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

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