Robot 6

How much does Thor’s hammer weigh? Neil deGrasse Tyson knows

Astrophysicist, and science superstar, Neil deGrasse Tyson isn’t one to rest on his comic-book laurels. After helping Superman to locate his homeworld of Krypton in Action Comics #14, the director of New York City’s Hayden Planetarium has moved on to a weightier question: Just how heavy is Thor’s hammer?

Tyson raised the subject this week on Twitter, writing, “If Thor’s hammer is made of neutron-star matter, implied by legend, then it weighs as much as a herd of 300-billion elephants.” Alas, he didn’t show his work, leaving Slate.com to break down the math (video below), multiplying maximum elephant weight by 300 billion.

The result? Mjölnir weighs 4.5 quadrillion pounds, which not only throws out of whack those strength scales in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe but makes us wonder whether in Thor #390 Captain America might’ve been using a little deer-antler spray along with the Super-Soldier Serum.

And in case you thought Tyson was making up his calculations, he provided photographic evidence that he conducted proper research. “Thor was kind enough to lend me Mjölnir so that I could make the proper measurements,” he wrote.

Now if he could only answer who would win in a fight between Superman and the Hulk …

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Comments

13 Comments

To be certain, the enchantment makes the hammer easier to lift, at least for the right kind of people.

It could weigh six pounds (arbitrary number), but if you’re not worthy then it might as well weigh 300 billion elephants. Isn’t it all about the enchantment? Cool topic to discuss at any rate.

Ugh, stick to the more science-ey stuff, NGT. I’d have much rather seen an explanation of Pym Particles or The Negative Zone…

Yeah, this is pretty stupid. It’s all about the enchantment. And when was it established that it’s star material? I thought it was some mystical metal called Uru, forged by the dwarves.

Well, he might have the actual weight of the hammer down, he doesn’t take the enchantment into account.
So it’s just an example of how much a hammer of a certain size would weight if it was made of a specific material (should be a simple (mass)x(volume) calculation).

Ummmm, wouldn’t that much weight coupled with velociety, throw off the rotation of the Earth when it throws is someone, say like the Hulk or Superman?

Oh, just forget conservation of momentum. Those mass could destroy Earth easily with their gravity attraction only. It should shatter the ground and sinks into the earth core in the second Thor left it in the ground.

Interesting, but where has it been mentioned that the hammer is made from neutron star matter? I agree with Dre and Mandramas… the earth would be destroyed if it weighed that much. Science isn’t necessary to explain magic in fictional stories.

So why doesn’t Thor sink through the Earth when he is walking around with it? What kind of force is created when he swings it? How can the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier stay aloft with that kind of payload on board? I think Dr. Tyson has no idea what the atomic weight of Uru metal is, and this answer is wrong.

Straight from Wikipedia, not that hard to find…

“Another version of the hammer’s origin is presented in the second volume of the title Thor, stating that Odin orders the dwarven blacksmiths Eitri, Brok and Buri to forge Mjolnir using the core of a star (the movie reinforces that with Odin saying it was forged out of a dying star) and an enchanted forge. The forging of the hammer is apparently so intense it destroys the star and nearly the Earth itself.”
Thor vol. 2 #80

Mario Di Giacomo

February 8, 2013 at 2:52 pm

That suggests the star was used as a heat source, not raw material.

wouldn’t the earth collapse everytime Mjolnir falls?

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