46

Switch planets. Venus has a permanent, thick, global layer of clouds that covers it. We cannot observe its surface from the Earth. Even satellites can only peek at its surface through radar. The only times we got a glimpse from her surface were when the russians sent some probes there, but no probe survived for more than a couple hours if my memory serves ...


39

Pragmatic concerns of clothing aren't restricted to warmth. The idea of wearing smaller/more revealing clothing in warmer climes is a modern and impractical one. Anywhere that is hot and sunny requires people to protect themselves from the sun, which is best accomplished by wearing garments that are long, loose, breathable and light-colored, so as to reflect ...


30

There's a whole other route you can go. Dependency Whoever built the wall did so in order to keep the people in. So how about as an extra measure they had the entire village addicted to a substance only found on the peninsula? For example a fungus or plant that only grows there under strict conditions, or even a unique tree's (that cannot be propagated) ...


28

Yes, as long as both have books. It's estimated the evolution of English has slowed dramatically with two major historical impacts: the Bible translated into common English and printed for the masses, and a boom in literacy during the Victorian era after a generation of social reform that pushed literacy. Why Did English Stop Changing? Let's Blame the ...


27

You are right that tunnels under the ocean wouldn't work, they would be flooded quite apart from anything else. Your most likely case is that they got there by accident and then got lucky. The founder population were on a reasonably large ship/boat or possibly a group of boats that got driven south by a storm and eventually wrecked against the antarctic ...


27

One problem: I want the results of the terraforming to be something of a surprise to the arrivals. That requires that there be something that keeps Earth from getting broadcasts from the Martian robots and prevents Earth from observing Mars through telescopes, […] Not necessarily. The arriving colonists will not be politically powerful people with ...


25

Give them nothing to build a boat out of matched to the nastiest coastline you ever did see. No wood, no reeds, no beach, just jagged cliffs facing onto the Southern Ocean. Much like Zavodovski Island. House building is able to cope with this restriction, it just makes it a bit harder and more expensive to build, as long as they have the stone, but far ...


24

Human versions of the Galapagos do exist today: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncontacted_peoples EDIT: Personally, I find the peoples of North Sentinel Island fascinating, particularly the part about fighting off a helicopter with bows: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sentinelese_people 1,000 years isn't a whole lot in terms of evolution, so I can't imagine ...


24

Mutual comprehensibility is a continuum, it is not all or nothing. Americans and English people understand each other, especially if both make an effort to avoid excessively local pronunciations and words. Literate speakers of any of the Scandinavian languages can read most texts in any other Scandinavian language. Most educated Romanians can grasp the ...


23

Not sure on the plausibility of this but here is an idea, the terraforming raises a large amount of dust that covers the majority of the planet. As a result, communications are blocked and telescope observations don't work because the dust is covering everything. Earth still sends the colony ships because the dust storm is still persisting meaning that the ...


22

You may be confusing modesty with morality and overlooking one of the prime purposes of modesty - to control visual information. For instance, if a given race's arm turned red when angry, a diplomat might wear an arm covering solely to hide that. You're also focusing too much on sight. What about smell or touch? What if a shark-like creature's skin got ...


19

As I think through this I face a few issues that constitute a Frame Challenge. No prison is inescapable with the right amount of help. "No contact" might need definition. Unless you're planning to either build an entire self-sufficient space station (outside our current tech) or drop him on Mars (kinda still outside our tech if you can't go near him for 8K ...


16

To take a more practical slant on things. For each species identify what they actually need clothes for. Think about the biology, the environment and the histories and traditions of that race. Example 1 For example a scaled swamp-living lizardman might have no need for clothes for warmth or protection (and they wouldn't last long in a swamp anyway), ...


14

Radiation, either from the sun growing unstable or from some persistent cosmic event, sleeting down from space. A few meters of sea water will block most of the radiation that would effectively sterilize the land. People could build shelters on land but what would be the point? There's not biosphere left on land. Also, without the land biosphere buffering ...


14

The scenario may be possible, there is a thing called an Asymptomatic Carrier, the most famous being Typhoid Mary, these people have a disease that doesn't effect them but they can still pass it on to others. As I understand it any disease, whether viral or bacterial, can have asymptomatic carriers, I know people can be asymptomatic carriers of the mumps ...


13

I would point you to a real world example...North Korea. Currently, the country is isolated from the rest of the world partially due to its own choice and partially due to sanctions placed on it by the outside world. Some things to keep in mind would be the resources that such a city would require to maintain itself. If you are looking at today's world, ...


13

Strong currents moving in wrong direction, extensive coral barrier, wind blows constantly the wrong way, permanent mist, constant heavy surf, etc. There are many shores in the world which are utterly unsuitable for navigation. See for example the Skeleton Coast, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skeleton_Coast. Then question remains why don't they simply go ...


13

Your robots could use some kind of terraforming process with a long and inconspicuous buildup phase and then a sudden release which alters the Martian atmosphere over the course of just a few months - less time than it takes to fly from Earth to Mars. What kind of process could that be? Well, many of the minerals which make up the Martian soil do contain ...


13

4) Individual must be held with lifesupport humanely for the period of their natural life This already should be your show stopper. What you want is solitary confinement for 8000 years. You can safely assume that your prisoner is most likely going to kill himself after some years or decades. So if you don't invent a perfect Holo-Deck, there is no way to ...


11

Not in all of our world, but in most cultures, yes. You can see examples of alternatives on Earth, both in tribes in warm climates (in Africa, Indonesia, South America...), and in modern nudists. Though even all of those groups find some clothing useful much of the time. The reasons you listed, as well as protection and cleanliness, and for utility (they can ...


11

Well, 1000 years is nothing, and apparently 10's of 1000's of years isn't much either. I knew the Aboriginal Australians were mostly cut off from the rest of humanity for quite a while and doing a little digging found this These Aboriginal ancestors migrated into South Asia and then into Australia, where they stayed, with the result that, outside of ...


11

I have yet to see this, so I'll add it as a suggestion: make the sea itself inhospitable to organic materials (including humans). As in, make it so that the water has some weird chemical composition or there is a microbe/small creature in the water that will eat away and dissolve any organic material in a matter of hours - think barnacles on steroids - far ...


10

Along the lines of what @M.Herzkamp said on their answer, the robots don't communicate with Earth directly. This was also a theme in The Martian. Communicating with Earth requires a powerful transmitter and receiver, so it is easier to have one large device built just for that purpose and give the robots equipment just strong enough to communicate with that ...


9

Note that you don't need specific or modern materials to make very good boats. "... the traditional umiak was made from a driftwood or whalebone frame pegged and lashed together, sometimes with antlers or ivory, over which walrus or Bearded seal skins are stretched. Oil, usually from seals would be used to coat and waterproof the seams." - https://en....


9

We have plenty of real-life examples for this, that are isolated from each other by time rather than space. Modern Greeks can understand some Classical Greek, with a 2,500 year separation. Modern Icelanders can easily read and understand 10th century Old Norse. A few hundred years will be no problem.


9

I think it depends on the specific country. For example, in late medieval Wallachia such a village would get the following visits: Four times per year the tax collectors would come to collect the quarter-taxes. (That's in principle; in practice, they would likely come only two or three times, because nobody travelled in winter time if they could avoid it.) ...


8

I can't see too much of an 'evolutionary' change outside of what we already have as differences within races. There might be genetic pool depth issues if the island can't support enough people to keep genetic diversity high though, as massive inbreeding over a long period of time might end up in some deformations (if you want to call that evolution). If ...


8

I'm going to make a slightly wacky suggestion. I wouldn't use a fully recycling system for only one person on a 40 year journey. An average US citizen eats about 1 ton of food every year, and this is widely recognised as more than is needed. For an astronaut with reduced physical activity and carefully chosen food types this can very easily be reduced to 60-...


7

There are a number of failed expeditions to the North Pole in last couple of hundred years. In some cases, all the crew vanished without a trace (presumably dead). Let us imagine for a second that, instead of freezing to death in the arctic wasteland, they managed to find an underground cave system deep enough to keep them warm. As the years go by, they try ...


7

We are still discovering communities in the rainforests, even now. If you had a willing community (be it due to religion or simply wish to maintain isolation), then there are enough remote places that could "hide" a city if you weren't looking to closely for it. Think of the Arctic/Antarctic, Nevada desert and the rainforests. I would suggest that beyond ...


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