Here's What Star Wars Gets Wrong About Physics

Just how would they power the Death Star? And why are X-wing pilots always firing their afterburners, even when they're traveling in a straight line in the vacuum of space?

These questions and more are addressed in the latest episode of PBS Digital Studios' "It's Okay To Be Smart." Just check out the video above.

In the video, host Joe Hanson examines the physics of space battles and concludes that depictions of space skirmishes like those seen in "Star Wars" clash with even the most basic tenets of Newtonian physics.

Even the weaponry makes no sense, Hanson says in the video, adding that Hollywood-style fireballs would be impossible without an atmosphere.

"In some ways, realistic space combat would be closer to the 18th century than it is today ... imagine days-long communications delays and battles that are fought with cannons and musket balls -- except, it's happening in space," Hanson explains in the video.

How about all those lasers? "Honestly, if you want to destroy a planet, you're probably better off throwing an asteroid at it," he mentions.

Despite his insight, however, even Hanson struggles to explain Jar Jar Binks.



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