Questions tagged [physics]

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

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1answer
249 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 ...
7
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1answer
318 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,...
68
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3answers
57k views

How does Captain America's shield work?

Captain America is able to throw his circular shield and have it return it to him like a boomerang. Is this even possible according to physics (especially considering the ranges at which he uses the ...
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1answer
109 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, ...
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2answers
238 views

In-system Space flight mechanics in the Union/Alliance universe

I am having trouble understanding the in-system space flight mechanics in the Union/Alliance universe. It seems that the spaceships come from Jump at a moderate high fraction of lightspeed, which ...
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2answers
5k views

Why does Captain America's Shield make noise?

If the shield doesn't vibrate, how could it produce sound? This would necessitate something vibrating to move the air. The only thing that I can think of that is plausible, is that vibranium is able ...
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2answers
639 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
1k 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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4answers
10k views

In Stargate why can you go only in one direction through the gate but radio signals can go both ways?

So why can people and other objects just go in the one direction while radio signals can go both ways? Is that ever explained or is it just fact?
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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 ...
18
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1answer
331 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
298 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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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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7answers
87k views

What is the best scientific explanation for how The Flash moves so fast without issue, or is it just “magic?”

The Flash goes from zero to ??? in an eye blink. As he does not have a Saturn 5 rocket on his back, how do you explain the acceleration? How do you explain his ability to stop on a dime and turn ...
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1answer
621 views

Why doesn't The Flash catch fire due to air friction? [duplicate]

What protects The Flash from air friction? At the speed at which he moves, he should be affected by air friction.
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0answers
199 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 ...
7
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2answers
619 views

Niven's “Neutron Star:” plausibility of premise?

It's been a long time since I read the Larry Niven story "Neutron Star," so I'm relying mainly on the Wikipedia article (linked). The body of my question is hidden behind spoiler tags because there's ...
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0answers
54 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 ...
4
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4answers
648 views

How could the matter converter in Tron Legacy generate an army

E=MC2 is a physical law, matter and energy are linked. Theoretically it would be possible to convert a significant amount of energy into matter, like reverse nuclear fusion. How would the matter ...
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1answer
161 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 ...
18
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5answers
22k views

What is the difference between photon torpedoes and quantum torpedoes?

It seems that quantum torpedeos are the next generation of photon torpedoes but I was wondering what made them better and what makes them 'quantum'.
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1answer
175 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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12answers
25k views

Why and how can you hear explosions in space in Star Wars?

Considering that sound can't travel through vacuum.
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2answers
944 views

Excessive force used by Superman mysteriously fails to cause injury?

It was established in an answer to another question that Sheldon from Big Bang Theory was wrong to say that Superman doesn't have enough space to gently decelerate Lois when he catches her and a ...
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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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1answer
628 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
370 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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1answer
202 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
189 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 ...
3
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3answers
463 views

Could the Quadros 1 probe have been launched in 2193?

The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Emissary" establishes the existence of the Quadros-1 probe, which surveyed the Gamma Quadrant. Apparently it encountered the Idran system, close to the Gamma ...
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3answers
1k 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, ...
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4answers
6k views

In Gravity, are the orbital mechanics of space debris plausible? [closed]

I Gravity, a satellite somewhere is shot down by a missile, and the debris from that hits other satellites causing a chain reaction of rapidly increasing amount of space debris. The protagonists are ...
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6answers
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When a ship drops out of warp does it retain the speed it was at when it entered warp?

Within the Trek Universe, if a Starship was to enter warp while at full impulse, would it still be at full impulse when it dropped out of warp? In the same vein; Is it even possible to enter warp ...
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3answers
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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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1answer
636 views

Looking for the name of a book where a physicist gets transported to a medieval world

The character meets a witch of some kind that sucks the life from men, but manages to escape. He first encounters her when she seems to be running from some kind of creature or guards. He helps her ...
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0answers
393 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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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? ...
4
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1answer
572 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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2answers
2k views

In WALL•E, why does everyone get thrown when the Axiom suddenly lists?

In WALL•E when Captain McCrea is fighting for control of the Axiom, he ends up forcing the ship to abruptly list when he's thrown off of Auto. This, of course, has the undesirable side effect of ...
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2answers
6k views

How can ship crew walk in USS Enterprise?

Has there been a scientific explanation for ship crew walking in spaceships in Star Trek? I know rotating stations can create artifical gravity but USS Enterprise does not rotate, at least not enough ...
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3answers
532 views

Was the idea of a tidal dislocation weapon ever suggested in SciFi? [closed]

In an intense and non uniform gravity field, the various parts of a moving body tend to follow different trajectories, and will unless the whole structure is tied strongly enough to prevent flying ...
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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 ...
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1answer
613 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
8k views

In Star Wars, is there a pretend-science explanation of how lightsabers work (like midi-chlorians for The Force)?

In Star Wars, Luke wielded both a lightsaber and the Force, neither of which was explained in much detail. In The Phantom Menace, it was explained that intelligent microscopic life-forms called midi-...
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1answer
931 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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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 ...
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11answers
17k views

Is there a canon explanation for how Proton Torpedoes were able to turn 90 degrees at the end of Star Wars: ANH

Based on this question: Why did Luke need a targeting computer in the first place? Proton Torpedoes launched from Luke's X-Wing were able to change direction 'on a dime' 90 degrees to get into Death ...
7
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1answer
241 views

How was the messaging system in The Arrows of Time (Orthogonal #3, by Greg Egan) supposed to work?

In particular, why didn't messages being relayed from the future use up bandwidth and prevent new messages from being sent back?
7
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1answer
419 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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2answers
358 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 ...