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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 2:51 pm 
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That's a lot of dead presidents...

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The destruction of both Death Stars by The Rebel Alliance in Star Wars is generally celebrated as a great success (despite the war seemingly continuing on in "The Force Awakens"), but according to a researcher, Professor Zachary Feinstein of Washington University in St. Louis, destroying them would have been catastrophic for the galactic economy and the rebel chances to establish a second republic. You might dismiss this paper as a waste of time, but many Bothans died to bring us this information.

According to the U.S. government, the first Death Star cost $852 quadrillion (thousand million million), 11,000 times the gross world product, which is estimated to be about $77 trillion dollars. But this latest paper, available on ArXiv, estimates that the total cost of building two Death Stars in "A New Hope" and "Return of the Jedi" was $419 quintillion (billion billion) dollars when research and development are also factored in.

To estimate the Gross Galactic Product (GGP), Professor Feinstein compared the development of the first atomic bomb to the development of the Death Star. Based on the cost of the battle stations being 0.21 percent of the total Empire budget, compared to the cost of the Manhattan Project, the estimate for the GGP is $92 sextillion (thousand billion billion) during the 20 years of the Empire.

These costs might seem manageable by the Empire based on their GGP, but it is not the cost that is the major issue. Rather, it is the financial market that was likely heavily invested in the Death Stars (yes, this is going a bit too far now). The construction cost is likely the major outstanding debt of the galactic government (on the assumption that Emperor Palpatine is a fiscally conservative leader), so the banks who have financed the Death Stars will be in trouble after the fall of the Empire, according to Feinstein.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 3:01 pm 
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How did gravity work on the Death Star? Was "down" the center of the core or the south pole of the Death Star? This was never really made clear in the movies.

And building an entire planet to support a giant lazer cannon seems like a horrendous idea. Why not build a dozen giant lazer cannons and tow them around with Star Destroyers?


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 4:25 pm 
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How did gravity work on the Death Star? Was "down" the center of the core or the south pole of the Death Star? This was never really made clear in the movies.

And building an entire planet to support a giant lazer cannon seems like a horrendous idea. Why not build a dozen giant lazer cannons and tow them around with Star Destroyers?


I remember reading somewhere that for parts of the station down was towards the core of the station, and for other parts it was towards the station's South Pole.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 5:34 pm 
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I remember reading somewhere that for parts of the station down was towards the core of the station, and for other parts it was towards the station's South Pole.

I could grouse about that not making sense but kvetching about artificial space station gravity in a sci fi movie with a cordless power sword seems silly. Multiple points of gravity works for me.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 5:36 pm 
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How did gravity work on the Death Star?

The same way it works everywhere in the universe:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravity

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 5:47 pm 
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2 Death Stars would cost about $419,000,000,000,000,000,000

Sounds several orders of magnitude higher than the actual cost.

I mean, they not only have hyper-drives (for faster-than-light space jumps), but they also have a much better understanding about how to harness The Force.

Clearly, with such advanced technology and tremendously deep wisdom and understanding about the foundations of the universe, seems more likely that it would only cost them a small fraction of the stated amount.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 6:27 pm 
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The same way it works everywhere in the universe:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravity

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But gravity didn't always work according to Newton on the Death Star. At least not when they flew into the docking bay.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 6:42 pm 
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But gravity didn't always work according to Newton on the Death Star. At least not when they flew into the docking bay.

It did, it always does.

The differences in what you think should happen and what is actually happening is part of the fun of being a physicist. Welcome aboard.

Two possibilities: First, the distribution of mass in the death star is such that the center of gravity is near one of the edges instead of near the center (as we would tend to expect).

The second is to recall some of the other marvelous technology they have at their disposal. They know how to create force fields that far exceed our capabilities at this time.

So, the general things Newton (and others) said about forces, momentum, mutual interactions, and motion still hold. Gravity is just one kind of force. There are a few others and one in particular would be a likely candidate for some of the exceptional technology displayed in Star Wars - the electric force.

In the end, it all still comes down to F=ma (force equals mass times acceleration)...more or less, anyway.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 7:24 pm 
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How do you explain gravity on the Millinieum Falcon?


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 7:29 pm 
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Do those estimates take into account slave labor?


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 8:48 pm 
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How do you explain gravity on the Millinieum Falcon?

http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/sci-fi7.htm

On spaceships, such as "Star Trek"'s Enterprise or Star Wars' "Millennium Falcon," there is some type of artificial gravity field that allows the occupants to experience normal gravity in flight. This is important to counteract the adverse effects of prolonged weightlessness. It is also easier to film a movie without having to make the occupants appear weightless. How these artificial gravity fields are generated are unknown (remember, sci-fi writers are free to extrapolate). Currently, the only known means of producing artificial gravity is spinning the astronauts in a wheel-like environment. Centripetal acceleration towards the center of the wheel produces centripetal force. The reaction to this acceleration (often called centrifugal force) throws the occupants against the wall and feels like gravity (many amusement parks have rides like this). The films "2001: a Space Odyssey, " "2010: The Year We Make Contact," and "Mission to Mars" all depict this type of artificial gravity correctly.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 9:11 pm 
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Well that was some of the most entertaining Star Wars commentary I've read recently. Thanks for sharing.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 10:48 pm 
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Let's not get all hard sci-fi here.

Remember, at the end of the day, there's lots of details that could be problematic, if you want to get all nitpicky. For example, loud explosion sounds and sound effects in space ... shouldn't be any. One neat detail of the Battlestar Galactica remake series is there's no sound to the space battles, they tried to be very "authentic" on this issue. Of course, humans in the remake are basically still using versions of the same projectile weapons we have now ... no energy beams/photon torpedoes.

For example, it's very convenient that most of the planets the Enterprise beams crew down on, or that asteroid the Millennium Falcon hid in in the 2nd film, both had breathable atmosphere. In both series, you rarely see people wearing space suits.

An asteroid is almost certain not to have a breathable atmosphere. Even if they were technically inside the belly of the Wars version of a Sandworm.

BTW, my guess is if they built both Death Stars at once, they might have saved on parts, for buying in bulk/duplicate. :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2015 2:09 am 
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An asteroid is almost certain not to have a breathable atmosphere. Even if they were technically inside the belly of the Wars version of a Sandworm.

Almost certain, but not completely, which is sort of what we expect to be the case for life in the cosmos, in general.

That is to say, even life on Earth, as we know it, barely exists, and could readily have taken any number of different evolutionary paths, or even not arisen at all.

We barely exist.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi_paradox

(Enrico Fermi - University of Chicago; one of the youngest to ever receive Nobel Prize (physics, of course); perhaps the single most important physicist in terms of scientific contribution to the construction of first atomic bomb. Absolutely brilliant mother fucker. Chicago. Need I say more?)


The issue from a scientific point of view is to explain why there should be a breathable atmosphere inside the belly a creature the size of small solar system. I think there's a good chance it can be done.

Now, even the Obama Administration has said they are not interested in considering any further the merits of funding the construction of a Death Star (which seems appropriately pragmatic for an empire that is orders of magnitude smaller in size than a galactic empire). However, the tone of their reply to this petition to build a Death Star suggests that they might be willing to consider providing funding for the search for the solar system-sized creature with a breathable atmosphere in its belly.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2015 7:37 pm 
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Recall that was an asteroid field. It seems that some of the forces that could hold a bunch of asteroids in a loose configuration (despite a planetary/galactic deconstruction applying massive force to asteroids), or even attract them into such a field, could provide some explanation for gravity or an atmosphere.

...even the evolutionary path of giant xxx-eating worms.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2015 8:12 pm 
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Yeah, it's also extremely fortunate that every planet in the Wars-iverse has an atmosphere that humans can breathe.

Dagobah, Endor, Hoth, Kashyk, Naboo ... every species in the Wars-iverse breathes the same atmosphere, and humans never need a space suit, anywhere.

Saves budget for the costume/props film division, too. ;)

You'll notice that, conveniently, almost all planets the Enterprise encountered didn't require space suits, either, in the original Trek series.

For that matter, not in most of the later ones, either.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2015 8:16 pm 
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Yeah, it's also extremely fortunate that every planet in the Wars-iverse has an atmosphere that humans can breathe.

Dagobah, Endor, Hoth, Kashyk, Naboo ... every species in the Wars-iverse breathes the same atmosphere, and humans never need a space suit, anywhere.

Saves budget for the costume/props film division, too. ;)

You'll notice that, conveniently, almost all planets the Enterprise encountered didn't require space suits, either, in the original Trek series.

For that matter, not in most of the later ones, either.

I don't think this is accurate. Just because they navigate to inhabitable planets doesn't establish that those are the norm.

In Star Trek, they always do an "analysis." They only tend to visit "Class M" planets. Sometimes, the planets are something close. In those instances, Star Trek tends to inoculate the away team to condition the body for the new environment. There's no reason to believe that they weren't also doing that in the other Star Trek episodes, even if they weren't showing that to the viewer.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2015 8:48 pm 
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Yeah. BTW, here's the space suits they wore in the original series - rarely.

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The props department worked a little harder for the original Motion Picture. Maybe because they had a bit of a budget.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2015 9:36 pm 
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I just came across an article on Gawker from 2013 that said to build the starship Enterprise would be about $478,947,711,160. Or about 13 percent of the total US Budget.

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