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CGI Can’t: Physics Fails In Film

Computer-generated imagery (CGI) is in more movies than you might think. Whether it’s enhancing a background, adding fog to breath, or even drawing Iron Man’s suit when he’s just standing around, it’s often invisible. If it’s done right, we barely even notice it.

But if it’s done wrong, it stands out. There are a lot of ways CGI can go wrong, but we’re going to focus on one thing: physics fails. In a physics fail, the CGI object is either way too light or way too heavy. When it interacts with real objects, the CGI does not have the right amount of weight or momentum. When a physics fail happens, it makes the audience painfully aware of how fake a movie is.

For example, nothing about this tank turret throw from Fantastic Four makes any sense whatsoever. How could a 500 lb rock monster anchor down several tons of steel? Why does the steel shatter? How come the impact doesn’t cause the nearby sand to scatter? Why does the blast fire out equally in all directions?

Sure, the Thing doesn’t exist, but for the space of 2 hours the movie is asking us to believe he could exist in a world like our own. Every time the CGI breaks the laws of physics, we get slapped in the face by reality.

Fantastic Four had comically bad CGI, but it’s far from the only movie with physics fails. Sometimes a physics fail happens for the sake of the plot, like with this incredibly lightweight helicopter because the effects team just didn’t bother to calculate for weight limitations.

Sometimes a physics fail is just the result when a fake object and a real object interact, like when the director forgets that a desk should wobble or tip when an elf jumps onto it.

So, how can directors make CGI better?
Well first, if they fail at physics, learn better physics.
Secondly, remember your audience is smarter than you think they are. Even a 12 year old can tell the difference between which scenes were shot on location and which action sequences were shot on a soundstage in Hollywood.
And lastly, keep it real. Be more creative and find ways to make the effects using real life elements, robotics, animatronics, puppets and other creative arts that brought Hollywood magic to life in the first place.

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Watch Two Girls Launch a Weather Balloon into the Stratosphere

Space! You can reach it!

Two Seattle girls, aged 10 and 8, decided it would be fun to plan the construction and launch of a weather balloon into space.  They achieved their goal, took a video of the whole process and launch, and have even impressed NASA.

Designed to Rise:

They learned how to create a design for their spacecraft from the web and created a design using materials bought and some from home.  Trial and error changed the design from using PVC pipes to old arrow shafts to keep it light weight.  Overall, the design of the craft resembled a triangle, or pyramid.  They planned for the craft’s landing and even added styrofoam balls in the event of a water landing.  The standard weather balloon they used for the ascent was filled with Helium, and the whole spacecraft was strategically launched from a specific point where they would be most likely to recover the craft upon its return to earth’s surface.

Pop Goes the Weather Balloon:

As the weather balloon traveled further from the Earth’s surface, the air pressure around the balloon decreased drastically. As the air got thinner, the balloon’s casing got tighter. This is due to the gas expanding within the balloon. The expanding gas caused the balloon to reach full capacity and it popped.  This is how weather balloons work, and these girls planned for its popping to initiate the spacecraft’s return to earth.

The girls collected data during the launch.  The Balloon ascended at a very constant rate – an average speed of 35 kilometers/hour. There was a peak speed recorded, of 110 kilometers/hour as the craft left whats called the Tropopause, right before entering the Stratosphere.  They noticed a temperature drop as it got higher up, but then it changed at got higher as the craft left the Troposphere and got into the Stratosphere.

The Earth’s Atmospheric Layers:

The atmosphere is divided into five layers. It is thickest near the surface and thins out with height until it eventually merges with space. The troposphere is the first layer above the surface and contains half of the Earth’s atmosphere. Weather occurs in this layer. Many jet aircrafts fly in the stratosphere because it is very stable. Also, the ozone layer absorbs harmful rays from the Sun. Meteors or rock fragments burn up in the mesosphere. The thermosphere is a layer with auroras. It is also where the space shuttle orbits. The atmosphere merges into space in the extremely thin exosphere. This is the upper limit of our atmosphere.

The girls’ spacecraft’s weather balloon popped at 78,000 feet, or about 15 miles into the atmosphere, which puts into the Stratosphere.

This picture above is the girl’s notes following their successful mission – inspiring! – from GeekWire

The Higher Up, the Lower the Pressure:

Atmospheric pressure is the pressure exerted by the weight of air in the atmosphere of Earth.  In most circumstances atmospheric pressure is measured by the hydrostatic pressure caused by the weight of air above the measurement point. On a given plane, low-pressure areas have less atmospheric mass above their location, whereas high-pressure areas have more atmospheric mass above their location. Likewise, as elevation increases, there is less overlying atmospheric mass, so that atmospheric pressure decreases with increasing elevation.

These girls took all of these factors into consideration when planning their weather balloon spacecraft.  It’s amazing what careful planning, passion, and ingenuity can do, even at a young age.

The girls – Rebecca and Kimberly Yeung – photo by GeekWire

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Watch Two Girls Launch a Weather Balloon into the Stratosphere

Space! You can reach it!

Two Seattle girls, aged 10 and 8, decided it would be fun to plan the construction and launch of a weather balloon into space.  They achieved their goal, took a video of the whole process and launch, and have even impressed NASA.

Yeung-Sister-Lego-Loki-Launcher-DIY-spacecraft-537x323

Loki-Lego-Launcher-in-space-620x349

Designed to Rise:

They learned how to create a design for their spacecraft from the web and created a design using materials bought and some from home.  Trial and error changed the design from using PVC pipes to old arrow shafts to keep it light weight.  Overall, the design of the craft resembled a triangle, or pyramid.  They planned for the craft’s landing and even added styrofoam balls in the event of a water landing.  The standard weather balloon they used for the ascent was filled with Helium, and the whole spacecraft was strategically launched from a specific point where they would be most likely to recover the craft upon its return to earth’s surface.

Pop Goes the Weather Balloon:

As the weather balloon traveled further from the Earth’s surface, the air pressure around the balloon decreased drastically. As the air got thinner, the balloon’s casing got tighter. This is due to the gas expanding within the balloon. The expanding gas caused the balloon to reach full capacity and it popped.  This is how weather balloons work, and these girls planned for its popping to initiate the spacecraft’s return to earth.

The girls collected data during the launch.  The Balloon ascended at a very constant rate – an average speed of 35 kilometers/hour. There was a peak speed recorded, of 110 kilometers/hour as the craft left whats called the Tropopause, right before entering the Stratosphere.  They noticed a temperature drop as it got higher up, but then it changed at got higher as the craft left the Troposphere and got into the Stratosphere.

The Earth’s Atmospheric Layers:

The atmosphere is divided into five layers. It is thickest near the surface and thins out with height until it eventually merges with space. The troposphere is the first layer above the surface and contains half of the Earth’s atmosphere. Weather occurs in this layer. Many jet aircrafts fly in the stratosphere because it is very stable. Also, the ozone layer absorbs harmful rays from the Sun. Meteors or rock fragments burn up in the mesosphere. The thermosphere is a layer with auroras. It is also where the space shuttle orbits. The atmosphere merges into space in the extremely thin exosphere. This is the upper limit of our atmosphere.

The girls’ spacecraft’s weather balloon popped at 78,000 feet, or about 15 miles into the atmosphere, which puts into the Stratosphere.

This picture above is the girl’s notes following their successful mission – inspiring! – from GeekWire

The Higher Up, the Lower the Pressure:

Atmospheric pressure is the pressure exerted by the weight of air in the atmosphere of Earth.  In most circumstances atmospheric pressure is measured by the hydrostatic pressure caused by the weight of air above the measurement point. On a given plane, low-pressure areas have less atmospheric mass above their location, whereas high-pressure areas have more atmospheric mass above their location. Likewise, as elevation increases, there is less overlying atmospheric mass, so that atmospheric pressure decreases with increasing elevation.

These girls took all of these factors into consideration when planning their weather balloon spacecraft.  It’s amazing what careful planning, passion, and ingenuity can do, even at a young age.

The girls – Rebecca and Kimberly Yeung – photo by GeekWire

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Super Saiyan Science: How To Throw A Kamehameha Wave

Power Up with Dragon Ball Z

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Dragon Ball Z is an awesome Japanese anime television series that first appeared in 1989.  It tells the story of Goku, who along with his companions, defends the Earth against a collection of villains ranging from intergalactic space fighters and conquerors, unnaturally powerful androids and nearly indestructible magical creatures.  Goku’s Kamehameha Wave, or Turtle Devastation Wave is his main weapon of choice against his enemies.  It is a ball of energy created within his hands, that he then shoots out at a distance, debilitating his foe.

The Kamehameha Wave

Kamehameha

YouTube Channel, The Film Theorists, put together a short movie that illustrates the science behind the Kamehameha wave. What exactly IS this wave and can we please one day be able to shoot energy balls out of our own hands??  The narrator gives an explanation of the concept behind the wave. It is named after the Hawaiian King, Kamehameha.  It generally involves the character gathering “Ki” energy between their hands to form an energy ball. That then gets blasted out in a beam. Ki Energy is life force that exists within everyone.  It exists in the center of the body.

Chi Rules Everything Around Me

It’s similar to the Chinese word Qi, or “Chi” which is a basic principle of Chinese medicine and martial arts.  The word literally translates to “breath,” “air,” or “gas,” and is thought to be a life force or energy that exists in everything.

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Chi has a real place in the world, and here is what we know about it. It’s difficult to define, its a mental or spiritual energy, can heal the wounded, or strengthen a fighter. Even go so far as to give “force” like powers.   No real science backs this concept up though.

Plasma Makes it Possible

Keep Chi in mind as we continue.  The Kamehameha wave is composed of energy, but also has mass. It is a form of matter. Matter can be broken down to “solid,” “liquid” and “gas” but there is also “plasma” which the universe is 99% composed of. Plasma is a heated gas. Plasma is found in fluorescent light bulbs, lighting, and the giant hot ball in the sky we call the sun.

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So the way plasma is created is, you take a gas, and heat it up.  The electrons and the atoms in the gas get so excited that they start to break away. You end up with a soup of negatively charged electrons floating alongside positively charged ions. The air (which is a gas) inside of Goku’s hands becomes superheated, and it creates plasma. He is harnessing his body’s “Ki” or “Chi” power and the electrical potential of that Ki.  That electricity then, will super heat the gas to create the plasma.

The Energy to Create Plasma

Plasma typically requires 33 kilovolts (of electricity) per centimeter, to form. Once its created, it can be sustained with only 1/10th of that energy.  (3 kilovolts).  A plasma arc is created next to the energy source, but once it’s generated, it can stretch to 10 times the distance.  That’s how Goku is able to shoot that plasma out to such a great distance away from him.  Plasma Globes are a great source to explore this phenomenon.  Plasma is becoming something that will be utilized more often in the near future.  Boeing recently patented the use of “plasma shields” for instance.  The future is now!

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The Physics of the Star Wars BB-8 Droid: How Does It Work?

Introducing the BB-8!

Fans of Star Wars are rejoicing with the release of the seventh episode in the series, The Force Awakens.  With it comes a new robot, the BB-8, that has immediately captivated viewers at first sight.  It is an astromech droid in the Star Wars Universe. An awesome new toy version is available, made by Sphero. It’s a remote controlled robot that rolls without the use of external wheels.  Regardless of how the robot functions in the Star Wars universe, it’s probably not too different from the way the toy version works. Rumors from production claim Sphero’s technology helped with the development of the actual BB-8 and there was also some puppetry involved in the film version of the droid.

How do you make a sphere roll without pushing it?

An article in Wired recently explained that you need a moveable mass inside the sphere. The mass could be any number of things, like a tiny car with wheels, or a hamster.  We’ve probably all seen how a hamster rolls one of those plastic see-through spheres from running on the inside of it.  Whatever the mass is, when it moves up the wall of the sphere a little bit, the center of mass for the whole sphere shifts.

bb8 without cgi

And now for some science stuff:

When the center of mass shifts away from being vertically over the contact point, there is an external torque on the sphere.  The contact point is where the movable mass lies within the sphere. Torque is the tendency of a force to rotate an object about an axis. This torque then increases the angular momentum of the sphere and causes it to roll.  In physics, angular momentum is the rotational analog of linear momentum, meaning the momentum of the spinning sphere will keep spinning until a force acts upon it.  This is similar to an object moving in a linear line – it will keep moving in a straight line until a force acts upon it. The angular momentum of a system remains constant unless acted on by an external torque.

Once the sphere starts rolling, the inside mass could just stay at the lowest point—except there is some external friction which will require the inside mass to continue to ride up the side and provide some torque.  The external friction is the floor surface on which the sphere is rolling on.  When the inside mass moves up the wall, there is an external force to accelerate the sphere horizontally—friction. Here is a more detailed image showing all the forces on the sphere when the mass moves up the wall.

Magnets keep it together:

As far as the head of the robot goes, it uses a magnet to stay on. There is probably some type of magnet inside the sphere to attract a magnet inside of the head. The head then has rollers so that it can roll along the top of the sphere. The inside magnet would have to be movable so that you could make BB-8 do fun head moves.

This is truly an adorable, awesome addition to the Star Wars Universe. I for one would love to see a buddy movie spin off featuring BB-8 and R2-D2.

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Star Wars: The Science of Star Killing

In Star Wars The Force Awakens, the galaxy is going to face a new threat, The First Order. This new evil empire has a super weapon capable of destroying whole solar systems, which they keep at their base of operations: Starkiller Base.

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If the name “Starkiller” sounds familiar, its probably because an early draft of the first Star Wars script called the main character “Luke Starkiller” instead of “Skywalker”, and a lot of Star Wars
writers like to reference that fact with easter eggs throughout the Star Wars universe.

It seems though that the First Order are using the name literally and that their new weapon may actually be able to destroy stars. Leaving aside for now the question of what this could mean for the Galaxy and our heroes, let’s first ask the question: how would that even work? Watch the video below to see how we break down the galactic science behind star killing.

The gravity that holds the star together is delicate. If the amount of stuff in the star doesn’t stay dense enough the explosions at its core will start to expand out in a massive explosion called a Supernova. So, if you want to make a star go supernova, you just have to add enough energy to make its mass outweigh its density.

But say you actually do want to use a laser, just for old times’ sake. Well, one way to do that is the use the technique of laser cooling. Laser cooling is a method scientists actually use when researching microscopic particles. It works because temperature is largely caused by the atoms inside of something moving at a faster rate. If you can tune
a laser finely enough to push individual atoms, you can slow down their rate of movement and cool off the structure their part of. How does this help with our star problem? Well simple, the exploding stuff acts like a core reactor. But, if you reduce the temperature of the core, you’ll also decrease its amount of fusion.

The star’s balance of gravity and expansion will be thrown off and it will collapse in on itself, and boom goes the dynamite.

The video dives deeper into the science, but basically that is the scientific method for star killing. Remember kids, don’t try this at home.

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How to Build a Real Life Lightsaber

 

Lightsabers are without a doubt one of the coolest weapons that the Star Wars universe, and science fiction in general, has given us. They hum with the power of the force, they can be used defensively to deflect blaster bolts and can cut through virtually anything from metal doors to your enemy’s body parts. There aren’t many of us out there who don’t know the joy of a flashlight lightsaber duel  or the importance of making the right sound effects!

In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren introduces a new version of this classic weapon, the Crossguard Lightsaber. In doing so, he has reignited the age-old question, how can we create a real world lightsaber that actually works?

The Crystal

Although it is not obvious from looking at the weapon, crystals are an integral part of every lightsaber. According to the Star Wars animated series, The Clone Wars, young Jedi knights go to the planet Ilum to harvest crystals that would be used within the hilt of the lightsabers. In fact, the world’s first solid-state laser, the ruby laser, uses a synthetic ruby crystal for the creation of light.

ruby laser graphic

A ‘Blade’ Made From Light Or Laser?

Given their name, it seems logical to say that lightsabers have blades made from light or at least some type of laser, right? Wrong. While laser technology is constantly improving and lasers can cut through materials, there are several reasons they wouldn’t work as the blade of a lightsaber.

Firstly, the beam would continue on endlessly unless stopped by an obstacle. You could always interrupt a beam with a mirror but not only would that reduce the lightsaber’s effectiveness in battle, you would also lose the elegance of the weapon if you had to add a structure to hold the mirror up.

From a more practical stand-point, several kilo-watts of power would be required to create the type of laser that can cut through metal doors and arms. A laser with this sort of power would require a very large unit to supply the required energy as well as a cooling system to ensure that the user’s hand doesn’t melt off during battle.

Lastly, from a showmanship perspective, a duel between two laser-based lightsabers would be quite a letdown. Instead of clashing into each other, the beams would simply pass through each other and because lasers focus light so sharply, you would only actually be able to see the blade if you were looking directly down the axis of the laser.

Laser_pointers

 

A ‘Blade’ Made From Plasma

Dr. Gianluca Sarri, a lecturer in the school of mathematics and physics at Queen’s University Belfast thinks that the lightsaber’s blades may be made of heated gas. When gas gets extremely hot, so hot that it is broken down into its fundamental components of electrons and nuclei, it forms the fourth state of matter called plasma. The plasma of certain gases when super-heated even give off certain colors, for example, the red and orange of the Sun is made up of hydrogen and helium plasma. If you were a Sith, you would most likely use one of these elements in your lightsaber. Whereas if you were a Jedi with a green lightsaber, you would have chlorine plasma.

While it is unlikely that they will be selling plasma lightsabers alongside the rest of the Star Wars merchandise, it is exciting to know that in theory, we could have a working lightsaber one day. Until then, we’ll just have to keep coming up with our own versions.

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The Physics of the Star Wars BB-8 Droid: How Does It Work?

Introducing the BB-8!

Fans of Star Wars are rejoicing with the release of the seventh episode in the series, The Force Awakens.  With it comes a new robot, the BB-8, that has immediately captivated viewers at first sight.  It is an astromech droid in the Star Wars Universe. An awesome new toy version is available, made by Sphero. It’s a remote controlled robot that rolls without the use of external wheels.  Regardless of how the robot functions in the Star Wars universe, it’s probably not too different from the way the toy version works. Rumors from production claim Sphero’s technology helped with the development of the actual BB-8 and there was also some puppetry involved in the film version of the droid.

How do you make a sphere roll without pushing it?

An article in Wired recently explained that you need a moveable mass inside the sphere. The mass could be any number of things, like a tiny car with wheels, or a hamster.  We’ve probably all seen how a hamster rolls one of those plastic see-through spheres from running on the inside of it.  Whatever the mass is, when it moves up the wall of the sphere a little bit, the center of mass for the whole sphere shifts.

bb8 without cgi

And now for some science stuff:

When the center of mass shifts away from being vertically over the contact point, there is an external torque on the sphere.  The contact point is where the movable mass lies within the sphere. Torque is the tendency of a force to rotate an object about an axis. This torque then increases the angular momentum of the sphere and causes it to roll.  In physics, angular momentum is the rotational analog of linear momentum, meaning the momentum of the spinning sphere will keep spinning until a force acts upon it.  This is similar to an object moving in a linear line – it will keep moving in a straight line until a force acts upon it. The angular momentum of a system remains constant unless acted on by an external torque.

Once the sphere starts rolling, the inside mass could just stay at the lowest point—except there is some external friction which will require the inside mass to continue to ride up the side and provide some torque.  The external friction is the floor surface on which the sphere is rolling on.  When the inside mass moves up the wall, there is an external force to accelerate the sphere horizontally—friction. Here is a more detailed image showing all the forces on the sphere when the mass moves up the wall.

Magnets keep it together:

As far as the head of the robot goes, it uses a magnet to stay on. There is probably some type of magnet inside the sphere to attract a magnet inside of the head. The head then has rollers so that it can roll along the top of the sphere. The inside magnet would have to be movable so that you could make BB-8 do fun head moves.

This is truly an adorable, awesome addition to the Star Wars Universe. I for one would love to see a buddy movie spin off featuring BB-8 and R2-D2.

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Breakthrough Starshot: Exploring the Infinite Abyss



Stephen Hawking - 4/12/16

Stephen Hawking is a cosmologist, professor, theoretical physicist and one of the greatest living scientific legends.  He, along with Yuri Milner, an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and physicist, as well as Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame, announced the Breakthrough Starshot initiative in April of 2016.

According to the website, Breakthrough Starshot is a “$100 million research and engineering program aiming to demonstrate proof of concept for a new technology, enabling ultra-light unmanned space flight at 20% of the speed of light; and to lay the foundations for a flyby mission to Alpha Centauri within a generation.”

Let’s break this down to understand what manner of science fiction we’re dealing with here.

 

Alpha Centauri

Alpha Centauri is our neighboring star system that is located four light years away. With current rocket propulsion technology – our current abilities to drive or push a rocket forward – it would take hundreds of millennia to reach it.

heliosphere_map

 

The Speed of Light

In the past fifteen years, fast technological advances have opened up the possibility of light-powered space travel at a significant fraction of light speed.  The speed of light is 671 million miles per hour. According to the statement from Breakthrough Starshot, the program would push miniature space probes to speeds up to 100 million miles per hour, roughly 20% the speed of light.

The program would include a light beamer – basically a number of high powered lasers – located on earth, that would push nanocrafts to their top speeds.

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Nanocrafts you say?

These are gram-scale robotic spacecrafts comprising two main parts:  

  • A “StarChip”, which is a wafer sized component carrying cameras, photon thrusters, power supply, navigation and communication equipment, and constituting a fully functional space probe.
  • The “LightSail” is a meter-scale sail that is no more than a few hundred atoms thick and at gram-scale mass.

So, you could picture little wafer sized components surrounded by what look like sails, that lasers from earth push to speeds of 100 million miles per hour.  Crazy, right?

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Moore’s Law

The scientists explain that a few technological advances are making this invention possible.  First is the idea of Moore’s Law, which is the observation made by Gordon E. Moore in 1975, that explains that the number of transistors in dense integrated circuits will double approximately every two years. Basically, technology will only get smaller.  We’ve seen evidence of this over the decades and this observation has proved true every two years up to about 2013.  Its still a viable prediction for scientists to work with, but the rate at at which technology is advancing is indeed slowing down. Not dramatically, but it may perhaps change to every 3 or 4 years that we see a shift in scale of technological advances.  

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Nanotechnology

The second advancement in technology that is making nanocrafts a possibility are the advances in nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is science, engineering, and technology conducted at the nano-scale, which is about 1 to 100 nano-meters. Nano-science and nanotechnology are the study and application of extremely small things and can be used across all the other science fields, such as chemistry, biology, physics, materials science, and engineering. These advances are becoming more and more a reality.

size-of-things

 

Interstellar Space

Once the nanocrafts reach Alpha Centauri in a few decades, they would then beam home images of possible planets and analysis of magnetic fields. Along its journey, the nanocrafts could supply worlds of information about asteroids it crosses and solar system exploration. While Breakthrough Starshot is not the first project to explore the idea of interstellar space travel, it far outweighs any previous attempt in terms of funding. In 2011 the US research agency DARPA and NASA provided $500,000 to seed the “100 Year Starship Project”. That doesn’t quite compare with the $10 million that has been allocated to Breakthrough Starshot.

 

Path to the stars

The research and engineering phase is expected to last a number of years. Following that, development of the ultimate mission to Alpha Centauri would require a budget comparable to the largest current scientific experiments. Once it is assembled and the technology matures, the cost of each launch is projected to fall to a few hundred thousand dollars.

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I’m in, so when do we get the popcorn ready?

One of the great things about this initiative, aside from actually reaching interstellar space with a camera ready to send images to earth, is how the very development of this program is inviting the public to chime in with opinions and suggestions.  The team is essentially crowd-sourcing solutions to the number of engineering and logistical challenges that remain before this is a reality.  Transparency is important to the Breakthrough Starshot team, which is a great move, in my opinion. In about 25 years, we can finally microwave that popcorn as we await images of possible earth like planets from Alpha Centauri.

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Will the Real Iron Man Please Stand Up!

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Genius, Billionaire, Playboy and Philanthropist? There’s No Way This Guy is Real!

Arguably the least heroic of the superheroes on the big screen, Iron Man leads the Avengers, Marvel’s premiere superhero team, and his films are responsible for the gigantic wave of comic book properties that have found their way to film. As Iron Man – the genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist Tony Stark is also the most realistic high profile superhero. One of the world’s wealthiest men, building superhuman technology, like an Iron Man suit and fighting evil forces to make the world a better place, sounds like something that could actually happen. So, it should be no surprise that many believe that it is happening already.

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Could Elon Musk be the Real Life Tony Stark?

Comparisons between Tony Stark and Elon Musk have been made since the rise of both in the public eye, their similarities are so apparent that they’ve been the butt of many jokes — even landing Musk a cameo in the Iron Man II film. Even though the character of Iron Man is older than Elon Musk, modern interpretations can’t help but be influenced by him, even Robert Downey Jr. himself.

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Elon Musk’s continuing work in solar and reusable energies, electric transportation, space exploration, and other scientific fields that deal with today’s hot button issues have earned him a wealth of popularity as well as actual wealth. Musk is an icon in his own right, in the good graces of the public masses as a shining example of philanthropy built upon his genius and wealth, but his personal life is nothing like the scoundrel Tony Stark as far as we know… Instead it’s his business savvy and willingness to gamble his fortunes on researching and developing projects that might benefit humanity that have made him such a jewel in the eyes of the public and put him on the pedestal reserved for the marvelous and fantastical.

Elon Musk Infographic

Sure, He’s a Genius, Billionaire, Philanthropist…But Does it Count if He Doesn’t Have the Flying Suit?

But what separates reality from fantasy? Men from myth? Heroes from superheroes? What makes someone more than what they are? A person’s actions and beliefs are more important than the power they hold. Courage is trying to do more than you believe that you can do. That’s why individuals like Elon Musk are considered with the same esteem as the fantastical characters like Iron Man.

Although reports of Musk building a metal power suit might only exist in the rumor mill, there is no other person on Earth who embodies the ideals and characteristics of any modern superhero. He may not be the genius inventor that Tony Stark is, but he is a genius innovator. And if anybody’s really going to be Iron Man, there’s no one else that could fit the bill, or that could pay it!

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