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Questions tagged [space-travel]

For questions about the process of traveling through space, including in orbit around a planet or moon. Consider also [spaceships]. See also the tag information (click "info") for more details on when this tag applies.

67
votes
16answers
15k views

How can I move a planet?

There are a lot of answers on Worldbuilding about how to destroy planets - just as an example - and they seem to be the method of choice for many people intent on destroying the world. My objection to ...
49
votes
9answers
5k views

Are there any ways to allow some form of FTL travel without allowing time travel?

Faster than light travel is a really cool thing to have in sci-fi settings. It allows humans, in relatable time scales, to travel the galaxy and see a variety of worlds. It allows for conflicts ...
23
votes
12answers
11k 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 '...
10
votes
3answers
530 views

Space Whales, how to survive?

We have escaped the galactic government, and now our greatest endeavour yet, life in space. How will these gargantuan space entities eat and survive in space? The whale or other in question is the ...
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 ...
56
votes
26answers
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 ...
20
votes
10answers
3k views

Motivations for interstellar colonizations

Question is ultimately asking why would we do this? A few parameters first... Technological: Our current knowledge of physics is correct and there is no such thing as faster than light travel, nor ...
44
votes
17answers
3k views

What would be the most effective way of keeping a psychopath with a spaceship from wreaking severe havoc in a suicide crash?

Any spaceship over several hundred tons is an extremely dangerous weapon in the wrong hands, particularly if it's intended for reentry. Made mostly of metal and possibly shaped to be able to breach ...
25
votes
12answers
5k views

Is there any way to truly hide a spaceship?

Space is two things: empty and (mostly) dark. This makes it really, really hard to hide in it, because to do anything in it, chances are, you'll be shining a big bright light through it. Even if you'...
8
votes
6answers
2k views

Is it statistically likely and physically possible to have two civilizations in the same star system?

With our current technology we're able to travel through our Solar System (and beyond) during at least a human lifetime. Is it physically possible that a star system has more intelligent lifeforms in ...
6
votes
2answers
247 views

What does the physiology and biochemistry of a vacuum adapted post-human look like? Part 4: Movement

I am a post-human adapted for permanent life in vacuum and micro-gravity. How might my physiology and biochemistry overcome the following challenges? Please note I have a strong cultural aversion to ...
12
votes
9answers
620 views

Stellar Navigation for Dummies - Finding your way home

Average Joe was an amateur astronomer. While he was out in the wilds one day with his telescope he was kidnapped by aliens, carried off and kept as a slave on a world somewhere in the Milky Way. ...
42
votes
19answers
6k views

How to add tactics and maneuvering into space warfare

I have a setting with space fleets fighting, the include both capital ships and human flown 'space fighters', which I already put some work into justifying: How to keep humans pilots instead of AI in ...
24
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the feasibility of a floating city on Venus?

I've read that the atmosphere about 60 km from the surface of Venus is very similar to the atmosphere on earth (the oxygen/nitrogen/CO2 levels and pressures are about the same). If there was a way, to ...
15
votes
6answers
2k views

Energy source for a generation ship

A generation ship was sent out a long time ago, to colonize a far away planet. However the ship failed to reach its goal due to navigational issues (which also means they didn't have any clue where in ...
13
votes
5answers
2k views

How to get across the galaxy moving slower than light - in a single lifetime?

All the recent talk on Worldbuilding about the vast energies available to higher-level Kardashev civilizations, the need for 50,000 year message-systems, and so on, got me thinking. With enough energy,...
17
votes
7answers
2k views

Could an aquatic civilization discover space travel?

Building from this and this, given an aquatic civilization somehow manages to forge tools and build computers, could it build space-faring devices? Also another development that would come earlier (...
15
votes
3answers
783 views

How to “set” the lightsail?

Suppose a starship is being powered by a lasers beamed first from the departure star, and then from the destination which is a moving base. The ship is moving in the regime of 10–30% of light speed. ...
14
votes
12answers
2k views

How can I know where to point my spaceship?

Let's assume we have a working FTL drive and thus interstellar travel is possible, either by traveling at very high speeds or by instant teleportation (the two main subtypes of FTL drives in sci-fi). ...
6
votes
5answers
604 views

Powering the interplanetary trade ships of the 23rd-24th century

Let's just take antimatter off the table right now. As I've learned recently, it's hard to make, expensive as hell and even more volatile, and you can never get more energy out of it than you put into ...
49
votes
23answers
10k views

What could prevent a sentient species from going to space?

I am still puzzled by the original The Planet of the Apes movie from the 70's. How come that sentient species invented weapons, but was unable to develop powered flight, or spacecraft. Thus, the ...
45
votes
17answers
7k views

Society rules for marriages and love on multigeneration ship

Earth, far future: We built multi generation ship which can get 20 000 people to another solar system in next 20 generations (600 years) For scope of this question assume that ship itself is well ...
31
votes
15answers
5k views

How to avoid FTL as a plot device?

Many SF stories feature faster-than-light travel as essentially a trope: Roddenberry has stated☡ that the Enterprise travels at the speed of plot. As an allegory of the south seas, or some throw-away ...
28
votes
15answers
5k views

Could a civilisation exist as 'space-nomads'?

In a civilisation similar to humans (although not necessarily humanoid) living on a planet the size of Earth, could the whole civilisation (no limits on size, although I was thinking a few thousand at ...
16
votes
7answers
3k views

Gravitational slingshots: could they be used to decelerate a spacecraft traveling at a small fraction of light speed?

I have heard of gravitational slingshots being used to theoretically accelerate a spacecraft using a planet's gravity and momentum in orbit. But how about decelerating a ship? If it is at all possible,...
12
votes
2answers
378 views

What is the smallest planetary mass that can prevent 'me' from flying off into space?

I have a series of astronauts landing on an asteroid. I'd like to know the threshold of mass for them to not fly off into space. Specifications: Assumption is all astronauts are under 180cm, 80kg. ...
5
votes
7answers
1k views

Can this version of the Alderson Drive be used to violate causality?

I'm working on a simulator-type game which I want to be at least internally consistent, and which I'd like to work as close to reality as possible. That being said, it's set in space, which means to ...
20
votes
15answers
3k views

How can a spaceship unknowingly interfere with tides on a planet?

I've asked before about my polytheists with competing moon gods. I now have a better understanding of how tides -- a very visible manifestation of lunar influence -- work with multiple moons (thanks),...
7
votes
7answers
769 views

The new Space Race - Racing!

Pretty much every vehicle ever invented has been used for racing on at some point, so it seems likely that people would want to do the same in space. However in space it doesn't really work the same ...
5
votes
3answers
463 views

The Colonist - Part I: Construction

This is the first part of a series of questions I'll ask about a self-sustaining colonization ship. I'll keep editing this post as things unfold. Part II - Landing Edit 1: Added two movie references ...
5
votes
3answers
534 views

Ideal size for a relativistic generation ship?

Assuming the ship has access to fusion power, a large volume of solar panels, and crude antimatter power generators (say maybe 1 gram a day per generator, or whatever is reasonable for technological ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

Can a human fighter pilot fully grasp 3 dimensional frictionless movement in space?

My answer to this question essentially came down to the pilot being in a sphere with anything large jutting out of it. Some of the arguments made against me I feel are true if we assume fights like ...
6
votes
5answers
254 views

How can I explain space travel being accepted and supported in a typical fantasy setting?

Picture a setting similar to that of many fantasy works: a relatively low level of technology among the general population, lots of manual labor, agriculture or hunter/gatherer society, and that most ...
1
vote
3answers
736 views

What is necessary for a breathable artificial atmosphere?

For space travel: would you need to recreate earths air composition? Or could you just get by with the top 2 or 3 main components, i.e. either 78% nitrogen and 22% oxygen, or 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen ...
12
votes
5answers
2k views

Mars as “Earth sister”

Lets pretend that Mars was a bit larger, so the gravity could hold on to the water and possible atmosphere, and then play along with the accidents that happened on earth happened at a similar tact. ...
10
votes
5answers
1k views

When could space travel (including FTL of any kind) and other tech be common?

I'm looking for some data to create my own sci-fi setting, but I want to base it on real world as much as possible. Also, I don't want to come up with any arbitrary year like 3290 with no background ...
10
votes
6answers
2k views

Would it be possible to ride a gravitational wave?

I'd like to travel really really fast, and I've got some scientists proposing a novel new way of doing so. They've developed the technology to generate extremely powerful controlled gravitational ...
9
votes
9answers
1k views

The Colonist - Part II: Landing

This is the second part of a series of questions I'll ask about a self-sustaining colonization ship. I'll keep editing this post as things unfold. If you can, check out the other questions of this ...
8
votes
4answers
170 views

Laser-boosted Solar Sails to 61 Virginis?

I've just read this article and watched the accompanying video. Heady stuff, for sure. I'm particularly intrigued by the concept of a "solar gravitational lens telescope" somewhere out near the ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Using an Alcubierre warp drive strictly for sub light travel

In a setting I've been working with, I sought a method of sublight travel that wasn't crazy engines or magic. I've already got FTL using a different method than the Alcubierre drive, so it wouldn't be ...
7
votes
2answers
321 views

Could negative matter/energy exist in a stable state?

As in, could negative matter (N.B. not the same thing as antimatter) exist on the macro-scale as a solid, liquid or gas without the weird effects that cause it to repel normal matter and possibly ...
2
votes
1answer
351 views

Calculating G-Force and Velocity

Simplifying a larger problem. Building a sci-fi text game and I don't want the science to be too wrong. Imagine I have two points in space which are 111,125 kilometers apart and it takes 17 minutes ...
0
votes
6answers
370 views

What abilities might each member of a 4-person planetary recon craft have?

Scenario: A generation ship travels to a star system that has at least one planet that's believed to be potentially habitable and, therefore, a possible location for a colony. After sending some ...
78
votes
16answers
19k views

Could astronauts find their bearings in the Universe after being transported 6 gigalightyears from Earth?

In my world, humanity reaches their new home among the stars by way of a portal that pops into the solar system one day. This portal instantaneously transports those who enter to a place that is ...
59
votes
37answers
16k views

Why would technology dictate graphical interfaces to be rare on spaceships?

This question differs from that question in that the other question is asking about a change in history while this question is looking for a change in the future. In a near future setting I am ...
16
votes
12answers
5k views

A clock for interplanetary travel

Introduction See background information here. 1000 years after darkness fell on Old Earth, humanity is scattered throughout the solar system. Apart from the Harmonious Republic of Mars, there are ...
27
votes
8answers
5k views

How close to interstellar space travel could humans get in the near future?

I had in mind a sci-fi setting where humans have begun terraforming nearby planets without the benefit of faster-than-light travel. For example, Wikipedia lists a handful of terrestrial planets within ...
22
votes
6answers
3k views

How would a command structure and strategy for a galactic war be organized?

Background In a galaxy not so far far away.... The Andromeda galaxy is presided over by two major powers - the Y'Ing and the Y'Ang. These powers have existed together but never integrated with ...
31
votes
23answers
6k views

How to effectively slow down a ship about to shoot through the Solar System at 0.6c?

Suppose that our random heroic brave interstellar expedition is returning to Earth from Alpha Centauri at 60% of the speed of light, but there was an accident in the nuclear reactor, forcing the ...
28
votes
6answers
4k views

Skydiving… From a space station

It's now the late 23rd century and there are now hundreds of space stations, orbiting approximately at the height of the (now deceased) ISS, give or take a few kilometers. Lately, the International ...