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Questions tagged [physics]

Questions about the physics of a fictional universe. Questions purely concerning real-world physics are off-topic.

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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, ...
2
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2answers
580 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 ...
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1answer
302 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^...
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1answer
728 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 ...
5
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1answer
297 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 ...
7
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1answer
277 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,...
10
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0answers
187 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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0answers
52 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 ...
14
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1answer
1k 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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1answer
167 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....
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1answer
158 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 ...
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1answer
590 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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1answer
321 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 ...
1
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1answer
197 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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0answers
176 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 ...
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3answers
825 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, ...
2
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0answers
351 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 ...
4
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1answer
531 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 ...
10
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1answer
594 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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1answer
839 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 ...
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3answers
2k 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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2answers
345 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. We ...
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2answers
2k 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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2answers
266 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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2answers
256 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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1answer
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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7answers
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 ...
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2answers
185 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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4answers
10k 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
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2answers
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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1answer
637 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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2answers
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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 ...
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0answers
93 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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1answer
780 views

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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0answers
177 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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1answer
625 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 ...
7
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1answer
405 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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3answers
2k 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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5answers
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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5answers
487 views

What was the first story where a universal constant had a different value?

In some stories, the value of a universal constant is different than it is reality. For example, in Going Postal: 'Something like that, sir, probably, something like that,' said Groat. 'Three and ...
2
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0answers
129 views

How does Finn sit in the gunner seat with gravity affecting him [duplicate]

I'm thinking that if Finn is sitting in the Millenium Falcon and then runs to the lower turret, then as he sits in the chair for the lower turret, he is literally facing down. This means gravity from ...
5
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1answer
495 views

Are the laws of classical physics different in Star Wars?

Star Wars is supposed to be set in the same universe as Earth, being a galaxy far, far, away. Within the limited domain of classical physics, are the laws the same or different? We know in the other ...
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1answer
141 views

Fastest speed for the ship?

When John and Jade enter the Yellow Yard, she explains to him that it will take three years to cross the entire distance. She says that it will take them this long because you cannot go faster than ...
38
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5answers
10k views

From the bridge why can you see another ship in space, shouldn't there be no light?

Sorry if this has been asked before but I searched and was unable to locate an answer. Something that has always bothered me is in Star Trek whenever the Enterprise comes upon another ship in deep ...
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2answers
3k views

What happens to lasers in space battles?

In Star Wars, we see many space battles and there are many missed shots. What happens to the lasers when they fly off into space? Do they eventually just fizzle out, or do they continue on forever? ...
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3answers
755 views

Do you keep momentum when you Apparate?

For example, if you were falling, facing upwards, and you Disapparated, would you continue to move backwards really fast once you got there? If so, could you change your momentum by Apparating to a ...
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0answers
113 views

Firing from Starkiller Base [duplicate]

In the movie we see This event appears to be observed simultaneously and instantaneously/in real-time by multiple characters from a variety of very different vantage points. For instance: Han, Rey,...
4
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2answers
431 views

In ST:VOY why didn't fluidic space collapse into a black hole?

I've been thinking about this question for many years, and today I came upon this amazing question, Why didn't fluidic space crush Voyager?. Part of the accepted answer is: It is safe to ...
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1answer
1k views

“The Martian” and weight units [closed]

In the book (and probably in the movie too, can't remember) there's several mentions of kilograms, with no mention of the difference between kilograms on Mars and on Earth, at least if you try to lift ...
4
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3answers
687 views

How strong would Clark have to be to lift the school bus out of the water? [closed]

How much additional weight would the water have added to the bus and how much strength would be needed to lift the bus out of the water in the way that he did?