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Questions tagged [reality-check]

Asks if a given concept is realistic in a given context. Answers should say yes or no, with supporting info. Compare this with the science-based and hard-science tags. This tag should never be the only tag on a question, because this tag frames how a question should be answered, not the topic.

43
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5answers
8k views

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?
55
votes
15answers
9k views

Stealth in Space: How realistic is it?

This has been considered other places on the net, but I thought it would be good for the hard-science challenge, since it is often an example of the subtle difference between soft and hard science. ...
32
votes
11answers
6k views

Would humans be able to derive nutrition from foodstuffs found on alien planets?

Suppose humans have developed the technology to travel between star systems. This might be some science-fiction method like warp drive, jump drive, peanut butter drive, hyperspace drive or whatever, ...
22
votes
7answers
8k views

Anatomically Correct Angels

As part II of anatomically correct myths here we have the Angel. Angels appear in many cultures and are most commonly seen as simply winged humans. Is there a realistic way that angels could evolve? ...
47
votes
5answers
10k views

Other blood colors

Many people know that our blood is red because it is iron based. Many people also know that blood is blue or green if it is copper based. I'm wondering what color blood would be if it was lets say ...
37
votes
13answers
12k views

Could a creature evolve a biological “bulletproof vest”?

A variety of Earth species have hard, more or less rigid shells covering parts of or their entire bodies as a defense against predators. These work to a varying degree depending on the specific ...
62
votes
14answers
10k views

What would be left of a civilization founded in dinosaur times?

65 million years ago, a mass extinction event (likely caused by the Chicxulub Meteor) wiped out the dinosaurs, and their remains were hidden from us for millions of years. Humanity was not around ...
60
votes
5answers
3k views

Are geographically typed planets realistic?

In many science fictions we see planets which are designated by a particular terrain type. For example, Dagobah is a swamp planet, Tatooine is a desert planet, and Kamino is an ocean world. However, ...
114
votes
18answers
29k views

Could a planet made completely of water exist?

In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Thirty Days", there was a planet made completely out of water, which is the inspiration for this question. However, that planet was held together by an artificial ...
48
votes
11answers
13k views

For how long after an apocalypse would modern cars remain usable?

Imagine a "soft" kind of apocalypse - nothing like Earth being hit by an asteroid. In particular - 90% of human population have just disappeared (no matter why). So there are abandoned cities and ...
28
votes
11answers
19k views

Can a nonspherical planet exist and can it be habitable?

In both fiction and non-fiction worlds, that attempt to keep a sense of realism, planets are spherical. Is it possible for a planet to not be shaped like a sphere? If such a planet is possible ...
36
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20answers
7k views

How would people tell time if it was always day?

So, if I have a civilization that lives in a hollow planet, with a sun in the middle. How would they tell time? The sun always shines, and it is a Constant Spring/summertime weather. They have animals ...
18
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5answers
3k views

How would a civilization that has been living on a “cube” Earth differ from one on a “spherical” Earth?

Another question based off of this one here. Let's say on a cube styled Earth-like planet, there was a similar race to humans. If the differences in the planets were minimal (besides, you know, the ...
13
votes
8answers
2k views

Is the Idea of a Collective Consciousness Realistic?

In how smart can I make ants, an idea was suggested, to instead of making each ant individually sapient, make the 'anthill' as a whole sapient; a kind of unconventional hive mind. Just as a familiar ...
25
votes
7answers
5k views

Could life form in outer space?

All life we know of to date (presumably) formed on a rocky planet (more precisely: earth). Fiction has been written about life in more exotic locations. Though as far as I know, these lifeforms were ...
227
votes
22answers
38k views

What's the smallest change to physics required to allow magic?

Yesterday my 7-year-old daughter asked me: Why can't I do magic for real? I answered: because of the law of conservation of energy! And I briefly explained this law. Thus she grumbled "a single ...
69
votes
19answers
67k views

Possible distance travelled by horse over 6 weeks?

I always get very annoyed if a writer is sloppy with maps and travel-distances. E.g. "They left city Y and arrived in city X 5 days later." When you look at the supplied map Y and X are a 1600 ...
20
votes
3answers
2k views

Minimum brain size for consciousness?

In the limit, how small can a brain get and still host an identifiably human-like consciousness? Obviously, they can be smaller than an adult human's, since children (with smaller brain volumes) and ...
23
votes
14answers
6k views

Can airborne floating/flying islands be scientifically possible?

I'm sure that this has been asked before, but I need floating islands for a fiction story I'm writing. It takes place 5000 years after a catastrophic event (on a vaguely earth-like planet populated ...
32
votes
8answers
5k views

Can we 'beam' energy from the moon?

Really can't believe I have to edit this in, but this question has no bearing on our current use and generation of nuclear energy on Earth. There are dangers to nuclear energy generation, or we would ...
21
votes
5answers
5k views

Anatomically Correct Griffins

As a series of anatomically correct myths, here we have the griffin. Is there a realistic way that griffins could evolve? Using Earth or near-Earth biology, how close could I get to the classic ...
28
votes
5answers
8k views

What would be the consequences for Earth if the moon disappeared?

Scenario: The Moon disappears slowly -- within 3 days. It is a result of natural causes and we don't have any control over this disaster. What will be the Major Effects On Earth and life on Earth?
33
votes
5answers
7k views

How would multi-race humanoid evolution happen?

If we were to pull the following races out of a D&D players handbook and remove them from the setting/history of Faerun and look at them from a biological/non-magic perspective (no other planes of ...
42
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5answers
5k views

Could a humanesque creature derive all its nutrients from drinking blood?

Vampires are a very common creature in various fantasy stories, they drink blood and often human food poisons them. Forgetting for the time being the additional rumours/fiction such as sunlight, ...
39
votes
15answers
9k views

Is a jet dragon possible?

Are there any known laws of nature, which don't allow the existence of an animal with following characteristics? Can fly to the altitudes of modern airliners (around 10 000 meters or 32808 ft). One ...
41
votes
6answers
5k views

How do I prevent my turtle from collapsing under its own gravity?

Suppose the universe contained a species of planet sized turtles1 that can travers at least interstellar space. How can I explain (without invoking magic) that these turtles are not spherical? If ...
21
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6answers
3k views

Living Planet Possible?

Although a question about how large a living thing could be has been asked and answered, would a being such as Mogo from DC's Green Lantern series be possible? Mogo is the size of Earth roughly can ...
13
votes
6answers
2k views

What would a Collective Consciousness look like?

The idea of a collective consciousness (Or Anthill) is pretty simple: instead of cells you have small sentient animal that make up a larger creature. This is different from a hive mind in that the ...
39
votes
12answers
5k views

Multiple DNA, one creature

Suppose a species possessed different sets of DNA for different parts of its anatomy. I'm not suggesting one set for every function in the body; that would result in hundreds of thousands of unique ...
94
votes
8answers
15k views

Could a Dwarven Civilization Exist?

Could a Dwarven society as described by Tolkien mythology actually work? Dwarves for the purposes of this question are short, stout, bearded men and women who live primarily underground. They have a ...
142
votes
17answers
26k views

Would a bear cavalry be feasible?

Over the course of history humanity rode several kinds of animals to war: horses, camels and elephants being the most common. However, bears are not amongst them. So I was wondering, if they could be ...
11
votes
3answers
679 views

How do I figure out my planet's biomes and weather?

I'm having trouble figuring out the various biomes for my planet. I have extensively read the post on "Creating a realistic world map - Currents, Precipitation and Climate". But to be honest, I'm hung ...
31
votes
25answers
8k views

Aliens are on their way. What can cause them to not understand us?

This question continues the premise set in my previous question, but do not worry, I will try to tell the most important bits: There is intelligent alien race about 30 light years away from us. They ...
37
votes
7answers
4k views

How long can an abandoned, semi-sheltered computer remain bootable?

Simply put, what's the expiration date of a computer? The reason I ask is for the sake of a society recovering from some sort of cataclysm and trying to reclaim lost technology. However, I could also ...
23
votes
3answers
3k views

What colour is the foliage if the sky is violet?

This question on Physics.SE asks whether other colors are possible for the sky. I would like my planet to be inhabitable by normal humans. It has 768 days and they are living in a temperate/...
4
votes
5answers
2k views

Speeding up time?

Any ideas how an advanced alien race could speed up time in a specific region of space? I'm working on a storyline in which an alien race uses a time bubble to accelerate time so the construction of ...
15
votes
10answers
5k views

Could humans alter the moon's orbit significantly with current technology?

A terrible virus has made most of the populations and government officials of the largest superpowers on Earth stark, raving mad, without depriving them of their intelligence. They have decided that ...
57
votes
29answers
10k views

What are the conditions in which a creature would evolve more than one brain?

Would any creature ever need to evolve a second (or multiple) brain(s)? If so, under what conditions, why, and what implications would it have on the creature's intelligence? Note that while an ...
18
votes
4answers
8k views

Humanoids with digitigrade legs?

I've designed an alien race of bipedal humanoids with digitigrade legs. This race's advanced scientific progress means that they use traditionally human-associated technology, or similar (such as ...
57
votes
18answers
9k views

Million-year-old records

The universe is brutal on information. I'm looking for ways to preserve about an exabyte of information for a million years. I'm looking for answers rooted in reality without any lucky circumstances ...
22
votes
12answers
10k views

How to avoid objects when traveling at greater than .75 light speed. or How Not to Go SPLAT?

After asking my question about seeing black holes in your path between the stars, I also wondered abut other more mundane objects. Black holes affect large areas of space so even if you didn't get '...
34
votes
12answers
6k views

Super Spies Reality Check

It's a common trope that during the Cold War (and afterwards) America, the UK, the USSR, and sometimes nations beyond these developed super spies, capable of acts of espionage, sabotage, and direct ...
24
votes
8answers
8k views

How would societies be if created and populated only by young people?

I’m writing a post-apocalyptic RPG, but I have a problem when dealing with the reconstruction of the society. The apocalypse left alive only the young people up to 21 years of age. Even though the ...
27
votes
5answers
5k views

Can a planet have a figure-8 type of orbit around two separate stars?

Could a planet have an orbit in the shape of a figure 8 around twin (possibly binary) stars? Mostly curious about the physical possibility of such an orbital arrangement; is it stable over a long ...
32
votes
6answers
7k views

Is it possible to orbit inside a gas giant?

When we talk about orbits we often imagine a ship or station orbiting a planet outside its atmosphere. Is it possible a ship could go into orbit inside its atmosphere (perhaps to hide from other ...
6
votes
4answers
6k views

Is this concept for an LTA-gas' associated element lifecycle feasible?

Introduction: I've spent some fair amount of time thinking about inventing an element to make part of my world easier for me. In this case, it is an LTA gas which I gave the WIP name LAL-gas (Leichter ...
49
votes
21answers
6k views

A small group recreating modern technology

Suppose a group of people get transported back in time (say 2500 years). Then, in a manner reminiscent of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, they try to re-design modern technology. Assume ...
73
votes
12answers
10k views

How does the government cover up alien crash landings?

One night a spacecraft of extraterrestrial origin crash-landed in the densely populated city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The force of the impact leveled the entire city within a radius of 1 ...
56
votes
17answers
13k views

Is space piracy orbitally practical?

I'm considering a story set about fifty years (2065) in the future. It takes a rather optimistic view; space exploration has led to colonies on the Moon and Mars, as well as several space stations ...
55
votes
23answers
8k views

FTL travel is impossible. How is interstellar trade possible?

Assume a universe depressingly like ours, in which special relativity holds. No hyperspace, no warp drive, no wormholes, and even the limited get-out clauses offered by real world physics either don't ...