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Sci Fi Writers Have / No Sense of Mass

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Sci-fi writers have no sense of mass or size, resulting in things that are far lighter or heavier than they would ever practically be, or said to have a size that is wildly different from what we see.

See also: Hollywood Density, Shapeshifter Baggage, Square-Cube Law, Everything in Space Is a Galaxy.

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann The show lampshades this when Kamina says "KICK LOGIC OUT AND DO THE IMPOSSIBLE, THAT'S THE WAY TEAM GURREN ROLLS!!!"
    • In the last episode, the titular mecha ejects its smaller forms at the enemy when it is restrained. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is the size of a galaxy. Chouginga Gurren Lagann is the size of the moon. They appear in the same frame. The fact that this happens should make anybody with a passing knowledge of astronomy angry. Either the Gurren Lagann Universe has small galaxies or its planets are somehow resistant to turning into black holes.
    • The creators muddled this up further by stating that TTGL is "ten million light-years tall". Uh, no, it's not. That figure is at least an order of magnitude off. And at Super Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann's scale (34 billion light-years, according to the creators), not only should galaxies not even be visible, but it's about a third the diameter of the observable universe.
    • The Granzemoba (the antagonist's galaxy-sized mech) has a planet stuck in its forehead. This implies the planet is light-years across. Such a planet would normally have collapsed instantaneously from its mass.
    • Every single attack that the galaxy mechs throw had to go faster than light speed, or else the fight would have lasted millions of years Plus, galaxies are mostly empty space, like atoms; but unlike atoms, they have no strong repulsive forces surrounding them.note  The humongous mechs run around on a big galaxy and throw smaller galaxies at each other, which is like a pair of speeding freight trains on gaseous tracks throwing clouds of gnats at each other.
    • In addition, the robots fighting would have to emit faster-than-light emissions to be able to actually tell where the other was, not to mention the light from them would have to travel massively faster than the speed of light for the "camera's" position to pick up the fight in less than a couple of billion years.
    • Logic was violently thrown out the window with an artillery cannon the minute they arrived in the Anti-Spiral pocket dimension. The Chouginga Gurren Lagann was shown to have transformed from a ship roughly the size of the moon, but entire planets could be chucked at it and would bounce off like beachballs (both in form and in size). The show itself lampshades how little of a donkey's rum they give about any sort of logic at that point, casually saying that the mech's shields were somehow able to deflect 100% of all damage yet still be under heavy assault from planets being flung into it, all because the Anti-spirals somehow messed around with probability.
    • After The Team successfully pulls off yet another physics-defying stunt:
    Lordgenome: In case you were wondering, the chance of success for this mission was estimated at 0%. I see theoretical calculations are meaningless with you.
    • Entirely justified, as Spiral Power breaks the laws of physics and thermodynamics. In addition, the final battle was in a Super Spiral Universe where thought is given form.
  • The Gundam franchise has hundreds of examples of this.
    • Most notably, the Mobile Suits are mostly made of a variation of titanium, yet they have the same density as the human body. (The original RX-78-2 Gundam is 18 meters tall and has a mass of 60 tons. In accordance with the square-cube law, it's 10 times taller and 1000 times heavier than a 1.8-meter tall human weighing 60 kilograms, which means it has the same density.) Titanium is 4 times denser than human flesh, but that's ignoring that many of its mechanical parts couldn't be made of titanium or titanium alloys due to being too soft to withstand the forces exerted on them.
    • Another example is the vulcan-machineguns most Gundam-types have. Most of them (the Gundam Ground-Type being most notable) actually have realistic sizes for their vulcans, but others, such as the Gundam Mk.II, are just plain absurd. They can't expect us to believe the Gundam Mk.II has two 60mm Machineguns installed in its head.
  • In Attack on Avengers, the Attack on Titan / The Avengers crossover, the Colossal Titan is shown absolutely towering over the Statue of Liberty, despite the CT's given height being 60m, thirty-three meters shorter than the Statue of Liberty in real life.
  • Attack on Titan itself: the Colossal Titan is supposed to be 60 meters high, while Eren's titan form is supposed to be 15 meters high. Eren should therefore be 1/4 as tall as the Colossal Titan, but when they fight, Eren appears to less than 1/8 his size, standing less than halfway up his shin.
  • The Pokemon anime is just as bad as the games if not worse since it often misses continuity with the games themselves. This often leads to scenes where the preteen cast usually ends up handling Pokémon like their weight was a fraction their stated mass. This can be as little as Serena easily holding her arm out to let a fifty-one-pound Sylveon walk across it, to one of the most egregious examples: Ash, and worse, Pikachu, easily carrying around Cosmoem, a tiny Pokémon that weighs just over a ton, in their hands. For reference, this is the equivalent of a human child or small monkey lugging around a black rhinoceros.

    Comic Books 
  • This is fairly common in Marvel Comics.
    • Marvel measures its characters' Super-Strength based on how many tons they can lift. The problem is most people at Marvel apparently don't know how many tons a given object weighs or how much space a set number of tons of a given material will take up. Even more confusingly, Marvel's strength tiers tend to end at 100+ tons, meaning 100 tons and any number above that. Perhaps, as a result, many characters have feats that should place them far above their stated range, such as several "50-70 tonners" having lifted skyscrapers on occasion. The official "100+ tons" rank is usually reserved for characters who are proven or potential planet-busters.
    • One image from Marvel Team-Up was fairly infamous in its time, even receiving a massive splash page and a really long apology from the editors in their 'No-Prize' one-shot dedicated to pointing out their own errors that readers caught. The image? Hercules, of the Avengers, towing the Island of Manhattan through the Atlantic, bringing it back into the Harbor, by means of a gigantic chain wound about himself - thus not only stating that Hercules is capable of pulling Manhattan, BUT ALSO that Manhattan floats. Oh, if this wasn't ridiculous enough, he's pulling it back the wrong way around, so that Uptown is now Downtown and the Battery is the northmost point of the island. This happened.
    • Planet Hulk featured the Hulk shifting entire continental plates.
    • Ant-Man can increase his size to beyond some kind of cosmic infinite limit, to the point where he can interact with the embodiments of abstract concepts, without first collapsing into a black hole or otherwise destroying Earth.
    • Possibly the biggest example, since the debut of Galactus, it has been said that Taa II, his world-ship, is the size of a solar system. If so, no comic book artist has ever done it justice.
  • In The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye the starship Lost Light is at one point described as being 15 miles long and 10 miles wide, giving it a rough surface area of 150 square miles, roughly the equivalent of the Bronx and Brooklyn combined. This is clearly a case where the writer, James Roberts, got the units of measurement mixed up, as none of the artwork in the series depicts the Lost Light as being anywhere that big. Roberts does get a few points for effort though; a starship made for the comfortable housing of well over 300 robots who are on average roughly the height of a single-floor building (plus all the extra stuff and machinery to make the ship function like the bar, the oil reservoir, the engines, etc.) would have to be really freaking big by human standards. Just not that big.
  • Batman's giant penny in the Batcave is stated to weigh 216 pounds. An accurate penny at about twice an adult man's height would weigh 15.5 tons, not to mention it is often depicted as larger than that. For it to weigh 216 pounds, it would have to be less dense than styrofoam.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: Atomia's atomic world makes no sense whatsoever, and doesn't really try to. Paula claims that the Neutron and Proton slaves, which are humanoid complex living organisms which in the Protons' case have a lot of steel worked into their formerly human bodies, are the size of actual nucleons and there is no hand wave given about the shrinking process somehow maintaining/protecting their forms. Something smaller than an atom cannot be as complex as a person, there's just no room for the components which make up such an individual.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer Spectra is this really big diamond thing that emits light that makes it possible for life to exist. Unfortunately, The Dark Princess wants to claim it for herself, even though this will kill all life, including her. Spectra is implied to be the size of a real planet or star, yet the Princesse's Slave Mooks have managed to cover a significant percentage of its surface area in cable. Also, at the end The Dark Princess tries to ram Spectra and shatter it as a final act of defeated spite. assuming Spectra is only as big as Earth, you'd need about 100 zettatons worth of energy to destroy it, and her starship is only about as big as a schoolbus.
  • In Zootopia: In Nick's police academy application form, he states that he weighs 80lbs (36.3kg). That's extremely heavy for a red fox, whose typical weight ranges between 5 and 31lbs (2.2 and 14kg).

    Fan Works 
  • Desperately Seeking Ranma has the team visit one in chapter 85. The setting involves high technology AND lots of magic, with the sphere’s inhabitants being effectively a precursor race. Minor aversion, though: even they don’t know where the thing came from, nor where all the mass could have come from either.
  • In Boys und Sensha-dō!, Miho Nishizumi, a Japanese girl whos 5'2" and appears to be of average weight, is once described as weighing 80 kg, which is overly heavy for a girl like her.
  • In Christian Humber Reloaded, Season-Bringer is a dragon that is 22 miles long, yet somehow weighs as much as the United States (including the continent it's built on!), making him unrealistically heavy even for his absurd size.
  • In "Ten Minutes: Aftermath", the planet busting nuke was found to have a mass of 43.6 teragrams (36e+10 kilograms) or about 119 times the mass of the Empire State Building. It's specifically stated to be made of cesium and promethium. The picture drawn of the device shows it to be approximately the same size as the Little Boy bomb dropped on Hiroshima, which weighed a mere 4,400 kg. Even assuming the entire planet buster was filled with promethium at 7.26 grams/cubic cm, that still only comes out to a weight of 8639.4 kg. And for the bomb to weigh that much with the given dimensions, the filling of the bomb would have to have a density of 302,521 kg/cubic cm...which is about the same density as a white dwarf.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Independence Day:
    • The mothership is stated to be "over 550 kilometers across, and in terms of mass it's a quarter the size of the moon." Later images of the mothership showed it to be hemispherical. A 550 km diameter hemisphere, with 1/4 the mass of Earth's moon, would have an average density of 1687 grams per cubic centimeter. That's nearly 150 times the density of solid lead. Since the Mothership is not solid and is in fact mostly hollow, the only getout from this is to assume the hull is degenerate matter, a super-dense state of material found in the core of dwarf stars. With that mass and orbiting so close to our only natural satellite, it would cause a mess on it (powerful moonquakes and the like), nothing short of the extra mess when it blows up and its debris hits the Moon. Such a mass in close orbit around the Earth would create massive earthquakes, storms and other weather phenomena on our own planet as well.
    • Despite being twenty five kilometers in diameter and massing minimum tens of billion tons,note  the "city-destroyer" ships need to charge up their single main gun for over ten seconds to destroy single large city blocks. This suggests their main guns' power output is somewhere in the high gigawatt range, i.e. triple digit tons of TNT equivalent per second and maybe single digit kilotons worth per shot- which, considering the sheer size of the things, is laughably low. For comparison, a 16,000 ton Zumwalt destroyer can mount a 25 megawatt railgun (albeit with difficulty) while being powered by simple gas turbines. If the aliens can do no better on power to weight ratios on their spaceships, then simply scaling that up five million fold to account for the mass difference would get you main guns with power output of 125 terawatts (about 30 kilotons per second). Humanity would have been exterminated in minutes with dozens of these things over our cities- rather than still being mostly intact after hours/days of bombardments. If that fails, then the thrust alone required to keep these things airborne should lead to humanity's extinction as a side effect of flying them around in the atmosphere.
    • There's also the question of why the Air Force would shoot air-to-air missiles at the 15-mile city-destroyer ships. Those things are not used on aircraft carriers, let alone a ship the size of a large city, they're used on other planes. Not that it would really matter, since even if the alien ships are modeled as made of iron, the entire global nuclear arsenal could vaporize maybe 1% of one saucer.note 
    • This is an excellent writeup on the scale issues of Independence Day, including such fun things as that even conservative estimates would allow each saucer to easily carry 5 million fighters, or that the reentry of the 36 City Destroyers would burn up the entire ozone layer, dump 400 million megatons' worth of thermal energy into the atmosphere (equivalent to 2 megatons per square mile of the Earth's surface), and in doing so increase the atmospheric temperature to 600-850°F, which would further cause everything containing carbon on the planet to ignite, for another eight hundred million megatons' worth of heat, and that the destruction of the Mothership would bury the Earth in five hundred feet of slag and alien corpse ice sculptures.
  • The giant giga-ship in Independence Day: Resurgence has these problems cranked up to 11: being a significant fraction of the size of the Earth, its gravity well would actually alter the shape of the Earth, turning it from an oblate spheroid to a bizarre egg shape pointed at the ship before it even landed, and probably siphoning off part of the Earth's atmosphere. Landing on the Earth's crust would probably be impossible for such a massive object, especially if it were made from degenerate matter like the smaller ship in the original movie.
  • The narration in Water World begins with: "The polar ice caps have melted, covering the Earth with water." Even if the entire Arctic ice cap, and the ridiculously huge Antarctic ice cap, were to completely melt, the extra water would only cause the sea level to rise some 200 meters. That's more than enough to flood all existing coastal regions, but it wouldn't begin to cover even the shortest mountain range, let alone bring the ocean to within a few meters of the top of Everest as shown at the end.
  • Star Wars:
    • An out-of-universe example: A petition to the White House to build the Death Star was submitted. It reached 25,000 signatures, which means the government has to respond. So they did, outlining why they won't: namely, it'll increase the size of the budget defecit a thousandfold, the government doesn't support blowing up planets, and also they're not going to build a weapon that can be destroyed by one guy in a spaceship.
    • Various depictions of the Death Star make it unclear whether it is the size of the moon or simply a sizable space station, though it's always been somewhere north of 100 km in diameter.
    • The trope is played very straight in Return of the Jedi, where the second Death Star is under construction in an impossibly low geostationary orbit above the surface of the moon of Endor. If nothing else, the enormous mass of the station so close to the Moon's surface should have caused major environmental disturbances. To say nothing of what would have happened when the Death Star exploded...
    • Starkiller Base takes these issues up to eleven, besides what has already been discussed in No Sense of Distance. The thing works sucking entire stars, and even attempting to rationalize it assuming it uses the smallest type of star, still remains how a body with a size at best comparable to Earth (its implied size due to its depicted gravity) and at worst to a mid-sized moon—its canon size of 660 km in diameter—can hold something that is hundreds of thousands of times more massive. Oh, and at the canon size it couldn't even hold an atmosphere without Artificial Gravity, much less have entire forests on it.
      • Worse yet, the entire mass of a star being sucked into a planet's core would tear the planet apart if there's still a planetary system after the star's mass reduces drastically in the span of a few hours. That would be like Earth suddenly transferring all its mass to the ISS.
      • When the thing gets blown up, Poe and co. Outrun the Fireball by flying at what seems to be at speeds typical for atmospheric flight, which in the few seconds before they burst into cheers would've gotten them a few tens of kilometers away from the planet's surface at best. Now, the thing is the greater part of a star contained into a tiny fraction of the star's volume and suddenly no longer held in place. Sudden gravitational collapse of this magnitude could result in a supernova if the star is massive enough, and if not... well, it would still reach several times the star's original radius in a matter of seconds.
  • Oblivion (2013): Even if cracking the Moon caused massive tidal waves and earthquakes, there wouldn't be enough sedimentation to completely bury New York up to the Empire State's observation deck.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame: Thanos's ship, the Sanctuary II, has the usual problems of enormous sci-fi ships with seemingly no use for all of their mass. The art book for Infinity War gives it dimensions of 11,000 feet in length, 4,300 feet in width, and 3,000 feet in height. With a roughly rectangular shape this would come out to a volume of 4,020,000,000 m3. This may overestimate its volume some as it's not a perfect rectangle, but even downgrading that volume several times over would get it a mass in the hundreds of millions of tons, assuming 500-600 kg/m3 of average density (on par with modern wet ships). Despite that:
      • Captain Marvel destroys it by ramming through a certain section on the aft, causing secondary explosions all throughout the ship. The only way that could happen is if she hit its main reactor or something, but she has never even seen this ship. How she would find where the reactors are on a ship as large as a city, much less how she'd manage to find them on her first guess, is a mystery for the ages.
      • Thanos deploys his whole army in a last-ditch attempt to grab the Infinity Gauntlet, finally having absolutely no reason to hold back with his life's mission at stake. How many troops does the Sanctuary II deploy? Tens of thousands at most, supported by a few hundred hovercraft. Probably less. With even a mere 1% of its mass and volume devoted to carrying soldiers and vehicles (not just physical space for them, but all the necessary accommodations as well), the Sanctuary II should be cruising around with millions of men and tens of thousands of vehicles easily (if Thanos had that many). WWII-era Liberty ships of around 15,000 tons were capable of comfortably hauling 550 passengers around for long voyages, 1,600 for short ones, or hundreds of armored vehicles.
      • At one point, Thanos is pushed to the point of desperation and orders the ship to open fire with its guns on the battlefield, ignoring Corvus Glaive's concerns about collateral damage (given that their own troops are on said battlefield). The guns proceed to fire plasma bolts which impact the ground with about as much explosive power as you'd expect from hand grenades, not even budging normal humans a few meters from their impact sites and not being 100% fatal to regular humans within a meter of said impact sites. Keep in mind that, due to being visible on the massive ship's profile at all, those guns are at least the size of medium naval autocannons... yet have a fraction of the firepower despite the ship's supposedly superior technology.
      • Most egregiously, it begins the battle by opening up on the Avengers' mansion with a missile barrage. On the bright side, unlike its plasma guns these high-explosives seem to have relatively decent firepower, about on par with (small) modern cruise missiles. The problem is that, going by the silos we see and the fact that it never uses them again, it seems to carry only two or three dozen missiles deployed from half a dozen launchers. Again, compared to the size of the ship, this is ridiculously low. A 9,000-ton Arleigh Burke-class destroyer by comparison carries 56 Tomahawk cruise missiles while being literally tens of thousands of times smaller.
    • The Avengers kind of foreshadowed these issues with the Chitauri mothership. It's at least a million cubic meters in volume,note  equating to hundreds of thousands of tons in mass. Later movies show that Thanos has several of these, and they appear to be the standard ship in his fleet. There is way, way more than enough volume, mass, and power generation capacity to have these ships be as well-armed as the Sanctuary II itself. Instead the motherships have no weapons whatsoever, to the point that Iron Man can fly right up to one and chuck a subsonic air-portable missile at it without a care. Even a modern hundred thousand ton Nimitz-class carrier, despite being several times smaller than the mothership and not being expected to be in combat at all, at least bothers to carry a few CIWS autocannons and a couple dozen surface-to-air missiles.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy: Ronan's ship, the three mile long Dark Aster, has all of the issue of Thanos's ship above and then some — on top of being completely unarmed. It gets to the point that Ronan, in an attempt to simply kill as many civilians as possible, orders his Necrocraft to just start suicide-ramming residential areas — when just devoting a tiny portion of the ship's mass to carry some missiles would have been both cheaper and massively more effective. Also, despite generating thrust sufficient to keep its hundreds of millions of tons of mass in the air, it notably has no environmental effects when accelerating within the atmosphere of Xandar (the floating can be explained by Artificial Gravity, the acceleration less so).
  • In Alien lore there is the infamous "wooden planet" concept for Alien³. Despite having a diameter of one mile only (that manages to look even smaller in concept art) and being made entirely of, you know, wood, the "wooden planet" was supposed to have a "shallow atmosphere" and in consequence a gravitational field to hold it together that was presumed to be artificial. In comparison, the Moon, with over 2100 miles of diameter, is too small to have an atmosphere. Says something the producers eventually nixed the idea because its believability was straining.
  • In Pacific Rim we see a dead Kaiju (presumably the category 1 that attacked Cabo) laid along and taking up most of the deck of a supercarrier. We later receive dialogue about a particularly large Cat 3 with a mass of 2,700 tons. The carrier that the Cat 1 occupied weighs in at well over a hundred thousand tons and is mostly empty space, unlike a living monster would have to be. Similarly, supplemental material tells that the hundred-meter-tall heavily-armored Jaegers all weigh in under 2000 tons — a fraction of a comparably-sized unarmored, buoyant ship. Added to this, Jaegers sink in water, while Kaiju swim submerged and appear to be neutrally buoyant, not at all what you'd get from such masses.
    • The Jaegers are also carried in drop harnesses by about a dozen helicopters. Even if the Jaegers were actually merely 2000 tons, it's still too heavy by about an order of magnitude.
  • Whenever the mass of any of the monsters in the Gamera series is given, it's always an outrageously small number considering their size. In the Showa-era films Gamera stands 60 meters (200 feet) tall yet weighs just 80 tons, while his nemesis Gyaos stands 5 meters taller and is a mere 25 tons. For comparison, these monsters' Toho counterparts Godzilla and Rodan are each 50 meters (165 feet) tall but have more reasonable masses of 20,000 and 15,000 tons, respectively. Curiously, the practice of lowballing the monster's weights continued into the Gamera series's Heisei era, despite everything else being retooled as more realistic and serious.
  • Averted in Star Trek: Generations. Due to the enormous mass/inertia of the Enterprise saucer, when it crash lands, it takes quite a long time to stop sliding. The credit goes to Michael Okuda and Rick Sternbach, who created the whole saucer-landing sequence for the 'Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual which included the huge stopping distance.
  • Armageddon (1998): An asteroid the size of Texas (roughly 700 - 1,000 km across depending on the axis chosen) would make it bigger than Ceres, the largest dwarf planet in the inner Solar System, and comparable in size to the larger moons of the outer gas giants—and more than big enough that its own gravity would pull it spherical. Furthermore, the movie states that our heroes drill 800 feet into it. Many modern rig operations close on to twice that, while diamond-head drilling goes to four times the stated depth before hitting its cost-effectiveness ceiling. And this, is of course, far too shallow to have any measurable effect on the asteroid, but that's another subtrope.
  • Loose Change claims that the Twin Towers were destroyed in order to cover up the theft by the government of several hundred billion dollars’ worth of gold that purportedly was stored in the World Trade Center’s basement. That much gold would be half again as much gold as has been mined in the planet’s whole history. The amount of gold needed to equal the value given would also weigh thousands of tons, meaning even in the chaos following the tower's destruction, it would be a "little" too much to sneak away with.

  • One book of the Star Challenge collection (Exploding Suns), has a huge worm-like things able to devour a star like a Real Life caterpillar devours an apple, but faster, as well as a monster not less humongous that is basically Moby-Dick In SPACE! and that feeds also on stars. Both things, by the way, are implied to be solid -not plasma, forcefields, or whatever-.

  • Despite containing one of the vanishingly rare aversions of distance and speed issues in military sci-fi, David Weber's Honor Harrington did suffer "The Great Resizing" as a result of the author forgetting the square-cube law while assigning the lengths and masses of his setting's starships. When the people trying to create a gaming spinoff crunched the numbers, they realized his smallest ships were about right, but the mightiest warships were "not quite as dense as cigar smoke!" Since the text makes only rare references to length, and very commonly notes mass as a determinant of acceleration, the author retconned in a new and much shorter length that delivered reasonable density.
  • Weber's story Mutineer's Moon and sequels in the Empire from the Ashes series, in which the starting premise is that the Moon (i.e. Luna, Earth's natural satellite, that Moon) is actually a starship. Yes, the whole thing. It has a layer of rock around the outer hull carefully sculpted to match the surface appearance of the original Moon that once orbited the Earth, tens of thousands of years ago, before the starship removed it and took its place. Incidentally, the entire human population of the Earth in these books descend from the human crew of that starship. Supposedly it's that big because a) Their reactors are at maximum efficiency at planetoid sizes, b) To defend against the next genocidal attack by the Achuultani, and c) Because it's intimidating. But at no point does Weber write the ship as if it was 2,000 miles in diameter. He writes the starship as if it were a few miles in diameter.
  • Larry Niven's Ringworld takes the common misconception about the Dyson Sphere (see below) to a more 'practical' level. Why build a sphere around a star when a single continuous strip could house more life than could possibly fill it? But the example of this trope comes more into play with The Ringworld Engineers, which was written after Niven attended a convention where several college students were roaming the halls chanting "The Ringworld is unstable". Niven did the math and, nerds being nerds, discovered they were right. The Ringworld is indeed unstable, so he added some jets to allow it to maintain its position.
    • Ringworld starts off with the Puppeteers fleeing the galaxy, dragging the five planets of their home system with them, which has its own host of Sense Of Scale problems (The planets have massive reactionless engines that are accelerating the whole group through controlled gravity, which probably involves some energy issues, but is much less goofy than it sounds at first.)
  • Also by Niven, in his The Integral Trees setting: the so-called "integral trees" are plants in a free-fall environment typically between 50 and 100 kilometers long and 700 meters across. A small (few thousand people), fairly primitive (early Iron Age) society is harvesting these trees for lumber at an implied rate of one or two a year. Thing is, a single tree will yield about eight trillion board-feet of lumber or about a century's output of the entire United States lumber industry.
  • Stephen Baxter's Xeelee Sequence:
    • Ring features an artificial ring the size of a galaxy spinning at something close to the speed of light, with the idea its sheer mass would rip open a hole to another universe. The enemies of the ring-creators are peeved at this and hurl entire galaxies at the ring (including ours, but it's okay as we won't get there for several tens of billion years) in an attempt to destroy it, to no avail. The plausibility of such an object's size and the ability to build it without either exhausting all matter in the universe or getting it finished before the end of time may depend on the reader's suspension of disbelief.
    • Much worse is Orion Rock in Exultant, an asteroid said to be travelling a thousand years before reaching the black hole in the center of the galaxy. That's all fine and well until a protagonist standing on it gets to see molecular clouds disappearing upon reaching the rock's destination. That means that the cloud is several orders of magnitude denser than any nebula ever known (probably around the density of water clouds) and that it has an impossibly crisp edge (going from that insane density to zero in only a few hundred kilometers tops).
  • Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern: If we go by the measurement system provided by the books and supplemental materials, the Queen Dragon Ramoth at 45 meters from nose to tail would be only slightly smaller than the Lockheed Tristar, a passenger jet capable of holding around 250 passengers (which is used as the example in the supplemental books), making her the largest animal ever, and the other dragons are no slouches either. Bronze dragons which are the only ones "allowed" to mate with the golds range from 30 to 42 meters in length. And all of these dragons only get one Rider. There's a reason why the fan roleplaying communities tend to believe that "meter" is a mistake and use the foot instead, making Ramoth only slightly larger than the Tyrannosaurus rex, which was not the largest animal ever on Earth, which makes it a lot easier on an environment by not having several hundred carnivores exceeding 100 feet in length devouring what are essentially Earth cows. Then there's the Hand Wave that a dragon weighs only as much as it wants to and can carry as much as it wants to being a result of their telekinetic powers which only get discovered in one of the last books chronologically.
  • Andre Norton describes the Free Trader ship Solar Queen as both "small" and "needle-slim." It's also clearly a rocket shape. But when she explains the accommodations on a single deck within that "small" hull, it's clear that to have "needle-slim" proportions at that size, it'd need to be about the height of a Saturn V.
  • Ship sizes in Andrey Livadny's The History of the Galaxy series can be a little off, at least as described on his website. From 20-meter one-man Space Fighters to 7-kilometer flagship cruisers, crewed by 150 people. While the author tries to explain it by having most systems be automated (in fact, entire ships can run without crews, using only AIs), this does not explain why the ships have to be so ridiculously big. Interestingly, one novel specifically mentions a heavy cruiser (about 5 km in length) with a crew of 2000. However, even that is an extremely low number of people to run a ship this size. For reference, a Real Life Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier will be about 333 meters in length and have a crew of 4660. This is not even to mention the stress of trying to maneuver a 7-kilometer beast in battle. To elaborate, the Star Dreadnought Executor featured in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi is stated to be about 9 kilometers in length; this means cruisers roughly measure nearly the same length as the Executor and ships that long and big aren't supposed to be classified as mere cruisers, they're either super-battleships or dreadnoughts (or just add the "super" prefix to "cruiser" and that should ease up ship classification issues). The only thing the author got right is that any ship larger than 500 meters is unable to enter planetary atmosphere without assistance from technical carriers (i.e. tugs). Even Corvettes, which are 500 meters long, come equipped with additional planetary engines to allow them to survive re-entry.
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs' Pellucidar. One scene has a lidi running in terror when pursued by two hyaenodons. The hyaenodons are described as being as large as ponies. The lidi is a sauropod dinosaur, 80-100 feet long. This is the equivalent of a pair of rats chasing a horse, or a pair of foxes chasing an elephant (this is one of many instances where Burroughs shows his total lack of understanding of animals).
  • A Song of Ice and Fire
    • George R. R. Martin was confronted with a failure of his own sense of size when he was shown the videogame adaptation of his book and noted that the great wall guarding the north was huge. On being told that it had been scaled precisely to his description in the books (approx. 700 feet tall), he replied: "I wrote it too big!"
    • Other buildings suffer the same problem, with the lighthouse/stronghold of Hightower being slightly taller than the Wall and the Great Pyramid of Meereen being 800 feet tall... and a pyramid into the bargain. If it had similar proportions to the Pyramid of Giza, it would have a footprint 1500 feet to a side, or 50 acres.
    • Of note is also Casterly Rock, which is only slightly smaller than our world's tallest building, while also being longer than San Francisco!
    • This official picture has been endorsed by Martin himself as the depiction of the Iron Throne closest to the one in his mind. In one memorable event in the backstory of the series, Jamie Lannister, one of the Kingsguard sits on the throne (not the stairs at its base) because he is just too tired and needs to sit down for a moment, and is found there by Eddard Stark, who assumes that Jamie was intending to claim the throne for himself. So…he was too tired to stand on his feet, but not too tired to climb two stories' worth of stairs?
  • The Culture:
    • Iain Banks addresses the Dyson Sphere problems with his "orbitals" - ring-shaped worlds that are only five million kilometres across and in a conventional orbit about their star. The size is chosen so that one revolution per standard day evokes one standard gravity of centrifugal force; tilted not-quite edge-on to their sun they also have a "standard" day/night cycle. In Consider Phlebas there is passing mention of Spheres and Rings, but by later novels, they seem much less popular (probably because having decided to give the Culture's total population at ~18 trillion, it's immediately clear that even one such structure is unimaginably more than they could ever possibly need).
    • Matter is set on a "shellworld", effectively a planet-sized (and shaped) set of matryoshka dolls. The one in the book has 15 levels, coming to 11.8 billion square kilometers of space.
    • The Morthanveld (a Culture equivalent Involved) Syaung-un nest is absurdly huge. A torus made of fractally-braided water tubes (Morthanveld are aquatic and don't like things they can't see through) of diameter 300 million kilometres and thickness of over a million kilometres for a population of a mere forty trillion? That's over 18,000 cubic kilometres per individual. Even assuming lots of empty space between these up-to-10km-thick tubes, a conservative estimate of its mass would put its construction as requiring taking apart every planet, comet, an asteroid in a thousand solar systems. It doesn't fit at all with the normal size of Involved engineering projects (especially the absurdly tiny volume of the entire Culture warfighting forces).
  • In Giant at World's End by Lin Carter, a character consults a council of advanced, disembodied intelligences about the problem of the moon's decaying orbit and asks about the Moon's weight. The intelligence erroneously gives the moon's weight as six thousand quintillion tons or six sextillion tons. Six sextillion tons is about 6*10^21 tons, or 6*10^24 kilograms, or roughly the mass of Earth; the Moon has a mass around 7.3*10^22 kilograms, so the given value is two orders of magnitude out.
  • In Wither, Rhine mentions that the remains of the destroyed areas are so small they can't be seen by satellite. Satellites can actually see really small things — sandbars, for example.
  • Hagrid of Harry Potter fame is said to be 11'6" and extremely bulky even for his colossal height, yet his weight is officially given as just 289 pounds, lighter than some professional wrestlers. Unless he's mostly hollow, he should easily weigh well over 1000 pounds, possibly closer to 2000 depending on exactly how robust he is.
  • In the Star Trek novel Inferno (book three of the Millennium trilogy) O'Brien is trapped in a Pah-wraith hell featuring a solid-shell Dyson sphere. The sheer impossibility of the thing slowly but surely drives him insane. Being an illusion the whole time, it gets a pass on any sort of physical possibility.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Daleks' Master Plan": The Daleks form an alliance with the rulers of several galaxies for the primary purpose of conquering the Solar System. Putting aside individuals claiming to rule entire galaxies, multiple galaxies joining up to conquer a single star system is nothing less than massive overkill. A throwaway line suggests the Hand Wave that Earth exhibits influence beyond its normal sphere, but militarily it's never described as anything but "the Solar System".
    • "Partners in Crime" was guilty of this. Early on, it's established that an Adipose is created from one kilogram (~2.2 pounds) of fat. The average person weighs about 70 kilograms (159 pounds). When a character gets totally converted into Adipose (the fact humans are made up of stuff other than fat is explained that Adipose can be created from materials like bone too, it just makes them sick), only about 15 or so Adipose are created, apparently preserving volume, but dumping over half the person's mass.
    • "The End of Time": At the climax, the planet Gallifrey, which is clearly shown to be about twice the size of the Earth, starts phasing into normal space right next to Earth, starting a public panic. One character says they need to leave before "the whole planet gets knocked out of orbit", however the gravitational and tidal forces of such a big object should've caused disasters of epic proportions before that even became an issue
    • "Kill the Moon": The Moon is said to have had a significant increase in its gravity and be causing massive tides and seismic stress on Earth due to gaining an extra 100 billion tonnes. Compared to the rest of the estimated mass of the Moon, this is an increase of less than a millionth of a percent.
  • Used intentionally and cranked up to 11 via the Rule of Funny in Psych, where detective Shawn Spencer has to pretend to be the guide doing a laser light presentation at an observatory but quickly makes it painfully obvious he knows nothing about space.
    Shawn: There are almost 4... hundred stars, in our galaxy. Maybe more. No one knows for sure. Some say that the Milky Way may be larger than the Indian Ocean. Ah, and here are our constellations. Here's one of a fish...and here's one of a guy, holding........ some sort of a thing?
    Janitor: (whispering) You're supposed to name them!
    Shawn: And here is Monkey with Rash. The Egyptians used to set their clocks by it. And here is the Hammer of Jeff.
  • In the Grand Finale of Smallville, Apokolips is first shown to be similar in size to, if not larger than, Saturn, but when it comes to Earth it shrinks to the rough size of Metropolis.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series
    • The episode "The Galileo Seven" in which Spock and a small crew were lost in a shuttlecraft while the Enterprise studied "quasar-like phenomena", with the image on the main screen an artist's rendition. Today, we know that a quasar is the supermassive black hole at the center of a very young galaxy, spewing enormous amounts of energy as material falls into it. The implications are either of a galaxy-like phenomenon within a galaxy (?!), or that the Enterprise was at the far reaches of the universe studying a quasar with a very, very small number of worlds therein.
    • The episode "The Corbomite Maneuver" has the Enterprise encounter a mysterious cube, which Sulu says is 107 metres on each side and masses just under 11,000 metric tonnes. Scotty says it must be solid metal, leaving him wondering how it could be powered and how it moves around. But the quoted measurements give a density of about 9 kilograms per cubic metre, significantly less than styrofoam - implying the cube is almost certainly hollow. The Enterprise also encounters what is described as an impossibly large starship. While it does look absolutely HUGE compared to Enterprise (and they have to turn the viewer magnification way down in order to see the whole thing), Spock says its mass is "off the scale". As big as this ship appears to be next to Enterprise, it is nowhere near as large or as massive as a planet (or even a moon), and it seems odd that Enterprise's sensors wouldn't be able to determine its mass.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation
    • In at least one episode turning off life support for five minutes was enough to exhaust the entire oxygen supply of the ship. Considering the absurdly spacious rooms, they should have lasted quite a while longer.
    • Averted in the episode "Where No One Has Gone Before", in which the character of Kosinski said after 300 years of space flight only 11 percent of the galaxy had been explored, demonstrating just how huge the galaxy was.
    • The episode "Relics" featured a Dyson sphere with land, water and a sustained atmosphere (judging from all the green) on the entire inside surface. Despite the fact that the surface had open doors.
    • The Enterprise D in general is massive for its listed crew compliment. Sure, saying its 641 meters long and has a crew of 1 thousand sounds fine, until you remember the enterprise is also a 3d object that's 144m tall. The Enteprise's crew compliment is about 1/5 that of a real life aircraft carrier despite the Enterprise being several times the size of one with several times the internal space. This video for example tries to lay out how cavernous and empty the Enterprise would feel.
  • The opening credits of Star Trek: Voyager, while pretty, screw up scaling when the titular ship is passing by a ringed blue gas planet. As noted here, the planet is absurdly, probably impossibly small relative to the ship, or Voyager is bigger-than-Battlestar-sized.
    • In "The Fight", they encounter some kind of... anomaly which they follow and it eventually leads them into chaotic space. At one point they say the anomaly is about 2 light-years across and about 11,000 km away. Two problems: A. they see the thing move in real time, which would be impossible if it was 2 light years across (assuming they are roughly in the middle of it, it would take a year for the light from each end to reach them) and b. if they are 11,000 km away and the thing is 2 light years i.e about 20 TRILLION km across, it should completely fill up every window, yet they are somehow able to view the whole thing from that close. It's about as ridiculous as a person lying face down in the dirt, yet being able to see the entire planet Earth as if they were looking at it from an orbital satellite.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the Wild Talents 2nd Edition superhero setting, one of the suggested campaign seeds is being part of an exploration team for a defunct alien "world-ship" that has moved into the solar system. The campaign text says, explicitly, "Every square inch of the 'ship', 6,123 miles in diameter, was to be searched under the express orders of Joint Space Command." This is a volume of over four billion trillion cubic meters they are talking about here. If the entire population of the planet Earth, all six billion people, were used for a search team, each person would still have to search over 660 billion cubic meters. Hope they packed a lunch!
    • In the Progenitor setting for Wild Talents, the first superhuman was infused with 1% of the universe's Dark Matter energy. While obscenely powerful by supers game standards, her powers aren't anywhere near, say, Gurren Lagann level crazy, much less Bronze Age Superman crazy.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: In the original first edition AD&D game there was a small, easily missed mention that the 'weight' took into account encumbrance as well, how clumsy it was to carry the item. Carrying a 3lb hand weight would be easy; carrying a 3 foot long sword, especially when you're a 3 foot tall halfling, not as much. But as it's easily missable the weights were interpreted by many to be, well, weight, resulting in all manner of weapons and armour that are way heavier than anything in Real Life.
    • Also as per the example above of Dragonriders of Pern, dragons in Dungeons & Dragons can have truly big sizes. According to the Draconomicon, the largest of them — red, golden, and silver great wyrms — reach a length of 120 feet (40 meters), a wingspan of around 300 feet (100 meters) according to illustrations, and a weight of 1.280.000 lbs (580 tonnes) with them being as massive as an Airbus A380, the largest airliner in service, and with a larger wingspannote . A Wizard Did It in full effect.
  • Warhammer 40,000, in particular, the Rogue Trader RPG, suffers from this with regards to the various space ships. Specifically, they scale the mass - and crew - linearly with the length of the ship. As a result, while the smaller ships are reasonable enough, the larger ships end up with the density of papier-mâché (less, actually) and a vanishingly small crew.
    • Most solid-projectile weapons in Dark Heresy can be matched to a real-world counterpart with a similar weight, but shotguns are much heavier than they ought to be; modern combat shotguns generally don't weight more than four kilograms, while a Dark Heresy double-barrel shotgun (possibly the lightest and simplest possible design) weighs five.
  • Anima: Beyond Fantasy takes the issues with D&D dragons up to eleven. According to the reference charts in the book of creatures and monsters, C'iel dragons and Gaira ones have a length of around 2 kilometers, while the largest creature of the game, the dragon Rudraksha, has the size of a small city. Granted, they're divine creatures but still... In the same book, there's too a kind of huge worm to have a size of up to ten kilometers, that this time is described as a natural animal.
  • The larger ships in Star Finder have such low densities that air is literally three or more orders of magnitude more dense than the ship.
  • In Battletech, the 'Mechs might be on the edge of believable, but a Dropship... well, the iconic Union is an eighty meter sphere weighing less than four thousand tons and protected by a few dozen tons of armor. That's less density than styrofoam and armor that's literally paper-thin.

    • While the writer states Earth physics don't mean a thing, scale issues come up frequently. There's Mata Nui for instance, a circa 40 million feet high robot with a whole ecosystem inside him, who was build under a fairly short time, standing tall on the surface of his planet, in secret. His prototype, which was two thirds his size, blew up shortly before his construction, and none of the planet's inhabitants seemed to have grown suspicious of the mountain-sized robot parts that rained around them, all over the planet. Then, when these two bodies fought 100,000 years later, it was explicitly stated that the other, normal-sized characters simply ran around under their feet, crossing distances of thousands of miles within minutes. In the Mata Nui Saga, this scale issue had been taken into consideration, but they simply decided that the Saga's illustrations should depict both the giant robots and the human-sized characters within the same image. Otherwise, we would have only seen either the giant mechanoids duking it out alone or the armies of the "regulars" clashing in front of a gray backdrop.
    • Another example: the Mata Nui robot's mission, according to his hastily written backstory, was to study other civilizations and learn how to prevent wars. He did so by approaching a populated planet, lying down into an ocean, and covering his face with an artificial island. After thousands of years, he would rise up and continue his journey through space. Disregarding the fact that his massive chest would probably still have protruded through the water, just how does a robot as tall as Earth is wide lie in a body of water without anyone noticing, without raising water levels, or without simply having any effect on the planet itself? The Mata Nui Saga took a more reasonable route and depicted Mata Nui gathering information from civilizations through his special powers, while staying clear of any planet.
    • The most obvious problem is the various "maps" you can see of the various "Nui" islands within Mata Nui. They're arranged in such a way that it looks plausible as being contained inside a humanoid, but unless massive scaling is in order there's no possible way these would fit in the body we saw, especially with the scale. To say nothing of the character's journeys.
    • Later on, concept art revealed that the Mata Nui robot was originally significantly smaller, about the size of Europe as opposed to Earth, and was scaled-up for unknown reasons in the published story. That said, the official measurements of the islands, as well as all media depicting the giant, are more in line with the concept art, so it's mostly the written story material that's truly problematic.

    Video Games 
  • The planet Zebes in the Metroid series is given a mass of 4.8 Trillion Teratons, or 4.8x10^27kg. That is nearly a thousand times the mass of Earth, and well over twice the mass of Jupiter, so while not impossible to exist it still raises serious questions about how such a massive planet can host the kind of life we see on Zebes. Several other planets have similarly huge masses.
  • Super Mario Galaxy is very confused as to what constitutes a planet or a galaxy. For example, the smallest "planets" are maybe thirty feet in all directions, and the biggest ones are smaller than the Earth's moon. Meanwhile, "galaxies" are simply clusters of these "planets" or sometimes just one relatively big "planet," with no stars to speak of unless you count the abundant tiny black holes.
  • The weapons in Deus Ex are ridiculously heavy. The Dragon's Tooth Sword, for instance, weighs about 20 pounds. For the uninitiated, a normal katana weighs about 3.8 pounds. In addition, the pistol is 10 pounds in weight and the wrist-mounted mini-crossbow is 15 pounds.
  • Homeworld is ridiculously bad about ship weight. Most ships' weights in "tons" correspond to them being lighter-than-air craft. At least that would make getting 'em into space pretty easy, though.
  • Halo can be pretty bad about this:
    • The novels often cite insanely light weights for ships. The 480'ish meter long titanium armored frigate, for instance, is given a loaded mass of just 4,000 tons. Some rough math says gives a density of 1.8Kg/m^3, which is pretty close to air-levels of density at 1.2Kg/m^3. It gets even more insane when we consider that the ship is supposed to be armed with a main gun that fires 600 ton slugs. Warfleet retcons them with more appropriate masses, and also specifies that 600 ton slugs are merely one round variant of many rather than standard, making the whole thing significantly less ridiculous.
    • The Orbital Defense Platforms fire 3,000-ton slugs at 4% of the speed of light. The energy involved here comes in at gigatons of TNT equivalent. And it can fire every five seconds. The funniest part is that the Orbital Defense Platforms work on broadcast power. The UNSC is firing dozens of exawatts of energy at these Super MACs to charge them. At all times, every second (the entire Earth only used 500 exajoules of energy in 2012). They should be instantaneously vaporizing from their power source. The beamed power arrays would actually make much more efficient weapons, just point them at Covenant ships.
    • The rounds from the ODPs are shown as passing straight through Covenant ships, with several detailed descriptions to this effect. The problem is that at 12,000 km/s, the round would never penetrate anything. Beyond 3 km/s the round would get increasingly hydrodynamic, resembling a shaped charge jet (which could still put clean holes through each end of a ship, though it's a bit of a stretch), and past around 12 km/s it would exceed the hypervelocity floor of tungsten and simply explosive vaporize on contact, becoming closer to a very concentrated explosion rather than anything resembling a penetrator. Therefore, the 3,000 ton slug couldn't possibly be going at beyond 12 km/s or so, much less a thousand times faster. This would put the yield per shot in the single to double digit kiloton range.
    • Halo: Warfleet seemingly acknowledges all of the above when it retcons ODPs as having muzzle velocities of "several kilometers per second", rather than tens of thousands per second.
    • Then there's the SPARTAN-IIs' MJOLNIR armor, which weighs half a (short) ton, or 454 kg—each Spartan weighs as much as a horse. It's never explained how they don't sink into soft ground or destroy every ladder and staircase they use. Not to mention how awesome the suspension on Warthogs must be, they don't even lean over when the Chief gets in. Not to mention, the 2-ton Banshees don't slow at all when they have the equivalent of over a quarter of their mass added on in the form of a nearly half-ton pilot, with the craft's performance being no different than when it is piloted by a Grunt.
  • Sins of a Solar Empire is surprisingly good about this, although planets appear only a few times smaller than some suns. The ships are comparatively massive compared to fighters, which are so tiny they have to have markers pointing out entire wings of them if you zoom out enough to view just one capital ship.
  • Pokémon can be terrible with Pokémon weights. Sometimes, this is obviously intentional, other times, not so clear. It also really sucks with Pokémon sizes in general, since with a few exceptions, most of them are literally a quarter of the size you'd expect such an animal or object to actually be. Like how three of the Pseudo-Legendary dragons (Dragonite, Salamence and Garchomp) are between 4 and 7 foot tall. Or Tyrantrum, which is apparently an 8-foot tall Tyrannosaurus Rex. Or Kyogre, which is a shrimp compared to its animal basis (4.5 m compared to 5-8 m for real orcas). If they aren't, it's likely they're much bigger than expected; Furret, the fluffy ferret, is 5 feet 11 inches long, Dunsparce, the Pokemon based off of a snake from Japanese folklore, the Tsuchinoko, which are said to be about 80 centimeters at most, is 4'11" long, and Glalie, a floating, demon-shaped ball of ice, is just as big.
    • Onix, a giant snake made of boulders, is light enough to float in water.
    • Wailord, the "Float Whale Pokémon", is light enough to float in the air.
    • On the other end, we have Cosmoem, who is only about four inches across, yet weights 2204.4 lbsnote , or just over a TON. And is easily carried by tween girl in her sports bag!
    • Unlike many other Pokémon, Mudsdale's weight is close to how heavy clydesdale horses are in real life, weighing 2028.3 lbsnote . This makes it heavy enough to make it one of the heaviest Pokémon.
    • If we include population as part of the scale, the cities in the series have laughably sparse amounts of people living there. For example, the most populous in the series, Nimbasa, has an official population count of 150 (239 if including the Trainers in the Big Stadium and Small Court). That's roughly about nine times less than the total population count of Vatican City, which has about 1,000 people living there. It's probably justified, since to make that much people would require loads of data to be put into the games.
  • EVE Online is a major offender in the density department, on account of the mass of ships and objects determining collision physics, so we end up with ships averaging the density of styrofoamnote  and gates that are "5e+35 kg", or over 250,000 times as massive as the Sun itself. They also create and maintain stable wormholes between two star systems.
    • The beacons scattered throughout the universe weigh 1 kg and have a volume of 1 cubic meter. While actually an acceptable size, coupled with their low weight they are less dense than air! Seriously. Atmospheric air has a density of 1.2kg/m3. Interstellar beacons have a density of 1kg/m3. That's 16.67% lighter than air. At least the chances of one of those crashing down on a planet is very small.
      • Fridge Logic explains it's their packing density, a property that's more relevant for calculating the space they occupy in a ship cargohold's loading plan than their actual physical density. After all, those beacons aren't homogenous liquids where average and actual densities really are equal.
    • EVE just gets ridiculously jarring in this department at times. Especially with the asteroid belts. It's actually possible to sit in a belt between two asteroids that are big and dense enough to have their own gravity-wells in a ship with a density equal to something like Papier-Maché, and not be ripped apart by the two gravity-wells.
    • Titans have a density equal to that of aluminum, while Rifters have a density equal to that of solid gold.
    • Ships have incredibly small storage capacity compared to their size. Some ships have less proportional storage capacity than ocean-going vessels use for supply closets. What makes this worse is the existence of jet cans, small pressurized pods that can hold far more than any sub-capital ship in the game, yet can be launched into space by any ship. The X-Universe at least justifies this with the existence of quantum compression technology, which allows ships as small as an F-5 Tiger to put in several dozen people or other items in their cargo bays - that's roughly equivalent to the size of a refrigerator. And yet, there's no such excuse in the EVE universe to justify their atypical capacities.
  • Sword of the Stars:
    • Destroyers, the smallest FTL-capable starships, are around 30 meters in length... Seriously? For reference, the Space Shuttle is 56.1m, while the F-15 Eagle is about 19m.
    • The assault shuttles are even smaller, at about 10 meters in length. And these are actually supposed to enter and exit the atmosphere (and don't look aerodynamic enough for that).
    • There is also the problem of a Zuul slave disk that is, maybe, 60 meters in diameter being able to hold 50 million people.
    • Cruisers only mass double-digit thousands of kilograms, dreadnoughts triple-digits. This is far, far too light for a craft meant to operate and fight for months to years away from port. The Airbus A380 is almost 600,000 kg at maximum take-off weight and definitely does not have the capacity to store supplies for such mind-numbingly long operations if it tried to be a space-borne vessel. Furthermore, this doesn't even take into account armour - The Deacon's Tale establishes that assault shuttles use ordnance of a few kilotons and even this is inadequate to damage combat starships, implying that even harming a SOTSverse ship is a job for strategic arms. A later battle confirms that the Padded Sumo Gameplay is lore-compliant. There is no real-world material that offers this certifiably miraculous level of protection at this ridiculously low mass.
  • So apparently you can build a ship in the Space Empires games that's 1,350,000 tons but can carry over a billion people. A person averages 70 kilograms, and there are 1000 kilograms in a (metric) ton, so a billion people masses 70 million tons. Even if the 1,350,000 tons is the "empty" mass, most vehicles' loaded mass is not over 98% passengers.
  • Initially averted in Star Trek Online and then played straight. They tried to keep things at their canon measurements but they look so puny in the game that they made a lot of them bigger.
  • In Cookie Clicker, the message that pops up once you obtain 100 million cookies is "The universe has now turned into cookie dough, to the molecular level." 100 million cookies are barely enough to satisfy the United States' consumption of cookies for one day alone, let alone account for the mass of the entire universe.
  • Kirby has an official height: 8 inches tall. Fine, hamsters like Rick can easily be that size, as can owls like Coo. But what about Adeleine, the young human girl? And Kine, the sunfish? Doesn't that make them really small for their species?
  • According to the developers of No Man's Sky, all of the game's more than 18 quintillion planets are located within the same galaxy. Assuming that each system in that galaxy has an average of three planets in it, that averages out to more than six quintillion stars within that galaxy alone! For comparison, IC 1101, the largest known galaxy in the observable universe, has only 100 trillion stars, or one sixty-thousandth the number of stars found in the in-game galaxy! After the game is released, however, it was discovered that each galaxy only has about 281 trillion (2^48) planets in them, which, assuming an average of 3 planets per system, would be mostly comparable to IC 1101.
  • Rage (2011): The opening cutscene has some major scaling issues. First, Apophis passes through Saturn's rings, which should've resulted in it either being pulled toward the gas giant or caught in orbit, not continuing on to Earth. Second, and more egregious, is the scene when the asteroid passes close enough to the Moon to knock material off of it before continuing on to hit Earth. Not only are the Earth and Moon way too close here, but if the asteroid was really that huge (you can see the curvature of the moon in the shot), then it would've been large enough that A) it would be spherical, and B) Earth would probably have shattered, never mind any form of life surviving, arks or no. It should go without saying that the real 99942 Apophis is nowhere near this big.
  • The Landmaster tank in Star Fox has listed dimensions of 24 spacemeters long and 8.5 spacemeters high. Unless their measurements are significantly smaller than normal meters, that means the Landmaster is as big as small three story house! For comparison, the M1 Abrams MBT clocks in at 9.8m long, 3.8m wide, and 2.9m tall. Furthermore, in Star Fox 64 in the two levels it is used in the Landmaster is generally the smallest thing on the field, particularly in Macbeth where the train that is the mission objective towers over the Landmaster!
  • World of Warcraft Has a big one with regards to the Titan: They are implied to be the size of planets, with Sargeras cutting entire planets in half with his sword. At one point he tried to destroy Azeroth with his sword but instead it just got stuck partway in and he was banished. Realistically, just something the size of a planet getting that close to Azeroth should have catastrophic effects, let alone if a sword big enough to have a significant fraction of the planet's mass were stuck permanently in it.

    Web Comics 
  • In Homestuck, the Green Sun is stated to be nearly twice the mass of the universe, totaling 2*1053 kg (which gives a Schwarzschild radiusnote  of 2.97*1023 kilometers, or 31.39 billion lightyears), yet it visibly has little to no gravitational pull. Until Act 7, that is, when Alternate!Calliope causes it to collapse into a black hole — which, having remembered the consequences of being an unimaginably massive object, proceeds to start sucking in the fabric of spacetime as opposed to just warping it.
  • Receives a lampshade in Schlock Mercenary, where aliens who habitually make Dyson spheres of a canvas-like material kept inflated by light pressure from the enclosed starnote  have a nickname for it that translates as "This was expensive to build." note 

    Western Animation 
  • Buzz Lightyear of Star Command. In the episode Wirewolf, Buzz orders Mira and Booster to crash their spaceship into a radioactive moon to destroy it. Needless to say, 'hollow spaceship vs rock many, many times its size' should have pretty much zero effect, so apparently, this moon's other special feature is that it was hollowed out and filled with TNT.
  • In Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Jimmy uses Goobot's Shrink Ray to render himself "planet-size", but this is only, at most, a few hundred feet in height.
  • One episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) has Raphael claim that the Technodrome is "five times the size of the Houston Astrodome", which would make it about 1090 feet tall and 1700 feet wide, which seems a "little" big for it to be rolling around in some caves under the city (indeed, one would think if there was that much empty space under the city there would be giant sinkholes opening up constantly.)There's also multiple episodes where it comes out of the caves and into the city. You'd think if it's really that huge it would tower over all but the tallest buildings and likely be too wide to fit between the rows of buildings. This can be perhaps Handwaved by saying he was exaggerating, although it's hard to gauge the thing's actual size (in part because it has a major case of Your Size May Vary.)
  • On an episode of the 2003 series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the entire city of Beijing is lifted into the air with alien technology. A view of the floating hunk of rock (significantly thicker than the Earth's crust) looks like the view out an airplane's window, with farm patterns visible below. A scientist states that the city is floating 20 miles above the ground, yet the city is easily 100 times its own height above the ground.
  • Transformers has many issues with size, but on astronomical scales, Cybertron and Unicron bear mention:
    • Unicron is a Transformer the size of a planet. Yet he interacts with vehicle-sized robots that should not be visible. A number of scenes have him doing things like holding Transformers between his fingers, which shouldn't be possible unless those characters have abruptly ballooned to the size of, say, Rhode Island. A few stories have suggested that Unicron has consumed a significant fraction of universes. Considering that Unicron has consistently been shown to handle planets by simply flying over to them and munching them, it's rather hard to, er, swallow. It's especially strange to wonder how he handles, for instance, the larger stars—even the most judicious guess at his size (cartoon Unicron is a bit bigger than the moon, Marvel Unicron is about the size of Saturn) would have him be basically a grain of sand consuming an exercise ball.
    • The size of Cybertron itself varies a lot in Transformers lore; it's been everywhere from the size of Earth's moon to the size of a large gas giant. Yet whenever we see it in a long shot, it has visible structures on its surface, some of which even visibly poke well past its curvature. Its native population does have pretty advanced technology and tend to be 5-10 meters tall, but the larger buildings should be about the size of, say, Florida.
      • Cybertron in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, when shown in Earth's orbit, is shown to be very large. Given that it appears to be entirely metallic in composition, it would also make it much more massive, even if its outer layers have many hollow areas. This causes problems of its own, as they appear to be teleporting it right on top of the Earth (like, closer than the Moon). Two planet-sized and massed object, that close to each other, would surely rip each other apart. Only a small portion of the planet gets teleported over, but still, you have to wonder what the hell Megatron was thinking. Notably, even the original cartoon gave this a nod; when Cybertron appears in Earth's orbit, it's shown to have catastrophic effects that don't end until it gets put back out.
  • Despite being an educational show, The Magic School Bus fell victim to this big-time in the episode "Out of this World". In order to deflect an asteroid about to hit their school, the Bus grows to the size (and presumably the mass) of the moon, using its gravity to slingshot the asteroid into the sun. The thing is, if an object the size of the moon suddenly appeared in Earth's orbit, the kids would have had a lot more to worry about than just their school being destroyed— it would essentially wreak havoc on Earth's orbit just by being there. While a lot of the Artistic License – Space in the episode was lampshaded during the phone segment, this oddly went unmentioned.