31 votes

A laser-propelled starship loses its decelerating beam; what options do they have to slow down?

Taking a page from The Mote in God's Eye, they'd keep the big sail, turn ship 180 degrees (ought to be possible, though it'll take a while), and dive straight into the oncoming star. It's a gamble, as ...
  • 44.1k
15 votes

How could my solar-powered fairies exist in outer space?

Space is not dense enough for winged flight. In space, their wings serve to stabilize them so they can float through the hydrogen/helium atmosphere. The interplanetary medium and interstellar medium ...
  • 291
14 votes

White-hot tungsten moon emitting heat and light to make my world habitable

Barring any nuclear options or active heat sources, the answer is a hard NO. I'll use a simple model for radiative cooling, brought to you by Hyperphysics, to gauge the timescale for the Moon-sized ...
  • 4,468
11 votes

A laser-propelled starship loses its decelerating beam; what options do they have to slow down?

If there were anything they could do to make an unplanned safe deceleration from 0.5c, they probably wouldn't be reliant on a giant external laser beam to handle the acceleration to 0.5c. If they didn'...
11 votes

A laser-propelled starship loses its decelerating beam; what options do they have to slow down?

Spacecraft typically don't carry around "backup" mission delta-v (especially 0.5 c's worth), so I think these folks are at the mercy of the winds. The only plausible alternative I can see (...
  • 4,468
9 votes
Accepted

How could my solar-powered fairies exist in outer space?

Science-wise, this doesn't stand I'll only go over a few points, there are surely others. To be consistent throughout it, I will define the Kàrmàn's line as the beginning of outer space, so ~62 miles (...
  • 6,707
8 votes

A laser-propelled starship loses its decelerating beam; what options do they have to slow down?

Expand the tethered acceleration sail, release and unfold deceleration sail, rig out a mass driver, and slow down with interstellar matter and/or the heliosphere of a destination star. In fact, since ...
  • 2,893
7 votes
Accepted

Help with artificial gravity (yet again) in sci-fi world

I suggest you read through the web comic Schlock Mercenary and lift its technology. This works as follows: "Annie-plants" convert neutronium directly into energy. Just how is not specified, ...
  • 21.8k
7 votes

Help with artificial gravity (yet again) in sci-fi world

Many interesting artificial gravity explanations in sci-fi are able to manipulate space-time and this also allows for the means of FTL travel Space warping does not need to imply FTL. There have been ...
7 votes

A laser-propelled starship loses its decelerating beam; what options do they have to slow down?

Probes and spaceplanes are placed to run engines and decelerate ship. Hydroponic water is used as fuel for spaceplanes. Fusion reactor with double needed fuel is McGyvered into 3d printed catapult ...
  • 302k
6 votes

How does having super strength/speed but similar mass to a regular person change close combat fighting?

Rassling. Consider that for fisticuffs, your supers must be durable. If I could punch 5x as strongly as I do now I will break my hand. I am actually pretty likely to break my hand as it is. So you ...
  • 302k
5 votes

How could my solar-powered fairies exist in outer space?

A mix of science and fantasy. This is how most fantasy novels set things up, anyway. There are rules for how things work, and they are internally consistent within the author's universe, but doesn't ...
  • 4,868
5 votes

A laser-propelled starship loses its decelerating beam; what options do they have to slow down?

If there were any viable plan B it would have been plan A in the first place. There are a few cases where a partial propulsion failure doesn't doom the mission (a recovered Falcon 9 can lose a first ...
4 votes
Accepted

Exploring a Black hole sci fi possible/not possible

Not without weird time stuff Let's say that your civilization tries to get information out of a black hole by sending an explorer in past the event horizon who sends a message, which arrives outside ...
  • 2,642
4 votes

Exploring a Black hole sci fi possible/not possible

The technology that your civilization would need to explore the inside of a black hole is "space folding." This would allow access to the inside of a black hole without having to pass ...
4 votes

Need counters for a near perfect Anti Thermal and Kinetic armor system in a near future setting

Glue-ball guns. They should be a bit like regular paint-guns, lots of little balls as ammo, but when they hit, they foam-up and become sticky and rubbery. One wouldn't be much of an issue, just messy ...
  • 23.5k
4 votes

How to scan the entire cerebral cortex of a human and upload memories as digital media

Incrementally. A complete deep-personality scan takes time, of course. It's not just a matter of scanning but artificially stimulating memories and emotional states so you can capture every nuance of ...
  • 34.7k
4 votes

A laser-propelled starship loses its decelerating beam; what options do they have to slow down?

They can't stop after a total failure, but a partial failure is doable. The ship is already packed with the most advanced breaking system mankind has ever made to bring themselves down from 0.5C to re-...
  • 72.6k
4 votes

A laser-propelled starship loses its decelerating beam; what options do they have to slow down?

If you're set on hard sci-fi, and only want to use technology currently available, with no technobabble references, then your two best bets would be: Print your own Electric Sail. This basic idea is ...
  • 321
3 votes

Help with artificial gravity (yet again) in sci-fi world

There is a realistic way to do this, if you have a vast amount of energy available, a lot of creativity, and a taste for Ig Nobel absurdity. Every laysperson "knows" that magnets attract ...
3 votes

Need counters for a near perfect Anti Thermal and Kinetic armor system in a near future setting

Rassling Your superarmored soldiers are tough! Stuff that blows up ordinary soldiers will not blow them up. Bullets that perforate normal soldiers wont perforate them! I am not sure if their ...
  • 302k
3 votes

Help with artificial gravity (yet again) in sci-fi world

Paragravity One of the least physics-busting ways that I like to use for explaining gravity plating is "paragravity": an as of yet undiscovered fundamental force that acts like magnetism but ...
  • 4,468
3 votes

What configuration should the worlds of a long lasting galactic empire take in the galaxy?

Over the course of a couple of galactic rotations (250 million years each) any set of neighbouring stars will be dispersed, due to variations in orbital period, eccentricity, and gravitational ...
  • 21.8k
3 votes
Accepted

Helium-Neon impossible compound

High pressure, high heat electrical chamber of compressed gas. Using electrical pulses you can make dimers of hydrogen and helium. Perhaps your magic has a way to stabilize this, and by making a very ...
  • 32.7k
3 votes

How to scan the entire cerebral cortex of a human and upload memories as digital media

You dont. The brain doesnt store its data in just electrical signals, it stores it in the way every nerve is connected to one another and how they talk to one another at any one point. What also ...
  • 42.5k
3 votes
Accepted

Could a biological organism have organs that perceive entropy?

Think smarter, not harder. While I don't plan on press the same key again, this feel like a pointless thing given what it'd take. For starters, entropy itself is not something that can be observed, ...
  • 13.9k
3 votes

A laser-propelled starship loses its decelerating beam; what options do they have to slow down?

If they have a magnetic scoop such as you have in a Bussard ramjet to supply matter for the expected beam, then that would make a good brake against the incoming solar wind. But it may only have been ...
3 votes

A laser-propelled starship loses its decelerating beam; what options do they have to slow down?

Here is an "as well" strategy to possibly be employed alongside the measures in other answers. One strategy that might be interesting is to launch one of the probes or space planes ahead of ...
  • 2,972
3 votes

What is good Armament and Protection for a Quadruped Mecha?

A near-present-day solution? You mount EM-SHORAD turrets (or an analogous system) on its belly. Laser cannons of multiple tens (or, with the tech level you're apparently working with, hundreds or even ...
  • 10.8k
3 votes

How does having super strength/speed but similar mass to a regular person change close combat fighting?

Low mass means more throwing and less struggling From the perspective of classical physics, what you have here is really nothing more than the difference between elastic and inelastic collisions. In ...
  • 104k

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