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Good Science and Bad Science And Lack Thereof In Science Fiction Films and TV Series

Vertigo

Mad Mountain Man
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Curious - I envisage use of powerful electromagnetic fields acting as a form of shield - not least to protect against radiation in space - so a significant part of the ship would need to be ferromagnetic. However, I would also imagine that would need a protective layer around it - perhaps a composite foam, which may or may not need to be conductive. I also wouldn't imagine us trying to lift materials directly from the planet's surface, but instead mining in space - hence any shipyards as more likely to be in safe proximity to the asteroid belt, rather than in Earth orbit.
I'm not sure a generated electromagnetic field would be good for giving consistent grip all over the hull and as for generating the field, I don't think you would use an iron based hull to generate it but rather electrical coils or I seem to remember vaguely that in order to generate a sufficient strong field to act as a shield plasma maybe came into the equation somewhere. And whilst lifting a heavy aircraft out of a gravity well would be expensive so would accelerating a heavy craft. So, even if built in space, I still think ferrous materials would be avoided.
 

Brian G Turner

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I'm not sure a generated electromagnetic field would be good for giving consistent grip all over the hull and as for generating the field, I don't think you would use an iron based hull to generate it but rather electrical coils or I seem to remember vaguely that in order to generate a sufficient strong field to act as a shield plasma maybe came into the equation somewhere. And whilst lifting a heavy aircraft out of a gravity well would be expensive so would accelerating a heavy craft. So, even if built in space, I still think ferrous materials would be avoided.
Oops, I think I had a brain fart - I'm certainly not thinking of an iron-based hull or the ability to use magnetic boots on the exterior, so you can breathe a sigh of relief there. :)

I would also imagine any EM field would be produced by a power core rather than locally. However, I would also imagine it could be helpful to be able to use some part of the ship's superstructure to conduct and shape the field so that it covers the ship (presuming it's not a sphere).

I think I may be tripping over my terminology, too - there would actually be no need to use anything ferromagnetic at all, simply materials that are good conductors. I've been watching developments with carbon allotropes and conductive plastics. Lightweight composite foams may could do what I need - and maybe provide mechanical support as well.

(This is one reason why I never normally mention details of the materials used. :D )
 

Justin Swanton

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Thinking about it, I can't remember any SF movie I watched that didn't seriously sin against science at some point or other. Even The Martian failed badly with the Martian storm and the fact that regardless what he did, Mark Watney would have been dead from Cosmic radiation and/or solar flares long before he could return to Earth.

The problem with using space as a backdrop to a story is the fact that it's virtually impossible to have an adventure out there and still come out alive. Apollo 13 is the closest. Notice how narrow the margins of error are. The story is all about the maths and NASA's ingenuity in coming up with a way of scrubbing the accumulating CO2.
 

hej

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Yes that idea was discussed previously but it seems like an horrendously overly complex and expensive solution just to allow for the occasional forays onto the outer hull. I think the gecko idea that also crops up so often in SF is much more likely and/or simple safety lines, which I think is what is used on the ISS.
hunh. Not sure why I missed it.

The gecko-like approach seems much better.

Does anyone have information about its recent or present use (whether on the ISS or not)?
 

Justin Swanton

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hunh. Not sure why I missed it.

The gecko-like approach seems much better.

Does anyone have information about its recent or present use (whether on the ISS or not)?
As far as I know astronauts on the ISS doing EVA's just use tethers. They tried a jet pack at one time and decided it was too dangerous.
 

Mirannan

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One idea that might work to make the magnetic boots useful: It's not all that well known that iron and its alloys are far from the best at holding magnetic fields; various exotic alloys of several different rare earth metals are rather better. So it is at least possible that a solution to this problem might be to use rare earth magnets in the boots (to reduce the mass; a good point there) and a thin layer of rare earth alloy plated onto the hull (probably on the inside) for them to grab on to.
 

Vertigo

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hunh. Not sure why I missed it.

The gecko-like approach seems much better.

Does anyone have information about its recent or present use (whether on the ISS or not)?
I don't think we're quite there yet with gecko like material but I think we are getting there. And I suspect such materials are likely to work better in space where things aren't going to be covered in dust and other muck.
 

BAYLOR

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I don't think we're quite there yet with gecko like material but I think we are getting there. And I suspect such materials are likely to work better in space where things aren't going to be covered in dust and other muck.
What they could do is put magnetic small magnetic plates and could be walked upon on the side of the capsule , not a lot of them but enough so that they co outside and explore and make repairs.
 

Vertigo

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What they could do is put magnetic small magnetic plates and could be walked upon on the side of the capsule , not a lot of them but enough so that they co outside and explore and make repairs.
That could provide a nice little plot point. If you misplace your foot it would be pretty obvious whether it had been grabbed by a magnetic plate but if, say, you were trying to escape a villain and a bit panicky then you might misplace a foot and... oh dear!
 

BAYLOR

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That could provide a nice little plot point. If you misplace your foot it would be pretty obvious whether it had been grabbed by a magnetic plate but if, say, you were trying to escape a villain and a bit panicky then you might misplace a foot and... oh dear!
I wish I could write fiction.:)
 

psikeyhackr

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Personally I would think jet packs are more versatile - can't quite understand why NASA abandoned them.
There was more connection to the military than NASA usually admitted to and people though a soldier using a jet pack would be an easier target than a flying duck, it wasn't very fast. Plus they never got much flying time.

psik
 
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BAYLOR

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There was more connection to the military than NASA usually admitted to and people though a soldier using a jet pack would be an easier target than a flying duck, it wasn't very fast. Plus they never got much flying time.

psik
What happens if you run out propellant at height that a parachute won't remedy?
 

Lumens

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In the latest Cloverfiled Paradox, the centrifugal force is offset by 90 degrees on the space ship. Terrible.

And a single Higgs boson causes world changing events to happen... And, and, ... oh never mind. :X3:
 

J Riff

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Yes, is it SF or fantasy>? same's time travel stories. but ..Once you have 2 dimensions crashing together, well a lot of fun movie stuff can happen so what the heck, run wit it. But.. I wonder, what dimension are the giant monsters from? They aren't in either of Cloverfield 2 or 3, until the last minute of this new one. So, is there a 3rd monster dimension? or are they hiding, yknow... between the dimensions... and are freed because, because.... And how to send them back? something clever, since nuking them seems to not be enough.
 

BAYLOR

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Yes, is it SF or fantasy>? same's time travel stories. but ..Once you have 2 dimensions crashing together, well a lot of fun movie stuff can happen so what the heck, run wit it. But.. I wonder, what dimension are the giant monsters from? They aren't in either of Cloverfield 2 or 3, until the last minute of this new one. So, is there a 3rd monster dimension? or are they hiding, yknow... between the dimensions... and are freed because, because.... And how to send them back? something clever, since nuking them seems to not be enough.
I tired watching the first one and couldn't get into it.
 

Vertigo

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Following on from that (falling and landing suddenly!) in a book rather than film, I recently read a real clanger:

If you took a long fall inside a ship — say, down the engine shaft on a big homesteader — you’d have enough time to shout the word “falling!” This would prompt the local AI to turn off the adjacent artigrav net. Your descent would abruptly end, and you’d be free to drift over to the nearest railing. You’d piss off anyone in the vicinity who’d been drinking mek or working with small tech parts, but it was a fair price to pay for staying alive.
You'd stop accelerating but you wouldn't stop moving and you'd almost certainly be moving fast enough by then for death or at least injury. Reversing the artificial gravity for exactly the right amount of time would work but would also have catastrophic rather than just inconvenient consequences for everyone else.

Frankly if an author/scriptwriter/director can't wrap their mind around basic physics they should avoid Science Fiction.
 
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