Blog Archive

2017-04-16

Hey Star Wars Fans, "Traveling through hyperspace isn't like dusting crops, boy!" - A message from Rev. J.T. Smith

Everyone who's a fan of Star Wars knows the [in]famous quote from Han Solo about the Kessel Run:


And ever since everyone and their cousin harps about how a parsec is a measure of distance, not time,

And yet the die hard Star Wars fans completely miss the importance of a seemingly unrelated Han Solo quote:


This matters to the topic of the Kessel Run.  What apparently every astrophysicist fan of Star Wars has either failed to remember or failed to shout loud enough, is that is EVERY celestial body in the universe is in constant motion in relation to each other, and they're all in motion at different speeds thanks to their interconnected gravitational forces.  All of this combined makes for an ever changing maze of hazards.  A fact that was reflected in the entire quote:

Han Solo: "Traveling through hyperspace ain't like dusting crops, boy! Without precise calculations we could fly right through a star or bounce too close to a supernova and that'd end your trip real quick, wouldn't it?"

Traveling through hyperspace only LOOKS like they're traveling in a straight line.  In reality, it's more like the astrographic/gravitational equivalent of driving at high speeds along an American Interstate highway (ignoring the exit ramps, obviously) or the autobahn (same deal with the exit ramps).  The best navicomputer will calculate the shortest route because the shortest workable route will be the fastest route.



The above is especially true if every ship in Star Wars travels through hyperspace at the same speed.  If you notice, not once in the Star Wars movies is there a speed reference through hyperspace analogous to Star Trek's warp factor 1 - 9.99.

So yes, a parsec is a measure of distance and not time; but, if you realize that "as the bird flies" doesn't apply in interstellar travel then you'll realize that the shortest distance required to get from point A to point B means you'll make the trip in a shorter amount of time.





- Rev. J.T. Smith