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Star Wars Science

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I'm a movie buff, and I've seen my fair share of science fiction movies, and while I try my best not to get overly frustrated, it sometimes boggles my mind why these big budget movies can't hire a scientist to get some consultation for basic science. For example, the Star Wars movies are incredibly fun for all ages but they are full of scientific inaccuracies. One of the biggest ones for me are the massive explosions of the death stars. First of all, since space is essentially a vacuum, sound cannot propagate. So instead of that "boom," you hear nothing. Additionally, to sustain the massive explosions of the death stars as seen in the movies, a lot of oxygen would need to be present. Again with space being a vacuum, it wouldn't be there, instead they would be more like large silent camera flashes followed by pieces of debris flying off in every direction. And by the way, the death star that exploded the forest moon of Endor, would have easily produced an extinction-level impact much like the one that hit the Earth 65 million years ago to kill off the dinosaurs. Sorry Ewoks, scientifically, you're dead!

To conclude, movies are a way to escape reality for a while, but they can provide good learning opportunities for everyone, especially movie-loving kids when these sort of scientific inaccuracies are discussed.

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Follow your curiosity to the Fred G. Dale Planetarium at Wayne State College.

Dr. Todd Young hails from Minnesota and received his undergraduate degree in Physics & English from the University of Minnesota – Morris, his Master’s degree in Physics from Purdue University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln in Astrophysics. He has worked at Wayne State College since receiving his doctorate in 1998 and is currently a full professor of physics and astronomy. He teaches a variety of courses at Wayne State College, including university physics, astronomy, general education science, and astrophysics.
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