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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.

78
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16answers
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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 ...
77
votes
7answers
11k views

Spiders In Space: How to design a space suit for an arachnid?

In my stellar empire, the sapient life of the home world are arachnids. Due to an oxygen-heavy world with certain evolutionary characteristics, spider-like beings developed intelligence and formed ...
70
votes
26answers
17k views

Why would any interstellar starship still bother with streamline body design?

Let's not debate whether is there any friction while traveling inside vacuum space and assume all ships can brave a perfect storm brewing inside the giant molecular cloud. OK let's get down to ...
70
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30answers
13k views

Ugh, I'm stuck in an orbital spaceport. But why?

This is, for the record, the same universe as in Is space piracy orbitally practical? and How can I prevent Kessler Syndrome among space stations?. In my world, circa 2100, space stations orbiting ...
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 ...
59
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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 ...
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
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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 ...
54
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11answers
11k views

How would people conceivably escape a planet too large for chemical rockets?

I was reading this article from NASA about chemical rockets and they argue that, with a planet 50% larger than the Earth (assuming similar density, about 1.5G surface gravity), it would be impossible ...
49
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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 ...
49
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22answers
12k views

How to prevent superluminal traveling idiots from wrecking half of the universe?

Linked but not a duplicate of this question. An example of the problem During the last Star-Wars movie, I was dumbfounded by the sheer stupidity of admiral Holdo's move, during this particularly ...
49
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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 ...
45
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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 ...
44
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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 ...
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 ...
41
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32answers
10k views

Why would a previously spacefaring civilization become unable to build another interstellar ship?

I'm writing a story in which a civilization previously capable of (firmly technobabble-based) FTL travel has become stranded, orbiting an isolated star with no rocky planets. (There was a planet, but ...
39
votes
7answers
6k views

How long would human immunity last in space?

I won't claim to be a biologist, but I'm fairly certain that it's really hard for disease to survive in space because most bacteria and viruses need a host in order to survive for long periods of time....
38
votes
5answers
23k views

Why would PMCs be in politically-unstable places, as opposed to waiting in comfort to be called?

I'm writing a story, based vaguely off of the Stars Without Number system. There are lots of things bugging me, but by far the biggest issue is this: the military contractors and bounty hunters and ...
38
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9answers
5k views

Interstellar war without co-ordination, is fine timing important at these scales?

I've been working, on and off, on a universe with limited FTL based on the "one big lie" principle of sci-fi writing; travel speed averages just a hair over 4 times the speed of light, travel is ...
37
votes
11answers
11k views

How would two ships travelling at light speed communicate with one another?

Supposed we have a ship travelling at the speed of light, or very close to it, or over. A second ship is travelling behind it at the same speed. The second ship wishes to communicate something to ...
36
votes
15answers
12k views

Non-relativistic FTL is trivial. Why are spaceships mostly pretty small?

In space-trading games like Escape Velocity, Elite: Dangerous & others, cheap FTL exists, but lags in other advancements results in a playable environment that is politically fractured and not a ...
36
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27answers
10k views

How can paleolithic humans colonise the stars without direct help from aliens and still be primitive?

In my story I have paleolithic era humans who were contacted by aliens long enough ago for them to have used space travel to spread across many planets. I want them to be able to fly and somewhat ...
36
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11answers
5k views

How can a space station prevent docked ships from irradiating each other or the station?

I've been puzzling over the logistics of orbital spaceports, and this has been the one sticking point I keep coming to: radiation control between docked, or even neighboring, ships. Mass limitations ...
34
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13answers
6k views

How can you find where the Earth is, if you were lost near Neptune?

While on a space mission to Neptune, you accidentally broke your tether on the way. After a couple of hours floating, you were hit by an asteroid. You passed out. When you are conscious again, you ...
33
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8answers
7k views

Does my Fast-as-Light travel method run afoul of causality or relativity?

I am writing a hard science fiction story and I want to avoid violating known physics, while still enabling some of the classic mainstays of science fiction under the auspice of sufficiently advanced ...
31
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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 ...
31
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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 ...
30
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20answers
8k views

Two or more advanced civilizations aren't even aware of each other

Humans have achieved FTL and have colonized several planets in our greater stellar neighborhood. While we have discovered several planets that harbor life as we know it, we have not yet discovered ...
29
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16answers
4k views

Why might a planetary recon craft need to be manned?

The story situation is that a generation ship is headed to another solar system where there are several planets in the star's habitable zone and once the ship arrives, it will approach these planets ...
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 ...
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 ...
27
votes
12answers
9k views

Would gas giants work as waste disposal sites?

In my novel, the many moons of Jupiter and Saturn have been colonized, but I'm running into some logistical problems - namely, waste disposal. My first instinct was to dump it on-moon; while this is ...
27
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10answers
4k views

Space Travel Without Understanding How to Create Atomic Weapons?

I have a universe where humanity has produced various civilizations on multiple planets (and no planet has achieved a single world government); and very few of these countries possess the know-how of ...
27
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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 ...
26
votes
11answers
5k views

How to make food last indefinitely

While I do know that there is no possible explanation for how we might wake someone up from such a long sleep, I was wondering what food would be edible after one million or so years where the humans ...
26
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8answers
5k views

Do antenna farms on spacecraft make any sense or are they purely aesthetic?

Antenna farm as seen on the USS Sulaco from Aliens (1986) We often see menacing sharp communication spikes and clusters on spacecraft in movies, shows, games, and etc. It makes the ship look more ...
26
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12answers
5k views

Spaceflight without transistors and nuclear power - how to bend the history of physics?

As stated in the topic: I would like to have Project Olympus-style space stations served by Apollo-like spacecraft in a world where neither nuclear power (and weapons) nor transistors were developed ...
26
votes
15answers
6k views

How to effectively and realistically blockade a star system?

Many Scify movies, games, and books depict massive space fleets blockading entire star systems during times of war. This is always depicted as forming a straight line across traveled space. While this ...
25
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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'...
24
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8answers
2k views

Can you catch a spaceship with a train on the Moon?

In Kim Stanley Robinson’s new novel Red Moon the first few pages describe a method of Earth-to-Moon transportation that I had not encountered before. The idea is to use a magnetically levitated and ...
24
votes
12answers
4k views

Can you protect a Space Elevator from Space Junk?

The idea of an elevator reaching to the near cosmos is very tantalizing when trying to think of ways off planet. A major draw back to this idea is that a long, thin tower into the atmosphere seem like ...
24
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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 ...
23
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28answers
8k views

Why would advanced alien warships have living crews rather than be drones?

There's a major interstellar war going on. Both parties are highly technologically advanced and have thousands of warships of sizes varying between 10 meters long and 1 km long. For both parties: ...
23
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18answers
4k views

What circumstances would cause a 10 year cycle of shipments from Earth to another planet

Looking into fleshing out my world story. One of the things I had in mind was an infrequent but consistent shipment of supplies to a planet from Earth. For simplicities sake, we'll use ...
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 '...
23
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10answers
9k views

If FTL travel was invented tomorrow, would it change society? [closed]

Problem Movies like Interstellar or Star Trek would like to depict the ability to travel between stars, at speeds faster than light, as a technology which would revolutionize society and our everyday ...
23
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3answers
2k views

Making the First contact

Visiting the Worldbuilding site plays with my creativity and imagination. So I am going to describe the dream I had: I am member of a different (alien) culture, from a different star system. Also, I ...
22
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30answers
6k views

Could a civilization achieve spaceflight without inventing advanced weaponry along the way?

The question is fairly simple. Could a civilization progress so far as to have spaceships while still using swords, spears, and bows as their most advanced weaponry? (what those weapons are made of ...
22
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8answers
6k views

Can urine be used for radiation shielding?

I'm looking to use water as a radiation shielding device, but do not want to waste space on my ship with waste and other water byproducts. Rather than just storing waste, I plan to use it as part of ...
22
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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 ...