended by its designers to destroy human infrastructure by rolling over it, however it was also provided with the means to accelerate around 30 metric tons of ...
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3answers
142 views

What kind of technologies are required for a society to regularly produce jet engines?

Specifically, I'm looking for what areas of science would need to have been developed for the manufacturing process of jet engines to be commonplace for large manufacturing firms. For context, my ...