Skip to main content
67 votes
Accepted

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

The very short answer is that the acceleration from the ship's engines is likely to be quite small. Note that this is an ionic drive that accelerates continually rather than a rocket that expends all ...
Valorum's user avatar
  • 696k
59 votes
Accepted

The Expanse: Sustained Gs during space travel

The Expanse uses torch ships on Brachistochrone trajectories Due to the Epstein Drive, fuel is not a (major) consideration so they don't need to worry about it. That means they can use the fastest/...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 4,975
51 votes

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

We are hurtling through space at an insane speed at this moment (30 kilometers per second riding on the back of the earth); did you notice it? No, because you can't feel speed, you can only feel ...
user20310's user avatar
  • 1,358
22 votes
Accepted

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

The only story I've ever read that matches this description is Redshift Rendezvous by John E. Stith. The ship achieves 'faster than light' travel in our universe by shifting into a 'hyperspace' where ...
Jeff Zeitlin's user avatar
  • 7,860
17 votes

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

Mostly not We know that many ships in the Star Wars universe use repulsors for vertical flight. Ordinary ships use them to hover: A low, throbbing whine from above directed our eyes to the sky, where ...
Adamant's user avatar
  • 117k
16 votes
Accepted

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

Assuming we're happy to look at the films as evidence, it would appear that a combination of practice, supernatural spider-reflexes and a delayed cut-off of the spinneret are what allow Spider-Man to ...
Valorum's user avatar
  • 696k
16 votes

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

As far as can be told, the 'solar mirror' phenomenon is a) normal within stars in this fictional universe and b) a purely fictional construct of the author. There are literally pages of borderline ...
Valorum's user avatar
  • 696k
16 votes
Accepted

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

Sounds like Greg Egan’s Orthogonal trilogy. There is considerable technical detail (more than 80,000 words, so enough for another novel) on Egan’s website. Orthogonal is a science fiction trilogy ...
Mike Scott's user avatar
  • 62.3k
15 votes

The Expanse: Sustained Gs during space travel

I understood "gravity holding him gently to the floor" to imply 'slow burn' steady acceleration, whereas "the crush of high acceleration" to me implies 'high acceleration' like ...
Lexible's user avatar
  • 22k
14 votes
Accepted

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

The scripts for both the original trilogy and the prequels refer to lightsabers as "laser swords". The Episode IV script uses the phrase "laser sword" three times, so Lucas evidently thought of ...
Null's user avatar
  • 70k
14 votes
Accepted

How does Miller survive the acceleration in The Expanse?

Both the novels and the TV show mention that the protomolecule system on Eros is able to eliminate inertia. When the still under-construction enormous LDS Church-commissioned generation ship Nauvoo is ...
Lexible's user avatar
  • 22k
13 votes

The Expanse: Sustained Gs during space travel

Yes, they're constantly accelerating (sometimes more, sometimes less). Safe or not, the only way to get across the solar system in days or weeks rather than months or years is to get up to very high ...
hobbs's user avatar
  • 1,818
12 votes

How do they get to Andromeda so fast?

In the trilogy it's said that man kind can travel 50 times the speed of light. Well... no. I'm not sure where you got that number from, but it disagrees with my sources. The ME3 Codex gives top ...
Kevin's user avatar
  • 9,514
12 votes

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

In the 'Passengers' universe Arcturus is only (approximately) 20 light years from Earth. We can be certain of the ship's flight time because the map room tells us Jim: Wait. How long ago did we leave ...
Valorum's user avatar
  • 696k
12 votes
Accepted

In The Expanse, how does rotating Eros create gravity?

From the source novel, Leviathan Wakes, we learn that people live inside Eros. The spin does indeed threaten to spin them off into space, but the floor (really the exterior walls) prevent this from ...
Valorum's user avatar
  • 696k
12 votes
Accepted

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

Nightcrawler's ability conserves momentum. In Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #147, after having teleported as far as he could straight up from his cell (to avoid risking materializing in a solid object): ...
FuzzyBoots's user avatar
  • 228k
11 votes

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

Perhaps George Gamow's Mr. Tompkins books: Mr Tompkins is the titular character in a series of four non-fiction books by the physicist George Gamow. The books are structured as a series of dreams ...
Micah's user avatar
  • 21.8k
11 votes
Accepted

What happens to leaked energy in Sympathy?

This is actually explained in-universe in The Wise Man's Fear, where Denna is speaking with Kvothe and a few other arcanists at the Eolian. Denna asks where the energy goes, and the answer is that ...
Mason Wheeler's user avatar
11 votes
Accepted

Cosmic topology in Greg Egan's Orthogonal Universe

However ... So ... You ask: This universe ... More details at http://www.gregegan.net/ORTHOGONAL/06/GRExtra.html
Greg Egan's user avatar
  • 341
11 votes

Are the laws of classical physics different in Star Wars?

At 9:26 in the "Mythology of Star Wars" interview below, Lucas talks about his attempts to create consistency in the Star Wars universe even if it's different from our own world, and he says ...
Hypnosifl's user avatar
  • 56.9k
11 votes

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

Dr. Murry is being laughed at because, by any reckoning, he is talking nonsense Dr. Murry is presenting to a group of scientists, many of whom are likely physicists, and he is essentially claiming ...
Chris M.'s user avatar
  • 537
10 votes
Accepted

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

Sam Moskowitz, prominent old-time fan and historian of science fiction, wrote an essay on Philip Wylie in his Studies in Science Fiction series. Titled "Philip Wylie: The Saccharine Cynic", ...
user14111's user avatar
  • 164k
9 votes

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

Pablo Hidalgo (Head of the Lucasfilm's Star Wars Story Group) spoke to this in a recent tweet. In short, ships in the Star Wars universe don't travel through pure vacuum. They instead travel through a ...
Valorum's user avatar
  • 696k
9 votes

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

According to the actual story itself, as it originally appeared in If, October 1966, it was just visible light. You can read the whole story at the Internet Archive. The following quotation is from ...
user14111's user avatar
  • 164k
9 votes

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

Narrative magic. Writers rarely worry about numbers. The bigger question is How was he not cooked through He is moving through interstellar space at .5 c outside the ship. Interstellar space is ...
Murphy's user avatar
  • 3,653
9 votes
Accepted

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

In low Earth orbit 2,000 km, orbital debris circle the Earth at speeds of between 7 to 8 km/s, when orbital debris collide with other orbital debris its create more orbital debris. Eventually debris ...
Oni's user avatar
  • 2,643
8 votes

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

Millennium Falcon blasted the mercenaries during its takeoff in The Force Awakens: As pointed out by Ixrec, the circumstances for this particular takeoff were unique - ...
Gallifreyan's user avatar
  • 20.5k
8 votes

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

Comic Science and common sense don't go hand in hand! Ant-Man doesn't use Relativistic Physics to shrink (or Enlarge) himself. He uses an imaginary particle known as Pym Particles! Thus the "real ...
Arcane's user avatar
  • 1,810

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible