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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28
votes
10answers
5k views

What sort of work environment would require both an electronic engineer and an anthropologist?

In a futuristic setting, I have two characters, an electrical/electronic engineer and an anthropologist, and I would like them to meet as coworkers. In what sort of environment would those two ...
6
votes
2answers
189 views

How Precisely Can a Space Cannon be Targeted?

If I have spaceships that are firing some variety of cannon at each other - MAC, laser, particle cannon, doesn't really matter the type - at extreme range, then even if the gun itself were somehow ...
5
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5answers
188 views

Could I design a bolt action rifle during a period similar to the medieval age (with light magical assistance)? [duplicate]

Writing a fantasy story where my protag has knowledge of modern day Earth technology. Magic also exists but it can't just create things in and out of existence and uses the body's energy for it to ...
8
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2answers
175 views
+50

How far would a goblin-powered plane go?

There are a few flying questions lately and this got me thinking. Someone suggested that a centaur might power a plane via a bicycle. I don't think this would work out, since the centaur would be very ...
53
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18answers
6k views

Could you design a fighter plane for a centaur?

It's the Great War, and all the nations are having a good time of it, painting their biplanes flashy colours, as they shoot into their own propellers! But over in the corner, lonesome and dejected, ...
4
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2answers
63 views

If the Earth became a rogue planet would there be any way to push it into orbit again?

I've recently begun writing a sci-fi story about what would happen if an asteroid or another larger object would fly close enough to the earth to knock it out of its orbit and send it flying away from ...
8
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6answers
317 views

How would mermaids collect oxygen for their underwater cities?

I was thinking there might be a guest room for humans down in Atlantis. But this raises a question: how would they get enough oxygen for their guests? Mines have various techniques for oxygenating ...
3
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4answers
98 views

Propulsion or Space Elevator

In a sci fi setting I'm writing, gravity can be easily controlled and gravity propulsion is used to push starships through space. I had the idea of space elevators being used to get on/off Earth but ...
-1
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2answers
114 views

How Much of A Planet-Sized Spaceship is Useable? [closed]

Okay, let's say we have a spaceship the size of a planet. Let's put the radius at 3 Earth radii, and the mass at 7.5 Earth masses. Its hull is made of a space metal with a density of 3500 kg/m^3, and ...
14
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8answers
2k views

What is a better design for a floating ocean city - monolithic or a fleet of interconnected modules?

Assume that the city is about 1-3 kilometers in diameter, built with relatively futuristic technology, and there are no plans to expand it further (If the need arises, they'll just build a second one)....
5
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4answers
379 views

Automated Steampunk Artillery

I have a world with late 19th-century steampunk technology. The major nations are at war, and one of them has depleted a lot of its manpower. I thought that they could try to design automated ...
5
votes
3answers
339 views

Putting locks on a strait between the sea and a large bay to prevent tides

My planet has fairly large tides, with the difference between high and low tide being roughly thirty meters, and the spring high/low tide different being roughly sixty meters. There is a civilization ...
8
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5answers
2k views

Feudal-technology space humans - how can they generate mechanical energy?

Setting Background I'm working on an admittedly silly sounding setting. Technologically advanced space fairing humans become stranded on a ring of asteroids in orbit around a large planet. They have ...
3
votes
1answer
103 views

Can my preindustrial civilization control an artificial water flow on the scale of the Mississippi?

Extending some of my earlier questions How to stop a massive canal system from silting up? Roughly how much water would my desert civilization need every year? My preindustrial* society needs to ...
20
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7answers
2k views

What kind of ships would an amphibious species build?

To give a bit of background and ground the question in context: I'm concerned with the technology level from prehistory to Renaissance, or thereabouts. Analogous to Earth history, the 'normal' land-...
-2
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1answer
94 views

What is the largest a wheeled or tracked vehicle could get? [closed]

What is the largest that we could make a wheeled or tracked vehicle with modern technology?
7
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3answers
1k views

Would a giant atlatl be a viable siege engine?

I want to explore an advanced Native American civilisation; assume their general 'technology level' is 'equivalent' to 13th-century Europe. Biggest difference is that their metallurgy is lagging ...
3
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12answers
2k views

Humanity is an FTL capable empire with great technological capabilities, what will our fighting machine or machines be like?

First I love the whole desperate infantry squad against a sea of trouble premise of so many stories. Even when some of them is set in the future. There is the rub. How on earth would I have a setting ...
2
votes
1answer
146 views

What systems would be needed to keep two halves of a spaceship viable for humans?

A large space colony transport ship (100 colonists) set off for Europa to populate a colony recently built by drones (near future, the 2070s). The six-year flight was going well until unidentified ...
14
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9answers
1k views

Telex more popular than telephones

This question is inspired by the answer for another question. What changes in technological development after the World War 2 could have led the telex machines to be more popular than telephones, ...
10
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6answers
2k views

Using brine as construction material for an ocean floating town

Am trying to build a floating town with a starting resident population of about 3000 inhabitants. The setting: Around the end of the XXII century. The town 'Pioneering Pinnacle' is floating in the ...
7
votes
5answers
286 views

Uses for a 1950s-era nuclear-powered land vehicle?

I have heard of the Chrysler TV-8 design, an amphibious armored vehicle powered by an onboard nuclear reactor...basically a nuclear-powered tank. The TV-8 never made it off the drawing board; the ...
1
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3answers
173 views

how to get around a centrifugal force gravity ship

Lets say you had a really big space ship that uses the ramjet method to collect hydrogen. It can only generate gravity in a ring spinning around the collection cone. This means there's nothing in the ...
10
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8answers
2k views

Designing an aircraft for a cyberpunk setting

So I was thinking about the dynamic you always see in space settings in which the heroes always have a mobile basecamp in the form of their ship, and was thinking about how to have this sort of thing ...
-3
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2answers
98 views

Backyard Planetary Escape: From the Earth to the Moon, the Jeb Kerman way [closed]

A pair of aerospace engineers discovers that the New World Order wants to depopulate Earth by means of starting a nuclear war on the 1st of January of [Enter number between 2025 and 2040]. The elite ...
3
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1answer
107 views

By what methods could the most energy and matter be collected from a supermassive black holes quasar jets?

I was wondering if it is possible to capture the majority of the energy and matter from the jets of a quasar from a supermassive black hole? The methods that I can think of is some sort of net like ...
6
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10answers
3k views

How to Salvage From a Sunken Spaceship

This was an idea loosely inspired by a Sci-fi movie that I will not name here. But the relevant part is that it involves an interstellar colony ship landing on a planet and the crew learning that the ...
5
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4answers
243 views

How large could you theoretically build a freestanding hall?

The Tropical Islands Resort in Germany is the world's largest freestanding hall. But how large could you theoretically build a freestanding hall on Earth? A freestanding hall is a building with no ...
3
votes
1answer
148 views

What is the tallest structure that can be built on the Moon? Can it be used as a landing pad?

Earth provides many obstacles to building large structures. Earthquakes and strong winds are just two of them. As far as I know there are no quakes on the Moon nor are there any winds. Question ...
5
votes
2answers
199 views

Feasibility of sourcing fuel from air

Is it feasible to modify a combustion engine to source fuel from air and oxidizer from a tank, in an atmosphere that has significant amount of flammable fluids, such as one found in Titan? If so, can ...
4
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2answers
235 views

Duplication of human advantages by biological machines

People often postulate in works of fiction that humans (and other sentient biological organisms) have powers that machines will never duplicate, but by machines people often think about constructs ...
2
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1answer
53 views

What would be the dimensions of an orbital ring space station built around Deimos (the Martian moon)?

To be more specific, What radius would enable a ring-shaped space station to stably spin around Deimos and provide its occupants with rotational gravity?
4
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2answers
263 views

How fast could a 300 foot wide, 300 mile long road be constructed in the same manner as the Roman Empire would?

The road is to be used to resupply a city siege. The best estimate of speed for how fast the Roman's could build a road I can find is their construction of the Appian Way or "Queen of Roads". This ...
1
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3answers
168 views

What is the viability of this airship using modern technology?

I want to design an airship using modern-day technology. I have read around the stack exchange and while there are many questions on airships they do not completely answer my questions. My main idea ...
3
votes
5answers
660 views

Detection systems and trigger mechanism in a pre-electronic world?

I am building a setting that is essentially steampunk,being exact it would be pneumatic punk. What electronics and electronic equivalent exists, are primitive and extremely expensive. Thus the ...
5
votes
2answers
223 views

Could we build a roof over the Grand Canyon?

(or some other Lesser Canyon) I'm playing with story ideas for a videogame that takes place in the post-post-apocalyptic US. Everything is overrun with monsters and ocean horrors and whatnot, you've ...
3
votes
3answers
111 views

Artificial oxygen oasis in an otherwise CO2 atmosphere

I wonder if it is possible to install artificial equipment that would exhaust oxygen into air in otherwise CO2 atmosphere so that locally people could breath in open air without any kind of tent or ...
0
votes
1answer
204 views

To what extent would it make sense to build a city like Midgar? [closed]

Please understand: This isn't a completely serious question. It's more just meant to have fun with, but to still learn something in the process. So in light of the first chapter of the Final Fantasy ...
2
votes
1answer
96 views

How could a ballistic mask provide full protection without compromising the wearer's singing voice?

So, I'm having trouble with one of my character designs. Guardian angels are former humans who died in such dumb ways that Heaven simply couldn't let them in, not before they proved they can prevent ...
26
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22answers
6k views

How can I make the supporting pillars of an underground city less obstructive?

Node is the last active city of the lizard people. Node was built to be a self-sufficient city and a nexus of an interconnected bunker system. It was a vanity project from the peak of the lizard ...
1
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2answers
155 views

How could the Kobold Cannon's munition work?

"That is a weapon, NOT a teleporter" - Samuel "Whyamieventrying" Hayden The concept is fairly simple. You have a crazy, but crazy talented kobold inventor with lots of spare time and junk. This ...
4
votes
7answers
1k views

Powertrain for mid-19th century mecha

I’m writing a steampunk/weird west story set in 1867 and I want to incorporate some form of armored battle “walkers” (aka mechs). Looking for ideas for powertrains that could conceivably run such a ...
0
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2answers
127 views

Could a medieval society expand a river [closed]

What are the ways a society with medieval or at most middle age technology go about widening and deepening a river?
3
votes
1answer
87 views

Mechanics and structure for an artificial giant creature?

I originally wanted to create giant land biological life-forms but the square cube law is limiting me to sauropod body sized creatures so another element of my story is artificially enhanced ...
15
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6answers
6k views

How can sapient beings engineer transportation and building when they can only count 0, 1 and many?

Imagine a species of humanoid beings living on an Earth-like planet somewhere in the universe; they have developed complex spoken and written languages and they can study their own anatomy and the ...
10
votes
5answers
838 views

Viability of a Matchlock Rotary Gun?

The first effective rotary gun was the Gatling Gun, invented in 1861 and it was a brutally effective weapon that had the advantage of high quality steel, rifling, and percussion caps. But for most of ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

Would “land assist” technology be possible in real life?

In the game Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, characters wear exoskeletons with an ability called "land assist", which allows them to slow down their fall using a jet of compressed air (or some specific ...
5
votes
1answer
130 views

Can multiple space habitats be joined by tubes?

I wanted to create an extremely large space city which will be made up of many different large space habitats of ringed and cylindrical varieties. Although each habitat will contain its own city or ...
16
votes
11answers
7k views

Is it possible to build a catapult strong enough to launch a person to the moon? [closed]

Lets say the advanced civilization never discovered rockets and for whatever reason never will. Is it possible to create some kind of mechanical device to launch a 90kg person to the moon from earth? ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Is it possible to build mirrored goggles for seeing through illusions?

Lore has it that some magical illusions fool only the eyes. They do not appear in a mirror. Is there a way to harness this? Could a hunter of wizards and magical creatures build a set of mirrored ...

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