Questions tagged [physics]

For questions about the physics of a fictional universe. Questions purely concerning real-world physics are off-topic. Always use in conjunction with the specific work tag in question.

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6 answers
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The Expanse: Sustained Gs during space travel

In The Expanse series, characters experience sustained Gs during space travel, not just during acceleration, which doesn't make sense. For instance, here's several passages from Leviathan Wakes, the ...
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2 votes
1 answer
65 views

How high over the floor/streets is the overhang of rock over Ilirea/Urû'baen?

What the title says. Image of the city from The Official Eragon Colouring Book Assuming that in the image the scales are a bit exaggerated, how high do the books say that the ceiling of Ilirea is ...
4 votes
1 answer
420 views

Physics of Kryptonite -- atomic number, half life, etc.?

How deeply have the comic books gone into what sort of radiation Kryptonite emits, whether it decays, and its useful properties besides injuring Superman. I saw that its atomic number is 126, so it is ...
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2 votes
1 answer
137 views

In Interstellar, how did Cooper and TARS provide momentum while detaching from the main ship?

Cooper refers to Newton's 3rd law while detaching. I didn't understand the physics behind this scene.
3 votes
1 answer
254 views

Is time dilation ever mentioned in Star Trek? [duplicate]

I am pretty sure that in the original series, not movies or novels both of which I am less familiar with, Special Relativity is simply not mentioned — Einstein himself makes appearances in later ...
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-1 votes
2 answers
235 views

Wouldn't a lightsaber melt/blind a wielder? [closed]

This question wasn't identified anywhere else on the site, so I thought I would ask it. Lightsabers are (seemingly) closely related to plasma, which would be the closest tangible thing to a lightsaber ...
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4 votes
1 answer
457 views

How does Miller survive the acceleration in The Expanse?

In The Expanse, when Miller is we can guess there's a fair bit of acceleration and plenty of G's yet Miller is unaffected by this acceleration. Why? Is it that's able to dampen inertia?
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2 votes
1 answer
179 views

Why are ships drifting toward Ilus/New Terra in James SA Corey's Cibola Burn?

In Cibola Burn the ships Edward Israel, Barbapiccola and Rocinante started drifting toward Ilus/New Terra once their reactors stopped working. But if they had enough velocity, shouldn't they be able ...
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4 votes
3 answers
388 views

Why does 4D navigation work like this?

At one point in Cixin Liu's novel "Death's End", humans enter a bubble of four-dimensional space. The author explains that, as their equipment is only designed for three dimensions, they are ...
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2 votes
3 answers
442 views

Has Star Trek ever addressed the issue of superluminal communication and time travel?

With our current understanding of space-time and SR (presumably, the understanding shared in the Star Trek universe), superluminal travel can lead to incidental time travel into the past. See this and ...
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-2 votes
1 answer
339 views

How did Han Solo use the Maw Cluster to beat the Kessel Run? [closed]

We know that Solo made the Kessel Run in a shorter distance by skirting close to the Maw Cluster (with the help of his Class 0.5 modified hyperdrive and navicomputer), but how exactly does the physics ...
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3 votes
1 answer
419 views

House of Suns: How do stardams contain unstable stars?

In Alistair Reynold's House of Suns, there is the concept of creating a 'stardam' to prevent unstable stars from destroying nearby systems when they blow up. It says: A billion or so years later, we ...
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2 votes
2 answers
2k views

How Did the Space Junk Stay in Orbit in Wall-E? [closed]

In the Disney/Pixar film Wall-E, we see space junk practically covering Earth's atmosphere in orbit... how? If it had been years, generations even, since man had been to Earth, shouldn't all of that ...
18 votes
1 answer
508 views

Sci-fi story with the premise that spacetime geometry is Riemannian

I'm trying to find a hard sci-fi story where one of the major premises was that the world has a Riemannian geometry (x^2+y^2+z^2 + t^2) instead of the real world's Minkowski geometry (x^2+y^2+z^2 - t^...
14 votes
3 answers
6k views

In the novel The Three-Body Problem, does the Sun's amplification of radio transmissions have a scientific basis?

Per Wikipedia [...] However, she is rescued at the last minute by Yang Weining and Lei Zhicheng, two military physicists working under Red Coast (a Chinese initiative for alien communication ...
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5 votes
1 answer
401 views

Is the audience laughing at Dr Alexander Murry's presentation?

In the 2018 film adaptation by Jennifer Lee of A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, there is a scene where Dr Alexander Murry (henceforth Dr Murry even if his wife is also Dr Murry), played by ...
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7 votes
2 answers
634 views

How closely did When Worlds Collide authors pursue the physics of the catastrophic damage and planet trajectories?

After writing this comment I thought of the 1933 novel When Worlds Collide co-written by Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer. South African astronomer Sven Bronson discovers that a pair of rogue planets,...
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11 votes
0 answers
227 views

Television episode about scientists discovering the Grand Unification Theory, as each one discovers it they begin to vanish

I'm still trying to find another sci-fi show/series/episode - it has similarities to the one Twilight Zone with the downed WWII aircraft. But in this one, a bunch of scientists stumble onto ideas that ...
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3 votes
0 answers
61 views

How did the elevator get to a planet?

Note: while I tried to keep the title more or less spoiler-free, this is about the most recent episodes of a show, so this question will definitely contain spoilers. At the end of the third season of ...
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16 votes
1 answer
3k views

How does Spider-Man manage to hold on to his webs?

When Spider-Man web slings across town, the general procedure is shoot web, hold it, swing, airtime, repeat. For good grip, the end of the web line he's holding should be well below the center of his ...
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2 votes
1 answer
312 views

In Downsizing where did the lost mass from the shrinking process go?

In the movie Downsizing humans can be irreversibly shrunk to about 5" tall. There is a scene with full size people lying on medical beds and soon after a scene where people are in their shrunken state....
1 vote
1 answer
186 views

When a speedster runs does everything become colder? [closed]

So I was watching X-Men: Days of Future Past. In the prison break scene when Quicksilver deviates all the bullets, he first tastes whatever they were cooking in the kitchen. So it got me thinking, if ...
6 votes
2 answers
1k views

Did Holden just discover faster-than-light communications by the protomolecule?

In the TV series The Expanse, the protomolecule is clearly capable of feats unexplainable by the science and technology that the humans on the show possess: It can make a whole asteroid vanish from ...
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0 votes
1 answer
852 views

Peter F. Hamilton Night's Dawn: Zero-Tau technology

I am in the process of reading the Night's Dawn trilogy by Hamilton. I think we can consider it hard sci-fi, since the explanations provided are quite plausible for all the technical and scientific ...
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1 vote
1 answer
246 views

Do multiple warp fields stack?

Warp cores use a huge amount of energy to create a warp field, and then a comparatively lesser amount of energy to maintain it. At warp 1, this is 20 gigajoules and 200 megajoules, respectively. Is it ...
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1 vote
0 answers
220 views

What were the power sources of the rings from Captain Planet?

Captain Planet's 'Planeteers' each have a powerful ring. What is the source of their power and does the use of this power itself cause pollution (e.g. is their use a ...
5 votes
3 answers
2k views

How does Nightcrawler's teleportation ability work during high speed movement?

From a physics standpoint, it is a well known fact that a moving object will only have its speed changed if another force is applied on it. This is called inertia. There are more implications of this, ...
3 votes
0 answers
478 views

How massive is the black hole in "World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls"? [closed]

You might be thinking that we cannot possibly know, because there's nothing on screen about it. But I think that this is one of those mind-bending puzzles where we seemingly have no information at ...
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4 votes
1 answer
873 views

Expected consequences of the Little Doctor from Ender's Game [closed]

Perhaps this is a question better suited for the physics exchange but maybe someone here would know. I was reading Ender's Game and I was trying to imagine what would happen physically after the ...
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10 votes
1 answer
765 views

Was lightsaber physics planned from the start, or was it retconned later, possibly due to a "Discovery" episode?

Today apparently I'm being inspired by other answers. In Star Wars, is there a pretend-science explanation of how lightsabers work (like midi-chlorians for The Force)? describes that the ...
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1 vote
1 answer
1k views

Why doesn't the Iron Man suit heat up when firing or flying at high speeds?

When Tony fires blasts or flies at very high speeds, why does his armour not heat up? When he lifts someone and flies with them, like in the picture below, why does it not cause any damage to Tony, as ...
-2 votes
3 answers
3k views

Could Ant-Man's suit create a black hole?

The theory of general relativity published by Albert Einstein in 1915 states that a sufficiently compact mass can deform spacetime to form a black hole. Black holes are therefore nothing more than an ...
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9 votes
2 answers
422 views

Has X-Men ever offered an in-universe explanation for how the "impossible" arises from a biological explanation?

First, let me say, I know people are going to say "It's just a comic/movie franchise, you have to suspend disbelief". Please bear with me. X-Men is a little different than other franchises....
8 votes
2 answers
5k views

In The Expanse, how does rotating Eros create gravity?

On various occasions in The Expanse TV series, it's mentioned that the asteroid Eros has artificial gravity. As explained in-universe, the gravity comes from rotation. This is especially mentioned on ...
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4 votes
2 answers
357 views

Are there planets with a greater gravitational pull in the Star Wars universe?

In all the movies, humans can walk normally on all planets and moons they visit, as if the gravity was similar everywhere. Is this really so? Are any planets with greater gravity represented? Which ...
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5 votes
2 answers
439 views

Did they ever deal with non-relativistic kinematics on Dragon's Egg?

On Earth there is both Newtonian (non-relativistic) and relativistic kinematics, for reasons of history and practicality. For example versus . On the neutron star world Dragon's Egg in the book of ...
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17 votes
1 answer
1k views

Looking for a book with a spacecraft with odd rules of physics

I think: The book is set aboard a spheric spacecraft which has very odd physical rules. It travels at the speed of light but the speed of light is the speed of sound aboard this ship. When people ...
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25 votes
7 answers
12k views

How was Jim able to space walk when the ship was traveling at .5 c?

Until now any space movies that I've seen where they have shown space walk, they show that either the ship isn't moving or the character is on the spaceship because of the magnetic boots. However in ...
1 vote
2 answers
345 views

How do space-time rifts keep their position constant on Earth?

In Doctor Who, a so called "rift" in the fabric space-time is created every so often usually as a direct or indirect result of the Doctor's own adventures. My question is that, as a tear in the very ...
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13 votes
4 answers
13k views

How did the Avalon (seemingly) get to Arcturus so quickly if they're only traveling at .5 of lightspeed?

Assume spoilers about Passengers from here, but really this has nothing to do with the plot so... There are a number of tiny points to criticize in the film, but what I'm really coming up empty on is ...
21 votes
2 answers
2k views

Do spacecraft in Star Wars produce jet blasts when taking off?

I'm talking about this kind of effect: I don't remember this happening in any movies, but can't easily find scenes online where spacecraft are taking off. In A New ...
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6 votes
1 answer
732 views

What happens to leaked energy in Sympathy?

I just started the Kingkiller Chronicle, and I have gotten to the general explanation of how Sympathy works. I'm wondering if there's an explanation for what happens to the extra energy when you ...
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7 votes
2 answers
4k views

How do they get to Andromeda so fast?

So this has been bothering me since I saw the teaser trailer yesterday, in the teaser they said it took 600 years to get to Andromeda from Earth. This just sounds WAY too short a period if time. So I ...
1 vote
0 answers
203 views

What power enables Quicksilver to move people at super-speed without killing them? [duplicate]

I just watched X-Men Apocalypse, and there's an awesome scene of quicksilver clearing everyone out of an exploding building, but I want to know why he isn't ripping people's skeletons right out of ...
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-4 votes
1 answer
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Is a sonic screwdriver possible? [closed]

Keeping it simple, is it possible to use sonic waves to apply rotary force to an object? And, if so, would it be possible to provide enough power to it via conventional battery tech?
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1 vote
0 answers
299 views

How is the vacuum of Star Wars space different from that of the Milky Way? [duplicate]

Take this scene for example: Anakin is wearing his regular battle outfit with a breathing helmet (whatever it's called irl) while Ahsoka is wearing a full body ...
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2 votes
1 answer
1k views

What do spacecraft travel paths in The Expanse look like? [closed]

In The Expanse, spacecraft use magical technology called Epstein Drives to travel at constant 1g acceleration (and deceleration), subject to real world physical constraints. This is in contrast to the ...
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7 votes
1 answer
601 views

Cosmic topology in Greg Egan's Orthogonal Universe

Eventually the people in the universe of Greg Egan's "Orthogonal" series figure out the topology of their cosmos. But then they say the opposite, that because of the presence of matter. So what ...
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3 votes
4 answers
4k views

How do ships control their aerodynamics in Star Wars?

How do flight-capable ships control their pitch, yaw and roll in atmospheric conditions and in space? Is there a difference whether the crafts are flight-capable in atmosphere only, space-only or both?...
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25 votes
5 answers
4k views

How to get sunburned through the window of a General Products hull?

In the short story Neutron Star by Larry Niven, the main character Beowulf Shaeffer's face is sunburned somehow when his ship - built from a General Products starship hull - passes very fast and very ...
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