Star Wars is hands down the most popular science fiction franchise there is and since it first premiered in 1977 with Star Wars IV: A New Hope, it has inspired many onto the path of science. Continuing the long tradition of sci-fi in influencing technology, Star Wars have cemented its legacy as the holographic recording featured in the film has inspired the development of Volumetric display that comes close the fictional technology.

The films has been a source of inspiration for many fans to further their interest in science and technology. However, there is a need to make a distinction between the facts and fiction involved in Star Wars. Since it is not possible to examine all the science behind the series in a single post. We will take a look at three examples in the series, delving into the intricacies of hyperspace travel, an inquiry into the Endor Holocaust theory and also the possibility of a twin sun planet like Tatooine.

Millennium Falcon’s 12 Parsec Kessel Run




Han Solo’s boastful claim to Obi-Wan is the first introduction to Star Wars’ most prolific spaceship, the Millennium Falcon. Despite, the fact that it’s unique was inspired by a partially eaten burger, the vessel has contributed a lot in the battle against the Galactic Empire.

A Question of Units

However, for those more familiar with the astronomical system of units, the boast of making the Kessel Run under twelve parsecs, would share the same reaction with Obi-Wan as parsec is a measurement unit of length rather than time. First proposed by British Astronomer, Herbert Hall Turner in 1913, a parsec is equivalent to 31 trillion kilometres. While light years are the most popular units of measurement with the masses, parsecs is the preferred unit in astronomy and astrophysics as it allows for a quick calculation of the astronomical distance from raw data. The fact that it does not measure time has been a nuisance to Neil deGrasse Tyson. 

The Explanation

Although, the doubt surrounding the claim has been laid to rest with the material sourced from Star Wars’ expanded universe. Star Wars: Essential Atlas listed Kessel Run as an 18-parsec smuggler’s route to skirt past Imperial blockade, via a cluster of black holes dubbed the Maw. The boast that the Falcon completed the Kessel Run under twelve parsecs is a testament to Han Solo’s bravery and the ship’s superior navigation ability to avoid the event horizons of the black holes. Thus establishing the Millennium Falcon as “fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy”.

The Chronological Complication

It does not end here. As Solo has gone on the record saying that the Falcon can go 0.5 past light speed, which is theoretically impossible according to the current science, as there is the question of time dilation to be dealt with. Travelling at a speed close to the speed of light will result in a slower passage of time due. In a real world example, astronauts aboard the international space station age 0.007 seconds less, the than earthbound population. Calculating the effects of a Millennium Falcon travelling at close to the speed of light, the 12 parsecs (39.6 light years) long Kessel Run would result in huge time dilation. At close to the speed of light, Solo would take about 40 years to make the run, but he will observe that only 12 hours have passed. This would mean that when we first met Han Solo in Star Wars, he would be almost 70 years old, older than Obi-Wan Kenobi when they first met in Tatooine.