One aspect of Star Wars
which has, of late, been bouncing around the back of my mind
, is the question of how each of the two Death Star
s dealt with the gravitational field
necessarily generated by its own sheer mass
. The 'official story' on the first Death Star, blown up at the end of the original Star Wars, is that its diameter was about 140 kilometers. A broader range of estimates exist for the second Death Star's, its supposed diameter being anywhere between 160 and 900 kilometers. From a planetary perspective, both probably had the sort of density one might expect to find in an especially porous stone
(as both were full of open spaces, but made of strong metals or metal-like materials, probably with considerable weight
all their own).
Now, in planetary geology
, one concept important to the determination of the classification
of an object, as, for example, a planet
or a 'dwarf'
planet (sorry, Pluto
!!) or some other sort of object, is called 'hydrostatic equilibrium
.' An object with mass enough to break the rigidity
of its materials and 'fall' into a more spherical
form may described as having achieved such an equilibrium. A smaller satellite
held in a unidirectional synchronous orbit around a much larger object might be expected to maintain something of a 'teardrop
' shape, due to the continuously pulling gravitation of its host, but generally large enough objects will be expected to form into spheres.
Naturally, each Death Star, large as it was, would be expected to generate some amount of gravitational pull. Objects on any surface ought to be tending to be pulled toward the center of gravity, the core
of the structure; and, logically, to take advantage of this the architecture of the thing ought to be arranged so that the 'floor
s' or 'level
s' or what have you are arranged like the layers of an onion, emanating outward from a core. Note, as well, the farther from the core someone gets, the stronger the effect of the pull of gravity upon them; were one to stand at the very center of the Death Star (or if the Earth, were that possible), one would feel something akin to weightlessness because the mass of the Earth would be pulling that person roughly equally in all directions (or exactly equally if that person stood at the center of gravity
, rather than the geometric center of the body). But, observations of actions going on within each Death Star (and the 'official' technical diagrams
for the first, at least) appear to reveal a mundane and unimaginative pancake
-stacking type of internal architecture, with all levels stacked on top of the other from the 'top' to the 'bottom' of the thing. And so, while ships are flying around just outside the Death Star experiencing the downward pull of its mass, someone standing on a level just inside the hull from that ship might be completely upside-down from it or sideways to it.
If nothing else, this arrangement
would seem to be very wasteful. Some artificial means must be employed to generate consistent gravity overcoming that of the Death Star itself, and some setup must be providing power to the functioning of such system. And so, by opting for an internal architecture featuring stacked levels, the Death Star designers would necessarily have sacrificed power which could have gone to other things. Like better shield
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A fellow noder points out:
Overcoming gravity must be a very simple problem in the Star Wars universe, as every ship, regardless of size, has both artificial gravity and a way to seal and recycle breathable air. Thus, it's probably a better internal design to stack the floors as shown and rejigger the gravitational effects rather than worry about shifts in gravity based on where in the ship someone is (as well as the curvature of the operating area). Since the Death Star could also expect to accelerate and decelerate under its own power, it probably makes installation and operation of inertial dampeners easier (either that or the thing speeds up and slows down veeeeeery gradually).
It's the same reason they can walk around in their ships while in space. Also, I'm not an engineer, but I'd imagine that just building something that large and having it not collapse on itself is a feat.
These are some good points -- gravity control seems to be very much taken for granted in the Star Wars universe!! I presume that planetary inhabitants having access to the same technology would be able to simply install upside-down rooms in their houses and such.