Questions tagged [science-based]

For questions that require plausible (better than suspension-of-disbelief) answers based on Real World science that are not necessarily constrained to the known limits of Real World science. Contrast with the hard-science, science-fiction and internal-consistency tags. This tag may not be used alone. This tag may not be used with the science-fiction, hard-science, or internal-consistency tags.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
9 votes
2 answers
1k views

Life on an Earth-like planet with solid core?

How big a difference does the Earth's liquid outer core and mantle make for the evolution of complex life? If all of Earth's parameters would be the same, but it had a solid interior just like Mars, ...
user avatar
14 votes
10 answers
2k views

Would there be any reason to bore a tunnel entirely through a world?

I am looking to have a Tunnel drilled through a world and deal with the physics of What happens in the centre of a planet, what happens with the heat at the core and whether it is faster to travel ...
user avatar
30 votes
7 answers
3k 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 ...
user avatar
  • 48.7k
30 votes
4 answers
2k views

How would the design of a habitable underground fortification differ to that of a castle?

As a follow up from riding flying creatures to attack castles, let's assume that the practice is now so prevalent that a standard castle is no longer defensible. How would the fundamental design of a ...
user avatar
  • 2,876
53 votes
7 answers
35k views

Creating a realistic world map - Landmass formation

This Query is part of the Worldbuilding Resources Article. This question focuses on the initial creation of landmasses. What are the processes that causes land-masses to form, and continents and ...
user avatar
  • 76.2k
53 votes
18 answers
13k views

Is it possible for a species to have more than two sexes?

Every species I'm aware of on earth has two sexes (with the possible exception of species which change their sexes to allow self fertilization). Is it possible for a species to evolve which could ...
user avatar
  • 18.2k
30 votes
5 answers
3k views

What factors would allow for two dominant species on a world?

On Earth humanity has taken the dominant role (excluding dolphins and mice of course). We know of conflicts in pre-history where our ancestors have overtaken other species and slowly wiped them out. ...
user avatar
  • 18.2k
0 votes
0 answers
84 views

Scientific Accuracy - alien communication ideas [duplicate]

I'm writing a speculative story about aliens coming to earth, and just wanted to bounce a couple of ideas for scientific accuracy (or at least lack of obvious impossibility). This is set in the near ...
user avatar
  • 71
99 votes
14 answers
11k views

Is there a scientific explanation as to why aliens should look similar to us?

In almost all science-fiction stories that include alien races, said aliens are similar to humans in many ways: bipedal (and often humanoid), communicate with sounds coming out of a mouth, orient in ...
user avatar
  • 12.2k
39 votes
2 answers
4k views

What would be the evolutionary advantage for plants to be bioluminescent?

As fas as I know, there isn't a single plant on Earth that (naturally) produces any sort of luminescence. But it is seen in science-fiction worlds, especially Avatar. From an evolutionary point of ...
user avatar
  • 12.2k
19 votes
2 answers
1k views

Food sources for an undergound city

Lets assume a city exists underground, either in natural caves or synthetic tunnels. Are there any food sources underground, and what kind of population can they support?
user avatar
  • 303
21 votes
4 answers
3k views

How could combat involving Alcubierre-drive starships occur?

In a setting with Alcubierre-drive starships (as per my answer here), it is inevitable that once the technology becomes common enough and enough different polities and organizations have such ships, ...
user avatar
  • 46k
8 votes
3 answers
281 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 ...
user avatar
  • 6,033
24 votes
13 answers
2k views

Ethical solution to generation ship where new generation want to go home

I can easily set a story in a dystopian environment not subject to ethics, but I would rather try to create a backdrop that is as ethical as possible given the requirements. I feel that writing about ...
user avatar
  • 6,033
51 votes
10 answers
7k 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 ...
user avatar
  • 48.7k
51 votes
8 answers
10k views

How do creatures with a hive mind communicate?

Suppose we have a civilisation which is made up of many creatures sharing a single hive mind. Each creature can see, hear and remember what each other member of the species (or possibly hive) has seen ...
user avatar
  • 18.2k
18 votes
2 answers
1k views

What basic principles should I keep in mind when scaling things up and down?

Making things bigger or smaller is common in speculative fiction (giant ants, tiny people, planets bigger than stars, and stars smaller than light bulbs.) What general principles should be kept in ...
user avatar
  • 4,747
22 votes
8 answers
4k 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 ...
user avatar
  • 46k
34 votes
11 answers
5k 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. ...
user avatar
  • 673
30 votes
7 answers
3k views

Are invisible creatures theoretically possible?

Would it be possible for a corporeal alien with a solid physical body (it must be able to touch and interact with the world) to exist but remain invisible to humans? My understanding of optics is ...
user avatar
  • 687
29 votes
2 answers
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 ...
user avatar
  • 6,033
15 votes
7 answers
2k 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....
user avatar
  • 3,220
22 votes
4 answers
2k views

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 ...
user avatar
  • 6,033
16 votes
5 answers
545 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 ...
user avatar
  • 12.2k
27 votes
6 answers
11k views

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 ...
user avatar
  • 12.2k
13 votes
1 answer
337 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 ...
user avatar
  • 6,033
9 votes
4 answers
822 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 ...
user avatar
  • 46k
43 votes
4 answers
5k 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 ...
user avatar
  • 12.2k
42 votes
8 answers
11k 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 ...
user avatar
  • 6,033
29 votes
5 answers
2k views

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 ...
user avatar
  • 4,747
24 votes
5 answers
6k views

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 ...
user avatar
  • 341
52 votes
4 answers
6k views

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 ...
user avatar
  • 12.2k
11 votes
2 answers
307 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 ...
user avatar
  • 6,033
15 votes
5 answers
2k views

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 (...
user avatar
  • 28.7k
57 votes
3 answers
18k views

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 ...
user avatar
  • 18.2k
74 votes
4 answers
9k views

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 ...
user avatar
  • 18.2k
194 votes
18 answers
80k views

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 ...
user avatar
  • 12.2k
21 votes
6 answers
2k views

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 ...
user avatar
24 votes
2 answers
2k 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?...
user avatar
  • 5,189
81 votes
21 answers
8k views

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 ...
user avatar
  • 2,177
17 votes
7 answers
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 ...
user avatar
  • 12.2k
26 votes
8 answers
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 ...
user avatar
  • 12.2k
6 votes
1 answer
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 ...
user avatar
  • 12.2k
29 votes
6 answers
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 ...
user avatar
  • 392

1
162 163 164 165
166