Star Wars Technologies: 8 scientific developments based on the film
Long ago, in a far-away … studio, film director George Lucas created one of the most original and iconic works of science fiction – the Star Wars cult franchise. Almost 40 years later, the ideas presented in his films are still the foundations of this genre, and even more so – some scientists are trying to translate them into life.
The most iconic technology of Star Wars is the lightsaber, but experts have always believed that this is simply impossible to achieve. The photons that make up light have long been considered to be massless particles that do not interact with each other, which makes the prospect of a collision of light beams during a lightsaber battle unlikely. However, in 2013, researchers from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology demonstrated that when a pair of photons pass through a cloud of supercooled atoms, the photons leave it as one molecule.
However, Eric Davis, a physicist at the Institute for Advanced Study in Austin, Texas, continues to argue that recreating this effect in real life using a number of devices and cryogenic equipment to produce quantum gases at a distance of 0.5 m from the end of the lightsaber is simply not practical. .
But everything is not so bad if you think about other weapons: scientists are close to developing weapons similar to blaster guns, presented in Star Wars. In fact, the US Navy has already demonstrated ship-borne laser weapons capable of shooting down unmanned aerial vehicles and small vessels. And this summer, the US Air Force began testing other laser weapons, which are five times more powerful than the Navy version, and small enough to be installed on fighters and Humvi military jeeps.
In films, spaceships such as the Millennium Falcon of the Han Solo are capable of flying between star systems that are tens of light-years apart. In “Star Wars” power plants “hypevod” allowed intergalactic travelers to jump into the dimension called “hyperspace”, in which you can quickly get from one place of real space to another. Although the films did not elaborate on this engine, the idea of hyperspace and movement faster than the speed of light has a scientific background, scientists say.
Although it would seem impossible to travel faster than the speed of light, the nonlinear nature of space-time in Albert Einstein’s theory suggests that space can be distorted to reduce the distance between two points. Theoretically, one could create a device that compresses the space in front of the ship and expands it behind it. Another task would be to create a wormhole or a section of space that curves by itself to create the shortest “passage” between distant points. Creating such distortions would require exotic matter with so-called “negative energy.”
This phenomenon has already been demonstrated in the laboratory using the Casimir effect (the mutual attraction of two uncharged parallel mirrors located at a short distance from each other in a vacuum. The reason for this is quantum fluctuations in a vacuum. Earlier this year, a laboratory called Eagleworks, based in the space center NASA “Johnson” in Houston, said it created a “warp drive”, which uses this effect to create spatial distortion in a vacuum, but the evidence has not yet followed.
Another type of transport shown in Star Wars is likely to be translated into reality much faster. A number of firms are currently trying to create working versions of “hoverbikes”, known as “speedster” in films. Aerofex, a Californian startup company, developed the Aero-X car. It is described as “a hovercraft that rides like a motorcycle and can fly at a speed of 72 km / h at a height of 3 meters.”
The hoverbike, being developed by the British company Malloy Aeronautics, is projected to accelerate to a speed of more than 275 km / h. Both Aerofex and Malloy Aeronautics ‘aerial motorcycles’ use standard gasoline, but eco-friendly Star Wars fans may soon get a futuristic alternative to electricity developed by the Hungarian State Research Institute Bay Zoltan Nonprofit Ltd.