High Five: Star Wars Tech

On today's high five, we are looking at what I think are the top 5 tech elements of Star Wars.  We're looking at the innovation, the mystery, and the beauty of the math behind the 'verse!

1) Gravity in Space

There are a number of ways that space based sci-fi movies and shows have accounted for gravity on ships while in space flight.  Gravity has been obtained through a few means:

  • spinning sections of the ship to create centrifugal force (think Babylon 5)
  • continuous burn of thrusters where the thrusters constantly create the continual downward force (think more black and white sci-fi movies where the rocket lands vertical but flies horizontally through space)
  • artificial gravity aka magic
The last option is most often utilized and the technical aspects of it vary greatly between universes and is often left as the element of the show where you must be willing to suspend your disbelief therefore it almost works by magic.  I'd love to know the theories on how gravity works in the Star Wars Universe!

2) The Lightsaber

The potential physics behind the lightsaber is unique. Like the laser blaster (see below), there have been rumors that a laser could be the "light" source; however, two of the primary arguments against a laser involve the fact that the laser would need something to reflect off of in order to become visible.  Secondly, when two lasers cross, there is no sound or resistance.  A highly held belief is that the lightsaber is actually a form of plasma held in a force field.  The interesting element of this theory is the power required to create plasma is similar to a nuclear reactor, but it needs to fit inside the hilt of a lightsaber.  We're talking some large developments in the field of nuclear technology to achieve this.

3) The Droid 

Droids in this universe hold an advanced artificial intelligence as they are not just service enhancement devices.  Droids in the Star Wars universe can make decisions, show emotion, and display a form of morality.

4) Laser Blaster 

Laser blaster have always seemed to be a bit of a misnomer. It isn't a laser because a laser's photons only travel in one direction.  This means that you can see the end point, but you wouldn't be able to see the light column.  The other problem with a laser is that the point would go on indefinitely until it hits a solid object (think your professor using a laser for their presentation). The best theory I've read is that it would be a highly charged gas combined with a bolt of material.  You can find more of this theory here.

5) Travel vs Time

Every space based show has its form of fast travel.  From warp speed in Star Trek to the light speed in Star Wars, you have to have your fast get-away-mobile.  It's an interesting idea; however, according to Einstein's theory of relativity, we can never reach light speed because as we get closer to light speed, time would slow down so by the time you dropped out of light speed, it would be years later even though it wouldn't feel that way in your ship.  In reality, we haven't been able to test the theory in real life.  I've always considered that in the Star Wars universe, it may be that they have figured out how to move space itself.

Thanks for letting me chat about the Star Wars 'verse (Seven of Ten really doesn't understand this fandom, but I was happy to step in.) Until next time...

Exquisitely Geek

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