PUNY Helicarrier!

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Oct. 17 2012 11:09 AM

PUNY Helicarrier!

I'm no Loki (I look terrible in a helmet with long curving horns), but I still know how to take down S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Helicarrier. My pal Veronica Belmont asked me to come on her TechFeed show "Fact or Fictional" to talk about whether the ginormous turbo-fan driven Helicarrier from the Avengers movie could actually fly. SPOILERS: yes, kinda, but at grave cost to the planet below it.

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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It turns out that just to power the thing would take about a trillion Watts - enough to supply electricity to a billion homes. That might prove detrimental to the environment. Worse, the air blasted downward from the fans would have to be moving supersonically to support the tremendous weight of the Helicarrier, so it would pulverize anything near where it was landing.

And don't even get me started on Iron Man kick starting that one engine. The centrifugal force alone would reduce him to the size of a soggy jelly bean inside that suit.

And before I get accused of nerdgassing about the movie, note well that what I bet most people would think is the craziest thing about the Helicarrier - its ability to cloak - actually strikes me as being possible. It's a bit tougher than getting a 100,000 ton carrier off the ground without utterly destroying everything within a hundred square kilometers, but still not outright nuts. It's all in the video.

And heck, I loved the movie. If you want nerdgassing, read what I have to say about "Armageddon"...



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