Reel Physics: Return of the Jedi - The Thrown Room

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Susan Arendt:
That made me laugh way, way, WAY more than it should've.

Nice to see I haven't lost my touch, ten years along.

MorganL4:
But the sphere was incomplete, thus making that not entirely true just yet....

OK, first let me state that I think that the emperor only fell to the bottom of the elevator shaft of his own tower, which probalbly coincides with just below the outer skin of the Death Star. Remember that Colby states that in order for the 7 second fall time to hold water, the height of the fall could only be just under 200 meters. It seems plausible to me that the tower in the picture I posted could be around 200 meters tall, at least to the level of the throne room floor(consider the Space Needle at 184 meters or the Calgary Tower at 191 meters). I always assumed, even in childhood, that the explosion was a combination of the emperor's force energy and whatever powers the elevator (as other people have suggested, the "main" reactor was the one destroyed, suggesting there is at least one auxiliary). In my estimation, the 7 second fall time is completely plausible, and I think that Colby made some false assumptions (wouldn't be the first time).

In regard to what you said about the sphere being incomplete, sure it is. However, they show us on film both the tower as shown in the screenshot i posted above, as well as the reactor, so both these places already exist in the incomete sphere. As for their relative locations in the Death Star, the tower is obviously located on a part of the sphere that is already completed to the outer skin. The main reactor is located dead center in the middle of the sphere, as shown in the hologram projected during the pre-battle briefing (the schematic that many Bothans died to deliver).

So even though I think that Colby came to the wrong conclusion about the fall, at least his assumption about the relative locations of both the tower and the reactor were correct.

McGuinty1:

MorganL4:
But the sphere was incomplete, thus making that not entirely true just yet....

OK, first let me state that I think that the emperor only fell to the bottom of the elevator shaft of his own tower, which probalbly coincides with just below the outer skin of the Death Star.

That was what I always concluded as well, this whole concept of him falling into the "main reactor" at the very center of the death star was something that until this video, I had never actually considered.

Yes, exactly. Maybe this stuff is coming from Robot Chicken, which I think depicted him falling to the Main reactor, as well as Family Guy: It's A Trap, which depicted his corpse falling on the "windshield" of the Millenium Falcon as it was making its getaway from the explosion. I also seem to remember that the "blue plasma" or whatever it was when the emperor died was very similar to the effect seen just after Lando shot the main reactor, so that may also be forming a connection in people's minds even though the geography depicted in the film doesn't support it at all.

Just for the record, I rarely do nerd rants like this anymore, especially about Star Wars, as I found out early in life that doing so rarely wins you any friends...

artanis_neravar:

Also, I would be interested in seeing what would "actually" happen to the people standing in a Star Destroyer (or any other ship) when the ship goes from faster than light travel to a comparative stop in what appears to be a fraction of a second

Are you new to sci-fi or something? Inertial Dampeners. The solution to that problem in the majority of science fiction.

Jadak:

artanis_neravar:

Also, I would be interested in seeing what would "actually" happen to the people standing in a Star Destroyer (or any other ship) when the ship goes from faster than light travel to a comparative stop in what appears to be a fraction of a second

Are you new to sci-fi or something? Inertial Dampeners. The solution to that problem in the majority of science fiction.

They're also traveling in hyperspace, the qualities of which apparently make it possible to match and even slightly exceed the speed of light without the corresponding relativistic gain of infinite mass, so perhaps those same qualities also mitigate the effect of inertia when slowing from such speeds. How do you think the ships are able to come out of light speed and slow down to cruise instantaneously?

I feel the need to point out that the Death Star probably needed artificial gravity anyway so the way in which it was constructed wasn't an issue.

Jadak:

artanis_neravar:

Also, I would be interested in seeing what would "actually" happen to the people standing in a Star Destroyer (or any other ship) when the ship goes from faster than light travel to a comparative stop in what appears to be a fraction of a second

Are you new to sci-fi or something? Inertial Dampeners. The solution to that problem in the majority of science fiction.

I am neither new to sci-fi nor physics/engineering. "Inertial dampening" requires the use of a fluid to act against the inertia force, something that is not present in any of the ships in Star Wars.

canadamus_prime:
I feel the need to point out that the Death Star probably needed artificial gravity anyway so the way in which it was constructed wasn't an issue.

That's kinda what I was thinking too? Do we know how the gravity of the Deathstar works? This is something science fiction all too often ignores.

artanis_neravar:

Jadak:

artanis_neravar:

Also, I would be interested in seeing what would "actually" happen to the people standing in a Star Destroyer (or any other ship) when the ship goes from faster than light travel to a comparative stop in what appears to be a fraction of a second

Are you new to sci-fi or something? Inertial Dampeners. The solution to that problem in the majority of science fiction.

I am neither new to sci-fi nor physics/engineering. "Inertial dampening" requires the use of a fluid to act against the inertia force, something that is not present in any of the ships in Star Wars.

That's a rather pointless presumption to make given the other technical problems involved with even accelerating a structure of that size with any appreciable speed.

Besides which, the scenes depicted in star wars already require the ability to exert very precise control over gravitational fields.

I mean, how do you propose a starship with a planar deck structure placed perpendicular to the main axis of thrust could ever generate what appears to be earth normal gravity (or for that matter, any gravity at all when no actual acceleration appears to be taking place?)

For there to be normal gravity on every deck, when they are atop one another, without any force gradients or gravity reversals would either require a gravity source that doesn't obey the inverse square law, or the ability to control a gravitational field such that it is precisely equal throughout the entire volume.

It's not much of a stretch to assume they could dynamically alter such a field to counteract the effects of acceleration.

I also don't know where you came up with the notion that an inertial dampener would require a fluid.

The most basic physics of it all demonstrate that lethal force isn't actually anything to do with the size of the force, but rather that different parts of the body (or structure, as the case may be) are experiencing differences in force beyond what the structure can cope with.
If you were to accelerate all the particles in a human body or other structure at a perfectly even rate, it doesn't matter how fast you accelerate, it would have no meaningful negative effect.

Consider the difference between having a rocket strapped to your back applying a force of 1 g, and the effects of being in freefall.
Ignoring air resistance and the like, the acceleration is identical, yet you wouldn't notice the acceleration due to gravity at all, while that due to the rocket could be very uncomfortable, or even lethal, depending on where the force is concentrated.
(For one thing, the force of a rocket on your back would be transmitted through your body.)

The difference is that in one case the force is mechanically transmitted through the structure undergoing acceleration, and different parts accelerate only due to the transmitted force, while in the other the entire structure is experiencing identical acceleration without any mechanical transmission of the force involved.

One will potentially kill you. The other will not.

So an inertial dampener has to ensure that acceleration through the volume being protected is applied directly to everything within the volume, without any object having force applied to it due to any form of mechanical transmission.

The most likely candidates for this are energy fields of some kind (magnetic fields, gravitational fields, etc. - which can be considered practical depends on the situation; - it's been demonstrated that you can levitate living things such as frogs for instance, with a strong enough magnetic field.)

A fluid, on the contrary, while being able to absorb force, would still transmit that force rather unevenly to whatever you were trying to protect. (Because, for one thing, a fluid cannot realistically be inside a solid object. Thus, the fluid would apply it's force to the surface of an object, rather than throughout it's entire volume.)

Now, being able to control a gravitational field on microscopic scales and avoid differential forces in an area is kind of difficult to imagine doing.
But... It would be very effective as an inertial dampening system if you could do it... It doesn't matter how much force is actually being applied as long as the differential is low enough. (If it isn't... Well, the tidal forces of a planet such as jupiter shows what happens when an object that isn't strong enough encounters a differential gravity field... It tends to get torn to shreds...)

artanis_neravar:

Jadak:

artanis_neravar:

Also, I would be interested in seeing what would "actually" happen to the people standing in a Star Destroyer (or any other ship) when the ship goes from faster than light travel to a comparative stop in what appears to be a fraction of a second

Are you new to sci-fi or something? Inertial Dampeners. The solution to that problem in the majority of science fiction.

I am neither new to sci-fi nor physics/engineering. "Inertial dampening" requires the use of a fluid to act against the inertia force, something that is not present in any of the ships in Star Wars.

If you want a proper explanations, google. There's no shortage of proper nerds who have written on the subject of how such things might work.

Or better yet, recognize the fact that while pondering how a science fiction may or not work is all well and good, it matters little relative to the mere fact that the universe states that the technology/device exists, and that it works. While it's good to question things, your argument of "I don't think it's possible" is just silly when talking about future technology and discussing a genre that has 'anything is possible technologically" at it's very core.

If you want proper explanations on exactly how every piece of technology works, you're missing the point of 'fiction'. Once the exact function is known, it's just science.

"Nobody has made a single joke about or parody of Star Wars"
Lol
What about galaxy quest?

Oh, hang on a second...

Jadak:

artanis_neravar:

Jadak:

Are you new to sci-fi or something? Inertial Dampeners. The solution to that problem in the majority of science fiction.

I am neither new to sci-fi nor physics/engineering. "Inertial dampening" requires the use of a fluid to act against the inertia force, something that is not present in any of the ships in Star Wars.

If you want a proper explanations, google. There's no shortage of proper nerds who have written on the subject of how such things might work.

Or better yet, recognize the fact that while pondering how a science fiction may or not work is all well and good, it matters little relative to the mere fact that the universe states that the technology/device exists, and that it works. While it's good to question things, your argument of "I don't think it's possible" is just silly when talking about future technology and discussing a genre that has 'anything is possible technologically" at it's very core.

If you want proper explanations on exactly how every piece of technology works, you're missing the point of 'fiction'. Once the exact function is known, it's just science.

Of course it is silly, but isn't the point of this show to apply real world physics as we understand it to movies?

I'm laughing my ass off here xD
This was one awesome episode guys, keep 'em coming!

CrystalShadow:

artanis_neravar:

Jadak:

Are you new to sci-fi or something? Inertial Dampeners. The solution to that problem in the majority of science fiction.

I am neither new to sci-fi nor physics/engineering. "Inertial dampening" requires the use of a fluid to act against the inertia force, something that is not present in any of the ships in Star Wars.

That's a rather pointless presumption to make given the other technical problems involved with even accelerating a structure of that size with any appreciable speed.

Besides which, the scenes depicted in star wars already require the ability to exert very precise control over gravitational fields.

I mean, how do you propose a starship with a planar deck structure placed perpendicular to the main axis of thrust could ever generate what appears to be earth normal gravity (or for that matter, any gravity at all when no actual acceleration appears to be taking place?)

For there to be normal gravity on every deck, when they are atop one another, without any force gradients or gravity reversals would either require a gravity source that doesn't obey the inverse square law, or the ability to control a gravitational field such that it is precisely equal throughout the entire volume.

It's not much of a stretch to assume they could dynamically alter such a field to counteract the effects of acceleration.

So because I only focused on the effects of inertia and made no comments about gravity I am wrong? Nowhere did I say that I believed their artificial gravity was possible and inertial dampeners were not, I just focused on the one system.

I also don't know where you came up with the notion that an inertial dampener would require a fluid.

Basic Mechanics

MorganL4:

delroland:

TheSchaef:

They even keep some of them on the detention level.

... though those are much more prone to leaks. Large leaks. Very dangerous.

It makes sense, though, in a way. Ackbar couldn't commence an attack on the Death Star's "main" reactor, if it did not have other reactors which were not-main. It would just be, The Reactor, full stop.

/nod /nod

Also, who said the throne room was at the very top of the death star, it could have been very close to the reactor in the first place, thus allowing for a 7 second drop.

Except it had a window, which means it had to be at the surface of the Death Star.

This is assuming that the Emperor was falling from the TOP of the Death Star, and not that his Throne Room was somewhere in the bowels of the station.

EDIT. In all my years, I never realized that the Throne Room was that big needle sticking out of the Death Star. Good god were these guys high when they built the damn thing. Imperial Contractors are very peculiar individuals. Just look at their base layouts in the Jedi Knight games.

The emperor never fell to the core, he fell 7 seconds had a heart attack which caused his power to surge and overload in which apparently caused him to explode into a big ball of blue fire.

Another theory is he try to use the force to propel himself back up but fucked up and went boom.

artanis_neravar:
Of course it is silly, but isn't the point of this show to apply real world physics as we understand it to movies?

Exactly. "As we understand it". Applying real physics as we understand it to the effects on the crew of a space ship jumping to hyperdrive is meaningless when we do not understand the real physics involved with either said hyperdrive technology nor the function of hypothetical inertial dampening energy fields.

If you believe you do know the exact physics involved with those devices, feel free to take the 'reel physics' approach and challenge the outcomes displayed in the movies. Otherwise, you're not really saying anything at all....

artanis_neravar:

CrystalShadow:

artanis_neravar:
I am neither new to sci-fi nor physics/engineering. "Inertial dampening" requires the use of a fluid to act against the inertia force, something that is not present in any of the ships in Star Wars.

That's a rather pointless presumption to make given the other technical problems involved with even accelerating a structure of that size with any appreciable speed.

Besides which, the scenes depicted in star wars already require the ability to exert very precise control over gravitational fields.

I mean, how do you propose a starship with a planar deck structure placed perpendicular to the main axis of thrust could ever generate what appears to be earth normal gravity (or for that matter, any gravity at all when no actual acceleration appears to be taking place?)

For there to be normal gravity on every deck, when they are atop one another, without any force gradients or gravity reversals would either require a gravity source that doesn't obey the inverse square law, or the ability to control a gravitational field such that it is precisely equal throughout the entire volume.

It's not much of a stretch to assume they could dynamically alter such a field to counteract the effects of acceleration.

So because I only focused on the effects of inertia and made no comments about gravity I am wrong? Nowhere did I say that I believed their artificial gravity was possible and inertial dampeners were not, I just focused on the one system.

Given your complete lack of explanation as to where your claim comes from other than a cryptic comment about the 'need for a fluid' (what is a fluid in this context anyway? Matter in a liquid state? Do gases count under the definition? Or is it a more esoteric definition, such as the 'ether' people used to talk about.

You've said so little, it's difficult to know what you even meant by it.

I also don't know where you came up with the notion that an inertial dampener would require a fluid.

Basic Mechanics

The mechanics of what exactly? Are you telling me you understand the physics of a purely hypothetical technology that would seem to require as of yet unknown technological developments and advancements in the knowledge of physics well enough to state with certainty that it can only possibly work if it involves a 'fluid'?

Please, do elaborate on how you seem to have such certain knowledge about something that doesn't exist as anything more than a highly speculative concept?

I'm no expert on physics. But I've studied enough of it to find your claim highly improbable, especially given that it lacks any real content or justification, yet still seems to be making a rather absolute claim about something which doesn't exist in the first place.

CrystalShadow:

artanis_neravar:

CrystalShadow:

That's a rather pointless presumption to make given the other technical problems involved with even accelerating a structure of that size with any appreciable speed.

Besides which, the scenes depicted in star wars already require the ability to exert very precise control over gravitational fields.

I mean, how do you propose a starship with a planar deck structure placed perpendicular to the main axis of thrust could ever generate what appears to be earth normal gravity (or for that matter, any gravity at all when no actual acceleration appears to be taking place?)

For there to be normal gravity on every deck, when they are atop one another, without any force gradients or gravity reversals would either require a gravity source that doesn't obey the inverse square law, or the ability to control a gravitational field such that it is precisely equal throughout the entire volume.

It's not much of a stretch to assume they could dynamically alter such a field to counteract the effects of acceleration.

So because I only focused on the effects of inertia and made no comments about gravity I am wrong? Nowhere did I say that I believed their artificial gravity was possible and inertial dampeners were not, I just focused on the one system.

Given your complete lack of explanation as to where your claim comes from other than a cryptic comment about the 'need for a fluid' (what is a fluid in this context anyway? Matter in a liquid state? Do gases count under the definition? Or is it a more esoteric definition, such as the 'ether' people used to talk about.

You've said so little, it's difficult to know what you even meant by it.

If I meant matter in a liquid state I would have said liquid. Fluid is a substance that continually deforms (flows) under an applied shear stress. Fluids are a super set of the phases of matter and include liquids, gases, plasmas and, to some extent, plastic solids.

I also don't know where you came up with the notion that an inertial dampener would require a fluid.

Basic Mechanics

The mechanics of what exactly? Are you telling me you understand the physics of a purely hypothetical technology that would seem to require as of yet unknown technological developments and advancements in the knowledge of physics well enough to state with certainty that it can only possibly work if it involves a 'fluid'?

Please, do elaborate on how you seem to have such certain knowledge about something that doesn't exist as anything more than a highly speculative concept?

I'm no expert on physics. But I've studied enough of it to find your claim highly improbable, especially given that it lacks any real content or justification, yet still seems to be making a rather absolute claim about something which doesn't exist in the first place.

Mechanics is the branch of science concerned with the behavior of physical bodies when subjected to forces or displacements, and the subsequent effects of the bodies on their environment.

The point of this show is to take movies and approach certain aspects of them using our current understanding of physics, all I did was offer an area that could be the focus. Obviously we can't currently make lightsabers, we can't currently travel faster than the speed of light, we can't currently dampen the inertia on an entire spaceship when it travels from FTl to a near stop, and yes there is probably a movie explanation as to why these things work in the Star Wars universe but that is not the point here.

artanis_neravar:

CrystalShadow:

artanis_neravar:
So because I only focused on the effects of inertia and made no comments about gravity I am wrong? Nowhere did I say that I believed their artificial gravity was possible and inertial dampeners were not, I just focused on the one system.

Given your complete lack of explanation as to where your claim comes from other than a cryptic comment about the 'need for a fluid' (what is a fluid in this context anyway? Matter in a liquid state? Do gases count under the definition? Or is it a more esoteric definition, such as the 'ether' people used to talk about.

You've said so little, it's difficult to know what you even meant by it.

If I meant matter in a liquid state I would have said liquid. Fluid is a substance that continually deforms (flows) under an applied shear stress. Fluids are a super set of the phases of matter and include liquids, gases, plasmas and, to some extent, plastic solids.

OK, that rules out a few things, but only brings me back to the point of why you think that would be required for an inertial dampener to function.

Basic Mechanics

The mechanics of what exactly? Are you telling me you understand the physics of a purely hypothetical technology that would seem to require as of yet unknown technological developments and advancements in the knowledge of physics well enough to state with certainty that it can only possibly work if it involves a 'fluid'?

Please, do elaborate on how you seem to have such certain knowledge about something that doesn't exist as anything more than a highly speculative concept?

I'm no expert on physics. But I've studied enough of it to find your claim highly improbable, especially given that it lacks any real content or justification, yet still seems to be making a rather absolute claim about something which doesn't exist in the first place.

Mechanics is the branch of science concerned with the behavior of physical bodies when subjected to forces or displacements, and the subsequent effects of the bodies on their environment.

The point of this show is to take movies and approach certain aspects of them using our current understanding of physics, all I did was offer an area that could be the focus. Obviously we can't currently make lightsabers, we can't currently travel faster than the speed of light, we can't currently dampen the inertia on an entire spaceship when it travels from FTl to a near stop, and yes there is probably a movie explanation as to why these things work in the Star Wars universe but that is not the point here.

artanis_neravar:

CrystalShadow:

artanis_neravar:
So because I only focused on the effects of inertia and made no comments about gravity I am wrong? Nowhere did I say that I believed their artificial gravity was possible and inertial dampeners were not, I just focused on the one system.

Given your complete lack of explanation as to where your claim comes from other than a cryptic comment about the 'need for a fluid' (what is a fluid in this context anyway? Matter in a liquid state? Do gases count under the definition? Or is it a more esoteric definition, such as the 'ether' people used to talk about.

You've said so little, it's difficult to know what you even meant by it.

If I meant matter in a liquid state I would have said liquid. Fluid is a substance that continually deforms (flows) under an applied shear stress. Fluids are a super set of the phases of matter and include liquids, gases, plasmas and, to some extent, plastic solids.

Basic Mechanics

The mechanics of what exactly? Are you telling me you understand the physics of a purely hypothetical technology that would seem to require as of yet unknown technological developments and advancements in the knowledge of physics well enough to state with certainty that it can only possibly work if it involves a 'fluid'?

Please, do elaborate on how you seem to have such certain knowledge about something that doesn't exist as anything more than a highly speculative concept?

I'm no expert on physics. But I've studied enough of it to find your claim highly improbable, especially given that it lacks any real content or justification, yet still seems to be making a rather absolute claim about something which doesn't exist in the first place.

Mechanics is the branch of science concerned with the behavior of physical bodies when subjected to forces or displacements, and the subsequent effects of the bodies on their environment.

I know what mechanics is as a subject. Anyway, I've been perhaps a little irritable recently, so that probably made this all sound a lot more angry than it needed to.

But in any event, the annoying part is that you consider fluid mechanics 'basic'. - When I said I had knowledge of physics, what I specifically meant is I studied undergraduate physics at university.
- I'm terrible at math, so I never got very far with that, but the behaviour of fluids is barely covered in 'basic physics' - There are a few things to do with gas laws, pressure and the like, but most mechanics at those levels covers rigid body physics.
Calculation of newtonian gravitational forces gets more coverage than anything to do with the behaviour of fluids.
(Quantum mechanics and relativity get more coverage than fluids, in fact.)

The point of this show is to take movies and approach certain aspects of them using our current understanding of physics, all I did was offer an area that could be the focus. Obviously we can't currently make lightsabers, we can't currently travel faster than the speed of light, we can't currently dampen the inertia on an entire spaceship when it travels from FTl to a near stop, and yes there is probably a movie explanation as to why these things work in the Star Wars universe but that is not the point here.

You did a little more than that. If all you had done was express curiosity about how something worked, that would be one thing.
But you made a vague assertion about how it would require 'fluids', made no attempt to elaborate on this, then seem to take issue with anyone questioning that assertion.

I honestly don't know what level of knowledge you have. You could have no understanding of physics at all, or you could be one of the most knowledgeable experts on the planet.
This being an anonymous internet forum, there's no way for me to verify this either way. (Anything you tell me about your identity would similarly be near impossible to verify anyway.)

That being the case, if you make a vague statement that something HAS to be true because of physics, if it doesn't make sense to me, the only way I have to gain any insight into whether what you've said is plausible or not is if you explain your reasoning to some extent.
Which you haven't done at all.

(Basically, why would you specifically need a fluid? What about the properties of fluids, or mechanics in general rules out everything else, which is what your statement sounds like...)

If you say a fluid is required, then you must at least have some idea about how an inertial dampening effect based on the use of some kind of fluid would function.

The reason I find it questionable, is because everything I know on the matter suggests a fluid would not accomplish the task at all well enough to compensate for the kind of accelerations seen in most fiction.

What exactly do you invision such a system doing? How does a fluid counteract a force in a way that cannot be accomplished as well by other means, if not accomplished much more effectively by some other means entirely. (Such as gravity manipulation - Which certainly does not appear to require any fluid to speak of to function.)

All of this under the assumption that the energy source he was falling towards was at the center of the Death Star?

Honestly...... You wasted all that effort to make a Star Wars episode just to loose some credibility.(not scientific/mathematic credibility, common bloody sense credibility)

*flips open Star Wars: Complete Cross-sections*

First-off, it's not stated anywhere that the room where the Emperor takes up residence is infact built as a throne room. The Death Star was built as a military weapon, not as a seat of government. Like the first Death Star, the new one has a dedicated bridge from which the station's operations are handled.
More likely, the "Throne Room" was built just as a monitoring station at the North Pole of the Death Star, on top of the main power conduit along the polar axis and right on top of one of the main exhaust ports (see Cross-sections). As it offers a grand view of the Death Star, it seems natural to set up shop there if you want to oversee its progress.

Another thing clearly stated in the Cross-sections is that the inner decks of the Death Star are built stacked on top of eachother and only a few outer decks (the ones housing the outer defences and active drive systems) are concentric. In the movies, this is seen at one of the few places where the stacked layers meet space: the docking bays along the equatorial trench. And why would you not build stacked decks? It has been shown often enough the artificial gravity technology is very common in the Star Wars universe. The natural gravity of such a station obviously wouldn't be nearly enough anyway (and vary depending on which level you were on).

As said, the "Throne Room" is built on top of a tower over a main exhaust port of the hypermatter reactors (the new Death Star has 3: 2 for the Superlaser, 1 for all the other systems (the main reactor)). What does such an exhaust port look like? How does it function? Might very look like the thing the Emperor falls into. Keep in mind that this is an exhaust port to some of the biggest, most powerful reactors ever built and capable of harnassing the energy necessary to blow up planets (a lot).

All in all, the roughly 200 meters for a fall down the tower into the exhaust port makes good sense to me.

Okay, done bitching. Thanks for the episode, a lot of fun to watch. :)

This assumes that he is close to the exterior of the ship, wouldn't the throw start at a more armored part of the ship, aka closer to the center? IDK, i haven't watched the star wars movies since grade school, just a thought.

The volume of this clip hurt my ears.

Heh, made me laugh. Especially your Episode V scene.

And, while everyone is jumping down your throats for calculating a fall to the center of the station, I have to admit that until I've read the nerd arguments here, I always also assumed he had fallen into the middle of the station and not some separate place. I did know he was in the top of that tower though.

Another explanation: The emperor flying at terminal velocity hit whatever exhaust is venting from the reactor and burned up long before he fell anywhere near the center of the station. I mean, exhaust ports imply that it's exhausting something.

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