Why are there no nuclear weapons in Star Wars?

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Darth_Davi, Nov 7, 2007.

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  1. Loco_for_Lucas Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 15, 2002
    star 5
    My guess is the Galaxy is a What-If plane, where research and technology rested mainly on light and lasers, trying to get the most out of those, instead of focusing smaller on the atom. Instead of going for a mass explosive with a tiny bomb, they decided to focus on lights, and go with a giant laser to do the same thing. To me, it seems that for all the progressive science, it was done in a regressive field. If they had broken the atom in the Star Wars universe, there probably wouldn't be a galaxy to fight over.
  2. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    Maybe all the planets that came up with nuclear technology wiped themselves out before joining the Republic.

    It's sort of the test to see if a sentient species can be allowed to spread across the galaxy.

    Like a trick question, the only winning answer is not to play.
  3. Eternity85 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2008
    star 3
    Who needs nuclear weapons when you have the Deth Star[face_skull]
  4. Rossa83 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 8, 2005
    star 4
    My thoughts exactly.

    I wonder though, what are the advantages of laser guns instead of ordinary guns? They appear to be slower and no more lethal... They pollute less?:p :confused:
  5. Darth_Davi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 29, 2005
    star 4
    I was thinking more along the lines of the rebellion using them, more than the Empire. Obviously, the Empire has the financial resources and manpower to construct something like the Death Star, however those advantages the Rebellion would not share. They would need something small, portable, relatively inexpensive (compared to the Death Star) and requiring far less manpower to build. When I originally thought up the question, I was looking at tactical nuclear weaponry being something a small group like the Rebellion would use, more so than the Empire, which would have far more resources to build superweapons like the Death Stars than the Rebellion would...The Empire might not need nuclear weapons because of the Death Star, but the Rebellion does not have a Death Star, and would need something relatively small and easy to make to combat such a terrible superweapon...remember, you don't need to destroy an entire gun to render it useless, you just need to plug up the barrel...In the same way, you wouldn't need to destroy the Death Star entirely to render it completely useless, you would just need to damage the right spots.
  6. Rossa83 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 8, 2005
    star 4
    Darth_Davi:

    Don't you think that Nuclear Weapons would be obsolete in SW? I mean, their technology is supposedly high-tech, way beyong ours. Isn't it conceivable that nuclear weapons wouldn't at all be productive?

    Yet again, that re-emphasizes my earlier question: what are the advantages with laser guns compared to regular ones as we have? Nor do we really see a weapon (DS aside) as powerful as a nuclear bomb...
  7. Spike2002 Former FF-UK RSA and Arena Manager

    Member Since:
    Feb 4, 2002
    star 6
    Read Page 1. We've already gone over how much more powerful turbolasers are compared to nuclear bombs.
  8. Rossa83 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 8, 2005
    star 4
    I don't really read through all the pages before I post. Perhaps I should:)
    However, it isn't really a good explanation. Leia is hit in the shoulder by a blaster shot, but seemingly she is better of than had she been hit by a bullet, which would have caused her to loose more blood...
  9. Darth_Davi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 29, 2005
    star 4
    Obsolete by Death Star standards, yes...but the rebellion would use whatever weaponry is available. However, while a stick is quite obsolete, I could still kill someone with it. Just because something isn't cutting edge any more doesn't mean it ceases to be effective. Even if you have the Death Star, that doesn't reduce the amount of energy the act of splitting an atom would have...A bazooka is stronger, more powerful than a handgun...but cops carry around handguns, not bazookas....


    My line of thinking was with crippling the Death Star, in the event that the Trench run failed...Even assuming their nukes weren't much more technologically advanced than nukes already drawn up here, they could still be highly effective. Smuggle one on a ship like the Falcon, with the ray shielded storage compartments so assuming the Empire even bothered to scan for it, they wouldn't detect it...The interior hull of a Death Star or Super Star Destroyer cannot be all that strong...otherwise the material would have been impossible to fabricate/mass produce. The interior is most likely built with normal, run of the mill materials, so if you could smuggle in a nuclear device, (the Falcon being automatically tractor beamed in ANH gives us an indication that it would be possible to repeat the task, but with nukes in the smugglers compartments) get it tractored into one of the hangar bays, INSIDE the shields, and detonate it. The shields should act to contain the explosion...but in this case, that would be a bad thing...It would be like a firecracker blowing up in your hand...if your hand is open, and the energy from the firecracker can be released into the air, you will burn your hand...if you close your hand over the firecracker, preventing the energy released from being expelled into the air....you end up losing your fingers...A nuclear explosion, contained within a confined space, such as inside the shields, would be significantly more powerful than a surface detonation would be, doing a very large amount of damage.

    As for the "Strengths" of the turbolasers, those have pretty much been debunked as the guy making up figures, and using a different scale to describe the energy. The energy figures listed by those thinking turbolasers are so much more powerful are dubious at best, and cannot be relied on, as they don't use the same basis....you can't compare them, because there is no common frame of reference. Nuclear devices are measures based on how the explosion compares to a stick of dynamite, and the turbolasers are based on wattage, dealing with electricity...without knowing how to translate the data, the figures listed are completely useless.
  10. Spike2002 Former FF-UK RSA and Arena Manager

    Member Since:
    Feb 4, 2002
    star 6
    As for the "Strengths" of the turbolasers, those have pretty much been debunked as the guy making up figures, and using a different scale to describe the energy. The energy figures listed by those thinking turbolasers are so much more powerful are dubious at best, and cannot be relied on, as they don't use the same basis....you can't compare them, because there is no common frame of reference. Nuclear devices are measures based on how the explosion compares to a stick of dynamite, and the turbolasers are based on wattage, dealing with electricity...without knowing how to translate the data, the figures listed are completely useless.

    They haven't been "debunked" at all. Firepower figures in ICS: AOTC are still canon, no matter what people have said. All Saxton did was state the firepower in tonnage rather than watts/joules like he perhaps should have.
  11. Darth_Davi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 29, 2005
    star 4
    The point still stands...there is no common frame of reference, we have no idea how much destructive energy is actually released by a kiloton of turbolaser energy, we have no way to know whether a kiloton in turbolaser energy is the equivalent of a kiloton of dynamite energy...Since we don't know that information, Saxton's numbers are absolutely useless in this discussion. They are two completely different systems of measurement, measuring completely different types of energy, that just happen to use similar language. That in no way should imply they are equivalent to each other. If Saxton had said "One kiloton of turbolaser energy is equal to a one kiloton explosion", we would have a scale of comparison, but without that frame of reference, the numbers mean nothing. Its apples and oranges.
  12. Spike2002 Former FF-UK RSA and Arena Manager

    Member Since:
    Feb 4, 2002
    star 6
    Saxton's calculations were based from the turbolasers shooting at the asteroids in TESB. That was the point of reference he based all firepower calculations on, and as a scientist, I'm pretty positive he knows what he's doing.
  13. Darth_Davi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 29, 2005
    star 4
    AHA! I found a site that actually has the figures to convert kilotons (in reference to TNT/nuclear weapon power) and Joules.

    http://online.unitconverterpro.com/conversion-tables/convert-alpha/factors.php?cat=energy&unit=4&val=1
    http://www.stardestroyer.net/tlc/Power/index.html

    A one kiloton nuclear explosion releases 4,184 times the energy contained within a gigajoule, or to use similar numbers as Saxton does, a one kiloton nuclear blast is the equivalent of a 4 terajoule turbolaser blast. He estimates that the asteroids were vaporized by a 30tj blast, which, according to the conversion tables, would be about a 7.5 kt nuclear blast...half that of the bomb dropped at Hiroshima. The Soviets devised a nuclear bomb, known as Tsar Bomba, which was theoretically capable of a 100 megaton explosion, (100,000 kilotons) which translates to a turbolaser blast that is 400,000 terajoules.

    Based on those numbers, nobody can convince me that a well placed nuclear device wouldn't be a highly effective weapon. Obviously, if you detonated it on a surface, where the energy can expand, it wouldn't be as effective as an equivalent strength turbolaser blast, where the energy is focused in a single area...Nor does it compare to the total destructive power of the Death Star's superlaser...however, get that nuclear device inside the Death Star, where the energy is contained by the shields, a device like Tsar Bomba would have rendered the Death Star a useless huge mass of molten steel. I never sought to prove that nuclear weapons were superior to turbolasers, merely that they would be effective. The laws of Physics tells us that nuclear weapons would be.
  14. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    Shadows of the Empire claims that a thermal detonator is a small thermonuclear device.
  15. Spike2002 Former FF-UK RSA and Arena Manager

    Member Since:
    Feb 4, 2002
    star 6
    Not arguing with you finding the firepower figures for the Tsar Bomb, but the calculations need to be taken in context. Sure the Tsar Bomb could cause a lot of damage, but why use it when they can use their heavy turbolasers?

    Saxton also acknowledges the one kiloton = 4.2 terajoules in his work as I'm sure you saw.
  16. Darth_Davi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 29, 2005
    star 4
    Umm yeah, I did...lol

    Although, I did round it down a little to a nice even number, to simplify it a bit...

    I think you are still missing my point...As I framed this as more of a rebellion option, they wouldn't necessarily have Star Destroyer level turbolasers at their disposal. They would be using whatever weapons were available to them...Assuming the trench run failed, obviously, if they showed up to attack the Death Star conventionally, using capital ships, armed with turbolasers, the Death Star isn't going to lower its shields, and the attack would be a futile gesture. I accept the Imperial position that minus the one flaw in the exhaust port, the Death Star probably was more or less impervious to an outside attack, the shield strong enough to repel any viable attack the rebels could throw at it...Since attacking it directly would be useless, the rebels would have to find a different way to disable the Death Star. That would mean sabotage. Now, we know that when a small freighter gets anywhere near it, if the Empire has the slightest cause, they tractor it in, past the shields, past the defenses. In one of my earlier posts, I compared it to the Trojan horse...We also know from the Falcon, that smugglers know how to install scanner-proof compartments in their ships, limiting the chances the Empire would detect a nuclear weapon. Unlike a turbolaser, a nuclear device is far more portable, far easier to disguise. Sometimes you need a sniper's rifle, sometimes you need a grenade. Different situations require different tools, and in the case of the Death Star, a turbolaser attack would be ineffective. So, what I am suggesting, is the possibility, hypothetically, of smuggling in a high powered nuclear device, and detonating once it is inside the Death Star. The Death Star's shields would actually be a liability for the Empire here, as it would contain the explosion to a limited area...the explosive energies cannot escape into space, so they would have to go further into the Death Star, causing havoc and destruction throughout. In a nutshell, a conventional turbolaser attack wouldn't work as long as the shields are up, so you would have to find a non-conventional method to accomplish the goal. A smuggled nuclear device in the Trojan horse role would fulfill that non-conventional method.

    Basically, I am not arguing absolute firepower, I am more arguing for a more strategic usage of that firepower. You can get a nuclear device in places that a turbolaser cannot reach, and as such, there might be situations where it might be preferable.
  17. Spike2002 Former FF-UK RSA and Arena Manager

    Member Since:
    Feb 4, 2002
    star 6
    I think the problem with the Rebellion using a nuclear bomb would be an ethical, rather than a practical issue. Like the Death Stars, a nuclear bomb is a terror weapon that causes horrendous damage. The Rebels, I'm afraid to say, are far too concerned about the moral high ground that they would never use it.

    Extreme Rebel/terrorist groups probably would, mind. The use of the weapons would only strengthen Imperial propoganda against them.

    Though, in your scenario, against the Death Star, I can't really see a nuclear weapon causing more than horrendous surface damage (if detonated on the outside).

    To get it inside, well, the Rebels will have to smuggle it deep to cause any critical damage. Detonating it for the hell of it would probably work to cause a lot of carnage, but there's the moral high ground to consider ;)
  18. Darth_Davi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 29, 2005
    star 4
    They were already planning on blowing the whole Death Star up, along with everyone inside it...With the Death Star II, that included the assassination of the Empire's Head of State...

    what's the ethical problem that a nuke would pose, that wouldn't exist by blowing the whole Death Star up exactly?

    I agree that a surface detonation would be useless...However, from ANH, we know that the Empire tractors ships inside, past the shields...Even if all a nuclear bomb detonating inside did was take down the shields, that would allow conventional attacks with capital ships and their turbolasers to work...The main problem with any attack on the Death Star using conventional weaponry, as I see it, is getting past the shields. Any conventional attack on a Death Star would require the shields to fail first...so, if you can also take out a few hangar bays, filled with TIE fighters that would be sent to attack your forces, wouldn't that be to your strategic advantage? You are planning to blow up the whole thing anyway, you have already justified the deaths of every person on the Death Star...If you manage to take out some of them ahead of time, I fail to see the ethical problems...If you are okay with blowing the whole thing up, using a nuclear device to facilitate it shouldn't give you any qualms. The thing did blow up an entire planet, after all.
  19. CraigTNelson Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 30, 2008
    star 1
    Davi your entire argument can be negated by a one liner from George Lucas about one piece of technology that can depower nuclear bombs. I don't think you need someone to explain to you why the Empire didn't just drop a Tsar bomb on Yavin IV or Little Boy on the Jedi temple. "Hey Darth, yeah we don't need you to hunt Jedi. We're just gonna lob nukes at everyone." Yeah that's the world Lucas thought up.

    It's fun to think about this kind of stuff I suppose. However arguing about the practicality of Star Wars(which is basically what you're doing) is the path to boring semantics. Why not argue that the force can't exist or better yet that in the lightsaber duels they're not even trying to kill each other! You can suspend your belief enough so that a Green Puppet lifting large aircraft(craft that isn't even aerodynamic, lol!) is alright but as soon as the Turbolasers come out Darth Davi starts to wonder what was so bad about the big evil empire. "Alright Luke lets flip the switch to launch the lightspeed capable nuke thst will travel to Coruscant and kill the Emperor and get out of here." I know you'd like an in universe explanation but George isn't a poster here and there isn't a definitive answer in the movies or EU.
  20. Darth_Davi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 29, 2005
    star 4
    Okay, so what's this one liner from George then?

    Well, the Empire had the Death Star...the rebellion didn't. And what does the Jedi purge have to do with this? I am sorry, but you lost me...couldn't you just as easily say "Hey Darth, yeah, we don't need you hunt Jedi. We're just gonna blow up whatever planet they are on with our Death Star"?

    See, now you are just being ridiculous. Nowhere did I question the evils of the Empire, nowhere did I use any hypothetical situation as the one you described...Where did I mention hyperspace capable nukes? Where did I suggest that a nuke would be any good at all against planetary shielding? Please. If you are going to mock me for one of my theories, at least mock me for a theory I actually espoused. You don't need to me make up theories to mock me over.

  21. Rossa83 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 8, 2005
    star 4
    The only thing I can think of is this:

    Remember Independence Day? They tried to nuke one of the great ships of the aliens there - didn't even scratch the surface. I suppose Lucas was onto the same idea...
  22. CraigTNelson Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 30, 2008
    star 1
    Davi you're looking real hard into something that wasn't meant to be examined so thoroughly. Your entire argument, as I said earlier, can be dissolved by an offhand remark of George Lucas or a canonized work depicting something like a particle field invented by ancient Mandolorians to disarm nuclear weapons. You'll find neither, but that's the type of answer, if you ever get one, to expect. The Star Wars movies are less science based than Star Trek and other Sci-Fi, because they'e foremost fantasy and secondly sci-fi.

    Using nuclear weapons makes for a crappy fantasy movie.
  23. Wookiee_Vader Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2007
    star 1

    I call bullpants, sounds like your lieing to me unless you can provide a link to the actual quote.

    And the entire point of this board is to unnecessarily discuss in depth every aspect of Star Wars.

  24. Darth_Davi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 29, 2005
    star 4
    Not only that, but if we actually counted other Star Wars sources, nuclear weapons ARE used in the GFFA, and by those Mandalorians, even.
  25. CraigTNelson Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 30, 2008
    star 1
    I never claimed either existed. I'm just saying they could easily half ass something like that to write off the use of nukes in Star Wars. No ones addressed the issue yet.
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