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158 votes
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This sword is forged from meteorite iron - but how is that any good?

Kamacite and Taenite Kamacite and Taenite are both Iron-Nickel alloys found (on Earth) only in meteorites. Kamacite's composition is in the 90:10 to 95:5 Fe:Ni range. Taenite's composition is from 20%...
kingledion's user avatar
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130 votes
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How could a planet have a sky without stars at night?

Dust cloud. The star may be residing in a dust cloud with no other stars nearby. This interstellar dust will create a faint nighttime glow, and can be thick enough that no other star's light can be ...
Alexander's user avatar
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109 votes
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What could make a star green?

Give it a circumstellar cloud of oxygen. Some planetary nebulae, such as NGC 6826, appear green because of ionized oxygen. Image in the public domain. Yes, this is a true-color image. I see no reason ...
HDE 226868's user avatar
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76 votes
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What's the largest body in the solar system that you could destroy without endangering humanity?

Ganymede No matter which one you go for, blowing up a planet is going to make a lot of shrapnel. An asteroid of several miles long is an extinction-level event, and you've just thrown millions of ...
IndigoFenix's user avatar
  • 29.1k
71 votes

How could a planet have a sky without stars at night?

Perhaps their planet is on the inside of a giant Dyson sphere that was created by an ancient civilization. This would be a vast solid shell that surrounds their entire solar system, the inside of ...
Admiral Jota's user avatar
  • 1,722
56 votes

How do you non-catastrophically reduce the mass of the Sun by half?

C. Must not create any phenomena that would have devastating consequences on life on the planets (i.e.: no radiation, excessive heat, energy surges) except for the diminishing of the Sun's current ...
The Square-Cube Law's user avatar
52 votes

How could a planet have a sky without stars at night?

One possibility is for the surface of the planet to be covered in highly luminous matter. Perhaps all the surface is an interconnected network of bioluminescent life. There is no moon (assumed ...
elemtilas's user avatar
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50 votes
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Could two planets follow the same orbit and never "see" each other?

I assumed, based on the limited knowledge I have on the subject, that all star systems have ellipsoidal orbits (the star being in one of the two focal points) just like our own You are right, this is ...
L.Dutch's user avatar
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46 votes

Plausible reason for Earth not be able to get updates about terraforming on Mars?

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 ...
The Square-Cube Law's user avatar
40 votes
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Why might a valued mineral be only found on one planet?

Organic Your mineral could have been deposited millions of years ago by a specific type of organism, class of organisms, or type of biome. For instance, you might have a forest that produces lots of ...
Dent7777's user avatar
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40 votes

This sword is forged from meteorite iron - but how is that any good?

Don't make space iron better. Make all other iron worse. Read up on Low Background Steel. Have all of earth's iron contaminated with something, and less useful than we think of iron being. At some ...
Scott's user avatar
  • 3,130
39 votes

How do you non-catastrophically reduce the mass of the Sun by half?

Wormhole [A,C,D,E,F,G] A traversalable wormhole would be an excellent mechanism to remove mass from the sun. A wormhole is consistent with general relativity while avoiding all of the pitfalls of ...
Skek Tek's user avatar
  • 911
38 votes

How could a planet have a sky without stars at night?

It is never night. https://www.tripsavvy.com/midnight-sun-in-scandinavia-1626397 Your people live on the north pole of a tidally locked planet. Like the countries near the north pole on our planet, ...
Willk's user avatar
  • 305k
36 votes

What could make a star green?

Phil Plait of the Bad Astronomy fame: Why are there no green stars: "The fault lies not in the stars (well, not entirely), but within ourselves". Followup: Green objects in space: "So,...
AlexP's user avatar
  • 90.6k
34 votes

Could two planets follow the same orbit and never "see" each other?

Circular orbits are not practically possible From Astronomy.SE, there are a variety of reasons why orbits are not circular. There is relativity, there is planetary flexing with gravity, there is ...
kingledion's user avatar
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31 votes
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What are the main problems with beaming light from the Sun to Saturn?

The problem is that "focused" does not really mean "concentrated" Everyone that has ever played with a magnifying glass "know" that you can take the light from the Sun and turn it into an infinitely ...
MichaelK's user avatar
  • 43.9k
31 votes

How short can Milankovitch Cycles be on a world with a stable orbit?

Don't. Please just don't. I have no idea how short such a cycle can be, but I can tell straight away that the idea of people capable of interstellar travel and colonization of new worlds not noticing ...
Ville Niemi's user avatar
  • 43.2k
31 votes

Permanent Full moon via "Magic"

The moon orbits the L2 Lagrange point. L2 orbits conserve energy and momentum, but they are not stable equilibria; over large periods of time they will always evolve into eccentric elliptical orbits. ...
g s's user avatar
  • 7,267
30 votes
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What would be the first thing humans would mine on Jupiter?

Skimming various gasses from the Jovian atmosphere or using superscience to extract metallic hydrogen from deep below the surface only taps a small amount of the potential resources available. Since ...
Thucydides's user avatar
  • 97.7k
29 votes
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Initial conditions for a fluorine hellscape

Here goes nothing Firstly, fluorine is not particularly abundant in the universe so you need a large source in order to get an atmosphere of it. Additionally, fluorine is easily consumed in stellar ...
Joe Kissling's user avatar
  • 6,706
28 votes

How difficult would it be to turn the Asteroid Belt into a single body? What's the best method?

How difficult would it be? Unfortunately, your timeline is too tight for any of the easy options to work. The mass in the asteroid belt is highly concentrated. Between them, Ceres (~30%), Vesta (~...
Mark's user avatar
  • 17.8k
27 votes

Plausible reason for Earth not be able to get updates about terraforming on Mars?

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 ...
ruakh's user avatar
  • 497
27 votes

How could a planet have a sky without stars at night?

The laziest answer is to just wait a while. If you wait an incomprehensibly-long while, eventually the expansion of the universe will move all currently near-by light generating bodies outside of our ...
Nick's user avatar
  • 279
27 votes

A Habitable Zone Within a Habitable Zone--Would that Make any Difference?

No habitable zones at all. Consider a habitable zone. It receives enough radiation from its star (or star pair) such that water does not freeze or evaporate. From OP "one habitable zone is deep ...
Willk's user avatar
  • 305k
27 votes
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Trying to survive a passing neutron star by burrowing deep in the planet's crust?

I think they'll be okay. Let's start by figuring out what we're up against. Neutron stars can produce high-energy radiation through two means: thermal and non-thermal emission. Thermal emission is ...
HDE 226868's user avatar
  • 101k
26 votes
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Stable ringworld interactivity with other solar system objects

TL;DR: Yes, helical motion around a ringworld is possible. However, it is far from uniform at larger distances (≥ 0.04 AU). Summary of results: For a toroidal ringworld with mass $M_R = 3 M_\text{...
typesanitizer's user avatar
25 votes
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How would an advanced civilization have constant communication between planets?

I am going to assume that by constant, you really mean constant as opposed to instantaneous. In other words, we are still bound by the speed of light propagation delay. We are also bound by the laws ...
user's user avatar
  • 28.9k
25 votes

What could cause the Earth to be so endangered that mankind needs to relocate to another system?

I need something that isn't too far fetched Should be able to manage this without exploding the Sun or igniting Jupiter, just rely on nutcase humans. Nuclear and biological war within the Earth and ...
Kilisi's user avatar
  • 26.6k
24 votes

How would interplanetary stock-exchanges work?

They don't work. You should ask a simpler question first. Why, when everything is conducted electronically, do all the stock brokers still accumulate around the exchanges? The answer as you have ...
Separatrix's user avatar
  • 118k

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