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Neil DeGrasse Tyson Notes 'Top Gun: Maverick' Scene Scientifically Impossible, Astronaut Corrects Him

'At That Air Speed, His Body Would Splatter Like A Chainmail Glove Swatting A Worm' Said The Astrophysicist

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson took to Twitter attempting to disprove a scene from Top Gun: Maverick on Sunday.

Tyson, who frequently disproves scientific inaccuracy in films and other pop culture, analyzed a scene from Top Gun: Maverick featuring the titular character Navy Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, portrayed by Tom Cruise reprising his role from 1986’s Top Gun, ejecting from his plane and surviving.

Late to the party here, but In this year’s @TopGunMovie, @TomCruise’s character Maverick ejects from a hypersonic plane at Mach 10.5, before it crashed. He survived with no injuries,” Tyson posted on Twitter Sunday afternoon.

“At that air speed, his body would splatter like a chainmail glove swatting a worm. Just sayin’.”

“At supersonic speeds, air cannot smoothly part for you. You must pierce it, which largely accounts for the difference in fuselage designs between subsonic and supersonic planes. For this reason, the air on your body, if ejecting at these speeds, might as well be a brick wall,” Tyson continued providing infographics to support his argument.

Tyson concluded, “When Maverick ejected at Mach 10.5, he was going 7,000 mph, giving him 400 million joules of kinetic energy — the explosive power of 100 kg of TNT. A situation that human physiology is not designed to survive. So, no. Maverick does not walk away from this. He be dead. Very dead.”

Shortly after his series of tweets disproving the outcome of Cruise’s plane ejection, Tyson went after the film’s climactic dogfighting air combat maneuvering (ACM) scene saying, “They dangerously fly under the radar, through a narrow, winding canyon to destroy a target, avoiding multiple banks of surface-to-air missiles. But why not first take out the missile banks? Could then fly without daredevil maneuvers. Just sayin’.”

“Depends on his altitude. I was going Mach 25 when I left the ISS on a spacewalk and that was just fine,” said former NASA Astronaut and retired United States Navy Captain Scott Kelly who corrected Tyson by insisting one could, in fact, survive a plane ejection at such high speeds.”To be completely clear. At the altitude at which a Mach 10 hypersonic aircraft would be flying, the ejection would be very survivable, the reentry into the atmosphere in just a pressure suit, not so much,” Kelly conceded.

In December 2020, Tyson shared a tongue-in-cheek observation about Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer along with the rest of Santa’s reindeers: “Santa doesn’t know Zoology: Both male & female Reindeer grow antlers. But all male Reindeer lose their antlers in the late fall, well-before Christmas. So Santa’s reindeer, which all sport antlers, are therefore all female, which means Rudolf has been misgendered.”

Similarly to Top Gun: Maverick, Tyson criticized 2017’s Chappaquiddick, a film detailing the 1969 Chappaquiddick incident which left 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne dead after an automobile accident due to Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy’s negligence.

“Chappaquiddick occurred just 2 days before the first lunar landing. So you’d think the Film producers would get the Moon right for July 18, 1969. Kennedy sees it full, but the actual phase was a 4-day old waxing crescent that set long before the midnight tragedy. I’m just saying.”

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