Wednesday, January 20, 2010
The Physics of Space Battles
As I mentioned, the best part of Star Trek Online is the space battles. But one eternal problem of science fiction is that it relates to real science, so people have a tendency to compare the fiction of science to its reality. That big space ship explosion you saw in that sci-fi movie or game? Not physically possible. An explosion in space would be much smaller, because it would quickly consume all the oxygen the space ship brought with it, and then stop. Due to the vaccuum of space there wouldn't even be a shock wave. And so on.
So how would a space battle look if the physics were all correct? Nils sent me this story from Gizmodo, explaining the physics of space battles. It is an interesting read if you have an interest in science. But as we haven't detected any aliens in space yet, you are unlikely to get into a real space fight anytime soon. And I doubt that Star Trek Online or any other sci-fi game will replace their fictional battles by physically correct ones.