Science of Star Wars: Giant Statues

The latest Rogue One trailer gives us an image of a (apparently) giant Jedi statue  fallen onto its side.  Is something that large even possible?

Human history is repleat with monuments to thing that are deemed important.  The Spring Temple Buddha located in Hunan China is currently the World’s tallest at 153 m.  There are many others.  Here’s a list.

So clearly mega statues are possible.  But how to build something like we see in the Rogue One trailer, light saber and all?

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Basic physics holds.  The general structure must be strong enough to support its overall mass.  As an object’s height increases, its added weight must continue to be supported.  Rock is generally pretty steady.  So if there’s a large enough piece of rock and enough lasers or whatever to carve it and lift it into place (in a galaxy with Star Destroyers – no problems there).  So sure, it could be done… almost.

The challenge to me would be the light saber.  If you look at any of the largest statues on earth, you don’t see a lot of long extremities.  You may see an outstretched arm or the like.  But generally nothing too extreme – something that’s a meaningful % of the overall height/size of the object.

Spring Temple Buddha, Lushan, Henan China.

 

Many statues incorporate various techniques to accomplish this.  Some of these extremities are hollow (like the Statue of Liberty).  This makes it easier for the steel structure to support the cantilever forces.

Humans have created structures that are perhaps on the same order of magnitude of this Jedi statue.  They’re called Skyscrapers.  Skyscrapers tend not to have any large cantilevered objects as they’re too heavy to be supported properly from the rest of the building frame.  In fact, they tend to get thinner the taller they are so as not to continue to reduce the increasing weight that increasing height inevitably brings.

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In short, that light saber looks like it would be too heavy to be adequately supported by the wrist structures of the statue.  Maybe if it were some kind of super rock.  But if it’s some ordinary granite, then I don’t think it withstand the various forces that the light saber would bring.

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