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Rigorous Science

Q&A with a focus on more stringent analysis. Questions and answers should be well-researched, clearly explained, and supported with references, equations, or empirical evidence based on current, widely-accepted science. Please read the category guidelines.

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Do plants need ambient oxygen?

Do {any, some, all} {unicellular, multicellular} plants require free oxygen? For example, would a cabbage asphyxiate over night, or even in daylight, in an oxygen-free atmosphere?

1 answer  ·  posted 4mo ago by chris-barry‭  ·  last activity 7d ago by Pastychomper‭

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How can a Type II civilization influence accretion rates from a debris disk to a passing star?

A young B-type star (with a mass of about 10 M$_{\odot}$) is surrounded by a debris disk extending from about 2 AU to 1000 AU away. The disk has a mass of about 300 Earth masses - enough to form qu...

2 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by HDE 226868‭  ·  last activity 2mo ago by James McLellan‭

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Electricity from nuclear decay

Can electricity be generated directly from nuclear decay? It occurred to me that in alpha decay two protons fly off rapidly, leaving their associated electrons behind. If the alpha particle was ca...

1 answer  ·  posted 4mo ago by chris-barry‭  ·  last activity 2mo ago by James McLellan‭

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Nuclear energy storage

Could nuclear energy be a basis for energy storage with foreseeable technology? One approach would be to use excited nuclear states, but I suspect they would be too unstable to ever be useful. Al...

1 answer  ·  posted 4mo ago by chris-barry‭  ·  last activity 4mo ago by Olin Lathrop‭

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Producing hydrocarbons by electrolysis

When water is electrolysed with graphite electrodes some of the oxygen reacts immediately with the anode to produce carbon dioxide. Does a similar reaction ever occur at the cathode, producing meth...

0 answers  ·  posted 4mo ago by chris-barry‭

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Difference between 'AWPP' and standard quantum physics

Quantum Computers are considered a more powerful type of computer than so called 'classical' computers. While a typical classical computer could be considered as a black box that can solve Polynomi...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Mithrandir24601‭

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What would it take to build a ship capable of crossing the Pacific? [duplicate]

In my story, I have a small extended family of 30 to 40 individuals ranging in age from 0 to 50 who are on the run from Chinese and Japanese forces in 1400AD. No place in Asia is safe for them. By...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Green‭  ·  closed as duplicate 2y ago by Canina‭

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What good are herbivores in an animal army?

This is a multi-species animal army with predators of all shapes and sixes, foxes, lions, bears, tigers, leopards, wolves, lynx, eagles, falcons and so on. The herbivores have been excluded from t...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Green‭

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What stellar number density would two galaxies have to have for another star to collide with the Sun during a galactic merger?

The Milky Way and Andromeda will collide a few billion years in the future. Stellar collisions will be rare because - as Douglas Adams put it - "Space is big. Really, really big." In the galactic d...

3 answers  ·  posted 7y ago by HDE 226868‭  ·  edited 2y ago by HDE 226868‭

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Asteroid flux or: How to make a planet perfect for mining

One of the cool things about the Moon is that the far side has a thicker crust that the near side.1 One theory explaining this is that the Moon was hit by an object, possibly a moonlet created by t...

1 answer  ·  posted 8y ago by HDE 226868‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Canina‭

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What would one experience travelling through an invisible Krasnikov tube, and how much could they be used to cut travel times?

Effectively what the title says; What would different observers experience while travelling through / seeing one travel through the tube, and how could they be used to cut travel times? (Just answe...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by MrKred‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by wizzwizz4‭

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Can pion production effectively shorten the lifetime of neutrons?

The known charge-conserving decay modes of free neutrons all involve the production of a proton, an electron and an electron antineutrino: $$n\to p^++e^-+\bar{\nu}_{e}$$ This beta decay is why, out...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by HDE 226868‭  ·  edited 2y ago by HDE 226868‭

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Trying to make a gun making scene realistic

So here is the situation. I have a character who is a trained modern gunsmith and he finds himself thrown into a setting where the most advanced firearm is the flintlock. I know some of the most a...

7 answers  ·  posted 7y ago by MrDracoSpirit‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by HDE 226868‭

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How far away could Earth detect a projectile travelling at relativistic speeds?

Suppose our alien neighbors woke up on the wrong side of the bed and decided humans would be less annoying if their home planet was hit with a giant artillery shell travelling at half the speed of ...

8 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by Joshua Snider‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by HDE 226868‭

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How long will it be until the cosmic microwave background is undetectable?

I've had a number of interesting conversations with people about how the cosmic microwave background (CMB) will evolve in the future. The CMB is the sea of photons left over from the epoch of recom...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by HDE 226868‭  ·  edited 2y ago by HDE 226868‭

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TotalRewind™ (brain chip)

In 2015 we can rewind the TV, our CCTV footage and, if we wear an action cam, our latest adventure. However if we walk down the street and something happens we didn't quite catch, the annoying fact...

5 answers  ·  posted 7y ago by chasly from UK‭  ·  edited 2y ago by Canina‭

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Create "gold" from lead (or other substances)

I am writing a setting for a role-playing game. In it an alchemist has finally found a way to create gold from lesser metals. Like his former historical models the alchemist is so jubilant over hi...

10 answers  ·  posted 6y ago by Thorsten S.‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by HDE 226868‭

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What would a hard boundary mean in physics on the quantum-mechanical level?

In this question I asked about the possibilities of what a boundary might be like, with emphasis on the storytelling. Now I'd like to investigate what a hard boundary would mean in quantum mechani...

1 answer  ·  posted 7y ago by JDługosz‭  ·  edited 2y ago by HDE 226868‭

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How large does a human's plastron need to be?

I'm referring to an entomological plastron which is a structure that traps a bubble of air next to the insect's body but permits contact between the air and the water. As the insect consumes oxygen...

3 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by Mike Nichols‭  ·  edited 2y ago by HDE 226868‭

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Sanity Check : Utility Fog

Inspired by many questions that make use of utility fog. Utility fogs are not, as the name might suggest, fogs, but rather lattice solids. Cells of the foam are pollen-like micrometer-scale mach...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by James McLellan‭  ·  edited 2y ago by Canina‭

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Which of these changes to physics will have the least effect on Earth's biology?

The Solar System has entered a region of space where the laws of nature are slightly different. It will experience different physics for 3 years, then things will return to what we know now. Which...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Vogon Poet‭  ·  edited 2y ago by HDE 226868‭

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How do I calculate the loss of primordial heat for a given age and mass of a planet?

I'm working on a computer program which generates realistic planets for worldbuilding purposes. I've run into an issue with calculating my planets heat loss. While radiogenic and tidal heat generat...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by TheDyingOfLight‭  ·  edited 2y ago by HDE 226868‭

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What is the highest theoretical escape velocity a 2 billion metric ton vehicle can achieve using a >20$^{\circ}$ gravitational slingshot?

I want to send a flying saucer (a $\frac{1}{10}$ scale Independence Day City Destroyer - calculated as a sphere cap 112m high with 1.2km segment radius, $\rho$ about 43.3kg/m3) away from the sun as...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by Vogon Poet‭  ·  edited 2y ago by HDE 226868‭

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How to Calculate Apparent Magnitude/Brightness of Planets from Within the same Solar System

I'd like to be able to determine the appearance of the night sky from an Earth-like planet, in a solar system with multiple other planets, moons, and other bodies. Here on Earth, we can directly me...

0 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by A.E. Stephenson‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by A.E. Stephenson‭

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What are the most likely effects of a human(oid) shape moving at Mach 50 to the surrounding environment?

For the purposes of my story, seen here someone who went through a similar procedure involving parallel dimensions (see here), becomes nearly indestructible , invulnerable to damage related to exce...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by ProjectApex‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by ProjectApex‭

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How big can a giant get before losing human level intelligence?

In many fantasy worlds, giants are as intelligent as human beings and others races that they either avoid stepping on or step on regularly. However, due to the square cube law, giants have a limit...

4 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Seraphim‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Seraphim‭

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Alternative evolution mechanisms using cell fusion

I am trying to understand if it would be possible for organisms to evolve by different means other than random mutations and natural selection. Eukaryotes were predicted to be formed by fusion with...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by LDR‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by LDR‭

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Shooting through the earth

Due to reasons of magic an alien god that is about to takeover the earth in one year and can only be stopped by being shot through the entire earth. Assuming modern day Earth (no magic other then ...

6 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by cypher‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by cypher‭

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What sets of stellar models are freely available for reference when worldbuilding?

Often, when I'm building a world, I want to start out by determining some of its key properties. Maybe I'm trying to calculate a habitable zone, or figure out how long a year would be on a particul...

0 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by HDE 226868‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by HDE 226868‭

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What is the Feasibility of a Cloud Colony on Saturn?

I did some research recently for a story on the physical feasibility of some aspects of living in the Saturn cloud deck, and wanted to share it. Please, however, if you have alternate approaches,...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by James McLellan‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by James McLellan‭

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Could an animal evolve iridescent horns that appear metallic like chrysina resplendens' chitinous exoskeletons?

Sort of two questions here, but very related. One about whether a mammal-like animal could evolve to have a chitinous endoskeleton, I guess. Then a question of whether, if they grow horns, that ske...

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by LukasExemplar‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by LukasExemplar‭

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Greenhouse Effect Strength- Ammonia World

I've been working on designing how an ammonia-ocean world might work and I've settled basically everything except one. I cannot for the life of me find any sources that actually provide a decent wa...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by Sam D. Jones‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Sam D. Jones‭

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What would happen if the mass of air around earth doubled?

So the mass of air around the earth has doubled. How it doubled isn't part of the question, but for the curious let's say a space station floating around earth processed all the nitrogen, oxygen, c...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by chase leffers‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by chase leffers‭

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How to determine surface temperatures at specific points

I have a planet around 11242 km in diameter. It is very similar to Mars, with most surface water trapped at the poles. For this, I want the polar temperature below 0 C, but the equatorial temperatu...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by System‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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I can't seem to find correct starbuilding equations that work together anywhere and am generally confused. Which ones do you use?

So far I've been using Artifexian's How To Build A Star YouTube video. The problem with this video is that it's quite old and thus outdated. The things I've noticed to be particularly weird are the...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by LonelyCryptid‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by LonelyCryptid‭

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Intermediate Structures Along a Space Elevator

Assuming all the primary hurdles in building a space elevator are overcome, would it be structurally feasible to attach intermediate stops along the length of the tether (between the planet and GSO...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Rusty‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Rusty‭

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How small and fast can a bullet go in atmosphere?

In many sci fi universes that don't have handheld energy weapons, they instead use solid projectiles that either go big (Warhammer 40k) or really small (Mass Effect). The former I have a pretty go...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Seraphim‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Seraphim‭

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How would dragons mate, according to science?

No, this is not not about courtship displays or dominance figths. (even thought I know that that is also part of mating) This is more of "What their genitalia would look like" and how they would "...

4 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by jsjsjzjdnsjsn‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by jsjsjzjdnsjsn‭

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Calculating average sea-level air pressure

Right now I'm currently trying to calculate the average surface pressure at sea level of an atmosphere, but I'm having a struggle finding the relevant formulae with which to determine this number. ...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by Lev‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Lev‭

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How fast can my humanoid run?

The fluff: I have a humanoid who's about to breach a door. He's got some upgrades to his body and can pump some stimulants through it to boost his strength, resiliance and speed to ridiculous prop...

4 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Demigan‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Demigan‭

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How to make Space Habitats spin?

I have seen a variety of outer space megastructures across sci-fi and the minds of most astrologists, such as Bishop Rings, O'Neill Cylinders, Bernal Spheres, and much more. What most of these inte...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by CYCLOPSCORE‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by CYCLOPSCORE‭

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Relentless Super marathon?

Humans are not the fastest mammals on the planet, but for very long distances (more than 40 kilometers) we can overtake any species living on land. Except some dogs. The best runners on ultra-long...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by System‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Feasibility of a bone exoskeleton

First time posting here but I would like to get some help with an issue I have. I have a planet that has 30% more gravity than earth. I have terrestrial animals with an exoskeleton, they stand at ...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by Pesterjest‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Pesterjest‭

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Cold-and heat-resistant people?

My question is: What needs to be added or improved in the human body so that my genetically modified people can fully withstand temperatures of several degrees below zero ( "” 40 ° Celsius) for a ...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by System‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Flare star vs electrical grid

My planet is tidally locked, airless, and has no magnetosphere. It's located close to a flare star (5% solar mass, 11 Gyr old), and is in it's habitable zone. The strongest flare ever detected on E...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by David‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by David‭

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See more colors?

Normally, the human retina contains four types of light-sensitive receptors: three types of cones and one type of rods. The receptor proteins contain the chromo "” iodopsin in the sticks, the rhodo...

5 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by French Thompson‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by French Thompson‭

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Biological creation of respirocytes and clottocytes?

Respirocytes are an artificial analogue of red blood cells. Tiny sapphire capsules that can absorb oxygen in the lungs and release it in the capillaries. From the capillaries to the lungs, they, in...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by French Thompson‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by French Thompson‭

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Flying commercial airliners with ground power?

A thought occurred to me, and I wondered if it could be made practical... This video talks about the possibility of electrical battery powered planes, and in short, while it may be practical to bu...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by FlyingLemmingSoup‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by FlyingLemmingSoup‭

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Superhuman reaction speed (dodging bullets )?

My question is: I need to improve the muscle fibers and nervous system of my genetically modified human so that it has dexterity and physical responses 4 to 10 times faster than the average human.Â...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by French Thompson‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by French Thompson‭

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Global warming through waste heat?

Let's assume a world where humanity managed to stabilize the climate again and maybe even reversed the effects of the current climate change. (So that we can ignore the current global warming in th...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Marv‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Marv‭

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