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Later today (Saturday), MythBusters will air another Star Wars-themed episode on Discovery. In this preview, Adam reveals that the galaxy far far away folks use laser guns that shoot their beams of destructive light at a paltry 130 mph. I don’t know if they’re going to tackle the obvious oft-lampooned fact that Storm Troopers couldn’t hit the broadside of a Death Star with their blasters – sighting systems, training, shooting positions – but I sure hope so!

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  1. Hmm…that’s just over 190fps. Maybe they always missed because by the time their shot arrived the target had moved…

    • 190 is about what my recurve will do with a 32″ Easton 2314. I don’t think that would be too easy to dodge.

        • Not joking. A 2314 with a 149 grain point is a reasonably heavy arrow. I’ve never chrono’d a 2213, which my bow also likes; it would be faster. But 190 fps is no slouch, unless you’re used to compound bow speeds. I mentioned it only because it gives me a reference for how fast that actually is. One’s ability to dodge would be range-dependent. I won’t volunteer to stand down range!

      • I’ve dodged literally thousands of objects travelling at an initial velocity around 300 FPS over the decades.
        It’s called paintball. Past a certain distance, which frankly isn’t that far, the ability to fire quickly is the only way hit someone who knows how to play. By fire quickly, I mean at least 12 per second.
        While paintball velocity drops quickly, the ability to see them in flight is what is key. You can’t dodge what you can’t see.

        • By definition, you can’t dodge a laser, then… when you see it, that’s because it’s hitting you.

          You could, however, watch the laser gunner aim the thing at you and try to duck before he locks on.

  2. Ehh. You can really go down the rabbit whole in terms of all the technology and societies of the Star Wars universe. There’s books dedicated to just some of the technologies described across the franchise.

    • I’m still holding out for a phased plasma rifle, but please, 40 Watts won’t take out a miller moth. I need a phased plasma rifle in the 40kW range.

      • I’ve always taken that ’40 watt range’ line to mean some kind of electronic specification rather than total power. A poor firearms analogy might be grains; if you ask for a 180-grain cartridge you aren’t referring to the total energy deliverable on target.

        • Yes, technically, you’d want the energy in joules, which you’d get by multiplying power (in watts) by time (in seconds). Given that the pulses seem to last about 1/10th of a second or so on screen, 40W would deliver a whopping four joules., however 40kW would deliver four thousand joules.

          Foot pounds are also a measure of energy (usually used for mechanical forms of energy, just as horsepower is used for mechanical power), and one foot pound is 1.356 joules (or so), 1 joule is .737 foot pounds.

          So a 40kW/0.1 second pulse would be 2948 foot pounds, and would probably really blast the crap out of whatever it hits (no overpenetration!)

  3. Whoever said they were laser beams? Couldn’t they just be bolts of plasma energy thingies? More to the point, who wants to spoil the illusion and entertainment value with real science? Not many shows, movies, or books would survive such scrutiny, regardless of the genre. That’s why Hollywood’s’ called ‘Tinsel Town’ instead of ‘Real Life Town’.

    • Tinsel town is right. Believability has taken a pretty severe hit as CGI has taken over effects. The shark gets jumped all the time now.

  4. Actually, the Imperial Stormtroopers were bomb-ass shots.

    They were basically clone troopers, who were excellent marksmen. When Episode IV opens, we see Stormtroopers just steamroll a group of rebels on a rapid entry. Later in the same film, Kenobi spoke highly of Imperial marksmanship.

    The next time we see them is Mos Eisley, and an experienced smuggler escapes them at a distance. Big deal.

    Once we get on the Death Star and the troopers can’t hit anything, we start to wonder … until Leia says it was too easy and the troopers LET our heroes escape. Cut to the CIC, where we see a bigwig talking about a tracker placed in the ship.

    Every bit of Imperial incompetence was part of the plan.

      • Of course, The Death Star being blown up was the Emperor’s cunning plan to cover up massive amounts of fraud waste and abuse. Didn’t you noticed the vast amounts of empty space inside the Death Star, narrow bridges over deep cavernous spaces with no hand rails, only a single tractor beam for a station that size, minimal amounts of fighters, no real AA guns (or I guess that technically would be AF guns or Anti Fighter guns), commanded by some real dim bulbs (seriously who in their right mind would think it’s a good idea to insult Vader the Emperor’s right hand man, who in the second movie we see has no issue offing officers that piss him off) etc…

        The Death Star practically screams Fraud. Take Billions if not trillions of either already missing or credits you want to make disappear, claim they were used in the construction, equipping, and staffing of the Death Star. When it blows up all evidence of those missing credits disappears. If the Emperor got insurance on that brand new Death Star, he than even recovers most of the money that was spent on it. As a bonus it blew up over a gas giant so an investigator could not even count the total mass of the debris to determine if the Death Star could have had enough stuff in it to cover all that was claimed it had, as a lot of it would have fallen into the gas giant.

        • Here’s the thing about the Empire: they’ve done that crap before!

          They hid the quintillions of credits going to Kamino for the clones just so nobody could tell there were no long-term medical solutions for injured clones. If they couldn’t go back and fight, they were killed. They were treated worse than slaves.

  5. Watched the new Mythbusters-those guys are slow. Bruce Lee could dodge that blaster(a long time ago…)

    • There are episodes of Star Trek where people dodged incoming phaser fire. In the TNG episode “Rascals”, a Ferengi ducks a phaser beam fired from a distance of less than a few metres.

      Give me an old fashioned projectile firearm. I’d like to see them dodge that at any distance of less than 500 metres.

      • That’s why the Mandalorians all enjoy using Verpine rifles and handguns. They’re rail guns, which means there’s no recoil or sound and the projectile is HOPPING downrange.

      • I was just thinking that same thing.

        It seems like you can actually see the phaser beam travel sometimes.

        The original series generally made the thing instantaneous, one frame, no beam, the next frame, the entire phaser beam. But the 24th century apparently called for kinder, gentler phasers.

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