back to article Hyperspeed travel looks wrong: Leicester students

Sorry, special effects people, you got it wrong: if the Millennium Falcon can actually do the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs*, Han Solo and his passengers won’t see the stars stretching by. In fact, they won’t see the stars at all. In addition to slaughtering the inhabitants of the solar system at their destination, the …

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Holmes

Re: "go fast enough & rip electrons"

> Please (somebody) correct me if i'm wrong.

You are not wrong but what is the problem?

> I believe light is red shifted not due to a celestial body moving rapidly away from us, but rather due to the expansion of the intervening space.

Same thing in the end.

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Except...

...that the Millenium Falcon doesn't travel in normal space but jumps into hyperspace to do it. I'm not a SW fan, and even I remember that.

I can only assume the funky display with the stars represents the jump itself, not necessarily movement in real-space.

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FAIL

Re: Except...

I suspect that the hyperspace jump is not accomplished as a single point-to-point jump, but consists of large numbers of short jumps, perhaps perfoming 100 jumps per second. That way, space at the next end point can be monitored more closely, to avoid jumping into an asteroid that wasn't on the maps.

The view out the window is therefore just like a movie. Nothing to explain.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Except...

"...to avoid jumping into an asteroid that wasn't on the maps."

'cause that would end your trip real quick, wouldn't it kid?

(I think it was "asteroid field" and "charts" though)

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Gimp

Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs....

The Kessel run involved navigating a particularly treacherous part of the galaxy. Using his souped up ship, Han effectively found a shortcut allowing him to navigate to the spice mines in a distance of less than 12 parsecs (pehaps power-to-weight and maneuverability of the Falcon come into play here). Nerdy ok, but that's the explanation!

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FAIL

Re: Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs....

"If it's a fast ship?"

"You've never heard of the Millenium Falcon? I'm the guy who found a short cut to Kessel so it doesn't have to be fast."

Try again fanbois.

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Headmaster

Re: Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs....

Shouldn't it be FEWER than 12 parsecs? :)

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Headmaster

"Try again fanbois."

Normally I'd downvote your ignorance and move on, but as it's the OP's fault for not properly spelling out the scenario I'll correct him instead. The area of space through which the Kessel Run is made is dangerous because it's littered with black holes. The more powerful your ship's engines, the closer you can get to the black holes before you're unable to escape the gravity well - so being faster shortens your run as you can take a more direct line. Other, slower ships cannot take your route.

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Re: Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs....

Only if you can't have a fraction of a parsec (so "12 parsecs" are individual things, and you have fewer things). Otherwise, "12 parsecs" is an amount of stuff; and you have less stuff.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Try again fanbois."

You sounded like Comic Book Guy in that post Jedit.

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Re: Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs....

"If it's a fast ship?"

"You've never heard of the Millenium Falcon? It's the only ship that can x-ray your whole body into radioactive sludge in the time it takes to do the Kessel run"

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Happy

Re: Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs....

"Shouldn't it be FEWER than 12 parsecs? :)"

You've confused parsecs for parsnips I fear.

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Facepalm

This assumes you're looking out a WINDOW

If unshielded inhabitants are going to be bathed in x-rays, the builders of a star ship would hopefully be smart enough to shield it against that and avoid adding windows to the design... You might have a Star Trek style viewscreens where windows would be, which would be designed to look exactly like windows from the inside (but not the outside, sorry aliens) if Scott Forstall had anything to say about it.

It could theoretically interpret the x-rays that were being blocked from reaching the ships inhabitants as starlight and doppler correct it. If it can't do that, or the result doesn't look like anything useful, maybe the bridge crew will play a multiplayer shoot 'em up on the viewscreen to alleviate boredom, since they probably won't encounter an alien ship every other shift like they do in Star Trek. Or they could watch old episodes of Star Trek and other sci-fi movies and wish their mission was as exciting.

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Re: This assumes you're looking out a WINDOW

Or watch re-runs of Silent Running on constant repeat and be glad their mission IS more exciting!

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Mushroom

Re: This assumes you're looking out a WINDOW

The Battlestar Galactica series of ships are the only ones I can think of that got this right. No windows and heavy armour (BSG takes numerous hits from nukes). Best of all the CIC (or bridge) is well protected by being stuffed deep in the guts of the ship. Compare that with Star Trek, Star Wars, SG1, etc, where the designers insist on having a well windowed/sky-lit conning tower jutting out into space. I always thought it was kinda pathetic in Empire Strikes Back when a Star Destroyer gets pwnd by a single asteriod hit to the bridge (or conning tower if you will).

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Re: This assumes you're looking out a WINDOW

To be fair, the Enterprise D had a "Battle Bridge" which was much deeper in the hull (although not when the saucer was separated...) and on at least one occasion Picard(?) said "transfer command to main engineering", which would be about as well protected as the warp core.

Still, the bridge crew mostly just sat where they were when encountering a faeces/fan situation so your point certainly stands.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This assumes you're looking out a WINDOW

It's equally pathetic when planets get pwned by a simple comet strike...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This assumes you're looking out a WINDOW

which would be about as well protected as the warp core.

Which happens to blow up with boring regularity ...

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Silver badge

Re: This assumes you're looking out a WINDOW

"Best of all the CIC (or bridge) is well protected by being stuffed deep in the guts of the ship."

Andromeda had it the same way as well. Also, since the ships featured on the show were smaller, they took a different approach to protection. Instead of being huge and massively armored, the ships were more spread out with lots of open space between them. The universe of Andromeda had a lot of gravity manipulation, so the most common attacks were made by way of massive kinetic imapcts. The ships were designed to let the objects pass through: transferring as little destructive energy as possible to the ship itself. The spread-out nature of the ship meant it was difficult to get to the bridge in the center as its own gravity shields and outer layers would encourage more glancing hits.

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MrT

The Millennium Falcon...

... is the Chuck Norris of spaceships. It slaps hyperspace back into red shift and rides the tidal wave of energy for free to its destination.

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Anonymous Coward

Oh, come on!...

I can allow a bit of leeway with the visual effects used in SciFi films to represent travelling at warp/hyper/light speed, since no-one's *exactly* sure what would happen in those grey areas at the edge of the laws of physics.

The aircraft carrier sized fuckwittery that does my head in every time is the cacophony of roaring rocket engines, zapping laser guns and thunderous explosions with which almost all directors feel the need to embellish their 'outdoor' scenes set in the vacuum of space*.

[*Kudos to Kubrick for actually acknowledging that "In space, no-one can hear you rev your engines"]

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Trollface

Re: Oh, come on!...

It's not sound. It's powerful EM interference making noise on the speaker system of the protagonists' ship (or whoever the camera is watching at the moment). Most Star Wars weapons and engines are based on fast-moving plasma.

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Coat

Re: Oh, come on!...

Heard the foley artists have a strong union...

.....mine's the one with the slide flute in the pocket....

(Hold on......what was that sound.. no no NOOOOOOO!)

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FAIL

They don't have anything better to do?

People scoffed at the Wright brothers too.

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Silver badge

Re: They don't have anything better to do?

People were correct to scoff at the Wright brothers. Their only real contribution to engineering was the reversed thread on left bicycle pedals.

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LDS
Silver badge

Re: They don't have anything better to do?

The contribution of Wright brothers to engineering was how to control actually a flying machine before trying to fly on it to avoid to get killed and thereby never learn how to fly one. That's why most pre-Wright flight failed often killing the "pilot" while Wright Flyer succeeded. The problem was not just taking off - the real problem was to keep the "flying machine" stable, and under control, make it turn, and bring it back to land safely.

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Pint

Re: They don't have anything better to do?

"Their only real contribution to engineering was the reversed thread on left bicycle pedals."

...something for which I'm grateful on a daily basis!

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Facepalm

Re: They don't have anything better to do?

I am sorry to say, but the first heavy than air, self-propelled flying machine was the Santos Dumont's plane (14-bis). It got up and down by its own power - not launched in the air by a catapult. And did it in front of a crowd of civilians, not alone without witness.

I will not complain about the wheels - but a catapult? A plane must be able to get up in the air by its own means. Yes, yes. I know the carriers have catapults. But it is not because the jets cannot get airborne by themselves: it's because the runaway is too short.

Would, ever, that Wright plane got airborne without help?

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Headmaster

Re: They don't have anything better to do?

Isn't the phrase used to describe the Wright bruds flight "The world's first powered controlled flight by a heavier than air machine", the implication being that earlier powered flights were not al that controlled.

Anyway, I'm quite sure the WBs were first, just as Chuck Yeagar was first to break the sound barrier.

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LDS
Silver badge

Re: They don't have anything better to do?

The Flyer didn't had wheels but didn't use a catapult - catapults to launch planes where made later! The Flyer did use a rail for its takeoff run (and a skid to land) - but the power came from its own engine. Why they didn't use wheels? Maybe to save on weight and keep the plane on track while taking off despite the wind. What was important is the Wright were able to control the plane while in flight and bring it back to land, and make longer and longer flights. Santos-Dumont made a 60m flight in 1906, in 1905 the Flyer did already a 39min 24mi flight, a huge difference. Sure, not every Flyer solution was the best one (they had no ailerons but warping wings, and the controls were very different from modern ones), but they worked while in flight and showed how a plane could and should be controlled. Others introduced better ways to achieve it later. There were some short flights even before 1903, but the Wrights were the first to be able to perfom them repeatedly and improving each time.

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LDS
Silver badge

Re: They don't have anything better to do?

There could be an even simpler reason why the didn't use wheels. They were working on sandy beach to take advantage of the winds, and probably of the softer ground if something went wrong. With the power available, and narrow bycicle tires, it would have been very difficult to take off and land. The rail/skid could have been an effective and simple solution - after all the X-15 used skids too - and it was not alone. After all it was true science: remove everything not critical to the experiment and focus on what you need to test. Aviation records are another story - you could look for records, or really improve the aeronautical science without pursuing them. The latest hypersonic test may not obtain certification, but who cares? That's science, not the bext Sector/Redbull-sponsored silly attempt to do something strange...

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MVS

Re: They don't have anything better to do?

Not to mention the efficiency of their propeller, viewing it as a wing, rather than a paddle. Their understanding/harmonization of aerodynamics stunned everyone else at the time.

//end falling for OP troll

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Thumb Down

Star Wars is Science FICTION for a reason...

I can't believe a bunch of clever scientists wasted their time figuring this one out.

Star Wars is science FICTION, not fact, meaning that some stuff that happens in the show isn't true, and can't possibly happen.

Next they'll be coming out with a story that the Death Star couldn't possibly be made...

A lot of Sci-fi is utter rubbish according to what we know currently (of course without anyway of testing these theories at present (and highly unlikely in the future) we have no way of checking who got it right).

There have been other things in sci-fi films that aren't true and that most probably couldn't happen - a time travelling delorean (knowing how bad those things were built the car would be obliterated if it tried to go as fast is it did in the movie to jump through time), mass effect relays that can take us to the collectors, an extra train platform that can only be accessed by witches and wizards running head on into a brick wall between platforms 9 and 10, the heart of gold - a ship that can make the impossible happen, or that there is a disc shaped planet riding on the back of a giant tortoise, etc.

All this is just science fiction and isn't meant to be taken as true, if science fiction was meant to be true then it would be very boring. It's just down to imagination and where it takes you and not meant to be taken literally and investigated by science.

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Silver badge

Re: Star Wars is Science FICTION for a reason...

Everything you say is true; but that's not the point. The point is to encourage and to practice methods of analysis in general terms. That way, when something does happen that is outside the knowledge or experience of a scientist, they will have the intellectual methods and ability to deal with it.

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Coat

Re: Star Wars is Science FICTION for a reason...

Not impossible, just very improbable.

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Re: Star Wars is Science FICTION for a reason...

Everything you say is true; but that's not the point. The point is to encourage and to practice methods of analysis in general terms. That way, when something does happen that is outside the knowledge or experience of a scientist, they will have the intellectual methods and ability to deal with it...........

Agreed! Whenever reading Sci-Fi the curious mind will always try to reason whether or not something is possible (and often some of the best of the genre can be discerned in this way) and curious scientific minds are necessary if new things are to be discovered..

But when reading for enjoyment never let impossibilities get in the way of a good yarn :)

After all, it's impossible to say we could drive a car remotely on Mars, isn't it? Oh, wait....

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Stop

Re: Star Wars is Science FICTION for a reason...

"Star Wars is Science FICTION for a reason..."

No it is not!!!!!!

The whole point of Science Fiction is to feature... Science. And then to fiddle with it, break the rules or whatever, but at least be consistent with it and keep science and technology-driven plots, hooks and items as integral to the plot. Asimov is Science Fiction. Science Fiction writers start out by defining the 'rules' of their universe and go from there. None of the Star-Wars plot lines were driven by science or technology, they merely used it as a McGuffin every now and again.

Star Wars is Space Opera.

The science is hand-waved and not crucial to the plot. Science and technology is there simply to provide a dramatic back-drop to a fantastical story-line. Space Opera is character and story driven, 'unrealistic', and doesn't have to make any kind of scientific sense.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_fiction

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_opera

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@Darren Forster - Re: Star Wars is Science FICTION for a reason...

"I can't believe a bunch of clever scientists wasted their time figuring this one out."

*Students, not scientists. Read the end of the article:

"The point of the journal, the university says, is to teach students how to deal with refereed journals."

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Re: Star Wars is Science FICTION for a reason...

Not sure how far down the article you read but it states that this "investigation" was, essentially, a bunch of students using a familiar pop culture reference to conduct a thought experiment and (here's the whole point of the exercise) write it up and submit it to be refereed and be of sufficient rigour to pass review and get published. Part of their education rather than actual, serious, research.

That said, the University PR bods have obviously got wind of it and gone "Holy Star Wars Batman! That's guaranteed column inches! To the Pressmobile!" and flung the story from Leicester to the Outer Rim Territories.

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Mushroom

Re: Star Wars is Science FICTION for a reason...

University PR departments are basically Satan. They attach the university's name to some bullshit convenient mis-reading of someone's work, publish it far and wide as possible, and people end up reading it thinking they're being informed. In the worst case it's something relevant to day-to-day life and people make decisions based on the hack PR garbage. But as long as it gets their school ink, damn the consequences, after all the lay press is almost never equipped to fact check their press releases so what's the risk?

On a more cheerful note, the term I've always like for Star Wars is 'Science Fantasy'. It's fantasy using science-like magic. But like in fantasy, the hows and whys aren't really important, the character piece is usually at the forefront.

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See also

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unruh_effect

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Silver badge
Go

LUDICROUS SPEED!

Needs more plaid!!!

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mev

Re: LUDICROUS SPEED!

I believe every Spaceballs quote should get an automatic up vote.

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Pint

Re: LUDICROUS SPEED!

I think the same about Pratchett.

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Mushroom

The weapons are pretty unbelievable too

Most sci-fi films have line-of-sight weapons. "Stay on target..." etc. Film aliens will get a real shock if they ever take on humanity and face the arsenal of over-the-horizon self-guiding MACH2+ weapons we have.

"Oh you researched interstellar travel and came here to eat us? Well, humanity's principle technological drive has always been weaponry, so I have some really bad news for you..."

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Re: The weapons are pretty unbelievable too

"Film aliens will get a real shock if they ever take on humanity and face the arsenal of over-the-horizon self-guiding MACH2+ weapons we have."

I'm pretty sure they might have thought of it themselves at some point.

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Silver badge

Re: The weapons are pretty unbelievable too

Hypersonic self guided missiles with multiple Fusion warheads are probably illegal in the Galactic Federation, but no-one told us.

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Alien

Parsecs

George doesn't care no more.

Soon we'll get a Disney spinoff called Star Wars: Kessel, and it'll involve Ewoks singing about a Bright New Future.

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MVS
Pirate

Re: Parsecs

Hahaha, I pictured a shortcut into one of those "misting gardens" that are nice in the hot summers and the Ewoks enchanting one into a pleasant moment of relaxation between parsecs.

Oh, and their heads will move up and down very mechanically, or at least that's the childhood memory of other singing thingies.

S&C since there are always Pirates nearby in theme parks, but Paris would be more pleasant.

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Lasers in space

what about the fact that lasers from laser cannons are invisible in space no matter what wavelength?

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