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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15
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7answers
1k views

Methods of containing/combating "grey goo" Von Neumann nanomachines?

The grey goo end-of-the-world scenario in which lots of little microscopic Von Neumann self-replicating machines basically eat everything to make more of themselves. Eventually everything is grey goo....
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4answers
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City in a hollow tree

As a tree grows new layers are added each year so that the trunk expands in radius. The living part of the tree is a relatively thin layer on the outside just beneath the bark, and the wood further ...
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5answers
539 views

What factors could lead to a narrow focus of technology?

In many SF stories (or fantasy if you replace science with magic), there is one technology that is hyper advanced in one specific field, like robotics in Real Humans or in Extant, but almost nothing ...
26
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6answers
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Are dragons cold or warm blooded?

My world is science-based with an earth-like biology. The dragons fly when they're young and then grow too heavy and can only glide if at all. They breathe fire by expelling gas and igniting it. They ...
13
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1answer
323 views

Are infections necessary for human colonisation?

If a human colony is set up on another planet or moon, or in an orbiting habitat, most of the infectious diseases from Earth would not be present in the small initial population. Careful screening ...
9
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4answers
806 views

What natural or artificial geographical structures that could allow a large-scale true "water going down the drain" whirlpool?

As a child, I was always fascinated by the propensity of water going down a drain to form a vortex. I created a world with a global ocean where there was a narrow body of land running north-south ...
41
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4answers
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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 ...
42
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8answers
10k views

How extensive could a habitable twilight zone be on a tidally locked planet?

If a planet always faces the same side to the sun, so that it has a permanent night side and a permanent day side, it will have a twilight zone in between the two sides. This will be a band around the ...
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5answers
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How critical is it for life that a planet remains within the habitable zone at all times?

Important note: The orbits in the diagram are elliptical. They have low eccentricity so they appear to be off centre circles but they really are ellipses with the star at a focus. The habitable ...
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5answers
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What would a habitable moon most probably look like?

We have a pretty good idea of what attributes a planet would need to sustain life and one can imagine how life might develop on a planet, even in difficult environments. I find it extremely difficult ...
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4answers
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What would a planet spinning fast enough to allow geostationary orbit near the surface look like?

From an answer to a previous question of mine: A planet spinning fast enough to allow geostationary orbit near the surface would result in odd side effects. Any object at rest on the equator would ...
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2answers
306 views

Ensuring consistency in a world

I want to be able to apply tools or methodologies to help ensure consistency in my world. For example: Burning world Imagine a planet with a land mass around the equator on which a great fire rages ...
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5answers
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Could venoms evolve naturally in mammals?

Venoms have evolved in certain classes of animals on Earth (notably snakes and frogs, but also fish and maybe elsewhere that I can't think of right now), sometimes for defense and sometimes (...
56
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3answers
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Is there a maximum size an ocean bound creature could grow to?

Assuming the ocean is deep enough and not overcrowded is there any upper limits to the size a "sea monster" can grow? On land creatures are limited by gravity, they have to be able to generate the ...
72
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4answers
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Can you simply scale up animals?

There have been a number of questions focusing on mythical creatures where the logical approach to answering has been to scale up an existing animal. For example dragon's wings can be extrapolated ...
188
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18answers
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How could dragons be explained without magic?

Dragons are a grand classic of fantasy. For this question, let's assume we're talking about the following stereotype: hatches from an ostrich-sized egg and can grow to mountain size if nothing limits ...
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6answers
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How do I figure out how many people my domed city on a hostile planet can support?

I have a colony of humans on Mars, living in enclosed cities to maintain breathable air. (If they need to leave, they suit up.) Assuming modern-day technology, how do I figure out how many people a ...
24
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2answers
1k views

Settings formed by Uncontrolled Terraforming of Venus and Mars via Portals

If two circular portals of 2 meter (arbitrary) diameter were created allowing uninhibited flow between surface atmospheres of Venus and Mars, what would be the environmental effects on the two planets?...
80
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21answers
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Is it physically possible for a planet to have seasons of different lengths?

Those of you who have read Game Of Thrones will know that in the GOT world seasons do not have a fixed duration, e.g., a winter might last three times longer than the previous one. I find most ...
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7answers
2k views

What would be the next technological step for a civilization after it has depleted all resources that allow for conventional technologies?

Imagine a world that reaches the end of its resources in silicon, petrol, coal, metals... everything that allows for conventional technology — even before it has found a way over it (renewable energy ...
26
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8answers
3k 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 ...
6
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1answer
1k views

If technology allowed for instant brain to brain transmission of knowledge, how would society change? [closed]

The things I'm thinking of are for example relationships between people, military communications, and other technologies deriving from this one... Would that be very different from what we know now ...
29
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6answers
4k views

What is the smallest planet that a civilisation could develop on?

The size of a planet affects its gravity, its climate, and its likelihood of developing life. Earth is large enough for an advanced civilization to develop. A smaller body such as Europa, while able ...

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