Science Says Super Mario Galaxy's Planets Would Explode

Science Says Super Mario Galaxy's Planets Would Explode

Super Mario Galaxy 2 World

If Super Mario Galaxy levels existed in the real world, it wouldn't be long before gravitational forces tore them apart.

When people say that we should take video games seriously, they're rarely thinking about scientific accuracy. But if a new study from the University of Leicester is anything to go on, it's something we really should consider more often. As part of the university's Journal of Physics Special Subjects, its authors used their knowledge to better understand the physics of Super Mario Galaxy's planetoids. What they've found is that if such planets actually existed, Mario would be lucky if they didn't explode moments after he set foot on them.

You see, the problem isn't each planet's size; there are all kinds of tiny asteroids and stellar bodies out there. It's that Super Mario Galaxy's planets also have Earth standard gravity, which is only possible if they're extremely dense.

"The various planets visited in the game appear to be approximately 100m in diameter," the study reads. "This leads to the curvature of their surfaces being not only visible but extreme, with Mario often walking around the whole circumference of a planet in a minute or two. His movement and jumping capabilities appear the same on each planet, as well as on Earth, leading to the assumption that they all have the same surface gravity (9.81ms2). So how dense would these 'baby' planets need to be in order to generate the required gravitational force and is this theoretically possible?"

Let's assume each Galaxy planet has a radius of about 50m. If you punch that value into some gravitational formulas (provided by the study) every world apparently has a natural instability of gravitational pressure, which causes gravity to degenerate over time. And by over time, I mean maybe a few seconds.

"The outcome of this discrepancy is that if constructed," the study concludes, "the planet would survive for only a very brief moment before violently destroying itself and any short plumbers who happen to be running about on its surface."

The full report goes into more detail, such as how the planet's size makes it easier to escape (with a rocket, not jumping, sadly). What other studies would you like to see breaking down the physics of video games?

Source: University of Leicester, via Kotaku

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I wonder what that says about King Kai's planet from Dragonball Z? It's not much bigger but its gravitational pull is much stronger.

So, in reality, these planets would explode with awesome? Sounds good to me.

EDIT:

vid87:
I wonder what that says about King Kai's planet from Dragonball Z? It's not much bigger but its gravitational pull is much stronger.

King Kai's house shouldn't be able to stand up. He's looking at serious compression there.

Additional Thought: What does this mean for Katamaris?

Fanghawk:
What other studies would you like to see breaking down the physics of video games?

You know, this was an interesting article. Kinda wish The Escapist had a show like this. You know, something where a couple of guys talk about complex physics stuff in movies and games and try to see what would happen in reel life? Wonder why we don't have a show like that.

Oh wait...

The first thing I thought when I encountered that game was: "Mario breathes in space, there's sound and crashing into a planetoid doesn't break all of his bones and smush him. Also, they call a collection of tiny rocks a galaxy rather than something even slightly closer, like a planet's[1] or even a solar system, so... I guess just go with it." I have to admit that the issue raised in the article is something I didn't even think of before reaching the acceptance stage of not-giving-a-shit about scientific accuracy in the game. Huh. I wonder if the acceptance stage is an underwater level.

[1] Dang, I wrote "planetary system" at first for the system a planet or planets may form with their moons and other satellites, but apparently that term means "solar system" as well. What's the proper name for that? Like, Jupiter and its satellites which can be referred to as the Jovial system? If it's not "planetary system", what would the generic, non-planet-specific term for that be?

I believe xkcd touched up on this.

http://what-if.xkcd.com/68/

Also, wtf advertisement captchas!

vid87:
I wonder what that says about King Kai's planet from Dragonball Z? It's not much bigger but its gravitational pull is much stronger.

That's because of the space pirate imprisoned in it. (obligatory DBZA reference of the day)

OT: Is this not the same principle behind supernovas? The star's core is so compressed that normally the rest of the star's mass keeps it from going boom, but late in the red giant phase, most of that mass is lost or expanded out far enough that it can't hold back the force anymore. (This is generally what I remember from wiki binges late at night.)

Also, if physicists have time for this, can the chemists and biologist support or deny any of the mushroom theories? Like how Mario is a normal guy always high off his rocks on psychedelic mushrooms, or how a several species of bipedal mushrooms could exist? (Or how different breeds of turtle/tortoise can grow wings and/or breathe fire?)

Skeleon:
The first thing I thought when I encountered that game was: "Mario breathes in space, there's sound and crashing into a planetoid doesn't break all of his bones and smush him. Also, they call a collection of tiny rocks a galaxy rather than something even slightly closer, like a planetary or even a solar system, so... I guess just go with it." I have to admit that the issue raised in the article is something I didn't even think of before reaching the acceptance stage of not-giving-a-shit about scientific accuracy in the game. Huh. I wonder if the acceptance stage is an underwater level.

Well you do tend to reach acceptance at a water level, though in my experience usually you have to go through the other stages of grief first :P

Not suprising, I always did wonder if the distance inbetween the planet and the gravity core is enough distance to be safe (not!) but yet again when does logic ever apply into videogame?

Of all the mario universe, they only debunk this?
Though hang on a minute...mario jumps much higher than any human. Couldnt that be a gravitational thing?

Not even plugging in the excellent Game Theory show you now host old episodes from?

Anyway, having a huge density making you explode is very counter-intuitive!
I'll read that full thing now... ;)

You know, I actually live with two of the authors. They are both every bit as weird as you'd expect from anyone who writes something like this.

Hey I'm from Leicester =) The university is about 10 minutes away from here, though I never went there... seems like I would have enjoyed it since they touch upon some interesting subjects every now and then.

To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing in regards to the paper "It's a-me Density!", which appeared in the October edition of the Journal of Physics Special Topics. In the paper, the conclusion is drawn that under the physics of our universe, the super-gravitational planetoids depicted in the videogame "Super Mario Galaxy" are physically-impossible constructs, and would collapse upon themselves moments after their creation.

I have two serious concerns with these findings.

1) As I am sure you are aware, the titular "galaxy" does not, in fact, exist within our own universe, but rather within the Mushroom Kingdom, a parallel universe adjacent to our own which operates under a different standard model.

2) The research either fails to recognize or deliberately obfuscates the most probable alternative explanation for the phenomenon it purports to explore: that the planets of Super Mario Galaxy are not small, but rather, that Mario himself is incredibly large and super-dense. This theory handily accounts for another phenomenon of the Mushroom Kingdom, whereby the jumping-upon of other local organic bodies by a Mario causes first implosion, then total obliteration. This theory, known as the Plumber's Construct, is explored in my own research, "Your Celestial Body is In Another Castle," and further elaborated upon in my books, "Mushroom Matter", "Goomba Gravitation", and "Mario Kartesian Epistemology", the latter of which is a field-standard text, your total disregard of which I have no choice but to highlight as both a professional failure and a personal insult.

I trust you will print a retraction soon.

Yours truly,

Professor E Gadd
Department Chair
The Institute for Mushroom Kingdom Theoretical Physics and Astronomy​

Why is University of Leicester trying to steal Matpacks job?

Ukomba:
Why is University of Leicester trying to steal Matpacks job?

Because doing actual science is hard. Proving fictional worlds are unrealistic is much easier, however.
I wonder if they got a grant for this study.

Stuff like this makes me just scratch my head. The whole paper is based on the lynch pin that Mario's "movement and jumping capabilities appear the same on each planet, as well as on Earth" and that right there is where it all shits the bed. Mario isn't running around Earth, he's in a fictional universe. So how can you even try to apply real world physics to game world physics when they're clearly not even compatible. Mario can fall from obscene heights that would pancake people, can leap several times his height, etc. Heck the gravity in the Mario world is so bizarre that Mario being the fatso he is can do amazing jumps, but his lighter brother can peddle his feet in the air and actually gain some height.

Ok... So who's the guy that thinks "Oh yeah, I'll talk about how that FICTIONAL thing cannot happen" What's the point of this whole "study"? If it were actual science, it would involve knowing how gravitational forces work in Mario's Universe.

Seems like this guy couldn't think of anything else to make himself "look smart".

Fulbert:

Ukomba:
Why is University of Leicester trying to steal Matpacks job?

Because doing actual science is hard. Proving fictional worlds are unrealistic is much easier, however.
I wonder if they got a grant for this study.

I think this is just what scientists do when they get bored or mind-blocked. It's fun way to "stretch their muscles" that is not too taxing on resources.

I think deep-down we all knew this, but we were having so much fun we didn't care.

Still, thanks for telling us, that's fascinating.

Yeah, these kids are late to the party. This has been done already. I wonder if RESEARCH is a lost art?

Given that Mario can jump several times his own height despite not looking in shape at all, I'd wager the Super Mario Galaxy levels (and the Mushroom world in general) have considerably lower than Earthlike gravity.

 

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