Popular Science

The physics keeping Star Wars' Cloud City afloat

And why it has a limited lifespan in the sky.
physics book cover

Copyright © 2017 Adams Media, a division of Simon and Schuster

The following is excerpted from The Physics of Star Wars: The Science Behind a Galaxy Far, Far Away by Patrick Johnson.

“Lando conned somebody out of it.”—Han Solo (Episode V)

WHEN Episode V, immediately after the escape from Hoth

WHERE Bespin, Cloud City

CHARACTERS Lando Calrissian, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia Organa, C-3PO, R2-D2, Chewbacca, Darth Vader, Lobot, Boba Fett

PHYSICS CONCEPTS Air resistance, orbits


Cities of the future as depicted in science fiction are often floating in space (think the Jetsons). This may have to do with concerns that at some point life on Earth may not be viable. In the

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Popular Science

Popular Science4 min read
For Picky Eaters Like The Parrotfish, Climate Change Is Bad News
Climate change is disrupting ocean habitats, and destroying food sources that many fish ecosystems—and humans—depend upon. This poses a serious threat to the many specialist fish who count on an abundance of certain prey as sustenance, and to those w
Popular Science2 min readFood & Wine
Five CBD-infused Products For Cannabidiol Newbies
Although most of them contain no THC—the hallucinogenic compound in marijuana that produces the “high”—CBD products have benefited enormously from the widespread acceptance and legalization of weed. More and more people are being introduced to the an
Popular Science4 min readScience
NASCAR May Be The Fastest Road To Learning About Physics
High speeds, the threat of dangerous crashes, the excitement of the crowd—and the laws of physics on full display. A physicist explains the science of NASCAR.