notovny
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Earth is accelerated out of the solar system - do we keep the Moon?
27 votes

You're going to lose the Moon. At the Moon's current distance, the Earth's gravity can only change its velocity by $0.002m/s^2$ The mentioned acceleration of about $0.25m/s^2$ dwarfs that, and if at ...

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Is Terraformation the better solution if time does not matter?
21 votes

This isn't an Either-or Proposition. Terraforming is going to be a long process, and will require using resources on the target planet to successfully complete. You'll need to build infrastructure ...

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Why put a big rock into orbit around Ceres?
17 votes

You needed to build a Skyside Terminal for your spaceport. Ceres may have only a thirtieth of a gee of surface gravity, but that's still surface gravity, and in most hard science settings, spacecraft ...

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Building an interstellar starship during transit
Accepted answer
14 votes

I don't think this is wise for laser-sail propelled craft. Okay, you've thrown Spacecraft 1 at 10% of the speed of light, spending several months to years on your laser array running it up to that ...

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What benefit would a god who feeds on belief gain from diversifying worship?
13 votes

It's a "Weekend at Krishna's" situation. Krishna doesn't have a choice. He is weakened, incapacitated, or dead, and the universe at large is unaware of this situation. The Seven have a need ...

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Why would War Of The Worlds happen?
13 votes

They need the planet ready for colonization as soon as possible. Back when the 2005 War of the Worlds film came out, a friend and I tried to puzzle out a reason for why the aliens (not going to call ...

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What is a material that might be missing on a planet that the inhabitants of said planet need to go pick up on a gas giant nearby?
Accepted answer
12 votes

Helium-3. Helium 3, or Trialphium, is the lighter, rarer stable isotope of helium that is often suggested as a fuel source for advanced fusion plants, because Deuterium-Trialphium fusion is aneutronic,...

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Is it possible for a moon to stay on the same side of its planet relative to the sun?
Accepted answer
11 votes

No, it's not possible for the moon to always be between the planet and the sun. For the moon to be in a stable orbit around the planet, and always be in front of the sun, two things must be true (We'...

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Is using the Sun as a sort of 'garbage dump' safe?
10 votes

The sun currently contains about a Jupiter mass of iron, left over from its formation. Putting the entire Earth into the sun would not affect its lifetime significantly.

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Forememory: What could prevent reiteration from working?
10 votes

If you do this, you are committing to writing and reading a note every two minutes for the next five years. Even if it's not the same you, because you branched from that timeline by seeing or acting ...

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I can't wish for someone to die, how to get around this rule?
8 votes

So extending my own lifespan isn't against the rules? "I wish all of the target's remaining lifespan, except one day/hour/minute/second (choose as the wisher sees fit), was transferred to me.&...

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Would a primitive species be able to learn English from reading books alone?
8 votes

If they don't have /any/ concept of language? No. Until they make the jump to having /some/ way of communicating ideas and concepts to each other, they won't be able to realize the significance of ...

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Can I contain and control a small black hole within a facility?
Accepted answer
8 votes

Probably not on Earth. A black hole large enough to run macroscopic objects into is too massive to be kept from falling through the floor of a facility on Earth by any means other than magic (or ...

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How can elves prevent specialization among their species?
5 votes

For any sentient species that isn't genetically hidebound to its ways, culture will move faster than genetics. That which is desirable and fashionable for one generation will not be for the next ...

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Why are potions always brewed in extreme bulk?
4 votes

All potions are created equal, but some are more equal than others. Resistors are electrical components that have a number of colored bands on them. The last band is the tolerance of the resistor; ...

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Can cosmic rays be considered as a "galactic resource" in a hypothetical planetary colonization science fiction world?
4 votes

Traditionally, the Hulk isn't the one associated with Cosmic Rays, that's the Fantastic Four. But no, I don't think they can be considered a valuable resource. Space is very very big, and cosmic rays, ...

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What is the highest theoretical escape velocity a 2 billion metric ton vehicle can achieve using a >20° gravitational slingshot?
Accepted answer
4 votes

I don't think an unpowered gravitational slingshot against Jupiter is going to be significantly helpful for an interstellar spacecraft. Even using Jupiter as your slingshot target, your sun-relative ...

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Could a planet with many moons see a different moon each night?
3 votes

You're going to need: small, very faint moons that cannot be seen during the daytime. What we're counting on is that these small, dim moons tend to get lost in the morning/evening glare in their ...

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How can I help to verify somebody is from future?
3 votes

Use a Cryptographically Secure Pseudorandom Number Generator, with a randomly-generated initial seed that you keep secret. A pseudorandom number generator will allow you to produce a completely ...

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Does this method of magnetic capture provide a mostly closed loop system?
2 votes

Frame Challenge: If you're concerned about water loss, don't use water to fuel your rockets. It seems that, if a civilization is willing to use steam rockets ($I_{sp} = 195 \mathrm{ s}$) over Hydrogen/...

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Why are tomb guardians often more powerful than the king personal guards?
2 votes

The Guardians aren't really there to keep graverobbers out of the tomb. They're there to keep things in. Funeral rites are on the face of them, rituals to to soothe the loved ones, and also allow the ...

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Which moon is most favourable as a refuelling station?
2 votes

The best location for the fuel Depot is wherever most of the people and infrastructure in the gas giant system are. Without knowledge of exactly what the major propulsion system of your ...

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How to explain atheism in a world where religious miracles are commonplace and spirits visit earth
2 votes

The spirits are lying, or deluded, about what they claim to be. Perhaps they are aggregate manifestations spawned from humanity's collective consciousness, or extraplanar entities entering our ...

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A Timeline for the discovery of Alien life
1 votes

Imaging issues have been mentioned by other answers, so I'm not going to cover them here. I'm going to take a different tack. I'm also going to assume that everything described in the initial question ...

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Which part of the universe would make celestial navigation most difficult for a planet?
1 votes

Few visible stars, /large/ numbers of artificial satellites for an unknown reason. You're not really going to be able to do this unless the stars aren't really stars. If the stars are moving around ...

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Could this complex star system work in real life?
0 votes

With an O-type star in the system, you're looking at a stellar lifespan of 10 to 100 million years, which places some pretty severe constraints on the formation time of the planets around the other ...

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A game to outplay Death?
-1 votes

Choose a cooperative players-vs-the-rules game, such as Star Trek: The Next Generation Interactive VCR Board Game - A Klingon Challenge. Death is now playing on your side. When he wins, you win. ...

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