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Questions tagged [physics]

For questions regarding the physics relevant to fictitious worlds. General physics may be off-topic.

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Could we still live if Earth's spin speed slowed down by 90%?

I am working on a project (The Longest Day), and I'm sure some people here have the necessary knowledge to give me some more usefull info. OK, here it is: Lets say that Earth's spinning speed ...
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1answer
497 views

How can wizards do such powerful things running on pure human metabolism? [duplicate]

In fiction, we often see magic used for very flashy effects (like, say, fireballs). But human metabolic output doesn't seem powerful enough to account for things like this. Is it possible to build a ...
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4answers
378 views

Effects of high magnetism?

I have a head-world idea where one of the planets in it has four magnetic poles. It is a desert rocky planet with carbon based lifeforms on it (mostly underground or in bio-domes). What would the ...
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3answers
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When does gravity become too much for humanoids?

Supposing you took Earth or a planet like it and doubled its mass, the gravity would obviously increase in whatever proportion to that. As a result, humans as we know them would be ... thicker, (I ...
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2answers
512 views

When the Moon comes crashing down (wait, it doesn't)

EDIT: Yup, totally misguided here: http://www.physlink.com/Education/AskExperts/ae429.cfm Drifting away. So, no lunar catastrophe for me (without some other handwavium) I've read somewhere that the ...
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9answers
939 views

Breathe in space, with or without a suit?

I've been wracking my brain about a world I'm writing in, how to make some group of regular people able to survive in space for extended periods with or without a suit. I can reduce the amount of time ...
2
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3answers
377 views

Possibilities with a force-manipulating device

What if, sometime in the next say 600 years, humanity develops a device capable of manipulating the four fundamental forces in the area around it. (For example, a handheld device could work in a ...
4
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2answers
641 views

In 'portal', pushing interconnected portals on thin portal sized rectangles of material through each other?

A question about portals from the 'portal' games. In the games, pairs of flat, identically sized and shaped, effectively for simplicity rectangular, portals, that lay flat on surfaces, link two ...
7
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1answer
656 views

Is the Alcubierre Drive relatively free from relativistic collisions?

Related to the this question about not going SPLAT. That one was for conventional travel through space at high speeds. Now I want to know about how things would work with an Alcubierre drive. I'm ...
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4answers
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Energy manipulating superhero — how would it work

I want to make a superhero that can control all forms of energy. From what I've heard you can do a lot like, manipulate time and space, open blackholes, teleport, shape shift, and manipulate matter. ...
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0answers
633 views

What would change if we had room temperature superconductor now? [closed]

What would be technological impact to our every-day world, if we suddenly have room temperature super conductors ? Specifically, what would be the major areas of change in the immediate future (one ...
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3answers
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How long until a small black hole makes the sun fail?

Imagine aliens dropped a small black hole (say, 1% of the moon's mass, so you wouldn't notice the difference in gravitation) into the sun (from the far side of the sun, so nobody on earth can see it). ...
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5answers
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What happens if everything stops?

Suppose, through some fantastical mechanism, all macroscopic (i.e. reasonably massive) objects in the universe were instantly made at rest. In other words, the relative velocity between every two of ...
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1answer
921 views

How to Demonstrate that FTL Travel Violates Causality? [closed]

I'm trying to develop a story where a vast and sinister Alien Intelligence is bent on testing humanity's primitive knowledge of physics via the Q & A answer sites on their world wide communication ...
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5answers
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Can we identify black holes in our path flying between the stars?

When traveling at fast speeds through the galaxy, would it be possible to identify where all the black holes were on your path? I know most black holes are identified by their affect on other nearby ...
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15answers
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Using physics - How can a character fly

I am writing a story in which the characters have some power over the physical world - literally able to transform their knowledge of physics into powers. I am trying to determine a good way for them ...
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3answers
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Trebuchet's effect on ship design

A long time ago I heard about a Medieval Irish pirate that used a Trebuchet mounted on his ship (no I am not sure what he was or where I heard it). The idea of a ship acting like a double pendulum ...
10
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2answers
994 views

Can a moon “skim” a ring?

Picture a planet identical to Earth, but with rings. It has a satellite similar to the moon, except smaller; I'm not sure how big it needs to be but distance from the planet is more important so ...
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2answers
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Under what circumstances would it be possible to harvest aurora for either energy or matter?

I would like to have a planet in which somehow it becomes necessary to harvest aurora for energy (and maybe matter if that's feasible). The civilization of this planet is moderately advanced -- ...
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10answers
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Is it possible to have a logically consistent world where F=mv instead of F=ma?

And could it look anything like the universe we know? Don't get hung up on the terminology. In general, you seem to see through it easily, so I don't want any more answers mentioning that. I'll say ...
43
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5answers
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Could two planets be tidally locked to each other so close they share their atmosphere?

Could two planets be tidally locked to each other at such a small distance from one another that they share their atmosphere, and material is floating around between the two?
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12answers
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How might one explain (pseudo-scientifically) the generation of a “projected,” guided darkness?

The Details: We have ways to generate light and direct it with our own technology. Humans have had the ability to do this for even longer. Within the last number of decades, we have begun ...
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3answers
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What would ammonia snowflakes look like?

What I've found out is that Ammonia has (in the relevant temperature/pressure regime) cubic crystal structure. But what would that mean for ammonia snowflakes? Would they have fourfold symmetry? But ...
5
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1answer
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What would be the short-term and long-term effects of an increase in the strength of gravity on humans?

I heard that some scientists placed chickens under 2.5g for 6 months, and they survived. A normal human would black out at 5g. A trained astronaut could take up to 8g before blacking out. 20g would ...
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7answers
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Would the knowledge of physics on a native aquatic planet be similar to our own?

This question was stimulated by the question How would an aquatic race develop computers?. The answers obviously were based on the aquatic civilization being earth based, but what about a totally ...
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7answers
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How would the human body develop under a different gravity?

What would be the effects of high or low gravity on human body development? How would the human body develop under a different gravity? Many science fiction stories explore the idea that people from ...
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6answers
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Planet with dual core

My premise involves a habitable planet with a dual core: it has two masses similar in composition to Earth's core, which revolve around each other over the course of hundreds of thousands of years. ...
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14answers
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Can I keep our universe, but without the speed limit (of light)?

It seems like nothing can move faster than light and this is quite bothersome for interstellar travel. It takes decades in the best case to get anywhere interesting in our little Milkyway (Many ...
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3answers
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Gravitational effects of portals at different heights

Summary: I am looking for a portal transportation mechanism that is consistent with the laws of thermodynamics. Portals (or wormholes or gateways, something that connects two different locations in ...
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5answers
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Different gravitational and inertial mass

This is going to take some imagination and assumptions (and knowledge about physics). Imagine gravitational mass and inertial mass would be different. In classical mechanics it seems a coincidence ...
21
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9answers
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Plausible plasma weapons?

In a lot of science fiction, the advanced weaponry takes the form of guns firing directed bursts of plasma. These searing bolts of fire are classic ways to create weapons apparently rooted in science, ...
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15answers
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Precision Destruction by a Cosmic Being (Or how to destroy StackExchange from space)

We have a lot of weird questions come up in chat and fun comments about how we destroy worlds over a lunch break. Here is one that though I might share. You are a power that can affect cosmic bodies ...
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3answers
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What would the weather be like in an asteroid habitat?

The idea of hollowing out asteroids, spinning them on their longest axis, and filling them with air, water, and soil is common in science fiction (Rendezvous with Rama, or 2312 for good examples). ...
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24answers
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If our universe was a simulation, what could a bug look like?

Let's assume, without revoking any of today's science, that the world is a simulation. What would a bug look like? I'm assuming that "the eiffel tower suddenly being bent at 45°" is rather unlikely, ...
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4answers
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How big would a pair of wings need to be to allow an adult human to fly in a given environment?

Lets indulge in a bit of Mad Science, here. Assuming the world described here: Making the Enterprise Fly (60% of earth's gravity, 50% denser atmosphere) what is the wingspan needed to allow an ...
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1answer
136 views

Probabilties of the Universe [closed]

Is it plausible that the only way to be at both ends of the Universe at the same time is to have a Mass/Space/energy equivalent of the Universe? In essence is it possible the universe is the only ...
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2answers
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Cluster of Black Holes around a Central Point

Within the Star Wars Extended Universe, there is a science base on a small object within a near impenetrable sphere of Black Holes. Is this possible? The place referenced is called the Maw ...
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6answers
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How long does terraforming take if you have to build the planet from asteroids?

I'd like to set a story in our solar system with Earth and the inner planets becoming uninhabitable and a new planet being required. If human beings decided to build a world by making slight ...
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3answers
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Use Physics to prove Ragnarök has already occurred

This question asks what would happen to the solar system if the sun vanished for about three days, the mass and energy of the sun simply ceasing to exist. This answer (as of this question, anyway) ...
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6answers
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What happens if the sun disappears and then reappears some days later?

In the Norse prophesy of Ragnarok, Fenrir eats the sun. Considering the Earth is not immediately consumed by a supernova, it must be assumed that he swallows it whole and it just ceases to exist on ...
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3answers
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What if time travel had to take into account spatial distance?

In this setting, humanity has advanced to the technological capability of extra stellar travel via faster-than-light drives. However, due to distances between inhabited areas being extremely large, ...
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5answers
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What effect could drop the freezing temperature of water globally to −40 Celsius?

This question comes up from Is there a man-made or natural event that can cause an abrupt climate change within hours/a day? – trying to get KaguraRap a functional answer to an abrupt temperature drop ...
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6answers
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What would happen to a planet that was electrically charged?

If a planet had such a large imbalance of protons and electrons that it possessed a net negative or positive charge what would happen to it and its solar system? First, could it be stable, or would ...
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4answers
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What software can prototype a planetary system?

Is there any software tool for quickly prototyping a planetary system? Ideally this should: Allow for placement of planets of different sizes and masses around a star. Allow for examination of the ...
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1answer
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Tool to simulate climate & weather effects

I am looking for a tool that can be used to create worlds with a realistic (= physically plausible) climate and surface given general terrain shape, or can at least assist in such a task. My ideal ...
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2answers
310 views

Maximum Earth population by wiping out biological life

I want to create a world set on our Earth but with humans converted entirely to machines, so the population can be larger than would be possible with biological humans. In contrast to biologically ...
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3answers
932 views

What factors go into whether a moon or planet is tidally locked?

I was thinking about a different possibilities for habitable planets. And I was wondering what actually causes a planet to be tidally locked? I am assuming it more than chance that the bodies ...
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6answers
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Making the Enterprise Fly

No, not that one. This one. I want to see the USS Enterprise fly, but I'm curious how it would be accomplished in any realistic fashion. Now, the world I'm building that needs a flying Enterprise ...
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4answers
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What would happen if magic was constrained by the second law of thermodynamics

This is a followup question to the question Wondering what would happen if magic was constrained by Conservation of Energy and it's related to this post. This question asks which sources of energy ...
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Is it possible to advertise on the moon?

I remember a cartoon about some spy guy. In that cartoon they did mass media by projecting from the surface of the earth to the moon in the night sky. Would that technique be possible? Could an ...