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Ravenshaw

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Science Questions?
« on: September 10, 2014, 12:59:27 AM »
Hi there! Firstly, thanks for giving this a read. I'm an aspiring author who's currently working on a science fiction novel. The problem is, science is not my strong suit, but I want it to be heavy on the science and light on the fiction(So to speak.). Anyway, I have lots of questions, and if anyone want's to answer them, I'd be much obliged. I had some questions answered years ago by some wonderful people on this site, but now I've started writing again and I have more!!! Anyway, I'll list off any questions I have, and if you feel like helping, awesome! If not, thanks anyway, and have a nice day!! (Also, when it becomes published, anyone who helps will get their handle[Or name, if they prefer] put into the special thanks section of the book. Just fyi. ^.^ ) Oh! Also, if you think of any questions I haven't asked, but should, feel free. I'm more than open to suggestions, as long as they're constructive!! Thanks!!


First question, is there a correlation between planetary climate and gravity? I know there's a correlation between size and gravity, but what about climate?

Second question, would it be possible over 400+ years, through a combination of subtle environment changes and outright genetic modification, to create humans capable of living in much higher gravity, such as twice Earth standard?

Third question, on a massive starship, the easiest way to create artificial gravity would be centrifugal force as far as I know. Is that correct?

Fourth question, are asteroid clusters possible outside of a traditional solar system? Or would they continue on in one direction until they were drawn into the gravity of a star?

Fifth question, would it be possible to have a nuclear reactor inside of a ship completely shut down if needed, and/or jettisoned? Or would that ruin the fuel rods to shut it down?

Anyway, that's all I can think of for now, but any and all help would be appreciated!!

(Edit)

Question Six, what would theoretically be the easiest method of cloning a human if ethics restrictions were removed from scientists? Would it be stem cells or some other method?

« Last Edit: September 10, 2014, 04:14:33 AM by Ravenshaw »

Hellpotatoe

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Re: Science Questions?
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2014, 01:50:26 AM »
I could actually answer these questions if I had time to do so :(
But I'm sure that this place is full of people who'll try to help you as much as you need!

..right?

Xriqxa

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Re: Science Questions?
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2014, 01:51:09 AM »
Answers:

1. No, unless you had an incredibly thick atmosphere. Then the surface pressure would push you down by a significant amount.

2. Definitely. In fact, if you had the right technology, you could genetically modify a human to be suited for a planet, so you wouldn't even have to wait for mutations to take their course.

3. Yes, in fact this is the only practical way to create an artificial gravity force.

4. It'd be quite rare. Objects this big can't form outside a star system, so the said asteroids would have to have been flung out of their system by a rogue planet or a similar force.

5. Could you explain a bit more clearly?

Hope this helped ad good luck!

Ravenshaw

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Re: Science Questions?
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2014, 02:12:18 AM »
Thank you! And for question one, does that mean that you can have a planet with, say, twice Earths gravity where one side is a Siberia-esqe snowy wasteland and the other is like, Mordor-ish?


And for question 5, what I mean is... Uh... Hmmm... I'll have to give an example. The ship(s) will be powered by Nuclear reactors, because as far as I know, there's no other way to carry enough fuel for a 400+ year journey. If one of the multiple reactors were to have some sort of problem, ranging from a leak to physical damage or sabotage, would it be possible to quickly and safely shut it down without causing it permanent damage, or would doing so cause irreparable harm to the fuel rods.. Or something? I'm not an idiot, I just don't know that much about science. DX I was always more of a language guy.



And as a further explanation of what I meant about question two in regards to the subtle environment manipulation is the the ships are on a 400 year journey, and each ship is heading towards a planet that is capable of sustaining life, but would kill a contemporary human fairly quickly, so as they journey, the ships are lowering or raising their gravity, as well as performing genetic modifications on their people, in addition to acclimating people to higher or lower temperatures and/or atmospheric moisture levels and such. Did that make any sense, and would that work for what you were saying?



And another question related to number 2, wouldn't being adjusted for a planet with lower gravity make you shorter and stronger, but slower, and vice versa? For instance, one of the planets in the story will only have a third of the gravity of Earth, in addition to being incredibly watery and stormy. I'm thinking it'll be close to 90% water. Would that mean people adjusted for life on that planet would be much taller? Also, what would the severely increased moisture content of the air do to their lungs? Would there be any changes?


Edit: Also, would an atmosphere that had a different construction than Earth's, combined with a star other than the sun produce a sky that wasn't blue?

Triple-post merged by Bla
« Last Edit: September 10, 2014, 11:17:19 AM by Bla »

Bla

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Re: Science Questions?
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2014, 03:58:41 AM »
Fifth question, would it be possible to have a nuclear reactor inside of a ship completely shut down if needed, and/or jettisoned? Or would that ruin the fuel rods to shut it down?
There are different types of nuclear reactors, some use thorium and don't need fuel rods and can more easily/safely shut down, those could be an option.
In science fiction nuclear fusion may also be worth considering, as it could generate vastly more energy compared to fission (plus the fuel sources being much more common), if we develop technology that can utilize it. (the processes need extremely high temperatures/pressure to take place)

Ravenshaw

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Re: Science Questions?
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2014, 04:05:21 AM »
Fifth question, would it be possible to have a nuclear reactor inside of a ship completely shut down if needed, and/or jettisoned? Or would that ruin the fuel rods to shut it down?
There are different types of nuclear reactors, some use thorium and don't need fuel rods and can more easily/safely shut down, those could be an option.
In science fiction nuclear fusion may also be worth considering, as it could generate vastly more energy compared to fission (plus the fuel sources being much more common), if we develop technology that can utilize it. (the processes need extremely high temperatures/pressure to take place)

Well, it's occurring about two generations from now, BUT WWII never happened(So no weaponized nuclear stuff, but it was still discovered, if that makes sense.), so science had more resources and conceivably we had today's level of tech back in the seventies.  These ships are going to be massive, and divided into three modular sections. Each section needs to be capable of powering itself if need be, and each will have their own reactor. Safety is a huge concern, but power output is as well. The reactors will have to power not only the ship itself, but possibly the engines, unless there's a better way to have the engines powered for a 400+ year journey? What would you suggest as far as a nuclear reactor, knowing those requirements and other information?

(Edit)
Also, if Thorium would be the best option, how much would a reactor need to operate for that long, and would there be enough in our solar system to run 24 large reactors with that as fuel for 400+ years?
« Last Edit: September 10, 2014, 04:16:45 AM by Ravenshaw »

Xriqxa

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Re: Science Questions?
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2014, 05:14:59 AM »
Thank you! And for question one, does that mean that you can have a planet with, say, twice Earths gravity where one side is a Siberia-esqe snowy wasteland and the other is like, Mordor-ish?

So like a tidally locked planet? Well, one side would be completely frozen and the toher would be covered in an eternal hurricane, but the small space inbetween the two would be potentially life-sustaining. So, you can haz a teeny bit of your Mordor.

Quote
And for question 5, what I mean is... Uh... Hmmm... I'll have to give an example. The ship(s) will be powered by Nuclear reactors, because as far as I know, there's no other way to carry enough fuel for a 400+ year journey. If one of the multiple reactors were to have some sort of problem, ranging from a leak to physical damage or sabotage, would it be possible to quickly and safely shut it down without causing it permanent damage, or would doing so cause irreparable harm to the fuel rods.. Or something? I'm not an idiot, I just don't know that much about science. DX I was always more of a language guy.

I don't think so. My fictional universe thing (Olheria; Check it out ;) (there are three threads for it)) travels such distances with solar sails, which are large refelctive sheets which are pushed by natrual light. This acclerates ships to near-light speed slowly but surely.
And as a further explanation of what I meant about question two in regards to the subtle environment manipulation is the the ships are on a 400 year journey, and each ship is heading towards a planet that is capable of sustaining life, but would kill a contemporary human fairly quickly, so as they journey, the ships are lowering or raising their gravity, as well as performing genetic modifications on their people, in addition to acclimating people to higher or lower temperatures and/or atmospheric moisture levels and such. Did that make any sense, and would that work for what you were saying?
Oh God that sounds awesome. And yes it would work.
And another question related to number 2, wouldn't being adjusted for a planet with lower gravity make you shorter and stronger, but slower, and vice versa? For instance, one of the planets in the story will only have a third of the gravity of Earth, in addition to being incredibly watery and stormy. I'm thinking it'll be close to 90% water. Would that mean people adjusted for life on that planet would be much taller? Also, what would the severely increased moisture content of the air do to their lungs? Would there be any changes?

I don't think it's natrually possible for an entire planet to be composed of such a high level of water. Do you mean 90% of it's surface is water?

The people wouldn't need any physical modification, but I'm pretty sure that the lung walls will have to be thickened to tolerate a high moisture level.

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Edit: Also, would an atmosphere that had a different construction than Earth's, combined with a star other than the sun produce a sky that wasn't blue?

Oh yes. The oxygen and nitrogen in our atmosphere scatter the blue light in the white light of the sun more than the other 6 colors. I'll have to look up what gasses and stars make what colors of sky, but I think carbon dioxide would make a red sky and dihydrogen monoxide would make a white sky.

I hope I'm helping!

Ravenshaw

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Re: Science Questions?
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2014, 05:33:08 AM »
Thank you! And for question one, does that mean that you can have a planet with, say, twice Earths gravity where one side is a Siberia-esqe snowy wasteland and the other is like, Mordor-ish?

So like a tidally locked planet? Well, one side would be completely frozen and the toher would be covered in an eternal hurricane, but the small space inbetween the two would be potentially life-sustaining. So, you can haz a teeny bit of your Mordor.

Quote
And for question 5, what I mean is... Uh... Hmmm... I'll have to give an example. The ship(s) will be powered by Nuclear reactors, because as far as I know, there's no other way to carry enough fuel for a 400+ year journey. If one of the multiple reactors were to have some sort of problem, ranging from a leak to physical damage or sabotage, would it be possible to quickly and safely shut it down without causing it permanent damage, or would doing so cause irreparable harm to the fuel rods.. Or something? I'm not an idiot, I just don't know that much about science. DX I was always more of a language guy.

I don't think so. My fictional universe thing (Olheria; Check it out ;) (there are three threads for it)) travels such distances with solar sails, which are large refelctive sheets which are pushed by natrual light. This acclerates ships to near-light speed slowly but surely.
And as a further explanation of what I meant about question two in regards to the subtle environment manipulation is the the ships are on a 400 year journey, and each ship is heading towards a planet that is capable of sustaining life, but would kill a contemporary human fairly quickly, so as they journey, the ships are lowering or raising their gravity, as well as performing genetic modifications on their people, in addition to acclimating people to higher or lower temperatures and/or atmospheric moisture levels and such. Did that make any sense, and would that work for what you were saying?
Oh God that sounds awesome. And yes it would work.
And another question related to number 2, wouldn't being adjusted for a planet with lower gravity make you shorter and stronger, but slower, and vice versa? For instance, one of the planets in the story will only have a third of the gravity of Earth, in addition to being incredibly watery and stormy. I'm thinking it'll be close to 90% water. Would that mean people adjusted for life on that planet would be much taller? Also, what would the severely increased moisture content of the air do to their lungs? Would there be any changes?

I don't think it's natrually possible for an entire planet to be composed of such a high level of water. Do you mean 90% of it's surface is water?

The people wouldn't need any physical modification, but I'm pretty sure that the lung walls will have to be thickened to tolerate a high moisture level.

Quote
Edit: Also, would an atmosphere that had a different construction than Earth's, combined with a star other than the sun produce a sky that wasn't blue?

Oh yes. The oxygen and nitrogen in our atmosphere scatter the blue light in the white light of the sun more than the other 6 colors. I'll have to look up what gasses and stars make what colors of sky, but I think carbon dioxide would make a red sky and dihydrogen monoxide would make a white sky.

I hope I'm helping!

Firstly, YES!!! You're super helping. Having a sounding board is the best thing for any writing at all.

Secondly, I totally worded some of those things wrong. In regards to the Mordor/Siberia planet, is there any way to get both climates on a planet while still sustaining human life? Extensive genetic tinkering and acclimation would be done ahead of time.
Second Secondly, I will check out Olheria!!!
 Thirdly, would solar sails work in "deep space" and would shielding be a problem? Currently the shielding scheme is building as thick as possible of a hull, as well as mining obscenely large chunks of Pluto and shaping them into what I'm told is called Ablative Shielding.
Second Thirdly, yes, I definitely meant surface composition. If the planet itself was 90% water, that wouldn't be a planet, it'd be a cosmic water ballon. DX
And finally, again with genetic modification and acclimation, would it be possible for humans to breathe in an atmosphere such as Carbon Dioxide or Carbon Monoxide? For instance, could first gen humans breathe it with lung implants only, second gen humans with minor lung implants, and third gen completely on their own?

Xriqxa

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Re: Science Questions?
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2014, 05:48:58 AM »

Firstly, YES!!! You're super helping. Having a sounding board is the best thing for any writing at all.
Yey. I liking of helpz.

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Secondly, I totally worded some of those things wrong. In regards to the Mordor/Siberia planet, is there any way to get both climates on a planet while still sustaining human life? Extensive genetic tinkering and acclimation would be done ahead of time.

I guess you could have a frozen planet with geothermal pockets to produce little Mordor spots, like in Star Wars.
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Second Secondly, I will check out Olheria!!!

You'll have to wait some time. Schooling gets in th way of my projects a LOT, so I can only be productive a few hours a week :c
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Thirdly, would solar sails work in "deep space" and would shielding be a problem? Currently the shielding scheme is building as thick as possible of a hull, as well as mining obscenely large chunks of Pluto and shaping them into what I'm told is called Ablative Shielding.

Solar Sails would continue to accelerate in deep space, but at a very slow rate. Olherians power their solar sails with lasers.
Other than that, shielding in't much of a problem.
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Second Thirdly, yes, I definitely meant surface composition. If the planet itself was 90% water, that wouldn't be a planet, it'd be a cosmic water ballon. DX

Actually it'd be like a gas giant, gradually getting denser and denser towards the core until you've got Ice IV.
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And finally, again with genetic modification and acclimation, would it be possible for humans to breathe in an atmosphere such as Carbon Dioxide or Carbon Monoxide? For instance, could first gen humans breathe it with lung implants only, second gen humans with minor lung implants, and third gen completely on their own?

Yes to all of that.

Ravenshaw

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Re: Science Questions?
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2014, 06:00:11 AM »
The frozen planet with geothermal spots sounds PERFECT. The lack of area to grow plants doesn't matter, as it can all be done via hydroponics.

That's okay, because I'm terrible at being productive even when I have time. DX

Sadly, my people don't have any type of access to lasers. And there will be a significant amount of travelling through deep space. Basically the backstory is alternate history, four superpowers, earth is going to hell. One superpower spots four (Relatively) close solar systems that can each sustain life. They're 400+ years travel away at the technology level of the time of discovery. Each superpower builds a colony ship, sends them off. The four solar systems are all within a years travel of each other, and each superpower gets one solar system to themselves. So they're basically making a beeline from earth to these faraway systems.

And awesome! Cause that will need to happen. I really like the white and red sky ideas. Another question, on a watery planet like what we were talking about with the whole 90+% surface coverage and storms and stuff (Think Kamino-esqe), what would the atmosphere be like there, color and composition-wise? Also, would it be possible for a planet of that composition to have very low gravity?

Xriqxa

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Re: Science Questions?
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2014, 06:24:54 AM »
Well, there are limits for sufficient gravity for atmosphere sustaining. For example, Luna does not have enough gravity to sustain an atmosphere. I'm sure 1/3 G would be able to sustain an atmosphere.
I tried to find out how massive a planet needs to be to sustain an atmosphere but unfortunately no answers.

How close are the systems (LY)? And what speed are your ships travelling at? 0.9c? 12/100c? 

What do you mean that "no laser access"? You mean they suck at building lasers?

The atmosphere of your Kamino would probably be mainly Carbon Oxides, Dihydrogen Monoxide, Oxygen, and Nitrogen. Because of the storms it'd be a grey sky, but (if my theories are correct) without the cloud cover the sky would be lightish blue with a tint of pink.

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And awesome! Cause that will need to happen. I really like the white and red sky ideas.

Don't take this as a fact; These are theories. I'll do some research on this topic.

P.S. While I was writing this I looked up to see a spider poised to lunge at my face. HL3 Confirmed.

Ravenshaw

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Re: Science Questions?
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2014, 06:36:13 AM »
I was thinking half, but if 1/3rd could do it that'd be even better.

I have no idea of the speed, obviously less than lightspeed, which means the systems would have to be less than a light year away from each other.

And no, I mean in this alternate history, lasers aren't a thing. They haven't put much research into them, basically deciding prematurely that they wouldn't be useful and focusing their research into other areas.


And that sounds like a good sky color for that group.

Also, I WAS planning on sleeping, but nope. I need the first ticket for the train to nopesville, please.

Xriqxa

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Re: Science Questions?
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2014, 06:45:27 AM »
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I have no idea of the speed, obviously less than lightspeed, which means the systems would have to be less than a light year away from each other.

That wouldn't work. The Solar System is ~2 LY in diameter. If two stars were that close it'd be a binary system. The stars would have to be at least 4 LY away.

A practical speed to be at is 0.1c.

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And no, I mean in this alternate history, lasers aren't a thing. They haven't put much research into them, basically deciding prematurely that they wouldn't be useful and focusing their research into other areas.
Laser surgery, laser guided missiles, laser cutters (for metal factories), laser cat toys...
 

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And that sounds like a good sky color for that group.
THIS IS UNCONFIRMED. DON'T GET YOUR HOPES UP.

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Also, I WAS planning on sleeping, but nope. I need the first ticket for the train to nopesville, please.

Lol. Arachnophobia? Or just too immersed in this convo?

Ravenshaw

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Re: Science Questions?
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2014, 06:52:22 AM »
Damn. Is there ANY way to get 4 solar systems all within a year's travel of each other? It could be one giant system, if that's a thing. I may end up having to change it, I suppose. Damn.


They have advanced robotics for surgery, no laser guided missiles, high-pressure water cannons for metal factories, but they DO have super-super basic lasers. Laser pointers. Not even hot enough to pop a balloon or anything, but useful for pointing.

I'm now 100% hope.


And the answer is in fact, yes. All of the above.

Xriqxa

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Re: Science Questions?
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2014, 09:32:11 AM »
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Damn. Is there ANY way to get 4 solar systems all within a year's travel of each other? It could be one giant system, if that's a thing. I may end up having to change it, I suppose. Damn.
You can make a quartenary system. They work like this:
http://i.imgur.com/c5iXSb6.png

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They have advanced robotics for surgery, no laser guided missiles, high-pressure water cannons for metal factories, but they DO have super-super basic lasers. Laser pointers. Not even hot enough to pop a balloon or anything, but useful for pointing.
.-.

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I'm now 100% hope.

FAIL


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And the answer is in fact, yes. All of the above.

.-.

Ravenshaw

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Re: Science Questions?
« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2014, 12:33:24 PM »
Quote
Damn. Is there ANY way to get 4 solar systems all within a year's travel of each other? It could be one giant system, if that's a thing. I may end up having to change it, I suppose. Damn.
You can make a quartenary system. They work like this:
http://i.imgur.com/c5iXSb6.png

So would that essentially be 4 solar systems entwined? That actually works pretty well, assuming I'm understanding it correctly. Each star would have it's own collection of planets orbiting? Or would the planets have an orbit shared between multiple stars or something?

Gordon Freeman

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Re: Science Questions?
« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2014, 11:59:33 AM »
What happened to RavenShaw?