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14 votes
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What kind of alien technology would make space colonization viable?

I see you say, "preferably a technology that currently exists" but hear me out: nothing would make us push off the planet like an existential threat. Maybe, instead of being a tech that ...
Amocito's user avatar
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11 votes

Is there a reason why computers of the 1920s-1980s look the way they do?

The 19-inch rack was established as a standard by AT&T around 1922 in order to reduce the space required for repeater and termination equipment in telephone exchanges. This was a useful standard ...
Richard Kirk's user avatar
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10 votes

What kind of alien technology would make space colonization viable?

Space elevator There are many things holding space colonisation back, but probably the biggest one isn't a technological one. It is cost. For the longest time the Saturn 5 rockets were one of the ...
Trioxidane's user avatar
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8 votes

Is there a reason why computers of the 1920s-1980s look the way they do?

CRT Tubes This isn't really a question that has a right answer, but my personal take is that the technology aesthetic that you see in "cassette futurism" was, in a large part driven by the ...
Dragongeek's user avatar
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6 votes
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Is there a reason why computers of the 1920s-1980s look the way they do?

Reliability & Failure Awareness I did a job once that involved taking a tour of the control room of a nuclear power plant, and much to my suprise, there was virtually no computers in the whole ...
Nosajimiki's user avatar
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5 votes

What kind of alien technology would make space colonization viable?

In order to turn this into a fun game, here are some rules for me to play by... It fails safe. No one failure or intentional misuse can cause thousands of deaths or massive ecological damage all by ...
g s's user avatar
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5 votes

What kind of alien technology would make space colonization viable?

Fusion Reactor + Lunar Helium-3. When the chinese mission Chang'e-5 discovered helium-3 on moon in 2020, it changed the mindset of some governments making them pay attention to moon exploration again. ...
LeonardoMDeus's user avatar
5 votes

What kind of alien technology would make space colonization viable?

If you're going for a retro-tech setting, use retro-astrophysics too. Make the asteroid belt and the inner solar system asteroids fragments of a shattered planet that used to orbit between Mars and ...
John Dallman's user avatar
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3 votes

Is there a reason why computers of the 1920s-1980s look the way they do?

Am I correct in doubting that years ago, the doctrine was that computers had to be large, bulky, obtrusive, cubical, built of plastic and packed with buttons and sliders and arrays of blinking lights? ...
Vesper's user avatar
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3 votes

What's a semi-plausible 24 hour planetary sterilization look like?

One Good Plague Deserves Another Killing all life on a planet shy of blowing the whole thing out of existence is a LOT harder than it sounds. To much life exists deep under the ground/water for even ...
Nosajimiki's user avatar
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3 votes
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I have a world with two moons, and I was wondering how often they would both be full at the same time

If you have multiple moons and want to keep track of them, I'd suggest using a fantasy calendar. With one, you can get the exact places of the moon, as well as other helpful features. There is a ...
ShadowOfHassen's user avatar
3 votes

What's a semi-plausible 24 hour planetary sterilization look like?

There's a method that might suit you in Alistair Reynolds' novel Redemption Ark. It is used by a machine civilisation, the Inhibitors, who seek to prevent life spreading between star systems. It ...
John Dallman's user avatar
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3 votes

What kind of alien technology would make space colonization viable?

Energy technology. Something the size of a grain of rice holding the energy of a truck battery could revolutionise the electronics industry/transport/medical devices, make it rechargeable an ...
Escaped dental patient.'s user avatar
2 votes

What kind of alien technology would make space colonization viable?

Technology that is capable to use time as an ally. As in really long term viable, almost indestructible technology. Your almost solid state space probe is propelled up to speed with a laser driven ...
Pica's user avatar
  • 4,308
2 votes

What kind of alien technology would make space colonization viable?

Exotic natural resources could justify spaceflight. Nuclear Physics has a handful of metastable isomers known. These are materials with unusual nuclear structure that are stabler than you would expect....
Sidharth Ghoshal's user avatar
2 votes

I have a world with two moons, and I was wondering how often they would both be full at the same time

The duration of a sidereal year of the planet is given as "about" 1.4 Earth years, or about 1.4 × 365.256 ≈ 511.358 days. Then the duration of a full cycle of phases for Satellite One is 17 ...
AlexP's user avatar
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1 vote

Is there a reason why computers of the 1920s-1980s look the way they do?

Most computers, then and now, were in metal boxes. The dimensions of the box were often determined by an industry standard. So, while AT and AT-tower cases became standard for home PCs in the late ’...
Davislor's user avatar
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1 vote

What's a semi-plausible 24 hour planetary sterilization look like?

Not energy-restricted but also visually appealing and entertaining? Simple: irradiate every square centimeter of the planet’s surface. Let’s examine what you’re trying to do: Sterilize the entire ...
controlgroup's user avatar
  • 3,646
1 vote

What kind of alien technology would make space colonization viable?

1. Already the knowledge that they exist. Here is the space budget share of each country's GDP. There are the most spending countries, for example my home country is below 0.1%. Compare this to the ...
Gray Sheep's user avatar
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1 vote

What kind of alien technology would make space colonization viable?

CARBON NANOTUBES. One day, inexplicably, a gargantuan cloud of nigh-indestructible, diamondoid carbon nanotubes appear around the space between L1 and the Moon. Enough of it falls onto Earth as to ...
Going Durden's user avatar
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1 vote

Is there a way to offset the gravitational waves created by breaking cosmic strings?

So... my answer assumes you have the ability to displace black hole equivalent gravity lenses into space. So no worries, eh? The idea is basically phase-array antenna. They can redirect waves, bundle ...
Pica's user avatar
  • 4,308
1 vote

Is there a way to offset the gravitational waves created by breaking cosmic strings?

The super-aliens just negate the whole wave with a counter-wave offset by pi. The whole thing is just a one-off mention to drive home how fragile and helpless humanity really is; humanity never even ...
g s's user avatar
  • 5,439
1 vote

The Geodynamics of Tidally Locked Planets

If someone is still interested, there was a paper in which said: If plate tectonics does occur on these [tidally-locked] planets, we predict that supercontinents should be either at the substellar or ...
Yann Tyr's user avatar

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