“The right side join – power have got we”

While the villains of the new trilogy are taking their time between part VII and part VIII to get anger management lessons (hopefully) and to construct a new weapon, bringing total destruction all over the galaxies, and our heroes are exploring the power of Force, let us leave them alone and get back to the original movies.

You may have thought that after so many times re-watching them you’d gotten all life lessons you could get from these pieces of art – but Randall Monroe and his entertaining and fascinating research on Yoda in “What If? : Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions” may just prove you wrong. Perhaps this little green Jedi Master is not able to teach us the ways of the force. But we just might learn the ways of using his powers as an energy source.

Scientifically Accurate Jedi Master

Mr. Monroe did some rather thourough scientific calculations on Yoda’s strength – and it took wits to accomplish it.

He discovered that Yoda’s greatest power is telekinesis, and he demonstrated it at the highest level when he lifted Luke’s X-Wing from a swamp. After several dozen re-watching sessions, Randall managed to figure out the approximate mass of the X-Wing (5,600 kg), the speed this vessel was rising at (0.39 m/s) and the gravity on Dagobah (which is 0.9 g). Finding the power of the force after that was easy – he simply multiplied mass, speed and gravity, and here comes the knowledge: the great Jedi Master’s maximum power output is 19.2kW.

Not So Cheap – Multiple Ways of Use

Not impressed? But you should be! According to Monroe’s research, this amount of power is enough for a block of suburban houses. No one can say that Force cannot be measured now. In fact, there are many ways to measure it: 19.2kW equals to 25 horsepower. So, now we know that it would take one Yoda to run the motor of the electric-model Smart Car and 49,76 Yodas to power one of the fastest cars in the world – Hennessey Venom GT.

Spider-Man might have only gotten the half of it – with great power comes… great price. Considering current electricity prices, Yoda’s Force would cost about $2/hour.

Yoda and Alternative Sources of the Force

However, you may ask – what about alternative sources of energy? Yoda was not the only one with the Force, after all. Palpatine surely was crafty when it came to use of lightning, and though we cannot be sure about its nature, we could assume it was similar to the lightning Tesla coils produced – and it draw almost 10 kilowatts.

Does that make the Emperor a weaker energy source than Yoda? Unlikely, because Tesla coils worked in many short pulses – and Palpatine (judging by the last movie of the original trilogy) could sustain a continuous arc of energy, which means that his power could be measured in megawatts. However, it doesn’t mean he would be a better alternative than Yoda – he uses the dark side of the Force, remember? Not going to be of any use to us, simple humans.

What about Yoda’s apprentice Luke? He is no alternative, unfortunately. His highest output of power was estimated as 400W. That’s pretty low in comparison with his teacher, so Luke is no more acceptable as energy source than the Emperor (though for entirely different reason).

How Many Yodas Does It Take to Spread Light in the World?

So it looks like Randall Monroe was right after all: Yoda does sound like our best bet as an energy source – choosing from all the alternative carriers of the Force. Still, with the current level of world electricity consumption that reached 2 terawatts, we would need a hundred million Yodas to satisfy our demands. So, even if Yoda would like to lend us a hand with power production, it would be most wise to decline his kind offer. His padawans need him more than world energy systems do.

Featured photo credit: Yoda in the Woods/ Reiterlied via flickr.com

Set a Goal For Yourself

Read full content