The Battle of Britain

Re:  "See Star Wars get its Asteroids Kicked"


Surprisingly, Ossus acknowledges the following, if even via footnote:  This page is one of Mr. Anderson's pages that is "in severe need of updating." It is currently listed as a page that is "Incomplete or To Be Updated."  

One might wonder why he'd attack an ancient page stated to be in severe need of updating (and even with a listing of how that is to be accomplished) with such fervor.  Hell, the thing is titled "Preliminary notes on the asteroid belt from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back".   But, then, this is Ossus and his fellow flunkies we're talking about . . . they'll attack anything honestly or not, and only mention such details in the footnotes if at all.    

Of course, I could be a complete ass and accept without question their highest TESB-derived firepower figure of less than 3,000 terajoules, point to 418,400 terajoule (100 megaton) photon torpedoes (and the easily-argued 1-10 megaton phasers), and giggle accordingly.  But, I suppose I ought to see what BS this page presents . . .


Though the exact values for the firepower demonstrated in the scene vary with the estimations of the asteroid's size, it is important to note that almost all of the estimates agree that the "lower limit" for the firepower demonstrated by a turbolaser is no less than one kiloton.

Actually, they invariably claim far more than a lone kiloton (4 terajoules).   The lowest Warsie figure is 250 terajoules, which is almost 60 kilotons.

Anderson collects information from several different sources over the course of this page.

 . . . as commonly occurs for preliminary notes . . . 

 The first piece of evidence that Anderson presents is as follows:

"The "Bad Science Argument" from 'The Ambivalent DMZ':

One debater has pointed out a serious flaw in one of the most touted calculations for asteroid-destruction firepower. *Even if*

(If you want an idea of how old the page is (over and above the odd formatting and absence of more modern page style), note the use of asterisks as emphasis, instead of italics!)

we grant the energy levels the pro-Wars debaters generally claim for turbolasers, it is not possible for them to have totally vaporized the asteroid, as is claimed. Observe:

Wong's argument is a case of "bad science" rather than "pseudoscience" - he applies some physical principles to the calculations, and yet avoids others which could critically effect the results. This isn't comparison shopping, folks - you can't choose which physical laws you want to apply if you go down this road - it's all or nothing. An analogy would be the calculations to determine a man falling off a cliff - what speed does he have before impact? - the answer is much higher if we forgot to account for air resistance.

Silicates have very poor thermal conductivity, even given the (unspecified) iron content. Given the timescale over which the energy is absorbed (1/12s), we can expect local vaporisation to occur almost immediately. This local expansion is much greater than that required to blast said asteroid apart. The "blobs of superheated liquid" can only be from the area immediately adjacent to the initial impact. The vast bulk of the asteroid has been shattered and dispersed long before they have absorbed sufficient energy to "visibly glow."

The "lower limit" calcs are nothing of the sort. The figure obtained is meaningless, based on a false assumptions - namely that the entire mass of the asteroid is vaporised, and that the energy is absorbed uniformly and instantly throughout the entire mass (this second assumption also flies in the face of all known physics)- DMZ"

Anderson goes on to agree with the debater, and expands upon the concept slightly, but he misses a fundamental fact: Mike Wong specifically addressed this concern. 

And Ossus missed the fundamental fact that I specifically addressed Wong's claims.

"note from MW: this idea deserves further explanation: speed is everything. Thermal conductivity through the asteroid's mass is insufficient to account for the effects we saw, because the rock simply cannot conduct that much heat that quickly, even if it's pure iron. The effect would be more of an explosive effect, with a tiny area being superheated and a concussive shock wave moving out and shattering the asteroid. However, in order to shatter these asteroids so quickly, the fragments would have had to move through the rest of the asteroid at more than 600 m/s! This would require extremely rapid large-scale deformation of material [...] The question of whether the asteroid was heated or shattered is therefore moot, because the act of shattering it at such great speed would create so much work-heating that the resulting material would be superheated anyway [.]"

I said:  "In rock on Earth, the speed of sound (or, to use a more intuitionally valid term, the speed of your average vibration) is going to be around three kilometers per second, or about ten times the speed of sound in air. Solids allow for faster vibration wave velocity, since they are more compact, molecularly."   And, of course, Wong's estimate of the speed of his "fragments" (as if we're talking about little fragments tunnelling through the asteroid, instead of the shockwave through the rock from impact) can't possibly be correct, as he claims a 40 meter asteroid (i.e. one far larger than the one we see).  

But, let's say we accept his 600 meters/second figure.  That's about one-fifth of the speed of sound through the rock . . . i.e. what could be transmitted through the rock elastically.  As I mention on the page in question, the sort of shockwave pressure required to produce rock fracture or metamorphosis (from heat) is on the order of 5 gigaPascals.  At 2 gigaPascals, an impact shockwave will slow to around the speed of sound in the rock.  Wong's arguing for a lower shockwave speed (though, of course, the actual shockwave would still travel at 3km/s), and thus we have an even lower pressure.  And yet, he's still claiming superheating, even without the supersonic shockwave that would be required.

The situation becomes even more bleak for the Rabid Warsies when you consider that most asteroids are basically rubble piles anyway, which would be more likely to break apart . . . but of course, they refuse to consider that.  

And, in the following frame sequence (obtained from Phil Skayhan and his laserdisc), they also refuse to consider the objects in the last three frames as anything more than "plasma splash", even though one can plainly see that there's no plasma for the objects to splash from:

(Note: The version I have of the above, despite being of somewhat lesser quality,
does appear to show more asteroid detail in the upper half, in a way that suggests it
is not simply a compression artifact.  I'll check against the SE DVD at some point to see
which of the two is the most accurate representation of that area):

We can thus determine that Mike Wong already recognized this possibility during his report, but found it meaningless, and that the lower limit presented is in fact a true lower limit, contrary to what Mr. Anderson attempts to demonstrate. 

Or, we can determine that the ever-deceitful Wong, who attempted to bolster his argument by claiming it as his field of work, was simply fudging a bit, appealing to claimed authority (i.e. himself), and hoping no one would pay any further attention to the inconsistencies of the argument.  This would be unsurprising, but I won't make a final judgement until I update the page in question. 

The rest of this has already been rebutted by Mr. Wayne Poe on his site

 . . . and I've already torn that up before.  But, so long as we're speaking of deceitful people, let's take a quick look at an element of his claimed disproof.  Poe tried to claim the last couple of frames of this pic sequence from TESB as proof that the asteroidlets the Falcon flew through were visible after the collision, arguing that the explosion cloud had dissipated and we see the asteroidlets:

Alas, I'd never caught this particular deception of his until looking at the film a few minutes ago.  You see, Poe conveniently stopped his pic sequence at a point before the explosion had dissipated.  Below, you can see on the left the frame Wayne stopped at.  In the right-side pic, brightened by 20%, you can see the actual last frame:

And, as demonstrated several frames later as the Falcon starts to fly into the asteroidlet field, the explosion cloud hadn't even fully dissipated yet:

Damn.  And here I'd let him get away with that one for years.  I'd even changed my page to reflect his argument regarding the visibility of the asteroidlets.   Oh, well . . . that's what one gets for trusting that Rabid Warsies might ever be truthful.


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