Neil deGrasse Tyson discusses “Star Wars” and the ability to blow up a planet

Spoiler: It can be done

Neil deGrasse Tyson discusses "Star Wars" and the ability to blow up a planet
Can a person blow up a planet as depicted in “Star Wars”? That was a question posed to Neil deGrasse Tyson on his podcast “StarTalk Radio.”
To wrap up “StarTalk’s” fifth season, Tyson compiled a few “Time Capsule” episodes, which capture the best of “StarTalk.” In “Season 5 Time Capsule (Part 2),” Tyson reexamines fan favorite questions from the previous season; the questions range from “what is gravity?” to queries about time travel.
One of the best questions and responses (as pointed out by Raw Story) was posed to Tyson and comedian Eugene Mirman: “In the movie “Star Wars,“ we see the Death Star blow up the planet Alderaan. Setting aside the question of how a thing would be possible, what would happen to our solar system if the Empire blew up, say, Mars?”
Tyson’s response (which can be heard at the 34-minute mark) explains both how to blow up a planet (“physics 102″), and what would happen to our planet if Mars were blown to smithereens (we’d lose the Curiosity Rover).


“Now you have a device that can pump that energy into your planet and have that planet absorb the energy, rather than have the energy come out the other side, it will completely destroy the planet to smithereens, entirely,” Tyson said. “So, that’s how one would go about it.”
Listen to the entire episode, which features everyone from Colin Jost to Bill Nye at StarTalk

On Monday, January 5, 2015 7:50 AM, Dennis Fischer <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

When it comes to science, I do like to listen to Star Talk

For discussions of genre film releases, there are weekly podcasts on

On Monday, January 5, 2015 5:06 AM, Barry Haworth <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Starting a new topic, does anyone else here listen to SF related
podcasts?  There are a number of podcasts I listen to, some of which
might be of interest to the group.

My current favourite is "Escape Pod" (,also on
itunes), which is a weekly fiction podcast which puts out a new SF
storry each week.  Episodes are typically 30-40 minutes long, and the
stories are usualy very good.  Also associated with them are Podcastle
(fantasy) and Pseudopod (horror), though I have not enjoyed those so

"19 Nocturne Boulevard" is one I came across recently.  This podcast
has a variety of material - some dramatised readings of old SF stories
("Galactic Julie's Bedtime Stories"), some original audio dramas,
including serveral story series.  Audio production of these are
generally very good and I have enojoyed (mst of) what I've heard so

"Welcome to Night Vale" is somewhat different, and not for everyone.
It is done in the style of a community radio station, where the
announcer talks in a matter of fact voice of things which very strange
indeed, as if you had a small town in some HP Lovecraft type of
universe.  My daughter loves it and I enjoy it, but you need a certain
type of sense of humour for this one.

When I started this message I had in mind that were other podcasts I
wanted to mention, but now that I come to think of it the ones I had
in mind are no longer ongoing - things like "The Radio Adventures of
Doctor Floyd" (an old style radio serial involving rival scientists,
time travel, and a humourous tone) is a completed story which is now
recycling old episodes.

Anyone else listen to podcasts and have any they would recommend?


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