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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.

58
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10answers
5k views

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
votes
5answers
235 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 ...
25
votes
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
votes
3answers
279 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
votes
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 ...
22
votes
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 ...
28
votes
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
votes
3answers
425 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
votes
3answers
461 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
66 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
votes
5answers
149 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

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 ...
26
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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 ...
2
votes
3answers
215 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
votes
3answers
180 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
votes
15answers
754 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
75 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
351 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 ...
-5
votes
2answers
138 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
votes
3answers
420 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
votes
7answers
231 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"....
-1
votes
2answers
94 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
58 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
90 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
81 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 ...
25
votes
6answers
5k views

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 ...
1
vote
3answers
192 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
votes
5answers
262 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 ...
10
votes
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
votes
1answer
163 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
votes
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
votes
3answers
209 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
votes
1answer
253 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
votes
2answers
222 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 (...
2
votes
3answers
126 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 ...
21
votes
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
134 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
136 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
195 views

Interstellar construction between star systems

Asked a similar question before but didn't think it through and mangled it. Anyway would it be possible to build a structure between two star systems? Basic scenario is that you have two stars ...
4
votes
3answers
234 views

Train-World: The shatterpated machinations of Spoorcaneers - Tossing & Turning

...and while I'm at it: You've another 47 seconds to finish up and get back here before I gotta throw her in reverse... Acting Navvy on the Marube @63kph and ~4km distance from a forthcoming train ...
0
votes
1answer
135 views

Harvesting lightning from within the thunderstorm with a Faraday Cage

Lightning is abundant in some places in Earth. Attempts had been made it collect it. Laser triggered lightning below is the closest attempt. By the time it reaches the ground most of the power ...
0
votes
1answer
103 views

What's faster than an Ion drive interstellar ship? [closed]

I have a dilemma. I'd set up a ship (it's a couple of centuries old) as an Ion drive ship and now my brain is exhausted trying to recall what would be faster. I think FTL is the way to go but what ...
20
votes
5answers
3k views

How deep can I make my underwater facility?

In my world I want to create a really deep underwater science facility to conduct weird and unethical experiments in. But I think to myself: How deep could I take such a building? Does it become ...
4
votes
5answers
690 views

Could the romans have built a mechanical sewing machine? [closed]

Is it possible that they could somehow have figured out how to build one with the technology they had? If so, what other types of similar machines could they also build?
3
votes
1answer
182 views

How large and heavy would an arcology have to be?

I am trying to work out the size and (because this is among other things for populating a rotating habitat) weight of an arcology made to house, say, 5000 people - that seems a good number for a self-...
2
votes
2answers
261 views

Compression Rifle Designs for Combat Use [closed]

So to start things off I know that Compression Rifles work in combat and are deadly. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girandoni_air_rifle what I'm looking for is a more modern version of the gun, like ...
0
votes
1answer
104 views

Is it possible to build a heat engine that it uses the ideal thermodynamic Rankine cycle?

The Rankine cycle describes the ideal thermodynamic cycle for a heat engine to produce the best performance and convert heat into mechanical work while it undergoes phase change. Is it possible for us ...
2
votes
4answers
188 views

biological cybernetics for human prosthetics

So in my book the main character loses his left arm (all the way to the shoulder) and is giving a prosthetic arm but I want the arm to be bio-cybernetic like I was thinking that the metal (can use non-...
5
votes
5answers
272 views

What do airships look like in the 1800s?

Say in the later 1700s/early 1800s handwavium is discovered. It's a metal that when heated causes more way more upward lift than hot air or hydrogen/helium produces in similar volumes. Air travel (and ...
18
votes
3answers
1k views

Can I huff and puff and blow a pyramid down?

I am the most powerful weather wizard in the world. I can create any sort of wind based phenomenon with a snap of my fingers. I can whip up a tornado in less than a minute, and get a Category 5 ...