Could the Death Star really destroy a planet? Back in 2008, I posted that astrophysicist and mathematician Jeanne Cavelos, author of The Science of Star Wars, speculated that indeed, the Death Star could be that deadly. Last year, another group of scientists published a paper addressing the same question. And these researchers from the University of Leicester's Department of Physics and Astronomy came to the same conclusion. According to the paper abstract, "A simplified planet is used giving an energy required to destroy as 2 x 1027 J. Since the Death Star's power source has a much greater energy output it is feasible to destroy a planet with such a space station." Of course, such a space station doesn't exist. But, well, yeah. "That's No Moon" (PDF, via Astrobiology Magazine)
David Pescovitz is Boing Boing's co-editor/managing partner. He's also a research director at Institute for the Future. On Instagram, he's @pesco.