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Neil Degrasse Tyson Thinks Maverick's Survival In Top Gun: Maverick Is Impossible

Astrophysicist and pop scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson's comments have been a fixture in the entertainment community, with the commentator known for explaining the science (or lack-thereof) behind some of our favorite movies and TV shows. While Tyson has been able to boil down large ideas into palatable tidbits that help audiences further question what they see on screen, the astrophysicist's various nitpicks have dubbed him the internet's resident "but actually" guy (via Digg). Sure, he may have written the New York Times bestselling "Astrophysics for People in a Hurry," which boils down the universe's mysteries in a few commute-friendly pages, but Tyson is also responsible for saying "A Marriage Story" should have been called "A Divorce Story." Or consider when the "Cosmos" host tweeted that TIE Fighters in "Star Wars" make the same sounds in space as they do in planetary atmosphere. While he's having fun rustling everyone's feathers on social media, it's also fair to point out that Tyson has gotten a few scientific facts wrong

Tyson has largely avoided discussing pop culture on social media these last few weeks, instead focusing on promoting his latest release: "Starry Messenger: Cosmic Perspectives on Civilization." Well, the scientist's moratorium on nitpicking came to an end this past weekend, when the commentator called out "Top Gun: Maverick." Directed by Joseph Kosinski, the Tom Cruise-starrer sees Navy pilot Pete "Maverick" Mitchell return to the TOP GUN institute to train a new generation of aviators for a daring mission. Despite being of the most beloved and highest-grossing films of the year, Tyson has some issues with the film, saying that Cruise's character likely wouldn't have lived past the sequel's opening minutes.

Neil Degrasse Tyson has issues with this breathtaking Top Gun scene

In a series of Tweets on Sunday, Neil deGrasse Tyson voiced his concerns with "Top Gun: Maverick," calling out how the film doesn't respect the laws of gravity and speed. In the film's first breathtaking sequence, Maverick pushes his scramjet prototype to Mach 10, the mandated requirement to keep the experimental testing program alive. The costly jet is later destroyed when the pilot goes beyond Mach 10, forcing Maverick to eject from the supersonic plane. The sequence perfectly highlights how Maverick's curiosity is just as reckless as it is inspiring, a sentiment that clearly escaped Tyson. "He survived with no injuries," reflected Tyson on the "Darkstar" scene. "At that air speed, his body would splatter like a chainmail glove swatting a worm. Just sayin'."

Tyson didn't stop there. Sharing a graphic of a jet flying at various speeds, Tyson tweeted how Tom Cruise's character, who ejects whilst supersonic, would ostensibly be hitting the air as if it was a brick wall, saying "at supersonic speeds, air cannot smoothly part for you."

"When Maverick ejected at Mach 10.5, he was going 7,000 mph, giving him 400 million joules of kinetic energy — the explosive power of 100 kg of TNT," wrote Tyson. "A situation that human physiology is not designed to survive." Tyson concluded his thoughts on the scene by saying that Maverick, without a doubt, would have died if the stunt was pulled in real life. SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk also agreed with the astrophysicist, suggesting that the scene would make more sense if Maverick ejected in a sealed escape pod with a heat shield attached. Despite both being accomplished in their fields, Tyson and Musk seem to have missed one thing about the "Top Gun" character: he's not human, he's Maverick.

Neil Degrasse Tyson calls out Maverick's mission

Neil deGrasse Tyson may have his issues with the pulse-pounding sequence, but the scientist certainly can't deny the authenticity of the jet itself. The experimental "Darkstar" is not based on a real-life aircraft but it is rooted in authenticity. In conjunction with Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works division, the "Top Gun: Maverick" production created a mock-up of the hypersonic aircraft. Designed by aircraft designers and engineers, "Darkstar" looked so authentic that China pivoted its spy satellites to get a better look at the plane (via Sandboxx). Sure, Maverick likely could have died from his Darkstar ejection, but at least the plane was realistic enough.

The scientist continued his "Top Gun" barrage by dissecting the film's main mission. The titular character trains his TOP GUN motley crew, in the words of Tyson, to "fly under the radar, through a narrow, winding canyon to destroy a target, avoiding multiple banks of surface-to-air missiles." It's a daring mission, one that Maverick successfully proves is capable of being accomplished thanks to a daring test run. In his final tweet on the matter, the scientist suggests that Maverick and the Navy have the wrong idea, which puts the captain's team in danger. Instead of the complicated flight run, he says that the Navy should have destroyed the missile banks first, which would have eliminate the need for daredevil maneuvers. Well, the ending wouldn't be as thrilling then, now would it, Tyson?