Pseudoscience – The Death Star

As it’s the time when the fans of the original series unite, we revisit the franchise which was based on a hugely dysfunctional family. No, not Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Star Wars!
Star Wars has become a big part of pop culture, garnering an equally big fan base. With elements of action, science fiction, comedy and just a pinch of drama, it has won over the hearts of more than a million fans, to the extent where one can actually register ‘Jedi’ as their religion.
As one watches the original trilogy, followed by the much hated prequels, many questions are raised by the viewer.

  1. What was George Lucas thinking?
  2. Why create an abomination like Jar Jar Binks?
  3. How does a Death Star work?

Now we can’t answer the former two questions, but we’ve formulated a team of top notch conspiracy theorists and physicists to explain the third.

Presenting, the working of the Death Star for dummies:

Now, a Death Star is massive. Unlike the name, which is a misnomer, a Death Star is about the size of a moon, which is still quite massive. Despite its size, it can travel at near light speeds when required. This is demonstrated in Episode 6 as well as in the Starkiller Base, which is basically a planet sized version of the Death Star. Besides its size and impressive movement, the real zinger in a Death Star is packed in its Superlaser – a powerful beam that can end worlds in the blink of an eye. This laser is constituted by an incredibly powerful array of smaller lasers that focus all of their beams on a singular target, and destroys the said target in the blink of an eye.

For a laser to accomplish this, it would require a large amount of power. The original trilogy and the prequels don’t mention the Death Star’s energy source. However based on Episode 7 – where the Starkiller base gets all its energy from a nearby star, we theorize that it would derive its energy from the core of a nearby planet or maybe from moons nearby. This seems convincing as we have been introduced to the ingenious “Tractor Beams” in “A New Hope”. These Tractor Beams would help the Death Star in capturing an object within its field and pull it towards itself.

Now moving onto the awe-inspiring Superlaser. This laser could work in two possible ways, depending on whether we consider the post Lucas edits. As most fans know and hate, George Lucas made a few changes to the original trilogy which changed a multitude of events. This led to the infamous “Han shot first” debate. One of the many things Lucas changed was the way in which the planets blew up when shot with the Superlaser. In the original cut, the planets seemed to just blow up, whereas in the edited cut, the explosion is in the form of a disc. The latter version is how objects actually explode in outer space. This could mean that the laser could have worked in two ways. One would be using antimatter to destabilize the core, due to which the explosion is somewhat simultaneous all over, and the debris spreads symmetrically. The green beam released by the laser could possibly be composed of concentrated positrons, which would cause annihilation of the core material, thus destabilizing it. This would explain the original cut. The edited one however, could simply be a very concentrated laser beam which heats up the planet’s core to the point where it is overloaded with energy causing it to dramatically explode. The magnetic fields of the planet would also contribute in concentrating the explosion along the axis of the planet explaining the disk shaped explosion.


For more such theories, do follow our pseudoscience column!

– Harish Ramesh

Harish Ramesh

Is this a Bio? Perhaps. Just your usual basic meme browsing, wisecracking, binge-watching, gaming, astronomy enthusiast guy.

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