Questions tagged [satellites]

For questions about satellites in your fictional scenario and world.

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4 answers
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How long until all detectable space debris leaves orbit of a planet?

Let's say an extinct alien civilization inhabited an earth-like planet a few million years ago. The had a number of satellites, orbiting the planet, all of which got blown up quite violently (dealer'...
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21 votes
7 answers
4k views

Could the Soviet Union have hidden the launch of the first satellite?

In the summer of 1957 Soviet leadership was shown a model of the soon-to-be first man-made object in outer space. It was a shiny sphere with thin antennae. The energized chief designer didn't mince ...
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5 votes
2 answers
78 views

Feasibility of multiple satellites around a planet inspired by Luyten B/Gliese 273b

I am writing a science fantasy book that takes place on the planet Luyt (inspired by Luyten B/Gliese 273b). Because the orbital period of the planet is about 18.6 days and I have chosen to make the ...
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1 vote
1 answer
87 views

Visible effects of most satellites deorbiting at once

For a story I am writing, the Earth gets ejected from the solar system. In one of my previous questions I asked if we get to keep the Moon - seems like we would not only lose her, we would lose all ...
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3 votes
4 answers
135 views

Can there be a moon of a planet where there is always day even if it is rotating on its axis

Is it possible to have a moon of a planet that is practically day on both the star facing side and the other side, if the planet itself is mostly made of highly reflective surfaces like Silver and ...
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47 votes
29 answers
7k views

What might stop people from destroying navigation satellites that are used for FTL plotting?

The idea is that a number of satellites have been deployed throughout the galaxy and ships use them to plot their FTL jumps. If that's the case, the thought occurs to me that someone could try and ...
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3 votes
3 answers
398 views

How hard is it to find ship-sized object via satellite?

I came up with a world that is similar to ours but is recovering from oil reserves depletion. In other words, there is very little to no petrol remaining, so the ones who can use it are mostly ...
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2 votes
1 answer
77 views

Maintaining an ice-free Northwest Passage with statites

Due to various territorial rearrangements, in 2060, the largest seaport in the United States is Churchill, Manitoba. A much reduced but still significant volume of shipping needs to reach the country ...
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0 votes
6 answers
286 views

In what way could a moon change phases according to the month?

Let’s say that a planet has multiple moons, and because I don’t want to type “a planet” many times, let’s call the planet Stan. One of these moons changes phase (“phase” being the best word for it, ...
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3 votes
3 answers
315 views

What might block satellite communications (or make them very hard to use)

Imagine a world with two allied nations (countries, kingdoms...) that are separated by a large geographical distance. Those two nations would be at about the same level of development as our (real ...
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  • 159
-1 votes
3 answers
157 views

What are realistic numbers for the engineering/physics for a mag-lev train which would circumnavigate the entire planet earth?

Suppose that you were writing a science-fiction novel (or movie script). In the story, a giant magnetic-levitation (mag-lev) train encircles the entire planet earth. The ring-shaped train track is ...
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0 votes
2 answers
138 views

UPDATED: What phenomena could be powerful enough to hide an island?

Edit: My original question concerned the magnetic properties of gems in this world. As I have realized more and more through the answers how unrealistic this is, I am now seeking input on any general ...
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7 votes
3 answers
1k views

How long does Kessler Syndrome last?

I realise this about as useful as asking "how long is a piece of string?" but bear with and I will attempt to set parameters. OK, so there has been an apocaplyse and now, at the time of my ...
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3 votes
1 answer
86 views

longitude without clocks or GPS, but artificial satellites in geosynchronous orbit

Galileo once noted you could calculate longitude, via the moons of Jupiter: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longitude#Noting_and_calculating_longitude Could identifiable satellites be put in orbit ...
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0 votes
1 answer
128 views

Minimal mass of an Earth-like satellite to seriously deter space travel?

I want to write a story taking place on the natural satellite of a gas giant, with said satellite being massive enough to prevent, or at least strongly deter, space travel, such that the resources ...
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11 votes
4 answers
2k views

What are the odds that an alien spaceship entering a low Earth orbit would collide with an orbiting body?

After centuries of careful search and travel, some intrepid extraterrestrial explorers have finally found another inhabited world! Elated with their discovery and exhausted after their long journey, ...
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1 vote
2 answers
74 views

Feasibility of extra-lunar capture

Using our own Earth and Moon as a template is it possible for a second large body (One quarter to a third of the Moon’s Size) drifting close by to be captured in a stable and permanent orbit? ...
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6 votes
1 answer
121 views

How many satellites would we have to launch to create an artificial set of rings around Earth

Saturn has rings of debris which orbit it, and it is possible to get a satellite into an orbit that will at least last a few years, so my question is as follows; How many satellites (or just the pure ...
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6 votes
5 answers
361 views

Could Modern Satellites Monitor the Whole World's Military Movements

The premise here is that a government is already secretly using satellite imagery to record every surface of the Earth and automatically catalogues probable military assets and movements using image ...
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25 votes
17 answers
6k views

Need reasons why a satellite network would not work

My story takes place on a hot desert planet that is a colony. At some point people are out in a very hot and inhospitable area of the desert. Dust storms, high heat, constant wind, etc. Characters ...
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9 votes
6 answers
426 views

Detecting a Starship at the L2 Lagrange Point

Assume that an alien starship pops into existence at the L2 Lagrange point of the Earth-Moon system, behind the Moon as seen from Earth. When and how is the starship detected and recognized as ...
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10 votes
3 answers
2k views

What would Earth look like at night in medieval times?

Background: Aliens are debating whether to launch an invasion of Earth in medieval times, say the year 1000. They launch a satellite to orbit Earth and send pictures of Earth to see whether it is ...
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20 votes
7 answers
5k views

Is it possible to remotely hack the GPS system and disable GPS service worldwide?

The title pretty much says it all. I'm wondering if it is possible through "digital" means only (aka any physical disruption of satellites is not allowed) to disable the US GPS satellite ...
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11 votes
3 answers
621 views

Can I render satellite deployment impossible, or at least impractical, by exploiting the Kessler syndrome?

I want to render impractical the deployment of satellites by exploiting the Kessler syndrome. Why, you ask? Maybe I'm an evil overlord and I don't want those pesky satellites flying over my lair. ...
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62 votes
30 answers
14k views

My perfect evil overlord plan... or is it?

Me You might call me evil but the facts are I deserve to rule all of the world, everyone & everything in it. What I already have done For years I have worked in the shadows (as much as you can ...
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  • 6,609
20 votes
4 answers
3k views

In a post-apocalypse world, with no power and few survivors, would Satnav still work?

Assuming: there was no power, so there was no web/internet you had a mobile phone (one of the smart ones, not a basic one) powered by solar the phone had maps downloaded on to its memory card (so you ...
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  • 201
17 votes
10 answers
5k views

Is there a technology capable of disabling the whole of Earth's satellitle network?

Machine-based communication (and navigation) relies extensively on satellites. In the future, with the massification of 5G, more and more reliance will be put on satellites (e.g. the Internet of ...
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6 votes
3 answers
177 views

How can I create a new planet/satellite system that generates tides of 6-8 metres?

I'm creating a new setting for a novel. I'd like to build a world where the interaction between the planet and its satellite/satellites can generate a normal tide excursion around 6/8 metres. ...
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7 votes
5 answers
1k views

Can satellites decrease global warming?

An island nation has a lot of coastal territory and has become gravely concerned about the threat of global warming. They've decided to fix this by launching reflective satellites into orbit -- ...
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4 votes
1 answer
279 views

Post Kessler Syndrome GPS Replacement

If the Kessler Effect were to reach critical mass and render it nigh-impossible to put anything in orbit, allowing for some handwavery, what sort of options are there for replacement geolocation with ...
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  • 1,253
9 votes
5 answers
2k views

How would a real modern day space shuttle operate without satellites or any kind of communications signals?

What role do satellites, communication towers, GPS, etc, play in the operation, and specifically the landing, of a space shuttle? If those and any other human-made things suddenly disappeared, could ...
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-1 votes
2 answers
116 views

Free energy in space [closed]

On earth we know that if we rotate a motor electrical energy is produced but dues to friction and absense of force the motor do not rotate continuously. But if we are in Space where friction is zero ...
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0 votes
2 answers
788 views

Characteristics of a habitable satellite planet [closed]

In Habitable Planets for Man, Stephen Dole establishes that a satellite planet in orbit around a massive gas giant, (like Jupiter's Titan, I guess) would be habitable for humans. What would it be ...
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10 votes
3 answers
472 views

Could I use a series of magnetic asteroids to create a magnetic field for mars?

If I push a couple of magnetic asteroids into mars gravitational field, could they form an interlocking series of magnetic fields able to protect mars from solar winds? Size limits for asteroids is ...
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2 votes
3 answers
807 views

A cure for the 'Kessler Syndrome'? [duplicate]

For those unaware, the term 'Kessler Syndrome' refers to a scenario in which space-borne debris reaches a 'critical mass', destroying spaceborne satellites which in turn produce more debris which in ...
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  • 429
7 votes
2 answers
496 views

Is a medieval spoon satellite realistic?

I misread an answer to My carrier pigeons have been replaced by spoons: how can I send messages?, thinking it was referring to a network of parabolic reflector dishes made of spoons orbiting the ...
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10 votes
3 answers
317 views

Lifetime of the Moon's moon

Imagine if the Moon had its own moon. A moon (likely an asteroid) that lies within the Moon's Hill Sphere. I have read elsewhere about the fate of such a moon. Over time due to the Moon being tidally ...
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1 vote
1 answer
139 views

How to disable all long range communications planet wide?

I'm wondering about ways to effectively disable all long range communications planet wide. I've looked into nuclear/emp for disabling sats, but what about other forms of long range comms? Doesn't have ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
259 views

Are satellite chat phones possible in the 80's?

Suppose you have a lots of funding and access to all the technology available in the free world. You also have political connection & persuasion, to get your hands on any of it, whether civilian ...
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8 votes
3 answers
266 views

Can space debris be used as a heat sink for re-entry?

In the world I'm building, a nuclear war and subsequent repressive chaos have led all satellites to be destroyed by the powers that be, around 10 years from now. A few years later, a small spacecraft, ...
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50 votes
7 answers
10k views

Can I use a trebuchet to launch satellites into space from a lunar colony?

I've got a lunar colony that struggles to obtain resources, so they're looking for ways to launch satellites into orbit without using up a bunch of rocket fuel. One plucky engineer has suggested ...
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  • 12k
19 votes
4 answers
4k views

A moon that is hard to orbit

I had a dream last night where I was coordinating a space program for an Earth-like planet, with a Moon much like our own. The Moon in the dream had an annoying quirk... The space program kept ...
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33 votes
10 answers
7k views

What are the most salient aspects of a decaying world caused by the disappearance of everyone? [closed]

You are a normie on 2019 Earth and suddenly you can't find anybody. You've searched for a few hours, tried spamming out emails, random phone calls - no response. What would be the most jarring ...
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3 votes
5 answers
1k views

Sourcing material to build a satellite network above a planet

In reference to the movie Geostorm (2017) a global network of satellites is built and deployed above the Earth for the purpose controlling weather events. Would any largely inhabited planet be the ...
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  • 141
11 votes
2 answers
271 views

Can a fission satellite duplicate the radiance frequencies of a star?

I sometimes think about the arrogant dwarf starsmiths in the question. How to blow up a star by accident? I pose the question in the voice of the dwarf, probably because I am hungry for down votes. ...
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  • 273k
6 votes
7 answers
1k views

Would any long-range communication exist if all buildings were destroyed?

In a hypothetical situation where ALL man-made structures on earth are destroyed (including servers, cell towers, radio antennas, etc.) but anything existing underground or in space (satellites) would ...
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  • 61
-2 votes
2 answers
292 views

How to power satellites without solar panels [closed]

Imagine a satellite orbiting around Jupiter. There isn't a lot of solar radiation out there, so it seems useless to try to power such a satellite with standard solar panels. I thought of powering ...
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  • 355
0 votes
5 answers
371 views

GPS without geosynchronous orbit

A setting where we still have the rest of our technology, but for reasons - alien space bats, basically - there are no longer any stable orbits around Earth with an altitude higher than about 1000 km. ...
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  • 4,398
10 votes
4 answers
12k views

How long will technology (satellites, GPS, Cell Phone) still work after civilization is destroyed?

If a large part of the population was killed, but the infrastructure was basically unharmed (I know it take people to keep things going, but I guess that is part of the question), how long would I ...
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