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What Would It Actually Feel Like to Be Hit With a Lightsaber?

Spoiler: pretty bad.

If you’ve ever wondered what it would feel like to be struck with a lightsaber, it turns out it’s way, way worse you probably ever imagined. Thanks to this video from the “Because Science” series with Kyle Hill, we now have far too many details on the disgusting effects this “elegant weapon” has on the human (or alien) body.

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To start, a lightsaber does not cut like a sword. A sword cuts through its target, using force (not The Force) to move material–skin, bone, etc–out of the way. A lightsaber doesn’t do that. Instead, a lightsaber applies heat to the material in front of and around it. Nothing gets pushed out of the way, it vaporizes (turns from a liquid into a gas) or sublimates (solid -> gas).

That on its own is pretty gross to think about. But wait! It gets so much worse. Because that change in state comes with a change in volume, and as Hill explains, since that vaporization or sublimation is happening so quickly, “It acts like a blast wave.” A lightsaber death can be quick, and as soon as the weapon isn’t making contact, the wound it inflicts is cauterized. But every second spent in contact with a lightsaber would be agony, with steam rushing out of your body–specifically, out of the wound, since it has nowhere else to go–at literally explosive rates.

As if Han Solo’s death wasn’t tragic enough, Hill reminds us that he spent 15 seconds with Kylo Ren’s lightsaber inside him, longer than any other character we’ve seen. That’s long enough for half the water in his body to escape through his wound in a “steam explosion.”

Some “elegant weapon,” huh?

(via Nerdist, image: Lucas Film/Disney)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.

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