We've been bringing this panel to Comic-Cons for years, and every time we do, it sells out. This year we're coming to Silicon Valley's new, insanely popular Con and bringing along some amazing panelists to talk about the science of Rogue One, The Force Awakens, and more (we will not address midichlorians, because screw that). In case you've never seen one of our panels, this is what the line has looked like in the past:
Even if you're not going to be in San Jose for SVCC, get excited, because you can send us your questions on Twitter @outerplaces or send us a note on our Facebook page. Here's the official description of the panel:
Who hasn't wondered how a lightsaber works, or what makes a Wookiee Bowcaster so powerful? Is the Death Star massive enough to create its own gravity? In an exciting update to our sold-out, standing-room only "Science of Star Wars" panels from SDCC and NYCC, Outer Places is assembling a panel of experts, scientists, and die-hard fans to explore the science behind Star Wars in "Droids and Death Stars: The Science of Star Wars." This will be our first panel to focus specifically on the technology, space travel, and robots featured in the movies.
And here are our panelists:
Kim Steadman, Spacecraft Systems Engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Kim Steadman is currently a Tactical Uplink Lead for the Curiosity Rover and a Science System Engineer for the Mars
2020 Rover. She has also been a Star Wars fan since 1977 and spends far too much time debating all things geek with her friends.
Geekiest Moment: When the Curiosity rover was approaching the Bagnold Dunes on Mars, our Deputy Project Manager was putting signs up that said "Watch for Worm Sign" and had a picture of a Worm from the movie Dune. As I walked by, he asked "Do you get the reference?" and I responded "The Spice must flow" and kept walking.
[Bonus Star Wars Cred]: I went to see Rogue One with a large group from work. After the movie, the group was puzzled why the folks stealing the Death Star plans weren't Bothans. I had to explain to them that the "Bothans" quote was from Return of the Jedi and referred to the second Death Star. I also said "Hey now we know why Luke was Red 5!" Then I had to explain that Red 5 was killed in Rogue One leaving the call sign available for Luke. I was called a Star Wars super nerd.
Geekiest Moment: I dressed in an astronaut flight suit (purchased from the California Science Center) to walk in the DragonCon parade in Atlanta one year. I saw a bunch of guys dressed like the guys at the end of Close Encounters of the Third Kind and got my picture taken with them.
Follow Kim on Twitter at @kim_steadman!
Tracy Newby, Mechanical Designer at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center
Tracy Newby is a founding member of the 501st Legion
and avid costumer and prop maker for 30+ years. He is also a Mechanical Designer at the Stanford Linear Accelerator, which is (in his words), a "small-scale Death Star.' Apart from Star Wars
, he is a fan of Star Trek, Babylon 5, BSG
(old and new), Dr. Who, Star Cops, Space Above and Beyond, Space 1999,
Geekiest Moment: Getting to make some small Borg props that Seven of Nine used in an episode of Star Trek: Voyager...then watching the episode when it aired! [I] also got to work on the smart bomb that took over the Doctor's hologram program in a later episode [of Doctor Who].
Follow Tracy on Twitter @Ursus1066 and on Facebook
Dr. Janina Scarlet, Psychologist, Sharp Memorial Hospital
Dr. Janina Scarlet is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, a scientist, and a full-time geek. A Ukrainian-born refugee, she survived Chernobyl radiation and persecution. She immigrated to the United States at the age of 12 with her family and later, inspired by the X-Men
, developed Superhero Therapy to help patients with anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Her book, "Superhero Therapy" released on December 1, 2016 in the U.K. and on August 1, 2017 in the U.S.
My cats are both named after Star Wars characters: Vader and Hera. I've also contributed several chapters to the "Star Wars Psychology" book.
Follow Janina on Twitter at @shadowquill, Like her on Facebook
, and check out her website
Chris Mahon, Managing Editor, Outer Places
Chris Mahon is the guy in charge of Outer Places. When not working on the site, he writes about fantasy, sci-fi, mathematics, and experimental literature on his blog, The Occult Triangle Lab. His essays have appeared in Clarkesworld Magazine, The Portalist, Fantasy Faction, Multiverse
, and others. He drinks an ungodly amount of milk and likes memorizing trivia.
A few years ago,
I built a version of Guy-Manuel's gold helmet from Daft Punk for my Halloween costume, along with the gloves and jacket. People asked if I was "Tron," and it took every ounce of restraint in my body to keep from strangling them.
Outer Places' Droids and Death Stars: The Science of Star Wars
goes live at Saturday, April 22nd @ 4:30 PM in Room 211ABCD at Silicon Valley Comic-Con. We'll be live-streaming it on our Facebook, if possible—stay tuned!