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People always tend to wonder whether their fictional creations are possible in real life. This is why, earlier, we have discussed the possibility of Digimon being real. This is most often done with science-fiction franchises, since they are – to a degree – based on possibilities, rather than pure fiction and fantasy. In today’s article, we are going to discuss the possibility of Star Wars blaster guns being made and used in real life, so keep reading if you want to know more!
Based on what we know about the mechanics of Star Wars blasters, they are not possible at this moment (our technological knowledge is simply not that advanced), but they are one of the more plausible things in the franchise so it is not completely unimaginable that they could be created in the future.
When George Lucas launched the franchise in 1977, with the movie Star Wars (later titled Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope for continuity reasons), no one expected that it would become one of the biggest stories of the modern area. Star Wars wasn’t initially that successful, but as the years passed, the franchise became a cult classic, attracting generations of fans and now encompassing nine main continuity movies, video games, several TV shows, comic books and a variety of merchandise that made George Lucas famous. The franchise is today owned by Disney, but wherever it might go after the conclusion of the Skywalker Saga, Star Wars will undoubtedly remain one of the pivotal parts of modern culture.
Now, let us see the answer to the main question.
How do blasters work?
In the Star Wars universe, a blaster is a rather wide term for any sort of long-range gun-like weapon that fires bursts of particle beam energy called “blaster bolts” from a replaceable power pack. Blasters can range from simple, handheld guns to large starship-mounted canons, as long as they are based on the same mechanism.
So, how exactly do the blasters work? Instead of firing a coherent beam of light like the archaic laser, the blaster fired a compressed, focused, high-energy particle-beam that was very destructive; these beams are most commonly called “bolts.” Generating the bolt relied on two components: a gas cartridge filled with an energy-rich blaster gas (typically Tibanna) and a power pack.
When the blaster was fired, a small amount of gas moved from the cartridge through the Heter valve into the gas conversion enabler chamber, commonly called the XCiter. In this chamber, the power pack energized the gas, before it passed into the actuating blaster module, where the now extremely high-energy gas was transformed into a compressed beam of intense energy particles, coupled with intense light. The particle beam was then focused through a prismatic crystal or a similar device, which generated a deadly high-energy particle beam, fired from the emitter nozzle as a bolt of glowing energy.
The colour of the bolt depended on the gas used and the type of focusing device, and could vary from red to blue to orange to white.
A side effect of firing blasters was the gas conversion enabler heating up as gas was energized by the power pack, which could cause blasters to overheat, sometimes even explode. Additionally, a small amount of ozone was emitted as a trace product of the bolt emerging from the emitter nozzle, giving blaster bolts a distinctive smell that Han Solo once described as being like burnt meat.
Most personal blasters had two kinds of ammunition: a gas cartridge and a power cell. Blaster gas cartridges could typically provide for up to five hundred shots before needing replacement. Most blaster power packs could supply energy for up to one hundred shots.
Are Star Wars blasters possible?
So, now that we know the exact mechanism, we can discuss whether the blasters are possible. To state it frankly, our technological knowledge at this stage still makes it impossible for a blaster to exist at this time. Yet, blasters function based on known laws of physics and it is therefore not impossible to entertain a possibility that, one day, they might be made.
In an extensive study published online, Rhett Allain discussed the speed of blaster shots in the Original Trilogy, and although that aspect is not really important for this article, he did come up with two interesting conclusions:
- A Jedi deflecting blaster bolts with a lightsaber is about the same as a baseball player hitting a pitched ball.
- Playing with nerf guns and plastic lightsabers in the backyard isn’t too terribly different than the movie.
Namely, he deduced that the speed of a blaster bolt is around 34.9 m/s (78 mph), which is around the speed of a baseball pitch. On the other hand, nerf gun shots move at a speed of approximately 10 m/s, meaning that the difference is really not that large. This is actually important because it solves one major issue related to possible real-life blasters, showing that the firing mechanism is not overly complicated and that the speed is not really unachievable.
This brings us to the tricky part. Our current technology enables us to make a mechanism that could fire a small amount of plasma using a magnetic accelerator, or something quite similar to that. It wouldn’t be the exact same mechanism as described above, but it would be fairly similar. And there’s our issue – we don’t know how to make it work. Namely, at this moment, we could perhaps make such a bolt, but it would probably spread around and work more like a flamethrower than as a blaster bolt or a bullet. It seems simple, but at this stage of development, we don’t even have any idea on how to even start making such a device, yet alone make it functional.
Electromagnetic weapons have been discussed as a possibility, but although they do use a relatively similar mechanism, it’s really not that helpful in constructing a blaster. We have the basic mechanism, but we don’t have anything else at the moment. The first thing we’d need to do is form the plasma into a stable bullet-like structure and make it fire, but we are still far away from that.
So, no, Star Wars blasters are not possible in real life as of this moment, but the fact that they do not really break the laws of physics and use relatively familiar mechanisms gives us at least some hope that they might be possible in the future.
And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we helped solve this dilemma for you. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!