Monday, August 20, 2012

Star Wars mysteries - would Luke Skywalker survive the night on Hoth in a dead Tauntaun?

i09 in Science Proves Luke Skywalker Should Have Died In The Tauntaun's Belly provides a "scientific" rationale for why Luke Skywalker could not have survived on Hoth, despite (or rather because of) being stuffed inside a recently dead Taun Taun.

It's one of the Old Skool internet arguments and takes me back to those (probably not) long lost (at all) days when people, or at least teenage boys, would spend hours arguing whether Jean Luc Picard could take James T Kirk in a fight, or which would win, the Enterprise or a Star Destroyer.

i09 conclude that Luke, covered in freezing blood and infectious guts from the Tauntaun, would begin to cool down in 17 minutes, suffer severe hypothermia (as in limb loss) in 47 minutes and die within an hour.  (For some reason they believe that it will take Han some time to inflate the emergency shelter and this time frame is pushing it.)

They've forgotten three things:

1. Tauntauns may not be able to survive a night on Hoth (this is specifically mentioned in the dialogue) but they do live on Hoth, which means they have some fur or blubber that slows down heat loss even when dead;
2. Lightsaber cuts cause an initial spray of blood, or a few drops of blood, but the heat cauterizes the cut very well - so the inside of the animal would not fill with cooling blood;
3. Luke isn't actually dead, so he does not cool down according to Newton's laws - he can keep up his own body temperature as long as he is partly insulated.

I guess i09 weren't spoiling for a fight with middle-aged female teenage fanboys - they say it's 'lighthearted' - so I lightheartedly reply, "Ha Ha! I win!"

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