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The question Two 1000 kg gold spheres orbit their CM in near-contact, great way to measure G or limited by spaceflight issues? was put on hold for being off topic. It seems that using a spacecraft to measure gravity is beyond the reach of what five users feel to be on-topic.

I've scoped the question carefully to make sure it is about spacecraft design. There are plenty of spacecraft that uses lasers and cameras, there are hundreds of answers that invoke the gravitational constant G, and the design, construction of experimental scientific satellites, and problems like propulsion, nutation and charging are each discussed in several questions and answer here.

Certainly a careful review of all the up votes, accepted answers, and general participation of the community here in the physics-based questions linked below show that we are not afraid of physics here, and that spacecraft physics is squarely on-topic.

So why is my question so far off-topic that nobody should be allowed the opportunity to post an answer here?

I have indeed asked the fundamental physics part of this question in Physics SE:

my current question is focused on the spacecraft design and space environment issues, and after asking over 1,200 questions in this site I can say that I have a pretty good idea how smart the people are here and how well they can handle questions on the physics of spaceflight.

Question: Is this question really, truly off-topic while all of these other physics questions are on-topic?


Quantum Mechanics:

General Relativity:

Faster Than Light (Special Relativity):

"EM drive:"

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Yes some of those questions would be better on Physics SE.

I haven't checked them all but by the look of it many (but not all) of them are about physics on existing things in space.

So there is going to be a continuum of where to ask of Physics => Space questions

OPs original question is about a (novel?) method of measuring the Gravitational constant (and other subtle effects). And goes on to ask what secondary effect will need to be taken into account.

So this to sounds to me much further on the physics end of the continuum.

I suggest that OP tries asking on Physics SE, as they are more likely to get an answer there.

Once they have got the physics requirements, then they could ask a spacecraft design question (on Space SE) on how to turn those requirements into a actual spacecraft.

The point of SE is about people being able to find good answers to questions. Not only OP getting an answer to their question; but also for other people with similar questions. Having the question asked in the right place helps both sides to that coin.


Edit: So I asked OPs original question rephrased as a physics experiment question on Physics SE. I quickly got a good answer there. I think this shows that yes the question was off topic for Space SE.

However there certainly is room on Space SE to ask something like "How would you design a space craft, given (the requirements we discovered in this Physics SE Question/Answer)"

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for taking the time to answer! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jan 30 at 8:33
  • $\begingroup$ 1 2 3 are examples of experience-based spacecraft engineering-specific issues more likely to be brought up here than in a site about physics. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jan 30 at 8:35
  • $\begingroup$ @uhoh made a small edit, check it out :D $\endgroup$ – DarcyThomas Jan 30 at 18:41
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    $\begingroup$ There is no "because more suitable elsewhere" close reason. If it's not squarely off-topic where it is asked, it generally stays unless there's no answer and the OP decides to move it, or a mod exercises migration. Choice of SE site to post is the OP's prerogative. There's never any reason that an OP has to defend their decision or convince others why their choice is the correct one. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jan 30 at 23:29
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh If you wanna ask your question on History or Cooking SE that is your prerogative; but if you want an answer, then best to ask on the most relevant SE site (which in this case seems to be Physics SE) $\endgroup$ – DarcyThomas Jan 31 at 0:42
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    $\begingroup$ Space SE is the place for answers about engineering problems and orbital-mechanical issues that spacecraft experience in space. My question isn't about the underlying physics no matter how often one says it is. this is the related physics question I've asked in Physics SE. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jan 31 at 0:53
  • $\begingroup$ @uhoh You are asking for spacecraft engineering considerations when you haven't defined the requirements of the payload it will carry. How do you expect to get an answer? Define the requirements, then we can answer that question. Ask another question if you need help working out what the requirements would be. $\endgroup$ – DarcyThomas Jan 31 at 2:30
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    $\begingroup$ again, no that's not what the question really asks. I don't think this back-and-forth is going to be fruitful. Here I've simply asked if the question is really off-topic, not how you would have asked the question. Let's wait to see how the answers unfold. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jan 31 at 3:29
  • $\begingroup$ @uhoh Ok so I asked the question for you on Physics SE and got back a (damm good) answer. physics.stackexchange.com/questions/457940/… I I think it proves my point. Ask in the right place and you will get a good answer! $\endgroup$ – DarcyThomas Jan 31 at 3:37
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    $\begingroup$ I've only asked about topicality here. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jan 31 at 3:48
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    $\begingroup$ Choice of downvote or VTC is the voter's prerogative. There's never any reason that a voter has to defend their decision or convince others why their choice is the correct one. $\endgroup$ – Russell Borogove Feb 1 at 23:46
  • $\begingroup$ @RussellBorogove where was a voter asked to defend their decision? I don't understand your comment, it seems totally unrelated to anything here and trying to stir up a discussion that doesn't belong here. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Feb 4 at 3:49
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh &RussellBorogove Isn't that the whole point of this meta question?!! $\endgroup$ – DarcyThomas Feb 4 at 20:39
  • $\begingroup$ Point of the question is to ask "Is this question really, truly off-topic while all of these other physics questions are on-topic?" which is echoed once again in the body of the text. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Feb 5 at 0:15

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