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Common Physics Slip-up in Hollywood Films

Updated on April 17, 2017
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Marie has a bachelor's in Creative Writing and English with a minor in Marketing. She spends her time researching interesting topics.

Gravity Out in Space?

Hollywood has always been known for their Physics slip-ups. One of the most common slip-ups would have to be the lack of regard to the laws of gravity in the Star Wars movies. One major mistake would have to be the fact that out in space, in the space crafts and the Death Star, the passengers are able to walk around like there is gravity to hold them down so that they can walk like on Earth.

Source

What is Centripetal Acceleration?

There is no gravitational field surrounding space shuttles, which is why we are unable to walk around inside our space crafts while traveling out in space (Akusobi, 2010). The only way that being able to walk in your spacecraft or in the Death Star is possible is if it span in a circular motion. This concept is inspired by centripetal acceleration. Earth’s circular motion creates the gravitational field, and Earth’s mass creates the gravitational force. Newton’s law of gravity explains this simple rule (Shipman, 2007). I can see the Death Star being able to produce gravity because it’s round and can easily spin while staying in place. People surprisingly overlook this simple lack of taking gravity into account. A movie that shows this concept relatively well is 2001: A Space Odyssey (Weiner, 2007). This particular movie paid close attention to Physics all the way down to the fact that silence envelopes space. Although this movie had its own mistakes as well, it's still a good example of Hollywood’s early triumph into grasping Physics in their films.

Resources

Akusobi, Chidi (2010). Does Zero Gravity Exist in Space? Yale Scientific Magazine.

Shipman, J. T., Todd, A. W., & Wilson, J. D. (2007). An introduction to physical science (12th ed.). Boston, MA: Brooks/Cole.

Weiner, Adam (2007). Don’t Try This at Home! The Physics of Hollywood Movies. Popular Science.

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