No, lightsabers still aren’t a reality. Yes, that bums us out, too. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of recent technological advancements that can help us mimic living in a galaxy far, far away. In fact, there are many science lessons lurking in a galaxy far, far away (what reaction time would you need to complete the Kessel Run that quickly?) which is why Star Wars and IBM have teamed up to produce “Science and Star Wars,” a new facebook video series that delves into the science behind the Star Wars universe.
In the first episode, released yesterday, actor Taylor Gray, who voices Ezra Bridger on Star Wars Rebels, attempts to build a real-life lightsaber. Sure, putting together a working version of a Jedi’s elegant weapon for a more civilized age requires a heat source beyond anything we conceivably have today, as well as metal casing that could sustain such heat and, you know, a brand new set of physics to make it all work. But, as the video shows, you and your kids might not have known that science has come up with a few tricks to emulate some of that, including a laser that can produce temperatures close to the center of the sun and plasma that can float in the air. Science!
In the the second half of the episode, host Anthony Carboni and Gray settle for a more practical DIY project: a “thermic lance” composed of a carbon steel tube, steel wool, and tank of oxygen that creates enough energy to cut through a door.
By all accounts the new series seems like a home run. Star Wars? Science? Slicing through metal with molten plasma? Here’s hoping they try to create a landspeeder in one episode because that would be great way to tackle the morning carpool.