Questions tagged [science-based]

For questions that require answers based on hard science, not magic or pseudo-science, but do not require scientific citations. Contrast with the hard-science and reality-check tags. Do not use this tag as the only tag on a question because it describes how the question should be answered, not the topic.

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Anatomically Correct Rull?

An alien species (of name and provenance that shall remain unmentioned) have an exotic metabolism. They are apparently equally comfortable in atmospheres of oxygen, chlorine, or fluorine, and are ...
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3 votes
2 answers
718 views

Could harvesting antimatter from a Gas giant's van Allen Belts be feasible?

Could a sufficiently advanced civilization feasibly harvest antimatter from the van allen belts of a gas giant and use it for fast interplanetary travel. The main idea stemmed from this video, among ...
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-1 votes
0 answers
84 views

Anatomically Correct Moonstrider [closed]

For my first entry into the Anatomically Correct series, let me present to you the moonstrider, one of the mounts ridden by the Moonshadow Elves in the Netflix animated fantasy The Dragon Prince: It'...
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1 vote
2 answers
85 views

What would be the optimal atmosphere for Earth's life and humanity?

Question Obviously Earth's atmosphere is just fine for life it, but is there a possibility of one composed of gases that would make life have an easier time living? If yes, what would it consist of? ...
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3 votes
2 answers
119 views

Is there any feasible way for Antarctica have hidden oases?

Antarctica is a large barren wasteland. Located at the bottom of the world, it appears far away and forgotten. The Earth's largest desert and yet the coldest landmass. The age of exploration has come ...
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3 votes
2 answers
93 views

What's the largest population we could sustain indefinitely on a distant space station?

Imagine that humans put a space station in orbit around something further than 0.5 AU from Earth. So: not Earth, not the Moon, none of our Lagrange points -- none of the "easy" spots. The ...
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  • 7,057
1 vote
3 answers
75 views

What location options are available for a large-scale underground mining city

In the late 18th century, a strange project was proposed by a Dutch engineer regarding a certain English expedition. The British Empire held a vast amount of territories at this time and had much to ...
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8 votes
5 answers
2k views

What's a reasonable timeframe for civilian survivors to learn how to fly a helicopter on their own?

Post-Apocalyptic modern world, a group of civilian survivors about three dozen in number find themselves trapped in a military base. They have no way out except by air. The military base has a dozen ...
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3 votes
3 answers
94 views

How slow and and how close could a rogue planet pass by the Solar System not to have catastrophic consequences on Earth Orbit?

This is part of a series of questions. Context: a friend of mine is writing a novel about a rogue planet around the mass of Mars passing by the solar system before continuing its journey in ...
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6 votes
2 answers
178 views

Using coilguns or VASIMR as thrusters in a game

i'm in the early stages of designing a scifi game and want to use as little handwavium as possible (without ruining the fun). The first part of the game takes place in the asteroid belt and includes ...
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6 votes
1 answer
130 views

How would the laws of physics need to be adjusted if there really were a preferred frame of reference for FTL?

I am considering how to implement faster-than-light (FTL) travel in a sci-fi setting without the attendant problems with causality. One of the ways I've been thinking about for this is establishing a ...
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5 votes
3 answers
466 views

The Emperor's Coffee House - how to build a neolithic steam engine?

This is a thought experiment that I had for a long time, and I would like to know if it is possible/feasible. Let's assume that we have a very powerful ancient emperor, who has an idea to harness the ...
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7 votes
4 answers
2k views

Can land plants absorb carbon dioxide into their leaves without the need for sunlight?

We all know by now that plants need light to absorb carbon dioxide--whether it be sunlight, moonlight or even artificial cave light. But what about total darkness, like a cave or a forest floor ...
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3 votes
1 answer
82 views

Feasibility of an Empire with advanced ecological knowledge making Chott Melrhir a permanent lake?

What is the feasibility of a North African based Roman Empire turning Chott Melrhir into a permanent lake? The Empire has a population of around 8-10 millions, controls all of North Africa from ...
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3 votes
2 answers
89 views

A mainly barren world with two moons and a shared ring. Is it feasible?

I am creating this planet which is mainly barren and desert around the equator, but towards the poles there are huge mountains with glaciers and frosts. There is not much sea around. The inhabitants ...
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0 votes
0 answers
45 views

For how much and for how long would a "Closed Cycle Nuclear Thermal Rocket Engine" generate thrust for a floating ship?

Context/TLDR: The "Closed Cycle Nuclear Thermal Rocket Engine" is just a big nuclear steam engine that in this specific case, uses the (non radioactive) water steam to stay in air, at the ...
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5 votes
10 answers
705 views

How to Sneak Von Neumann Probes Past the Enemy?

150 years into the future, a space faction is in a confrontation with a stronger rival. Our faction is a Kardashev Type I civilization and has a similar technological level to its rival, but the rival ...
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5 votes
4 answers
182 views

How would time logically be measured on a massive starship in perpetual flight?

So, say I'm writing this story that takes place on a giant starship travelling from galaxy to galaxy (delivering goods or something like that). This ship was created and inhabited by one race ...
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6 votes
7 answers
977 views

Storing bulk metals for centuries

If you are building a megastructure like a Banks Orbital, it will be necessary/useful to provide it with reserves of various useful metals for the use of the civilization inhabiting the structure. ...
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  • 4,338
2 votes
1 answer
43 views

Would these changes alter the effects of Tornado Alley?

Here is how the meteorological danger zone called "Tornado Alley" is made: Warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico mixes with cold, dry air from the mountains and warm, dry air from the ...
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3 votes
1 answer
92 views

How strong would a humanoid need to be compared to real world humans to be able to wield a 1/4 inch thick solid steel shield easily?

I'm working on a fantasy RPG where I plan for things to start out on the more realistic side in terms of weapons and armor, but let the higher end gear move into weapons and armors that wouldn't be ...
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5 votes
3 answers
246 views

Lift 10 Billion Tons of Material From a Planet (Every Second)

150 years into the future, a space faction found itself in a Nicoll-Dyson beam arms race, where it must build a Dyson swarm as quickly as possible. The basic situations they face are as follows: ...
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6 votes
2 answers
228 views

Can you survive a reduction of particle mass?

Inspired by reading some recent questions about going to space and torchships and such, I've come to the sad conclusion that space is hard and rocket equations suck. So what if we made advances in a ...
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8 votes
7 answers
554 views

Social status by fuel used?

In this universe contained self sustaining fusion has been achieved. As we know the fuel for fusion is most commonly isotopes of hydrogen, and helium is produced as a byproduct of that. Helium is, as ...
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-4 votes
0 answers
87 views

Would there be any major weather events if all air pollution suddenly disappeared?

The mages have decided that enough is enough, and the second most powerful witch in the world decides to remove pollution from the atmosphere. She ties her life-force to intrinsically depend on all ...
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  • 245
-1 votes
6 answers
233 views

Could a species of Obligate Carnivores achieve sapience?

So I had this idea for a sort of Speculative Evolution/sci-fi project where humanity(known as the Founders) found no life beyond their solar system and decided to terra-form various planets with life ...
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14 votes
4 answers
2k views

If a dragon could fly without magical assistance, how much force could a dragon exert in directed air attacks using the force of its wings?

I plan to have dragons in my fantasy setting and wanted to figure out just how much force their wings would need to generate in order for them to fly. Rules for dragons in this setting: Dragons, and ...
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  • 2,776
5 votes
4 answers
762 views

Does it make sense for my "zombie" to drink blood?

I'm working on another arc for my story saga, and one of the characters is a "zombie". I'm putting "zombie" in quotations because he's actually the result of genetic ...
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8 votes
2 answers
119 views

How far across the sea can mosquitoes disperse?

One of the more interesting facts about the biogeography of Hawaii is that mosquitoes were not always present; they only arrived in the early nineteenth century, as stowaways aboard oceangoing ships. ...
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  • 4,338
5 votes
7 answers
234 views

Anatomically Correct Insect From Shaggai

For those unfamiliar with the Lovecraftian-inspired story, the Insects from Shaggai, aka Shans, are insectoid, sentient creatures with 12 limbs that can 'phase' into another organism's brain and begin ...
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4 votes
3 answers
207 views

Humanity is gone. What's the timeline of vermin infestation in an abandoned wholesale supermarket club?

Due to an accident during a transdimensional handwavium experiment, every sentient being on Earth was whisked away into another dimension. Humans are gone in a fiat. Somewhere, during temperate summer,...
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7 votes
5 answers
388 views

Why would a species take until ~50 years to 'mature' and stop being teenagers?

I'm writing fiction in a shared world that I have some control over, and for my own benefit I'm trying to figure out a reason why the Dwarves in this world wouldn't be 'mature' until they'd reached 50....
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4 votes
2 answers
86 views

What would happen on a binary planet if they captured a new moon into orbit?

I've been working on a world where the origin of the magic system is a catastrophic event that ripped the surface of the planet apart allowing magical energy from beneath the crust to escape to the ...
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-1 votes
3 answers
109 views

What kind of side-effects might stimulating the pain-sensitive nerves have?

In a sci-fi story I'm working on, a group of aliens utilizes a implanted device that induces incredible pain solely by stimulating the nervous system; specifically, the nerves that tell you you're in ...
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2 votes
5 answers
126 views

How could large scale mining operations render an arid region unlivable?

A story I am working on sees the characters returning to a fairly arid planet that was mined heavily by an interplanetary corporation. This left most of the planet uninhabitable and forced the local ...
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38 votes
10 answers
7k views

Can a planet stay cracked?

Images like this and this are common in sci-fi/fantasy settings, for the obvious "rule-of-cool" reasons. And while the 'rule-of-cool' is certainly worth using (in moderation) when ...
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  • 3,995
7 votes
3 answers
172 views

Ballistic properties of unobtainium

A Banks Orbital requires some form of unobtainium, with tensile strength much greater than any known substance. I'm trying to figure out how that substance would stand up to impacts and explosions. To ...
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  • 4,338
16 votes
5 answers
3k views

How could a planet logically have green clouds but still be habitable?

I am working on a game currently with some predetermined assets, and one of the areas I am developing takes place on a mountainous, lush jungle planet with low-hanging green clouds and a general green ...
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5 votes
1 answer
52 views

How could I design storms in an arctic setting that would logically become more severe as a result of a changing climate?

Part of my story is set on an arctic planet (think something along the lines of Hoth or just some planet deep in an ice age) where a research team is sent by a major intergalactic corporation. I want ...
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8 votes
4 answers
209 views

How can I bypass Bergmann's rule in cold weather populations of humans?

I am working on a setting with a large native population of humans who live in a year-round freezing environment, somewhat akin to the real world Antarctic. These humans should be as biologically ...
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8 votes
5 answers
1k views

What would this combination lubricant/cleaning solution smell like and taste like?

On an alien Dyson Sphere up in space, there is a blackish-blue slime that is everywhere on the sphere. It's slippery to the touch and is basically a combination of cleaning fluid, disinfectant, and ...
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  • 1,177
5 votes
4 answers
197 views

Minimize Mass Required To Colonize A Planetary System

In the early 22nd century, sending humans to other planetary systems is still too costly to be realized, so the first interstellar missions will be piloted by AIs. An AI piloted probe will be sent to ...
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3 votes
1 answer
99 views

What are the most important aspects of an environment that a drone would need to report for survivability?

Setting: You have an armada of intergalactic unmanned drones, whos sole purpose is to survey planets (or portions of planets) and report information about its survivability, and usefulness in ...
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10 votes
14 answers
4k views

What reliable source of power is best on a newly colonized interstellar planet?

I have been working on a hard Sci-Fi narrative of a first-time human colonization scenario on an interstellar star system like Alpha-Centauri. My narrative though uses NO FTL drives or other fictional ...
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3 votes
2 answers
188 views

Can a superhuman swim in air?

Assume the superhuman has no powers besides super strength, speed, durability and coordination. What would be the optimal way for them to fly without any assistance?(no gadgets, suits and additional ...
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  • 551
26 votes
14 answers
7k views

How would a mermaid jail work?

I'm trying to write a mermaid civilization, although I have one major roadblock when developing a criminal justice system. My mermaids are air breathers (like cetaceans) so I'm not sure how I would ...
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  • 537
4 votes
3 answers
136 views

The Falling Tower of Babel

In Preventing a word from being spoken, I asked about how to prevent a word from being spoken, and the means I chose was to change humanity so that humans can no longer say the Word. To that end, I am ...
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6 votes
2 answers
124 views

How do I justify the evolution of merpeople within a few million years?

I'm creating a sort of fantasy world that I'm still trying to keep scientifically accurate (it's more alternate history than anything since I'm having it take place in our world with a few points of ...
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  • 537
2 votes
4 answers
125 views

Why would a bio-mechanical Dyson sphere need to abduct and subsume an entire sentient species every 30-to-50 years?

THE SPHERE Up in space, there is this massive Dyson sphere, with a radius only slightly smaller than the earth's moon. It's made up of a creepy fusion of organic matter and mechanical machinery and is ...
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  • 1,177
7 votes
9 answers
317 views

What would be the uses of a technology that could make things "not-exist" for a short period of time

On Earth, half a century in the future, a scientist discovers a way to create a shell around mass to make it functionally not-exist temporarily. The shell is fairly hard to make, powered by a medium-...
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