This questions is, perhaps, partly related to Questions seeking scientific explanations - on topic?

I took stab at What do spacecraft travel paths in The Expanse look like? but part of the OPs requirement was whether the flightpaths were accurately represented (at least that was my impression).

Given that this is a fictional magic drive system I didn't see how any answer could be provided and it was my opinion that science fact questions were off-topic.

He asked..in the comments.

I need to ask a question about real physics (incorporating the fictional premise of the technology).

Isn't this off-topic and more appropriate for Physics SE?

Perhaps this is a grey area or I'm just plain wrong (it happens) but could anyone shine some light on this for me?


1 Answer 1


In this instance, the question has been phrased in such a way as to make it off-topic, when a very simple edit would resolve the issue.

The title asks "What do spacecraft travel paths in The Expanse look like?" (which is perfectly well on-topic) but then goes on to say "Are there generalizations that can be made about what a constant 1g travel path looks like?" which takes the question off-topic since it's asking a real-world question about orbital mechanics, something that would be better asked on another stack such as Space:SE

I attempted to edit that line of the question (to bring it back to being on topic) but the OP has rolled back the edit to the original off-topic configuration.

  • I've edited to follow this suggestion. Hope it helps!
    – orome
    Commented Aug 29, 2016 at 19:38
  • 3
    @raxacoricofallapatorius - I don't think it's enough. You're still asking for a Scifi site to answer your questions about real-world orbital mechanics when there's a site (Space:SE) that not only has experts on the subject, but even has a tag [orbital-mechanics] with several similar and highly relevant questions about fictional drives.
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 29, 2016 at 19:41
  • That's a different issue altogether: I agree that that site (or Physics:SE) might give a better answer; but the question itself is clearly on-topic.
    – orome
    Commented Aug 29, 2016 at 19:46
  • 6
    @raxacoricofallapatorius No, I'm afraid it isn't. Real-world science is off-topic, according to our policy as established on meta. Your question says "I wonder what real world physics has to say about ...", which is off-topic here.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Aug 29, 2016 at 20:45
  • @Randal'Thor: There's some serious confusion here: Space travel in the book is based on 1g trajectories, travelled routinely. The question is what those trajectories look like in-world. Any answer that gets there is fine, but (1) the question is on-topic and (2) given how the in-world logic arrives at those trajectories, its going to be impossible to answer without resorting to real-world physics.
    – orome
    Commented Aug 29, 2016 at 20:48
  • 6
    @raxacoricofallapatorius - You're conflating on-topic (what do they look like in-universe) with off-topic (what should they look like in the real world). The first is fine and answerable on SFF:SE. The second is theoretically answerable, but not on SFF:SE.
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 29, 2016 at 22:06
  • @Valorum: Not sure why you're sniping here when that was clarified in chat.
    – orome
    Commented Aug 29, 2016 at 22:10
  • 4
    @raxacoricofallapatorius - You seem very keen on asking that question here, possibly to the point where you're beginning to get upset about it not happening. I was attempting to help you understand why your question has been closed. Obviously if all you want to do is yell at the people trying to help you, then go right ahead.
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 29, 2016 at 22:12
  • @Valorum: (Setting aside the "yelling" bit.) Trust me, I'm not at all keen on asking here. But I'd like to believe that this site's policies could be rationally applied.
    – orome
    Commented Aug 29, 2016 at 22:17
  • 4
    @raxacoricofallapatorius - Please trust me that they are being rationally and consistently applied. "Real world Science" questions have been strictly off-topic since day 0 and it's even one of the standard close reasons.
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 29, 2016 at 22:18
  • @Valorum: That may be true, but part of the point here is that a question that includes real-world science (even one that effectively requires it to produce a useful answer) is not automatically a "Real World Science" question. It's precisely that offhanded mis-categorization that's responsible for the confusion here.
    – orome
    Commented Aug 29, 2016 at 23:15

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .