28 votes

What's a reasonable environmental disaster that could be caused by a probe from Earth entering Europa's ocean?

The Europans are terrified of what the probe means. The probe does not do anything more than it was supposed to do. But it is recognizably an artifact of an advanced alien culture. That means aliens ...
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  • 283k
15 votes

What's a reasonable environmental disaster that could be caused by a probe from Earth entering Europa's ocean?

Leaking RTG Numerous space probes in the past have used Radioisotope thermal generators as a source of power in the outer solar system, where solar panels are less useful. There have even been some ...
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  • 2,473
12 votes

What's a reasonable environmental disaster that could be caused by a probe from Earth entering Europa's ocean?

The Great Europan Oxidation Event (due to biological contamination) Around 2 billion years ago (give or take), a clever species of Terran cyanobacteria figured out how to photosynthesize. The result ...
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10 votes

What's a reasonable environmental disaster that could be caused by a probe from Earth entering Europa's ocean?

Biological contamination due to deliberate sabotage Biological contamination due to microbes is the obvious answer. There are microbes on Earth that can live off redox gradients in the ocean, and ...
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  • 3,434
7 votes

Is it possible to have a planet with only one plant, one animal and one bug?

Stopping evolution, or there will be more than three! There are several issues with such an ecology. So for a moment we'll assume this is engineered somehow for that specific effect. This eliminates ...
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6 votes

What's a reasonable environmental disaster that could be caused by a probe from Earth entering Europa's ocean?

You could crash Europa into another moon The Planetary Protection Program checked your probe very carefully. But not carefully enough... a microbe escaped their notice. One microbe? What can one ...
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6 votes

Is Island Gigantism Necessary to have Megafauna even if I have Solved the Other Problems of Energy, Weight and Heat?

Nope There are loads of real big animals that did not evolve on islands. Indricotherium Irish Elk Jumbo Fish Gobbler Migratory Coat Hook This guy whose name I forget. He was in that movie with ...
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4 votes

What's a reasonable environmental disaster that could be caused by a probe from Earth entering Europa's ocean?

Unfortunate impact Your probe got lost. The landing was not an intended landing, it was a high velocity impact. The heavy apparatus, size of a train wagon, penetrated the ice at a very unfortunate ...
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3 votes

Is it possible to have a planet with only one plant, one animal and one bug?

If we're talking hard sci-fi, and basing it off our current knowledge of life, I would say no - at least not by natural processes. Life as we know it evolved from single-celled organisms, but ...
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3 votes

Is it possible to have a planet with only one plant, one animal and one bug?

Very unlikely. Even monoculture like coffee or bananas rely on multiple bacteria and other organisms. Not counting that by reproducing they will end up diverging anyway.
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3 votes

Is it possible to have a planet with only one plant, one animal and one bug?

If the life is bioengineered, sure. As others have noted, this wouldn't happen via evolution. The animals would branch out and fill slightly different harsh niches, and numerous organisms would have ...
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3 votes

What's a reasonable environmental disaster that could be caused by a probe from Earth entering Europa's ocean?

Biological contamination. This is probably the simplest answer. One of the probes functions during its mission is to test and if possible return for further study samples from Europa's hydrosphere. So ...
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2 votes

How can I make the Solar System uninhabitable?

Make other options more attractive. The only easy place to build inside our solar system is earth. Everything else kinda sucks. We could build a colony on Mars or some of the moons of Jupiter but it's ...
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  • 1,350
2 votes

How can I make the Solar System uninhabitable?

Spheres of cobalt 59 orbiting the sun The alien placed a lot of spheres of cobalt 59 in orbit around the Sun. The orbits are so eccentric that at the perihelion they graze the Sun surface and the heat ...
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  • 2,728
2 votes

Is Island Gigantism Necessary to have Megafauna even if I have Solved the Other Problems of Energy, Weight and Heat?

More magical plants/more energy dense plants on the island You have some options A. If you are fine with the fauna just being gigantic overall, then it could be while most of the island's fauna is ...
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2 votes
Accepted

Is Island Gigantism Necessary to have Megafauna even if I have Solved the Other Problems of Energy, Weight and Heat?

No you don't want islands the largest terrestrial animals evolve on continents not islands. Island gigantism is about small animals becoming larger, but bigger animals usually evolve to be smaller on ...
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1 vote

Is it possible to have a planet with only one plant, one animal and one bug?

Terraforming, ad hoc. The residents of your planet had to leave their original planet in a hurry. A big hurry. They did not have time to thoughtfully pack. There was a student of this particular ...
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  • 283k
1 vote

Is it possible to have a planet with only one plant, one animal and one bug?

Resisting the urge to make a really silly joke about a really small planet :p Having a single animal or bug species on a planet isn't really possible due to divergent evolution. Having a single ...
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  • 898
1 vote

Atmosphere of a Carbon Planet. Are there flaws in my system?

Consider the following points. Atmosphere is stable if production and consumption of gases is balanced. On your planet, there is liquid water, which means that there will be rain. Rain dissolves CO2 ...
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  • 5,413
1 vote

Is Island Gigantism Necessary to have Megafauna even if I have Solved the Other Problems of Energy, Weight and Heat?

I just came across your question, and something popped into my mind. Call it crazy, but you could go the Godzilla route. There exists a natural uranium reactor in Gabon, Africa. It's formed by the ...
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1 vote

How can I make the Solar System uninhabitable?

Tax The battlecruisers hang in the sky, their ubiquitous blue scanners constantly probing for....untaxed transactions. The aliens have decided they would quite like Earth....I mean, we're 100% free to ...
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  • 4,613
1 vote

Environmental effects of a supervolcano eruption

The temperature on the surface of the planet will decrease for a few reasons. First, the ash will block out some of the sunlight, leading to less energy being absorbed by the planet. Second, the ash ...
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1 vote

How big could a nuclear war be without causing an apocalypse?

Between 1945 and 1963 there were more than 400[*] nuclear explosions in the atmosphere. Since they were spread over a period of 15/18 years there was time for some dust to settle, their effect was not ...
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  • 2,728
1 vote

How can I make the Solar System uninhabitable?

They stole the Sun. No, not literally - that takes too much power. But they have some basic technology that can tap into the Sun's own magnetic dynamo and spin a ball of magnetic plasma around the ...
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