The Star Wars Universe is beloved by millions of people all over the world. While this entire universe, created by George Lucas, is completely fiction, there are some facts! Scientifically, Lucas was correct on a lot of things he utilized. Of course, some of the ideas at the time were actually far-fetched. Yet over 40 years later, some of his concepts turned out to be possible and we’ve even proven it. Yet other stuff Lucas came up with is simply not possible at all and never will be.
The first film came out in 1977, so we can assume George began writing the first movie between 1970 to 1975. This is why we have to give him a slight pass on some stuff. Sure, other things were knowingly wrong even in the 1970s. However, Lucas is not a scientist either. We must applaud him for using real-world science in many areas, even if he didn’t know it. We know this is a lot to think about, so we’re going to scientifically break down a lot of the Star Wars Universe for you right here, right now.
The Star Wars Universe often uses the term “light speed.” This is a real term that was coined by Star Wars but is often used among real astronomers and astrophysicists. George Lucas essentially meant “speed of light” when he used “light speed.” Of course, in his universe, the measure of speed is used in transportation. However, right now, it is simply impossible for a human being to move at the speed of light. We do not have the technology that can go this speed outside of light sources.
The real issue might not be the speed but the object that carries us at the speed of light. The fastest we’ve ever gone in a man-made vehicle was 24,816.1 mph. This speed was hit by the Apollo 10 command module carrying astronauts Colonel Thomas Patten Stafford, Captain Eugene Andrew Cernan, and Captain John Watts Young. Just so you’re aware, the speed of light is equal to 186,000 miles per second or 669,600,000 miles per hour. Needless to say, humans reaching this speed is hard to fathom.
One thing that the Star Wars universe seems to get right about potential space travel is their concept on hyperspeed, hyperspace, and hyperdrives. The idea is that in order go into hyperspeed, you must open what is essentially a wormhole. Right now scientists are trying to work out how to open wormholes as well as close them under our control. Albert Einstein theorized that a wormhole is possible and could be used for space travel, allowing people to bypass long-distance travel.
Right now, for instance, to get to the next star system closest to our solar system, we’d have to travel several light-years. At that rate, we’d never make it there in our one human lifetime. However, we could if we could bend space and time. The wormhole allows this to happen, theoretically. Star Wars essentially uses Einstein’s wormhole theory with their hyperspace concept. Of course, it is hard to nitpick what they do with it since we’ve never physically opened and exited a wormhole to know. Scientists, however, do believe that the Star Wars Universe might be onto something with how they used it.
Did you guys know that the Millennium Falcon made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs? Han Solo’s often-quoted concept seems impressive to those he tells it to. However, if he told this to a real scientist, they’d likely laugh in his face. But why would they do so? The first reason is that Han is using the term “parsec” as a measure of speed. However, it is actually a measure of distance.
Astronomers really use the term “parsec,” as it represents the distance that the radius of Earth’s orbit subtends an angle of one second of arc. This measures out to offer a distance of roughly 3.26 lightyears per parsec. Many scientists round up to 3.3 lightyears, however. Both work but mathematically, always use the 3.26 number. Due to this being a measure of distance, Han Solo’s comment would not make any sense to the space travelers or racers he bragged to.
Across the Star Wars Universe, you’ll find several habitable worlds that characters live on. Of course, they are not all suitable for “human” life. However, that does not mean that life could not live there. The real struggle for scientists today is that, while we all know it is possible other life can be found, we have yet to find it. The United States is trying to prepare for that possibility though. Currently, there are a few universities with “space contracts” from NASA.
In each one, they tend to study different but similar stuff. One concept currently in play for researchers at Arizona State University is what we would do if life was discovered. Where would we study this life, even if it was microbial? Others study potentially habitable worlds. NASA released a list of around 24 planets they consider to be the most habitable of any planet, outside our own of course. This proves Lucas was onto something when he brought up these habitable worlds in Star Wars.
The Look Of Star Wars Universe Creatures And Beings
One staple of both Star Wars and even Star Trek is the presence of several different alien species from multiple planets. There are some that are humanoid and look just like us, which is possible. Scientists are not sure if humans live elsewhere in our universe but due to so many planets being like our own, it’s not completely impossible to consider. However, most expect extraterrestrial life to look different in size and color. The reasoning comes down simply to their respective home planet.
If there is a planet with higher gravity, you expect a creature to be smaller. More gravity means more pressure on the body, thus they’d be more stout and small. Less gravity allows creatures to be taller and even skinny. Colors differ for many reasons too. It can be due to the lack of oxygen or too much of it. The star system they are in could have a dwarf star, larger or smaller sun, and there could be other cosmetic gases. In those cases, living beings could come in numerous different colors.
A planet exactly like Hoth can actually exist, something George Lucas likely did not know back in the 1970s. In fact, we’ve found MANY Hoth-like planets. They are pretty interesting. On our Earth, tectonics and even forming reservoirs of magma create volcanoes whenever this magma finds its way to the surface. That gives us rock. However, in planets without atmospheres like our own, ice manages to become very cold and will operate exactly like rock does on Earth. This is exactly what you see in Saturn’s moon, Titan. They have rivers of methane and ethane that produce a crust of watery ice-rock.
These icy worlds are often a further distance from their star. But there are some near dwarf stars, allowing them to be closer to their star. Yet Hoth is not like the previous icy world example, rather, it would technically be a “Snowball Earth.” This has existed in the past when our Earth was frozen. In this time, the Earth made ice and snow and slowly continue to reflect sunlight back, causing even more freezing. Yet the last time this happened on Earth, we did not have the oceans we see today. Therefore, life was likely microbial if present at all. This means Hoth could exist but would be a bit different.
You might remember the planet Mustafar from the Star Wars universe. However, if you do not recall the name, it was the hot volcano planet where Obi-Wan Kenobi defeated Anakin Skywalker in Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. This planet is also capable of existing in real life. In fact, just like with Hoth, we’ve found many planets that are capable of being similar to Mustafar. In our own solar system, Mercury and Venus operate a bit like it.
They both have many volcanoes and an extremely hot surface hundreds to thousands of degrees. In the canon of the Star Wars universe, they claim Mustafar sits in the Outer Rim, in an erratic orbit between two gas giant planets. This would be a difficult thing to prove as we do not really see this in the universe with normal size planets. Mustafar is volcanic and fiery and would need to be close to its star or have a lot of things going on in its atmosphere. Though its erratic orbit could explain why it remains volcanic and fiery. The gas planet that sits in front of it would not block as much out from it all the time.
If you remember the original trilogy and even part of the newer ones, you’ll remember Tatooine. It was where we first met Luke Skywalker and became notable for its double sun system. For many years, this was considered science fiction and would be impossible. Yet we’ve now proven it is possible. Some planets even have three suns. In some situations, two galaxies can be close and result in stars from each system being in the sky at the same time. In other systems, you see one larger star and one or more dwarf stars.
The interesting thing is that in most of these cases, especially if galaxies are very close, the two suns would often set at the same time or near it. That is exactly what you see on Tatooine. In terms of life, it would naturally be too hot for life right? Well, not exactly. Radiation might seemingly be an issue but not in a dual system situation. If there were multiple stars it could be, but the world’s electromagnetic field and atmosphere could potentially keep this at bay. One place we see as a real Tatooine was discovered by the Kepler Space Telescope years ago. We call it Kepler 16b!
You’ll likely remember Princess Leia’s message for Obi-Wan Kenobi if you’re a big Star Wars universe fan. She has R2D2 track down the Jedi General and must deliver the message for aid that the Princess was in desperate need of. She says “help us Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.” You’ll see from the way the message is presented that R2D2 is using a sort of holographic video. However, this is not a hologram at all honestly. Technically, the droid was using a free-floating 3D video. This does not actually exist today but many believe it one day will.
Whenever 3D concepts have been used, we typically have a person wear special glasses to simulate the concept. When 3D images or videos are used without glasses, we have to use mirrors to make them work. This is exactly what the people at Coachella had to do to show deceased people like Tupac Shakur performing on the stage. We’re slowly getting there but nothing like what R2D2 used exists right now. Scientists do think that free-floating 3D material is going to be a thing within the next 20 years, however. That’s certainly exciting!
Speaking of R2D2, do droids like he and C3PO actually exist? Well, sort of. Right now, we used robots to do many things for us. In fact, they are often making heavy machinery for us as you read this article. They have effectively taken the need for human labor out of the equation in many factories. They are also helpful for agricultural needs. The question is, would we see any of these droids in space? Technically, we already have.
We have several rovers on Mars right now and we’ve had them on the Moon too. Some robotics have been used to capture images or videos from other planets or moons in our system too. While the Star Wars universe robots or droids might not be completely real today, it is only a matter of time. That is especially true for the military droids you see from the Empire. We already have some military droids, but the “Roger Roger” type is coming. Hopefully, they won’t be as useless.
In the original Star Wars universe trilogy, Luke Skywalker was very new to the Jedi world. He was just now getting a grasp on his force-wielding abilities and was certainly not the best swordsman. This meant he needed to improve, so his Jedi Master and mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, had him train with a floating sphere. The sphere would shoot small blasts or beams that Luke had to block with his lightsaber. You’d be surprised to know, potentially, that this type of thing already exists.
No, it is not exactly the same thing. But the floating spheres similar to it have been used on the International Space Station by people from all over the world that came aboard. For Americans, we call our version the NASA SPHERES. Of course, SPHERES is an acronym, meaning “Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites.” There are several versions that do a number of different things. From inspecting to tethering, studying algorithms, tech testing, and much more. They have been used on the ISS since around 2006 and are beloved by the astronauts.
We already brought up the lightsaber, so we might as well discuss them. Are these real or could they possibly exist? Well, yes and no. Basically, lightsabers use controlled energy and crystals to produce a sword in a hardened laser that is capable of cutting through pretty much anything. Right now, there is no such technology that exists but there are many that come pretty close. Several people have been able to make one out of a controlled laser, which is pretty simple but nothing big.
The one most find to be the closest is one made by the guys at the YouTube Channel, Hacksmith Industries. They formed the world’s first retractable plasma-based lightsaber. Of course, these types of sabers use A LOT of power. This means that while the actual lightsaber was formed by Hacksmith, it was over 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit and required liquid propane gas. Along with a big powerpack that has to be carried around. To make a lightsaber like the ones you see in the Star Wars universe, you’d need nuclear energy capable of using all of its power in a miniature state. Which as of now, is nonexistent.
In the movies, Han Solo pilots the infamous Millennium Falcon and is usually referred to as one of the best pilots in the universe. This is proven once when he has to pilot the ship out of an asteroid field. However, the movies often mistake this concept. To be fair to George Lucas, we did not know as much about how asteroid fields or asteroid belts worked. People also do not realize that while they might appear close, these asteroids aren’t actually close at all.
If Solo came out of hyperspace and entered into an asteroid field, he would not even have to do much dodging. The average distance between two asteroids in a traditional asteroid belt is around 600,000 miles. Literally, you could travel completely around the Earth 24 times and would still have room to spare between two asteroids. Many of these fields are present because of gravity and will remain in the same gravitational orbit unless they are hit hard themselves. Therefore, Solo would need to fly in a straight line and he’d be able to make it out of the asteroid field without a scratch.
It is not just the Star Wars universe that utilizes force fields or force shields. They are common in pretty much any movie that involves a fictional space story. Force fields are thought to be possible using plasma. We’ve managed to prove that plasma could catch general problems. But it would need to be superheated and be capable of reaching a superheated temp within milliseconds. Right now, every plasma shield tends to be just one use before plasma has to be replaced too.
The energy that takes to produce would be hard to utilize. The only thing capable of doing it for a long time would be nuclear energy unless we can capture a form of cosmic energy perhaps. Moreover, plasma only stops a small number of things and could not stop things like light. So weaponized lasers would go right through it. Therefore, yes, force fields are somewhat possible today. However, nothing like what you see in the Star Wars universe or most space films.
The Imperial Fleet was always complete for the Galactic Empire the moment you saw a TIE Fighter. It is a major symbol of the empire and is heavily connected to the Sith. They are carried aboard Star Destroyers or battle stations and one pilot could operate it cleanly at blazing speeds. This spacecraft actually used twin ion engines to operate too. For many years, that was the biggest science fiction part of the TIE Fighter. Yeah, we could make a real version of it but those engines? NEVER!
Today, ion engines exist and we actually use them on several space-traveling robots. They do not use up energy at a fast rate, so they are incredibly efficient, but do take a while to charge up. We charge them by using solar panels to literally capture solar energy. TIE Fighters, you’ll notice, are equipped with many solar panels themselves. Of course, these ion engines do not work exactly the same. It takes quite a while for them to get to a relatively fast speed and any slow-down would take them longer to rise in speed. Therefore, they would not be a great engine to use for a speedy spacecraft.
On an interesting note, people might assume we’re going to say that neither the Death Star nor its infamous laser could be possible. Both are actually 100% possible to make, as the Death Star itself could easily be formed on an extremely large Earth-like planet. Yet it could also be formed in space, especially if characters like those in the Star Wars universe actually existed. It would be hard to do, but that is manageable. The infamous laser that blew up planets, however, is possible but it would be hard to develop. Moreover, it would not be capable of blowing up a planet.
But scientists have been able to create an amplified laser similar to the Death Star’s version. They combine multiple laser beams into one destructive blast that uses a few different research projects that went into laser weaponry. They found the use of ultrapure diamond crystal helped them focus the laser into a good concentrated power beam. This means that if it could be done at a smaller scale, it can be repeated at a larger scale. The energy needed to produce a massive one would be immense and it would likely blow up the Death Star at the same time it shot at Alderaan.
Speaking of the Death Star, the very thing that took them down was a proton torpedo blast into a specific opening that we’d later found out was purposely put there as a weakness by the builder. Proton torpedoes supposedly operate like an explosive warhead that releases high-energy proton particles. You might be surprised to find out that we actually do use proton torpedoes, well, sort of. We use protons ultimately.
For over 40 years, we’ve been using them to fight cancer. Proton beams are capable of penetrating human tissue for a specified distance, all according to the amount of energy used. You can focus this proton energy in a specific area, allowing surgeons to remove tumors while sparing healthy tissue at the same time. Effectively removing the cancerous tumor without leaving cancer cells behind. More precise equipment is still being made to further perfect proton use in cancer treatment too!
It is truly hard to explain the force entirely within one section, so we will be covering the various parts of it from the Star Wars universe in further sections of this article. However, to break down what it is according to the Star Wars canon, “the force” is an energy field created by all life and is connected to everything in the universe. Of course, due to the fact that many people throughout the universe could have access to it, “the force” has been known by other names in the Star Wars universe.
It was called “Life Current” by the Mustafarians, “Tide” by the Lew’elans, “Sight” by the Chiss, “Life Wind” by the Zeffo, and “The Beyond” by the Magys as well as her people. Special people would be blessed with these powers and those people would be declared “force sensitive.” Not all force-sensitive beings were incredibly powerful, but all can have access to the force and its connection to all things. When something major happens, all force-connected people will feel it. There are two main versions of the force, let’s dive into those.
The Jedi are often those who remained on the light side of the force, often considered the “good” side. This side of the force only used their force powers to hurt others when they had no other alternative. These force users have a devotion and trust in the force itself and follow where it leads. Their focus is on honesty, compassion, mercy, and even self-sacrifice. It is important to keep in mind that this side of the force removes major emotional entanglement.
As in, you have a power that could allow you to do whatever you want. If you let this go to your head and you involve your own emotions in things, you are not using the force as it was intended. As a result, you are not living by natural means of the universe and this can be problematic. Light users have been criticized themselves over the years for their willingness to sacrifice their sentient body to become one with the force upon death. But many feel it is this type of sacrifice that keeps the force going.
The dark side of the force is often the exact opposite of the light. Many consider this to be the “evil” side of the force, but some believe that is an unfair concept. In fact, it is this very ideology that caused many Jedi to turn from the light to the dark side. Jedi were criticized because they refused to let trainees or padawans learn or be exposed to dark side use. Which made them more sensitive to accepting it later on. The dark side uses emotion entirely, as a dark force user will focus their entire workings of the force based on their emotion at the time. If angry, they could cause the deaths of thousands.
Their use is also unnatural compared to the light side, so they are able to achieve feats that are simply impossible to explain scientifically. Such as bringing down an entire Star Destroyer. The issue is that too much exposure and use of the dark side will consume the user. It will take over an individual’s character and consume their soul. This was a total opposite from the light because you sacrifice yourself as a light user while you become selfish and all-consuming as a dark user. “The Living Force” is the energy of all life, and using dark side concepts will mess with the Cosmic Force, causing total eradication of the self.
Now that we understand the Force itself as well as its dark and light forms, we should go over major things one can do with it when capable. Most force users are capable of some form of telekinesis. For those unaware, telekinesis is the ability to move objects from various distances by mental power alone without the use of any physical means. While science fiction, of course, telekinesis is also what allows force users to pick up humans, force choke, etc.
Funny enough, there is a way that this can actually be explained. We know the force is supposedly connected to all things in the universe, meaning you are using cosmic energy and much more. However, simple force telekinesis pretty much accesses gravity. Think about it, the lack of gravity makes things float and more gravity adds weight. It can pull or push planets, comets, moons, and asteroids. If a force user is capable of manipulating the gravity around them, this is how they are capable of ALL telekinetic power. It literally explains every single bit of telekinetic powers used in the Star Wars universe.
The Star Wars universe also sees force users manipulate humanoid beings and other creatures across the universe itself. The question for many is, how are they capable of doing this? When Obi-Wan Kenobi told stormtroopers “these are not the droids you’re looking for,” it seemed crazy how they easily fell for it. Some assume that this was easier to do with clones but the Stormtroopers from the original films were not cloned but were random children that grew up learning to become a trooper. The “Jedi Mind Trick” worked on them but also worked on other beings too.
How are they doing it? Technically, the mind trick is a form of hypnosis. You can actually hypnotize some people very easily, and that can make them do things such as cluck like a chicken. Yet Illusionist Derron Brown actually once hypnotized and manipulated a man into shooting a comedian through a series of mental tricks over a long period of time that the man did not realize. Of course, the gun the man used was not real but Brown proved you can hypnotically manipulate people. This method is what the force users in Star Wars utilize.
Force lightning is something that only experienced dark force users are even capable of. It’s also important to note that this type of thing is technically possible. Moreover, it’s one of the most believable things in the Star Wars universe. We have electricity in our body but it’s not enough for us to be shocking people all day. Rather, the force lightning concept uses something called “breakdown voltage.” This is normally connected to insulation, and the air itself is a great insulator. But when stressed, high voltages will cause air to break down and become partially conductive.
In fact, you’ve likely experienced it. This happens when you have a static shock. The breakdown voltage of air is 3000 volts per millimeter. A static shock can cause 15,000 to 30,000 volts of electricity. This is why the small shock hurts us. However, imagine this on a larger scale. That brings us to what force users will do to send the lightning over to another person, an electron avalanche. This is when free electrons are subjected to acceleration by an electronic field that has them collide with other atoms. If force users can manipulate gravity already, pushing an electron avalanche into someone would be simple.
Could Space Battles Like Those In Star Wars Ever Happen?
This is usually the hardest one for most people to accept. However, while we are currently in the process of developing ships that can enter space and shoot weapons to protect us, those do not exist right now. While we all know space is silent and would not cause any noise regardless of what blows up, the other stuff from the Star Wars universe is not exactly crazy. They use lasers or protons within their main weapons.
In reality, this would be the best stuff to use. Light can and could still move within space without being too broken down. A bullet, regardless of how good the gun is, would do nothing. Gravity is needed for it to be effective but lasers are direct-energy and use light, allowing them to travel. While the overall science is still not completely there when it comes to making laser weapons in space battles, this is likely to happen. Yet it is unlikely we’ll see it for space war. Rather, we’ll probably use them for mining and even destroying potential asteroids or comets that could hit our planet.
We’re told at the beginning of the Star Wars movie that the activities and results of the original trilogy happened “a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away.” While it is unknown exactly where everything happened, we do know that the Death Star blew up the planet Alderaan. This type of thing was so big for the universe that Obi-Wan Kenobi felt a disturbance in the force, meaning it would have been seen by people close by. Yet if it happened in real life, we might be able to see it too. If we factored it out, Alderaan could have exploded roughly 160,000 years ago.
If that is the case, we could see it blow up in our sky with the naked eye or with the Hubble Space Telescope if we were alive then. That’s all depending on how far away the planet is from us. However, the events of the original film happened 44 years ago as of this writing. That said, let’s say Alderaan was 44 lightyears away from us. A light-year measures the distance of light in a given year, meaning we see planets lightyears away in their past. If we put our telescopes on Alderaan this year, we could see it explode due to its light-year distance equaling out to finally show us the past explosion.