213 votes
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Why zero tolerance on nudity in space?

Housecleaning in Zero-G Think through the amount of body hair and skin flakes a human sheds each week. On Earth, you take a vacuum cleaner or a mop. Still, fluff collects in hard-to-reach places. No ...
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  • 99.3k
184 votes

Reason for an exterior control panel on a space ship

A spaceship is a very expensive piece of hardware. So expensive that very few entities could afford to buy one outright. Most spacefarers would have to buy theirs on credit. And as we all know if you ...
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  • 1,580
182 votes
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Why are escape pods used instead of transporters whenever an alarm sounds to abandon the ship?

If the antimatter containment is failing then power would be failing also. Escape pods wouldn't require power. They are also located all over the ship and the vast majority of the crew could reach ...
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169 votes

How do you check if a room behind a door aboard a spaceship has an atmosphere/pressure?

Take a leaf from early submarines. Specifically the inner torpedo tube doors which you do NOT want to open if there is pressure on the other side (A boat sinking flood sort of mistake)... There is ...
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  • 1,883
152 votes
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Would a submarine make a great spaceship?

Okay, hold on. Let the actual submariners weigh in. I spent 8 years of my life in the United States Navy aboard Los Angeles Class submarines as a Nuclear Electricians Mate. I have a background in ...
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  • 5,546
136 votes
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Is it necessary for spaceships to include reverse thrusters for deceleration in space?

Nope, we don't even use them today. Reverse thrusters are completely unrequired. Just flip the ship and use the normal thrusters. All the ship needs is: A means to rotate the ship. Normal main ...
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  • 5,116
135 votes
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Why would the Federation ban escape pods that come with manual override?

Only a very small number of senior crew on a starship know how to properly plot course and speed to best effect and efficiency. Everyone else has their role but it's not navigation. Escape pods that ...
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  • 114k
124 votes
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Why would technology dictate graphical interfaces to be rare on spaceships?

A quick web search for "CLI vs. GUI" (Command Line Interface vs. Graphical User Interface) shows that many developers hold the following1: CLI is faster for an experienced user It is much faster to ...
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  • 3,569
121 votes
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Why would any interstellar starship still bother with streamline body design?

One reason that might play a larger part than you'd think is actually aesthetics. Sure, a big ugly ball of components is the cheapest option now, but will it net you any sponsors for your next ...
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  • 65.6k
120 votes
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Ugh, I'm stuck in an orbital spaceport. But why?

Someone detected an asteroid There are lots of small asteroids. Even in 2100, when the solar system is well mapped, carbonaceous asteroids with low albedo will be very hard to detect passively. ...
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  • 84.4k
118 votes
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Why would there be any use for sea shanties in space?

Memorizing Checklists Space is a very dangerous place. Even small mistakes can have deadly consequences. Which is why most routine tasks in space - performing an engine burn, black-starting a fusion ...
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  • 43.8k
113 votes
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How do my spacefarers not get crushed accelerating to 0.2c?

They won't be crushed. In fact, they will feel less than Earth gravity, so they will need exercise to preserve their bones and muscles' integrity. 0.2c equals 59,958,491.6 meters per second. Two ...
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109 votes
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Would a fighter pilot with an invincible space ship be able to conquer the galaxy?

Bob could end the war. Keep in mind that ending the war is different from winning the war. Also remember that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. All he has to do is fly into the middle of a ...
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  • 68.4k
109 votes
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Why is the bridge on smaller spacecraft at the front but not in bigger vessels?

Short answer: because they often draw inspiration from real-world craft, which have varying cockpit/bridge locations. A picture is worth a thousand words: Single-seat fighters X-Wing (Star Wars) ...
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  • 11.8k
105 votes

Would a submarine make a great spaceship?

I'll start with the spoiler: They are going to die. I'm not sure exactly how long it will take (because I can't find details on reserve oxygen capacity or submarine nuclear reactors...might be ...
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  • 10.8k
101 votes

How do I make a space battle both realistic, with physics in play such as no sound and weird motion, but also very epic and intense still?

Space battles, at least realistic ones will be done with computer targeting systems. Humans will not have a big task on the spaceship. I imagine repair and ensuring the AI/computer won't go rogue will ...
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98 votes
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What is a good reason for every spaceship to carry a weapon on board?

For the same reason some do in real life. Ship (or landing pod) landing isn't perfect so when they arrive back on earth the astronauts need to defend themselves against hostile animals or scavengers.
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  • 1,279
96 votes

How to survive the G-force of Space Travel

These Torch ships have both the speed and acceleration to make a round trip from Mars to Earth in a week Average distance between Earth and Mars is 1.5AU, or 224,396,806,000 meters. Half a week is 3....
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  • 5,533
94 votes

Everyday tasks on a space ship

...once they reach a planet, they do research. Nope. They're doing research all the time. That's their full-time employment. Aside from the usual time off, it's nonstop research. Once they reach ...
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94 votes
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Why would space fleets be aligned?

The crews have evolved on worlds with orientation, so their psychology and conventions reflect the reality that they are planetary creatures. Orson Scott Card captured the importance of orientation ...
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  • 9,662
91 votes

Justifying Affordable Bespoke Spaceships

Let's look at the world of shipping here on Earth for inspiration I have a suspicion that if you look at the history of shipping, you'll discover that whether it's a cart or a bullet train, the basic ...
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  • 91.6k
89 votes
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How to solve the old 'gun on a spaceship' problem?

Bullet holes are not as bad as you think. The ISS would take over 7 hours to depressurize through a bullet hole. http://www.spaceacademy.net.au/flight/emg/spcdp.htm Even a few bullet holes still ...
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  • 6,026
85 votes
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Electricity free spaceship

Yes! And I shall do it by totally violating the low-tech spirit of your question! The biggest part of the challenge is your desire to go to Mars. Mars is a helluva long way away. If you were going to ...
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82 votes
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How do I explain that an interstellar spaceship still requires risky spacewalks?

"You did what to the controller system?!" Space is boring. Really boring. You just wont believe how vastly, hugely mind-bogglingly boring it is! I mean, you may think it's a bore to go down the ...
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  • 39.7k
81 votes

Reason for an exterior control panel on a space ship

The AI in the ship is not the very first one to go rogue, and probably will not be the last one either. Hence all ships have an outside panel where the AI cannot see and reach, as a safety measure for ...
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78 votes

Would 'cheap' FTL make powerful telescopes obsolete?

1000 times the speed of light means you can visit something 500 lightyears away in a one-year round trip. 5000 lightyears would take a decade and you are still not even leaving our galaxy. In contrast ...
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  • 11.2k
78 votes

Chlorine Trifluoride as a Space Weapon?

No no no no no no no no no. Bad idea. Chlorine trifluoride is one of the most horrifying substances on Earth. Sure, it can kill people and destroy equipment. But it can also kill the people trying to ...
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  • 97.7k
77 votes
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Is there any material today that could withstand the impact of a baseball at 0.05c?

Is there a material today that could act as the forward plating of my ship that could withstand such an impact? The problem is the same with the rock hitting the ship while the former is traveling at ...
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  • 52.4k
77 votes
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How do spaceships determine each other's mass in space?

A few options ordered from "difficult but can be done at any time" to "easy, but requires an opportunity". Measure the gravitational lensing effect of the ship Every mass in the universe bends the ...
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