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Movies Kelly Parks IRON MAN SCIENCE MOMENTS by
Kelly Parks & E.C.McMullen Jr.
E.C. McMullen Jr.
Iron Man
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Kelly Parks
SCIENCE MOMENT BY
KELLY PARKS
There are four obvious questions that come to mind when you see Iron Man in action. My first was, "Where are his fuel tanks?" He flies half-way around the world and back and that takes lots of reaction mass. Where is it?
Answer: He doesn't use jets – he uses repulsor beams, which constitute magical handwaving but as long as the issue is addressed I'm fine.

Next question:
"Where does the power for the repulsor beams and all the other amazing technology come from?"
Answer: Arc reactors. More handwaving but also kind of cool, that the power of a nuclear reactor could be reduced to a glowing, hand-held gadget.

Third question: "How can he fly level?"
Answer: He can't.* Planes have wings for a reason and this is a mistake. When his propulsion system is directed backwards, thrusting him forwards, then nothing is fighting the pull of gravity (like the lift force created by wings) and he'd drop like a rock.

Final question: "I know his suit is super-bulletproof but how does he avoid being reduced to jelly by the high acceleration from impacting the ground?"
Answer: He can’t. I wish they'd done just a bit more handwaving, like mentioning that his suit included an "arc technology powered repulsor field" that absorbs inertia. Oh well.


Eddie McMullen Jr.
SCIENCE MOMENT BY
E.C.MCMULLEN JR.

* He can.

IRON MAN initially takes off like a freaking rocket, so he already has the speed necessary to provide for his level, stable, wingless flight. The faster you go, the less wingspan you need. In fact, wingless aircraft were first invented and developed nearly a century ago in the 1930s, and successfully tested and flown nearly half a century ago in the 1960s. So the idea that Ironman's modern suit incorporates the latest wingless "lifting body" technology into its design is neither impossible or far-fetched.

In fact, if you've ever watched the opening sequence to the 1970s TV show, THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN, you've seen the spectacular May 10, 1967 crash of an early wingless prototype: the Northrop M2-F2 using the "pregnant" Lifting Body technology.

The real NASA pilot - Bruce Peterson - lived through it and went back to testing more wingless aircraft. Other Lifting Body test pilots included Bill Dana, Peter Hoag, and John A. Manke.

Read Milton O. Thompson and Curtis Peebles', FLYING WITHOUT WINGS.
Another good book is Dale R. Reed and Darlene Lister's, WINGLESS FLIGHT: The Lifting Body Story. It features a forward by Chuck Yeager.

Northrop M2-F2
IT'S NOT RIDICULOUS TO ACCEPT THAT NASA TECHNOLOGY FROM 42 YEARS AGO COULD BE IMPROVED AND IMPLEMENTED INTO IRONMAN'S SUIT.
PARTICULARLY SINCE THAT'S PRECISELY THE BUSINESS THAT TONY STARK IS IN.


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WINGLESS FLIGHT: The Lifting Body Story


 

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