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March 29, 2010 5:56 PM   Subscribe

The physics of Mothra
posted by elephantday (28 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
This reminds me of how I always used to hear that according to science, bumblebees couldn't fly. But of course bumblebees do fly, and so does Mothra.
posted by acrasis at 6:05 PM on March 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


But where do the tiny women come in?
posted by The Whelk at 6:09 PM on March 29, 2010


Silly scientist, we all know Mothra flies through the power of song.
posted by Nelson at 6:12 PM on March 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is not a slow flap.

Given a 250 meter wingspan, and a conservative 30 degrees of flapping radius (an actual moth flaps its wing much more than 30 degrees), at a rate of 0.5 hz the wing tips are each moving 32.72 meters per second, or 117810 kph.
posted by idiopath at 6:13 PM on March 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


No, the real physics question is what manner of subsonic vibrations is Mothra giving off when she shatters skyscrapers when she flies by?
posted by yeloson at 6:13 PM on March 29, 2010


argh, sorry, make that 117.8 kph :(
posted by idiopath at 6:14 PM on March 29, 2010


idiopath:

Oh. That answers my question.

(shudder)
posted by yeloson at 6:14 PM on March 29, 2010


Mothra is a girl?
posted by DU at 6:30 PM on March 29, 2010


^ Obviously.

Less popular (thus lesser known) Japanese monsters include Mothro. And Godzillo.
posted by jabberjaw at 6:32 PM on March 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mothra is beyond any farcical square-cube relationship! Bah. Next people will be complaining about King Ghidorah's three heads and their neurological unlikeliness...
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:34 PM on March 29, 2010


Gamera would kick the crap out of Mothra.
posted by Mister_A at 6:34 PM on March 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


But only if Mothra endangered the chirren!
posted by Mister_A at 6:34 PM on March 29, 2010


Tangentally related, I guess they're going to do a new Godzilla movie in two years.
posted by Caduceus at 6:39 PM on March 29, 2010


And people say foreign films aren't accessible to Americans. Sheesh, I was watching these things when I was like six.
posted by marxchivist at 6:47 PM on March 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have some issues with his calculations:

1. He calculates the volume of air thrust by her wings as the surface area of the wings times the distance. But her wings are "hinged" to her body, displacing less and less air the further they move.
2. As the wings continue their downstroke, they will increase air pressure, causing air to move outside the column of thrust.
3. Some air must be thrust up during the upstroke.

So that might be why the number seems low.
posted by justkevin at 6:54 PM on March 29, 2010


Mothra? Pshaw. We can beat Mothra with one wing and two heads tied behind our back.

And all my heads are fine, thank you, GenjiandProust.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:58 PM on March 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


Laden or unladen Mothra?
posted by uni verse at 7:04 PM on March 29, 2010


Another thing that is missing from the calculations is the fact that Mothra's wings will billow somewhat under the downward thrust. Have to factor in the billowing!
posted by Mister_A at 7:08 PM on March 29, 2010


This speculation is pointless for me until I can figure out if Mothra needs a pilot's license, and then of what kind.
posted by Iosephus at 7:15 PM on March 29, 2010


Mothra is mostly hollow.
posted by Omon Ra at 9:22 PM on March 29, 2010


I strongly dispute the learnin' prowess of anyone who broaches the prowrestling-rubber monster movie connection without being fully au courant in the happenings of KAIJU BIG BATTEL.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 10:38 PM on March 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Interesting giant food monster fixation.
posted by idiopath at 11:29 PM on March 29, 2010


Mothra science! This is what the internet was made for.
posted by Theta States at 6:29 AM on March 30, 2010


Professer Michael LaBarbera at the University of Chicago does a wonderful lecture on the biomechanics of B-movie monsters; his analysis of Mothra focuses on the problems of breathing through tracheal tubes at that size.
posted by nonane at 7:45 AM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Do birds need pilot licenses? Bees? Bats? No? Then neither does Mothra. Fly, Mothra, Fly!
posted by sandraregina at 10:07 AM on March 30, 2010


Wouldn't the wings snap?

Also wouldn't the power requirements to beat the wings be enormous?
posted by sien at 8:02 PM on March 30, 2010


Are you doubtful of Mothra's immense power?
posted by Theta States at 4:39 AM on March 31, 2010


Indeed, Mothmaterials and Mothforce could no doubt beath Mothra's mighty flappy bits.
posted by sien at 9:06 PM on March 31, 2010


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