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Questions tagged [physics]

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

10
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5answers
970 views

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 ...
20
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9answers
5k views

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
5k views

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 ...
12
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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). ...
99
votes
24answers
14k views

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, ...
31
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4answers
56k views

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 ...
3
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1answer
135 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
401 views

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 ...
20
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6answers
2k views

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 ...
8
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3answers
1k views

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) ...
44
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6answers
4k views

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
1k views

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, ...
12
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5answers
3k views

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 ...
8
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6answers
4k views

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 ...
29
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4answers
2k views

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 ...
21
votes
1answer
1k views

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 ...
5
votes
2answers
308 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
931 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 ...
18
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6answers
3k views

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 ...
31
votes
3answers
5k views

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 ...
23
votes
5answers
7k views

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 ...
24
votes
5answers
2k views

Feasibility of anti-matter as a fuel

Now, taking out the cost to produce/collect it, assume somehow we perfected a formula or find a natural source (because that is currently very prohibitive), how feasible would be to use antimatter as ...
7
votes
3answers
259 views

Can sufficient magnetic shielding be provided by solar power? [closed]

Life on Earth is protected by Earth's magnetic field, which deflects high energy charged particles that arrive from the sun and from outside the solar system. This prevents damage to organisms. For a ...
44
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9answers
5k views

Wondering what would happen if magic was constrained by Conservation of Energy

Would throwing a fireball leave a trail of frost in its wake? Would transmuting too much lead into gold cause a small meltdown? Would collecting enough power to cast a really big spell like causing ...
16
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6answers
3k views

What would an external observer see when passed by an Alcubierre drive ship?

My answer to the question Is there a scientifically sound faster-than-light travel system for a spaceship? involved an Alcubierre-drive starship. However, that then got me thinking. What would an ...
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9answers
3k views

Is there a scientifically plausible faster-than-light communication system?

In series such as the Hyperion Cantos and Ender's Game, there exist fictional faster-than-light communication systems allowing either instantaneous, or near-instantaneous transmission of information. ...
26
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2answers
4k views

How can I estimate how far into a cave network breathing is possible?

I want two populations to coexist in a world with extensive tunnels carved into the rock. One population lives in the tunnels, coming out to trade and gather food. The other is aware of the tunnels ...
17
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4answers
2k views

How would two planets with identical but perpendicular orbits affect each other?

I'm exploring this idea for a fantasy world, and I was wondering how these planets would affect each other. The system would feature orbits in all three dimensions, not relatively flat like ours is. ...
36
votes
4answers
4k views

Is there a scientifically sound faster-than-light travel system for a spaceship?

Recurringly in Sci-Fi spaceships manage to make it to lightspeed and above. Is there a scientifically plausible explanation of such capacity? How does it impact the spaceship's design and its ...
24
votes
8answers
2k views

What could cause rock formations (small stones, boulders, islands…) to levitate?

You see this in quite a bunch of movies / books (think avatar). What could be a reasoned physical explanation of such phenomenon? Would this explanation impact other things on a planet? Like most ...