How Does THOR Fly? (Because Science w/ Kyle Hill)


My favorite superheroes are the ones that
make sense to me. Iron Man is a genius engineer billionaire and Batman is
a ninja with gadgets and a grudge. Also a billionaire. But even the more
magical superheroes can make more sense than you think. So according to Stan Lee himself, Thor flies
with a little thing called hammer propulsion. The hammer goes flying off into space, but
the thong is wrapped around Thor’s wrist. So he goes with it. So Thor flies by spinning his hammer around,
letting it go, and holding on for the ride. Stan Lee says this is science,
but how would it work? First, the hammer. Now according to what canon
you accept, Mjolnir here could weigh anywhere from 40 pounds to a few
billion pounds. So, when Stan Lee says “hammer propulsion”
what I think he means is conservation of momentum. That is to say,
an object with mass and velocity — or momentum – when it interacts
with another object with mass and velocity the total momentum between them
is conserved. Thor could fly using this principle if he
didn’t lose an arm in the process. Using the conservation of momentum, let’s
put some numbers to what happens after Thor swings his hammer and lets
go of it. Here’s the equation we need. That is to say the momentum
of the hammer after Thor lets go of it has to equal the momentum of
the hammer plus Thor after he grabs back on to it. Now, if Thor can throw his hammer — which
can make itself arbitrarily heavy – at maybe 45 meters/second or a hundred
miles an hour, when he finally grabs back onto it with his 290 kilograms,
his momentum basically won’t change at all! It’s an odd conclusion but because Mjolnir
can rapidly change its weight, Thor can fly at basically any speed he throws
the hammer at! Another way to imagine this would be to imagine
a bullet being fired into a block of wood. Even though the block is a
lot more massive than the bullet, its going to be carried along after the two
impact. This is like Thor and his hammer. Of course, this conservation of momentum scenario
only works if Mjolnir is ridiculously heavy. In one of my last “Ask
Kyle” videos, I gave my favorite explanation for how this might be scientifically
possible, so head over there if you want to learn more. How Thor flies actually makes a lot of scientific
sense. Momentum is conserved, so grabbing onto something moving
much faster than you or moving that is much heavier than you are,
of course you’re going to be pulled along for the ride. The real super-hero
stuff comes in when you are not getting your arm ripped of your body trying
to do so. Even a super buff Chris Hemsworth would have a hard time grabbing
on to what is effectively a moving freight train from a dead stop. Why? * grunts * Because Science. Want more science? Check out my last video
on how the universe might contain “Tardis Space.” Make sure to like
and subscribe right here for more videos, and if you have any comments or questions
make sure to hit me up in the comments section below. Thanks!