The Truth about Space War

Transcript

[Music]
Wow Wow what was that
on screen ah captain we meet just tell
me what you want Mirror me that goatee
is ridiculous I’ve come to tell you
about the realities of space war it
wouldn’t look like anything you’re
closer that’s enough I don’t want to
indulge him but he’s right despite the
vast number of space stories that we
have in popular culture almost none of
them depicts space war accurately or at
least get close to how science might
predict that they would actually go down
popular culture has trained us to think
that space war will look like world war
ii dogfighting or stealthy submarine
battles but in reality space war would
look so much weirder and more
interesting than that the reality of
space war is something science fiction
authors have been covering for decades
but these more hard sci-fi takes haven’t
taken over pop culture like TV and movie
franchises have instead Star Wars shows
us space pilots making daring evasive
maneuvers and Star Trek shows us space
battles happening close enough to see
out a window this is what we think would
happen without really thinking about it
so in honor of those books and shows
that do make the effort like the expanse
I thought it was time for yet another
installment of how science would make
that space thing you like different but
better first maybe the biggest
difference would be distance on earth
the distance that two armies can be
apart from each other is limited but
they can’t always directly target each
other so for example if you are an
average height and you are looking at me
and I walk about five kilometres away in
any direction just because of the
curvature of the earth I will then be
hidden by the Earth’s horizon there is
no direct shot at plus bullets and other
projectiles on earth or on another
planet are pulled downwards towards the
surface by gravity and slowed down by
atmospheres even more advanced weaponry
like lasers had a lot of obstacles to
overcome
on terra firma military-grade lasers can
be a hundred percent blocked by rain in
empty space there is no horizon there’s
no air there’s no rain and there’s no
significant gravity wells in most of it
out here a bullets effective range goes
from a few kilometers to theoretically
infinity if nothing interacts with it
along the way and even though lasers
don’t have infinite range in space their
range still extends friend of the show
and hard sci-fi bloggers matter beam
points out that using current technology
a high-powered space laser may have an
effective deadly range out to tens of
thousands of kilometers again using
current technology a space laser could
board this deep into a solid steel plate
in just the time it took me to say this
sentence from a thousand kilometers away
that’s the distance between Chicago in
New York hey that’s my plate over here
get out get out of here I’m floating
here what this massive range extension
in space is likely to do for its
participants is force them very very far
apart opposed to the large-scale space
battles you’ve seen in Star Wars and
Star Trek extraterrestrial engagements
are likely to happen so far apart from
such distance than looking out of a
window you wouldn’t be able to see
anything not friend not foe just light
seconds of space in every direction if
you were to see anything it might just
be a brief flash as some unseen enemies
homing nuclear device turns your
eyeballs into cosmic fire
even if there was a space conflict that
was close quarters for some reason it
wouldn’t look anything like what Poe
Dameron is used to let’s say that I’m
black leader and I get targeted now
because of the ferocious velocity of
weaponry like laser beams if they have
me now and they pull the trigger that’s
it
I’m done if a person firing a laser beam
at you can see you there is no dodging
that attack right can cover an entire
kilometer in just three microseconds
this makes all daring evasive
maneuvering pointless in a space war
that uses laser beams even spinning
which is admittedly a pretty good trick
maneuvering pointless or not gets even
weirder in a space war in general on
screen we all know that space is
traversable in three dimensions XY and Z
but in almost all of our space stories
they’ve adopted two-dimensional naval
type warfare as their metaphor for space
warfare but space has no set battle
planes and so engaging enemies from any
and all directions is just as valid if
not even more so for its many potential
advantages it means that when we meet
there is very little reason to be faced
if they stick where is he sir he’s
beneath us how many of you are there
forget it evasive two-dimensional
maneuvering makes even less sense when
you think about how spacecraft would
actually move in space so imagine here
that there’s an x-wing making a trench
length if it cut its engines at any
point it would continue on at a constant
velocity in a straight line forever but
because of this in space the ship could
now use tiny thrusters to turn itself
around to travel forwards while facing
backwards
in fact most ships in space would have
to do this or be able to do this because
they’d also have to slow down in space
that he’s on your tail trope wouldn’t
really work in a more realistic space
war because at any point the fighter
that was escaping its tailor could just
flip around 180 degrees and spire my
retinas corneas no and in a more
realistic space war you might not even
have to destroy enemy ships to defeat
them heat might do that for you humans
are hot things your skin temperature for
example ranges from between 32 to 35
degrees Celsius and here on earth that
heat leaves your body in three different
ways the first is convection or an
object’s heat loss through interaction
with a fluid around that object on earth
that’s your body and the air so if my
hand was in air air molecules are
constantly hitting it and circulating
away taking energy away from my hand
lowering the temperature of my hand
through tiny collisions this cools my
hand down the second is radiation
everything with a temperature emits
infrared radiation which serves to cool
the object down over time and the final
way is through conduction where two
objects are touching each other
typically solid objects and they are
losing heat through the tiny collisions
between their molecules whose hand is
that
know in the void though there’s no air
so no convection and nothing to touch so
no conduction the only way you lose heat
in space is through radiation which is
the slowest and least efficient form of
heat transfer for example you know that
space is super super cold right only a
few degrees Kelvin but if I through your
naked body into space it wouldn’t
immediately freeze using the
stefan-boltzmann law here in some
estimations the human body might take
longer than a day to freeze in the
vacuum of space and that’s just down to
the sky
heat is very hard to lose in space ever
wonder what those big white panels in
the International Space Station are
those are radiators just to get rid of
excess heat it is so easy to overheat in
space that the determining factor in a
space war might indeed be heat
management think of all of the different
ways our warship would be producing heat
during a battle every engine maneuver
adds heat our electronics work best at
higher temperatures our crew needs to
stay warm to stay alive every shot that
we take from a laser or kinetic
projectile adds heat to the armor of our
ship red alert at some point in the heat
of battle there will be a point at which
we are generating heat faster than we
can lose it and we will have to
surrender or else we will literally cook
inside of the hull of our spaceship
which would be also melting in space we
give up nice try
realistically many if not most space
battles can end this way so factoring in
the science space war is likely to look
very different from what popular culture
has trained us to think it would look
like for one you probably wouldn’t see
anything tearing an engagement the ships
would be too far away and if you could
see anything it would look more like a
game of asteroids than star wars and
battles might not necessarily end
between enemy fleets with ships
destroyed and floating everywhere but
instead just a bunch of red-hot ships
that have to surrender or else they will
boil this is different from what we are
used to but I think it is just as cool
factoring in the real world science
imagine the tension of traversing deep
space not knowing when and where an
enemy strike could come from then being
suddenly hit by a space laser and having
to deploy giant geometric radiators so
that you don’t the vaporize inside your
ship like a space hot pocket this these
are real and fascinating problems that
have real and narratively
interesting solutions I think depicting
all of this right
we’ll be the final frontier of sci-fi
because science oh it was me the whole
time
what is that evil
[Music]
if you do the math differently on how
long it would take a human body to
freeze solid in space and you assume
that there’s a Sun nearby and then it is
hitting you with its photons and heating
you up there is a certain point where
the amount of sunlight that could be
hitting you is equaling the heat that
you were losing to space and you will
remain the exact same temperature and
you wouldn’t ever freeze in space in
that situation but you would still need
to you know breathe and drink and eat so
you need a special setup I’m just
describing a spaceship that’s where the
spaceship does oops
thank you so much for watching Thomas
another big shout out to at tough SF on
Twitter who helped me a lot with this
episode and you can go over to project
ro those guys have written down so much
nerdy hard sci-fi stuff that it is a
literal treasure trove for people like
me so go check out that website and if
you like this video go back to
nerdist.com for more of me for a Squatch
or the space program on project alpha
comm where if you sign up for alpha for
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and you can follow because science and
me at these handles thank you so much
[Music]
English (auto-generated)

Description

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We’ve all seen fighting in space, but is any of it actually right? Kyle battles it out on this week’s Because Science!Subscribe for more Because Science: http://bit.ly/BecSciSubMore science: http://nerdist.com/topic/science-tech/
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Follow Nerdist: https://twitter.com/NerdistBecause Science every Thursday.Artist: Andrew Bowser

Learn more:
• SPACE WAR MISCONCEPTIONS: http://bit.ly/2EFbRf4
• HEAT TRANSFER MECHANISMS: http://bit.ly/2EERkHv
• STEFAN-BOLTZMANN LAW: http://bit.ly/2HusOMi

Author: dhobson

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