Movies can show you just about anything through a combination of great writing and great CGI. But what if they were measured against our world?
Sci-fi weapons seemingly know no bounds. That’s the magic of sci-fi — if you can think it, you can create it, and plenty of people definitely have.
But have you ever taken a step back to consider how these sci-fi weapons would work in the real world? You may be surprised to learn how much energy it would actually take to fire them. Here are three of the most powerful sci-fi weapons, straight off the big screen.
The Death Star — Star Wars
The Death Star is certainly one of the first to spring to mind when it comes to powerful sci-fi movie weapons. Its power is even unprecedented in the Star Wars universe: who could forget Leia’s shellshocked face when she sees it fire for the first time?
The closest real-world concept that could even come close to the Death Star is the Tsar Bomba, the world’s most powerful nuclear weapon. Even then, while the Tsar Bomba is measured to have 2.1e17 joules of energy, the Death Star packs a whopping 2.2e32, a full 15 orders of magnitude more catastrophic than the most devastating bomb known to man.
Vogon Constructor Fleet — Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has attained such massive popularity that it’s been almost everything — a radio broadcast, a stage show, a novel, a TV series, and yes, a movie. A Vogon Constructor Fleet is similar to the Death Star, but in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Arthur Dent, the last surviving man, actually lives in the wasteland left behind by a Vogon Constructor Fleet.
In order to cause the type of damage seen throughout Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a Vogon Constructor Fleet would likely have to pack about 5.3e41 joules of energy. That’s over 9 orders of magnitude more than the Death Star, which was created to destroy planets in one fell swoop.
The Little Doctor — Ender’s Game
The Molecular Disruption Device from Ender’s Game also called The Little Doctor due to its acronym of M.D.D., is one of the most powerful sci-fi weapons of all time, topped only by Futurama’s Universe to Universe Missile and Doctor Who’s Reality Bomb. The machine actually literally tears things apart, reducing them down to nothing but iron molecules.
In the movie, it’s stated that it cost $70 billion just to produce the weapon, and the numbers certainly line up. The Little Doctor is estimated to utilize around 9.8e58 joules of energy, which is more than 39 orders of magnitude more than the deadliest weapon ever created on Earth.
Sci-fi is all about the suspension of disbelief. You don’t necessarily want someone to tell you how a weapon would work in real life, just that it does in the movie. But next time you see someone effortlessly obliterate a planet, think about how much power that one shot would take.
To see more, click here!