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New Superhero concept for comic!

  1. Oct 3, 2012 #1
    Hello everyone!
    I am by no means a Physicist, I am simply doing research for a new superhero that I am creating and I need to understand the science behind my idea and if it is plausible.

    A superhero that can channel the rotational force of the earth to add kinetic energy to his strikes/movements.

    Long story short, hes an Astronaut that's sent to an asteroid for an exploratory mining mission. The asteroid for some reason is gaining speed at a tremendous rate. Turns out it contains a carbon based ore that can absorb kinetic energy from nearby planets and use it for itself.
    Lab explosion, the ore fuses with his body (both carbon based) and gives him the ability to do the same plus making him practically invulnerable to most physical attacks since his bones are now made of a super strong metal alloy.

    In a comic book sense does this work? I want it to be somewhat plausible and not too over the top.

    In order to limit his abilities I was thinking that he must be in contact with the earth in order to use his powers. Buildings and things like that included through transitive logic lol.

    Would this work into the equation of f=ma?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 3, 2012 #2


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    Using the earth's rotational energy? Wow, new one for me. The idea sounds kewl to me; as good as any other I've seen lately. Gotta love those lab explosions, eh?

    The super is going to have plenty of energy at his disposal--the earth's rotational energy is about 10 to the 29th power Joules http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/spacegunconvent.php#boom

    How you relate that energy to Force and F=ma I'm not sure. (metric system) a Joule is equal to 1 Newton exerted over a distance of 1 meter. So to convert J to F (which is in Newtons) a distance must be specified.
  4. Oct 3, 2012 #3
    The total rotational energy of Earth is on the order of 10^30 Joules, which corresponds to trillions of stupendously huge nuclear weapons. Converting all of it into heat would be easily sufficient to melt the Earth's crust, thus definitively eradicating all life. So, we're talking about plot-breaking power levels here, to say the least. Something to keep in mind.

    I'd say yes to the first and last points, and no to the middle one. I'm not all that familiar with the American superhero comic tradition, but as far as I can tell, this isn't any more ludicrous or over the top than some of the classics. Plausible, it is not, in any remotely scientific sense.

    Up to you. It's not plausible in the framework of Newtonian mechanics, so there is no strong requirement of sticking to that relation. On the other hand, there's no reason not to try and keep the effects of this power compatible with how the world usually works, even if its causes do not. It certainly won't do any harm to use it, anyway.
  5. Oct 3, 2012 #4
    I figured it's pretty cliche but it was the only way I could think getting the ore into his system.

    By my logic, the amount of ore in his body directly correlates to the amount he can channel. So in reality he cannot channel the full force of the earth. If he could he would probably be able to stop the earths rotation thus becoming a pretty bad-*** villain.

    In the story line I will state the maximum energy output he can exert, just to keep him reigned in. I want him to have a cap on his power. Even Superman has his limits.

    I also had a concept of an exoskeleton suit that contained gyroscopes made of the same ore in his body. The suit absorbs momentum and holds it for him to use. Kind of like a Kinetic Battery.
  6. Oct 3, 2012 #5

    Well that all works for me! The comic universe my friends and I are creating will be set in our modern world. Major cities will exist, major events will have happened so I want to keep it somewhat plausible to modern science. However, I will be bending the laws of everything to a certain extent. They are Superheroes after all. :)

    Our next Hero is a Demi-God, son of Anubis. A parkour type assassin who works at a Morgue.
  7. Oct 3, 2012 #6
    Thanks so much you guys! You have been a big help!
  8. Oct 3, 2012 #7


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    Hmm. Maybe use could use that KE of the earth this way: the amount of KE in a square meter under his/her feet. Divide 1.2e29 J by the number of square meters on the earth's surface?!
    Don't have the numbers with me but I bet it's still quite a bit of energy. Ten, eleven thousand km by 1 meter squared.
  9. Oct 3, 2012 #8
    One nonillion divided by 120 trillion? I need a better calculator on my phone lol
  10. Oct 3, 2012 #9
    one nonillion / 120 trillion = 8.3333333e+15
    (According to Google)
  11. Oct 3, 2012 #10


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    120 trillion square meters on the earth? OK. Using Windows calcultaor, umm... 8,333,333,333,333,333.3333333333333333 Joules. 83 quadrillion. Looking at the Boom Table, that's 60% more powerful that the B83, the most powerful nuke in the US arsenal.

    Or using the BT figures... a quadrillion joules... 10% greater than Nagasaki.
  12. Oct 3, 2012 #11
    Surface area: 510,072,000 km²
    148,940,000 km² land (29.2 %) 361,132,000 km² water (70.8 %)
    Approx. 120 trillion

    That's what I found, but I just realized it's in Kilometers. *doh*
  13. Oct 3, 2012 #12
    So I just divided 83 quadrillion by 1000 and I got: 8,300,000,000,000 Joules
  14. Oct 3, 2012 #13


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    Lemme try. A nonillion divided by 510 trillion... 1,960,784,313,725,490 J., about 2 quadrillion=2e15. 40% greater than a 6.9 earthquake. Batman's got nothing in his utility belt for that!

    Every time it was used, the earth would spin a little slower.
  15. Oct 3, 2012 #14
    But the 510 Trillion is in Square Kilometers, aren't we calculating for a Square Meter?
  16. Oct 3, 2012 #15
    Nevermind! I see where I went wrong. lol That's why I shouldn't try math. I didn't even pass HS Algebra!
    So wow... that's a lot of force in 1 square meter.

    Wouldn't it be more accurate to calculate it for one square meter of the total volume of the earth and not just the surface area?
  17. Oct 3, 2012 #16


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    Hmm, not that this matters too much as you're using comic book science but given that the hero is at rest to the Earth the kinetic energy for him is zero. To suggest otherwise is to (I think) suggest an absolute frame of reference and thus break relativity.
  18. Oct 3, 2012 #17
    Good point! I didn't think about that!

    Onto the next Calc. So here we go, let's see how well I do.
    The total Volume of the Earth is:
    1,097,509,500,000,000,000,000 cubic meters
    Divide that by 2.1 Nonillion we get:
    1913423072.8754511919942378630891 Joules
    Divide that by 4184 so we can get the TNT equivalent it comes out to:
    Round that out to:
    460,000 grams of TNT

    Referencing that to the chart his strike would contain the force of a Tomahawk Cruise Missile. Holy cow.

    So, either way, hes pretty powerful.
  19. Oct 3, 2012 #18
    Nono, non-rotating frames are privileged over rotating frames, even in relativity. The problem would be of a more practical nature - how do you extract rotational energy from something without having a quasi-Archimedean "place to stand" which doesn't rotate along with it? I suppose the Moon or one of the other planets would do the trick, sort of, in principle - in practice, not so much. :smile:
  20. Oct 3, 2012 #19


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    Yeah, that square meter idea was just off the top of my head. OTOH, you could figure the volume of a square meter all the way through the earth---10 or eleven thousand km. (what I was talking about up post)--and compare that with the earth's total volume, then use that percentage against 1^30...
  21. Oct 3, 2012 #20
    Yeah, I think I will stick with my 1 cubic meter out of the entire volume of the earth tho. Basically he draws the Kinetic Energy from a 3*3*3 spot from under him. It limits his power while still keeping him superpowered.

    I see what you're saying, I shall label my logic Troll and be done with it. lol

    For sake of comic book physics however. I think it's safe to assume his power works with him standing on the surface of the earth. :p
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