You’ve no doubt seen a Star War, and they’re all full of exciting space battles with cool looking spacecraft, but a lot of times, those ships are seen flying in atmosphere…would that even work? EC Henry, a YouTuber and sci-fi enthusiast, recently posted a video detailing the aerodynamics of various ships from the Star Wars franchise (via Geeks Are Sexy). He found 3D models of the fictitious spacecraft, and put them in a virtual wind tunnel to see how they hold up. According to him, the answer is not very well. Of course, there is no atmosphere in space, so wind resistance wouldn’t be too much of a problem, except for when those ships do go down into the atmosphere, which he does address.
While the ships may not be entirely efficient, he does point out that the results mostly stay true to the canon. For the most part, the faster ships in the films were more aerodynamic, and the slower ships were less so. Even if these ships might not make for the smoothest or speediest ride, it’s cool to know that they stay true enough to what the characters actually claim in the movies.
As it turns out, even the most aerodynamic ship from Star Wars would still have five times more drag than even an outdated jet that we have. The least efficient spaceship was the TIE Fighter, which had roughly the same drag as a cube. Ouch. None of these ships are real, so it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of life, but it’s fun to speculate. Star Wars has always been a go-to for fun, sci-fi stuff that looks cool. Lightsabers aren’t exactly scientifically realistic (yet) either, but we love them all the same!