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Q&A

General Q&A about worldbuilding and other speculative developments that can be extrapolated from science.

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Entertainment for AI

Think of HAL9000 playing a chess game with Frank Pool: Thank you for a very enjoyable game. Would that have been literally enjoyable? In a world where A.I. exists, as depicted in this kind o...

9 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by guido‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by guido‭

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Is it possible for humans to live on such a planet?

Is it possible for humans to live on a world with the following conditions? Atmosphere: 50% nitrogen; 30% oxygen; 20% carbon dioxide. Climate: The rain in some areas is acidic. (Is there som...

5 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by ballah‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by ballah‭

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Suddenly, you live in the dark!

Imagine that you lived in this world: The planet has a diameter of 5000 km. The rotation time is the same as the orbital period. And here it comes: the orbital period is 1027 years. The planet's ...

7 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by ballah‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by ballah‭

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In 'portal', pushing interconnected portals on thin portal sized rectangles of material through each other?

A question about portals from the 'portal' games. In the games, pairs of flat, identically sized and shaped, effectively for simplicity rectangular, portals, that lay flat on surfaces, link two pl...

2 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by alan2here‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by alan2here‭

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What would the weather be like in an asteroid habitat?

The idea of hollowing out asteroids, spinning them on their longest axis, and filling them with air, water, and soil is common in science fiction (Rendezvous with Rama, or 2312 for good examples). ...

3 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by Mike Nichols‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by Mike Nichols‭

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Could a manned maneuvering unit provide artificial gravity?

Could a Manned Maneuvering Unit-type device provide a few hours of light artificial gravity* for a small person on an object with minimal gravity of its own? What sort of fuel would it need? * Com...

3 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by Dan‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by Dan‭

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Possibilities with a force-manipulating device

What if, sometime in the next say 600 years, humanity develops a device capable of manipulating the four fundamental forces in the area around it. (For example, a handheld device could work in a ra...

3 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by AlphaModder‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by AlphaModder‭

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What happens to air pressure if the ice caps completely melt?

Apologies; it just didn't seem like an appropriate question for Earth Science or Biology. Let me know if I'm incorrect. Maybe Physics? If all the ice, permafrost, ice caps, etc. melted due to glo...

2 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by Mikey‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by Mikey‭

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Making the First contact

Visiting the Worldbuilding site plays with my creativity and imagination. So I am going to describe the dream I had: I am member of a different (alien) culture, from a different star system. Also,...

3 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by Pavel Janicek‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by Pavel Janicek‭

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A species developing writing but not (yet) speech

I am not a writer. I have never written any story and I have no idea of what it takes to get this idea into any meaningful narrative. It's more of a thought experiment for me and I formally give th...

5 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by Michael Sacchi‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by Michael Sacchi‭

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Burrowing/tunnelling creatures on earth with intricate underground organisation/society?

What underground, for example burrowing or tunnelling creatures on earth, have underground organisation/societies, that are intricate enough for interesting narrative features, for example friendsh...

2 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by alan2here‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by alan2here‭

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Astronomical Phenomena that cause Tidal Waves

Suppose a world suddenly is being attacked by frequent tidal waves caused by some event in space. What type of event could have caused this? Any side effects caused by the event, such as the relea...

3 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by erdekhayser‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by erdekhayser‭

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Harnessing the Moon's kinetic energy

Instead of trying to tether the Moon, can we somehow harness the Moon's kinetic energy, the same way we do wind? If so, how is this possible?

2 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by MDMoore313‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by MDMoore313‭

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Locations for space centres

The basic question is: When is a location good enough to build a space centre on it? Some info to the function of the space-centre: The space centre has a lot of traffic, also humans. I imagine...

4 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by J_F_B_M‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by J_F_B_M‭

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Is the Alcubierre Drive relatively free from relativistic collisions?

Related to the this question about not going SPLAT. That one was for conventional travel through space at high speeds. Now I want to know about how things would work with an Alcubierre drive. I...

1 answer  ·  posted 8y ago by bowlturner‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by bowlturner‭

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What is the minimum distance needed between physically distinct races?

If there are several races with very distinct appearances (e.g. Nordic-pale vs. Arabic-tan skin, red vs. black hair, etc.), how much space / natural barriers do I need between their homelands to ju...

3 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by Epiglottal Axolotl‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by Epiglottal Axolotl‭

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How can I estimate how far into a cave network breathing is possible?

I want two populations to coexist in a world with extensive tunnels carved into the rock. One population lives in the tunnels, coming out to trade and gather food. The other is aware of the tunnels...

2 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by trichoplax‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by trichoplax‭

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Traffic in Space (a traffic controller for low earth orbit)

In a future where space travel is common, how would access to space be regulated? From what I know, currently the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) assigns slots for geostationary satell...

2 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by 2012rcampion‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by 2012rcampion‭

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Eye in the Sky Effect

Is there any conceivable way that a planet with two moons--one being visibly red to the naked eye due to its mineral composition--could align in an eclipse in such a way so that the whole effect lo...

5 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by Donny‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by Donny‭

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How would a Martian colony be able to celebrate Christmas?

Accept that we had a reason to go to Mars, managed to build a colony there, and what we found on Mars is valuable enough to ship back to Earth. There is now a self sustainable colony living under t...

12 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by Pavel Janicek‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by Pavel Janicek‭

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Trebuchet's effect on ship design

A long time ago I heard about a Medieval Irish pirate that used a Trebuchet mounted on his ship (no I am not sure what he was or where I heard it). The idea of a ship acting like a double pendulum...

3 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by Tyson of the Northwest‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by Tyson of the Northwest‭

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Is it possible for humans to evolve to eat something like wood or stone or something similar?

Is it possible for humans to evolve to eat something like wood or stone or something similar? Any hard material you would find or any abundant resource. So is it possible that humans in the past ha...

3 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by CrazySlayaNinjaBear‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by CrazySlayaNinjaBear‭

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Cost of colony on Mars/Moon per metric ton

One possible approach how to estimate extend of space colonization is to define costs of it and then estimate the investments the governments and organizations would be willing to pay. In an excell...

1 answer  ·  posted 8y ago by Irigi‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by Irigi‭

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What is the soonest we could possibly have a self-sufficient base on Mars?

I'm interested in writing a story about inhabitants of a permanent base on Mars, a few decades after all life on earth has (presumably) been wiped out. Preferably, I'd like them to still be there, ...

7 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by overactor‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by overactor‭

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Could a civilization as advanced as humans exist on a planet/dwarf planet like Pluto?

Could a civilization exist on a planet/dwarf planet like Pluto? It is so cold and barren. Is it possible? What would they live off? They don't have to be humanoid.

5 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by CrazySlayaNinjaBear‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by CrazySlayaNinjaBear‭

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How to fragment a moon to form a ring around a planet

Given a planet about the size of Earth, and a moon the Size of the Moon, how could one destroy the moon without flinging the fragments onto the surface of the planet or into outer space? How can o...

4 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by Robert Boettcher‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by Robert Boettcher‭

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How soon will the first underwater cities be built?

Considering that the oceans are rising (and that humans don't seem too keen on doing anything about it) and that population is growing exponentially, is it plausible to imagine that in a not too di...

4 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by Sheraff‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by Sheraff‭

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Method for creating aerial visuals (photography) for fake landmasses

What is the best method for creating a visual that mimics aerial photography for a fake island. The desired quality is USGS standards for actual aerials, preferably 2 foot aerials. The end product ...

2 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by randomblink‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by randomblink‭

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Would the knowledge of physics on a native aquatic planet be similar to our own?

This question was stimulated by the question How would an aquatic race develop computers?. The answers obviously were based on the aquatic civilization being earth based, but what about a totally ...

7 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by fubar50‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by fubar50‭

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How soon will tinkering with biology be as simple as programming is now?

Biotechnology is a big keyword in the industry right now, like computing was a bunch of years ago. Nowadays, anyone can pop up a terminal and start tinkering with their computer, program software, ...

5 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by Sheraff‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by Sheraff‭

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Alien race similar to human but without anything in common

(First of all, perhaps this is a duplicate of this question, but I'll give it a go since I'd like to focus on something different. Or the answer is there but I couldn't quite catch it. Oh boy... *f...

4 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by Rodolfo Dias‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by Rodolfo Dias‭

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Space station mass per person

Imagine we build a space station much larger than the ISS with more or less today's technology. (For example in a scenario in which price of transport to orbit per kg is significantly reduced by te...

1 answer  ·  posted 8y ago by Irigi‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by Irigi‭

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Shallow sea world - plausable geology?

Imagine a world covered in a shallow sea (usually only 4 metres or less) that has little land, where there is land its in the form of fairly small islands (less than 1sq KM) This will be populated...

4 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by Chris Camacho‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by Chris Camacho‭

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Classification system and measure of progress for science and technology branches and other areas of life

I'm working on modeling how a civilization can progress from some known state making conscious choices about the fields in which to apply its resources. Is there some good / theoretically sound / w...

3 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by moonfly‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by moonfly‭

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Being cooked for dinner! or What Danger of Blueshifting EM into X-rays and beyond?

When doing some research for some of the resent questions proposed, I ran across an article that pointed out a danger of traveling at extreme speeds in normal space as a high percentage of c I was ...

2 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by bowlturner‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by bowlturner‭

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Gravitational effects of portals at different heights

Summary: I am looking for a portal transportation mechanism that is consistent with the laws of thermodynamics. Portals (or wormholes or gateways, something that connects two different locatio...

3 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by HugoRune‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by HugoRune‭

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What would push a civilization to terraform a planet considering the complexity of this process?

Terraforming is the process of transforming a celestial body to become habitable by Earth-like life. Even when I try to imagine an advanced civilization, the cost, time and complexity to terrafor...

7 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by Vincent‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by Vincent‭

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Can we breathe the moon's crust?

According to this answer to what the moon is made of, the moon's crust is, among other things, 43% oxygen. Assuming we were to go back to the moon within the next couple of years with the goal of ...

3 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by Kromey‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by Kromey‭

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Where to place industry in a megastructure?

I am currently designing a megastructure which is supposed to provide living- and workplaces for about 100.000 people. It is supposed to be designed in a way that it provides everything the inhabit...

3 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by Philipp‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by Philipp‭

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What would be the short-term and long-term effects of an increase in the strength of gravity on humans?

I heard that some scientists placed chickens under 2.5g for 6 months, and they survived. A normal human would black out at 5g. A trained astronaut could take up to 8g before blacking out. 20g woul...

1 answer  ·  posted 8y ago by BuildingBetterWorlds‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by BuildingBetterWorlds‭

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Polarity of a planet's lightning strikes reversed?

On Earth, the planet itself is negatively charged and the clouds are positively charged, causing lightning to travel from the clouds to the surface. While there are significantly smaller wisps of l...

2 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by The Glis Jackel‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by The Glis Jackel‭

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How would an aquatic civilisation forge tools?

One of the first steps in technological is the ability of a civilisation to forge tools* humans achieved this by using fire and creating forges. There are obviously underwater heat sources but I d...

8 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by Liath‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by Liath‭

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What would happen in North America if California became drier?

My question is mainly related to the impact on food production if the climate changes made agriculture more difficult in the state of California but also in the other American and Mexican states fr...

2 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by Vincent‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by Vincent‭

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Could higher land-based life exist on a planet with a pressure of about 1 MPa?

This is somewhat of a follow-up question to my ammonia-based world question. I've found out that the melting point of ammonia is at 25°C at a pressure of about 1 MPa (about 10 times the atmospheri...

5 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by celtschk‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by celtschk‭

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How would life be different on a planet where intelligent life saw heat instead of colour?

Suppose there is a planet where intelligent life (with intelligence approximately same as that of a being of the human species, say) exists. However, due to certain conditions (such as, for example...

7 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by aspiring_sarge‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by aspiring_sarge‭

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What would be the effects of the common house cat rapidly acquiring flight ability?

Assuming planet Earth, with considerable amounts of pets per household (96 million cats in the US alone), what would be the social and ecological consequences of all domestic cats acquiring flight ...

5 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by Dan Dascalescu‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by Dan Dascalescu‭

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What social structure would be developed by an intelligent species with distinct functional physical differences?

Racism has been a defining trait in how human civilizations have interacted and developed in regard to each other. It, however, is founded on differences which separate us visibly but not function...

3 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by neph‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by neph‭

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What would be required for a completely self sufficient 1 man habitat?

For the sake of this question, let's say that there would be a space mission that would send one man on a 40 year journey that will require him to be in a completely self sufficient habitat for the...

1 answer  ·  posted 8y ago by System‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by System‭

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What do we get if we eat the moon?

Imagine we have a machine that can consume celestial bodies, breaking them down into component elements and storing them in big bins somewhere. If we fed that machine a moon, what would wind up in ...

1 answer  ·  posted 8y ago by Danny Reagan‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by Danny Reagan‭

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What would be the effect of a powerful explosive going off in the core of a planet?

What would happen if a powerful explosive went off in the core of a planet? On Earth, you have several layers of the planet, the crust, the magma, the outer core, and the inner core. Right now, hu...

3 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by DonyorM‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by DonyorM‭

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