Comparison of an Imperial Star Destroyer's Turbolaser Cannon to a Type II Hand Phaser

(This old page uses the Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual as a reference, so you might want to consider taking this page with a grain of salt.)

How about we play a little game?

Let us assume that the asteroids from the TESB asteroid-popping scene were 10.75 meters in diameter. Let us assume that they had a density of 6000 kg/m^3 (less than iron, but far more than most asteroids we've studied, and also far more dense than most rock types).

This gives us an asteroid volume of 650m^3, roughly. At the density described, the weight of such an object would mass 3.9 million kilograms . . . pretty impressive.

It would take something like 4.2 GJ to destroy this asteroid in a manner consistent with the asteroid-popping scene (see my Asteroid commentary for more data here).

It just so happens that, according to the Star Trek:TNG Technical Manual, a simple hand phaser, on maximum setting, is capable of a similar feat . . . up to 650 m^3 of rock/ore of 6000 kg/m^3 is "explosively uncoupled" per .28 second discharge. (Even the timing is the same . . . observation of the impact time of a turbolaser bolt shows the ISD turbolaser bolts to take .225 - .3 seconds to make a complete impact.)

Thus, we find that a Type II hand phaser is capable, in a single shot, of causing 4.2 GJ of damage to a target of such specifications. This, for a device limited to .01 MW (10 kW) directed energy. (as per TM p.123 . . . though, in pure 'joulage', 4.2 GJ is only a tiny fraction of the 45000 GJ phaser battery capacity.)

Go back to ST-SW main.