Neil deGrasse Tyson, American astrophysicist, is debunking the science of Star Wars with a series of tweets that has summarily ticked off the Internet. Yes, he is the Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space in New York City, and yes he has lots of degrees that boast knowledge in cosmology, galactic astronomy, stellar evolution and formation, but this is Star Wars here, and devotees will defend the pseudo-science like a stubborn, green skinned, ax-wielding Gamorrean guard.
Reports USA Today on Dec. 21: “Neil deGrasse Tyson is a science-fiction fan, but first and foremost, he is a scientist. Which means he is contractually obligated to pick apart every new sci-fi movie. And to live tweet every inaccuracy in the name of #SCIENCE.”
After naming the BB-8 astromech droid “waaaaay cuter than R2D2” (Which I think most would agree to), Tyson snarks on the fact that there is no way the droid would be moving that easily on sand.
In @StarWars#TheForceAwakens, BB-8, a smooth rolling metal spherical ball would have skidded uncontrollably on sand. — Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) December 21, 2015
The cosmologist and author, who admitted to getting lots of hate mail from children when he supported dropping Pluto as a planet designation, didn’t much care for the way Star Wars portrayed destroyed and collapsing stars.
“If you were to suck all of a star’s energy into your planet, your planet would vaporize,” he tweeted, later adding that “the energy in a Star is enough to destroy ten-thousand planets, not just a few here & there.”
But things started to get a tad personal for Star Wars aficionados when Tyson took on TIE Fighters, Stormtroopers and the Millennium Falcon.
In @StarWars#TheForceAwakens the TIE fighters made exactly the same sound in the vacuum of space as in planetary atmospheres — Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) December 21, 2015
In @StarWars#TheForceAwakens, the Storm Troopers still run as though they’re carrying a full load of poop in their diapers. — Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) December 21, 2015
Unashamed of inanity, #TheForceAwakens repeats the Millennium Falcon boast of completing the Kessel Run in “under 12 parsecs” — Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) December 21, 2015
(A Parsec is an obscure unit of distance in Astrophysics, equal to 3.26 Light Years. Neither has anything to do with time. ) — Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) December 21, 2015
Perhaps Star Wars fans are still smarting over Tyson’s declaration last month that there is “no question” he would rather take a flight aboard Star Trek’s USS Enterprise than on the Millennium Falcon. Tyson also tossed in one political observation, stating that the movie reminded him that “Red & Blue teams cooperate with one another. Rare in American Politics.”
OK Star Warians, what are your thoughts on Neil deGrasse Tyson’s takedown of Star Wars science?