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Energy in the Star Wars Universe

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Energy in the Star Wars Universe

In honor of Star Wars Day today, we're looking at energy in the Star Wars universe. What does it take to power some of the most iconic tech in the franchise?

Blasters

For most characters in the Star Wars universe, blasters are the weapon of choice. These firearms are said to shoot bolts of plasma energy, capable of effortlessly puncturing steel. For example, when escaping the Death Star in A New Hope, Princess Leia uses a blaster to blow a three-foot-wide hole in the wall. 

So how much energy does a blaster actually consume?

The good people of Ebates set out to calculate it. It takes about 6.34 megajoules of energy to vaporize a little over two pounds of iron. So, they estimate that a blast like the one Leia produced would yield about 342 megajoules of energy.

For comparison, that's about 95 kilowatt hours - equal to the charge of 132 car batteries, and enough to power two computers for almost a year. 

Lightsabers

Wielded only by “force-sensitive” characters such as Jedis and Siths, lightsabers use plasma energy condensed into a sword-like blade. These powerful weapons can slice through just about anything, as evidenced in The Phantom Menace when Jedi master Qui-Gon Jinn melts a hole through a metal door.

Rhett Allain at Wired worked through the physics to figure out just how much energy that would require. Taking all relevant variables into account (and trust us, there are a lot), he concluded that it takes 28 kilowatts per second to light up a lightsaber. That's the equivalent of 650 car batteries or 120,000 AA batteries. 

Hyperspace

Who wouldn't love a trip through the Galaxy aboard Han Solo's Millennial Falcon? Better yet, a jump through hyperspace, i.e. flying through space faster than the speed of light by manipulating the space-time continuum. 

Ebates estimates that it takes about 63 exajoules or 17,500 terawatt-hours to jump a ship the size of the Millennium Falcon into hyperspace. That’s the equivalent of 15 billion tons of TNT and 16 percent of the earth's global energy supply every day. 

The Force

The Force is the driving mythology of the Star Wars universe. Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi describes it as an internal “energy field created by all living things." 

But how much energy are we talking about? The team at Wired has done the math. 

Take, for example, Darth Vadar’s iconic move: lifting and suspending someone in midair using The Force.

A lot of variables come into play, including the distance from Darth Vader to his victim, the victim’s height and weight, and more. In the specific case Wired analyzed, Vader expended 1,410 Joules of work in just under a minute. 

That’s an output of approximately 3 kilowatts. And a lot less than what we expected. But that calculation will scale up dramatically when it comes to moving large objects from greater distances. 

Star Wars and Energy Efficiency

The Star Wars universe could definitely benefit from some efficiency measures. But despite the sometimes outrageous energy expenditures, these iconic Star Wars signatures are exactly what has fascinated movie goers for generations. We'll rest assured knowing that you're a little more conscientious with energy consumption in your business.

 

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Sources

https://www.ebates.com/blog/how-many-batteries-star-wars/
https://www.wired.com/2010/02/power-source-for-a-lightsaber/
https://www.wired.com/2017/05/literally-calculate-power-force/

Posted: May 04, 2018

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