How Thor Flies, According To Science

How Thor Flies, According to Science

Of all the major superheroes who can defy the laws of gravity, Thor's mode of flight seems like one of the most unlikely: spinning his magic hammer Mjolnir around and holding on after flinging it. Is there any way that would actually work? Science actually says yes.

Sure, he commands the wind and the storm but it always seems like the way Thor flies requires a lot of suspension of disbelief. A new video from Nerdist's Because Science show attempts to use lots of fancy maths and the principle of conservation of momentum to sketch out a theory that explains how the Odinson can streak across the sky. You don't exactly need real-world scientific justifications to enjoy Thor's adventures but it's a fun little exercise.


Comments

    So it works if they're conserving momentum, but (since the hammer can change its mass apparently at will) not mass/energy.

    And since the hammer is, regardless of its weight, always subject to the same acceleration due to gravity. Thor needs to throw it at speeds typical of an artillery shell to go the distances that he does.

    Magic plus physics is still magic. :-)

      And with enough force to fly to space and beyond? Methinks Thor doth hurl Mjolnir with unearthly might.

      *Physics as we know it.

      The Asgard probably don't care much for our version of physics.

        Fair call, but it doesn't make the explanation any less pointless.

        As long as you're being selective about which scientific laws apply, you can't really offer a "scientific" explanation

        The explanation only really works if Thor can adjust the weight of Mjolnir to any amount at wil. Otherwise, floors and concrete would crack as he walked on them , and when he swung it around he would come off the ground to some degree at the top of each arc. Walking would be very difficult as the horizontal force exerted by the friction of his feet against the ground would be insufficient to move him + the hammer.

        When he finally threw the hammer, it would be very light as he released it then increase enormously in mass before the thong started pulling on his wrist. You could insert some pseudoscience by saying some of the mass is shuffled sideways into (and out of) a dimension next to our own that isn't subject to similar laws.

        "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" - consider "magic" here a shorthand for "technology or methods we do not understand that make our physics obsolete."

    Anyone who's ever gone bowling and had the ball stick a little when coming off your fingers would know that it's possible if you could throw it fast enough.

      Heh, went bowling once when I was around 16, was going to 'Results' Gym at Cannon Hill in Brisbane, they had this bowling alley under it. So we'd just finished a workout. Picked up a bowling ball, my hands were sweaty still (I'd even showered!) Anyhow, there were 5 of us and I'm sitting there, hadn't picked the right size ball and my fingers had swollen a little from the shitty gloves I was wearing. Needless to say, when I went to bowl, my fingers, they didn't come out. At all. So, I had flung the ball *hard*. I ended up sprawled on the lane lol.

      TLDR? Yeah, you can definitely do it. I launched myself onto a lane with a bowling ball as a kid.

    I just assumed he flew because he was a god? (not a Marvel comics reader)

      Yes. The attempt at sciencifying it is bull. Thor has flown in the past without his hammer pointing the way. However, if you HAVE to tie it into Mjolnir, then it's because he wills his hammer in a direction/speed, and he hangs on for the ride.

      Anyway, I'm pretty sure he's flown completely without Mjolnir in the past. Science and comics don't go together. How can he question FLYING as the biggest question about Thor but ignore the idea of controlling the fucking weather.

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