Scientists find it difficult to create lightsaber similar to ‘Star Wars’

Neil deGrasse Tyson identifies 4 scientific inaccuracies of movie
By @vitthernandez on
Scott Brandt participates in a lightsaber battle in Washington Square Park in New York, December 18, 2015. Reuters/Stephanie Keith

Although the “Star Wars” franchise is clearly a fiction, the release last week of “Episode VII: The Force Awakens” revived interest in the lightsaber. It raise the question if it is really possible for scientists to build a lightsaber.

Because the weapon could quickly melt large amounts of metal, the glowing blades that is about 1.2 metres long implies it contains a tremendous amount of energy. This energy allows the user of the lightsaber to cut through flesh with no difficulty, reports CSMonitor.

Morningticker rules out the use of laser, which continues forever instead of ending in a fixed point, because it would not result in lightsabers clashing against each other. It suggested instead the use of plasma which is the result of stripping away the electrons of a gas atom that yield the glow in the saber.

Plasma is found on everyday items such as fluorescent lights. Its use would solve the possible problem of burnt hands handling the hilt because of the energy in the weapon. However, the high amount of heat that plasma creates also a problem due to the large volume of electric current flow involved, which, in turn, acts like a hot gas that cools and expands, needing it to be contained within something.

Plasma, Morningticker notes, could be contained within magnetic fields, but it still does not solve the problem of two magnetically contained plasma tubes passing through each other, making duels impossible to hold. That’s because duels require a solid core, but at the same time to hold up against extraordinarily hot temperatures.

Finally, ceramics has also been suggested because it could be heated at very high temperature but would not melt, soften or distort. CSMonitor’s conclusion is that based on today’s technology, a lightsaber could be made using plasma contained by magnetic fields with a ceramic core that uses very dense power source and force field that blocks infrared but not very visible light. The next step is asking engineers to start making one.

Meanwhile, at least four “Star Wars” scientific inaccuracies has been noticed by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. In a tweet, he points out that:

  • Because of its shape, the BB-8 – a smooth rolling metal spherical ball – would skid uncontrollably on sand,
  • The sound of the TIE fighters is the same as space vacuum in  planetary spheres,
  • The planet would vaporise if it sucks all of the star’s energy into it, and
  • The energy in a Star in sufficient to destroy 10,000 planets and not just a few planets.

Tyson had also in the past pointed out the inaccurate science of other sci-fi movies such as “Gravity” and “Interstellar” which generated some negative comments from moviegoers who think these observations “are a total buzzkill.”

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