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On the Energy Content of an Ascended Being

Bear with me - I'm about to do highly circumspect math to figure out just how much energy an Ascended being would have access to if we assume that Ascension is nothing more than conversion of mass to pure energy. 


The cool thing about this is that whole e=mc^2 stick that people always go on about works perfectly here, because conversion of mass to energy is essentially what Ascension IS as defined by the show. So an Ascended being is basically a sentient nuclear explosion, which is kinda cool. 

So, luckily for me, someone's already figured out that for each GRAM of mass, 89.9 terajoules are given off. (Just for reference a TJ is 10^12 joules, and 89.9 of them are roughly 1.25x the size of fallout that resulted from the atomic bomb that dropped over Hiroshima.) 

Which brings us to the question of how much mass would be involved in the conversion of one Iohannes Pastor, aka John Sheppard, from mortal Ancient to Ascended being. IMBD tells me that Joe Flanigan is 6' 0" and since I'm not stalker enough yet to go track down his exact weight, I googled the Air Force weight charts that would've been applicable, which basically say that a male of 70" must weigh between 123 and 194 lbs. Much discussion with popkin16led me to choose 175 lbs for this discussion, on the basis of John being rather lean but not exactly scraggly either.

So, 175 pounds becomes 79,378.6 grams, because:

1 pound = 453.592 grams
453.592 grams per pound x 175 pounds = 79,378.6 grams

Which means that a 175 lb human/Ancient/thing would convert to 7,136,136.14 terajoules of energy, because:

79,378.6 grams x 89.9 terajoules per gram = 7,136,136.14 terajoules

and since this is a kinda messy number, this can be converted to 7.136 exajoules. (An exajoule, for reference, is 10^18 joules. The 2011 tsunami in Japan clocked 1.41 EJ. The Tsar Bomba, the largest nuclear device ever dropped - at 50 megatons of TNT - was only  210 petajoules - a petajoule being 10^15 joules.) 

Think about this. An average sized person has enough mass to give off enough energy equal to 5.06x a devestating equake/tsunami - and 33.98x the energy of the largest atomic bomb humans have ever made.   

To put this in a Stargate perspective, the bombing of Hiroshima caused total destruction for 1 mile around the bomb site - from a 60 TJ explosion. The Mark IX "Gatebuster" used in SG1's "Beachhead" against the Ori's first attempt at creating a Supergate and as part of the Horizion Weapons platform in SGA's "First Strike" has a blast radius of 100 miles (I've not been able to find a megatonnage). 

Using the most highly circumspect math yet:
if a
16 kilotonne atomic bomb = 0.5 mile radius of distruction

then
??? kt = 50 mile radius

and
50 miles = 0.5 miles x 100

then
16 kt x 100 = 0.5 miles x 100

meaning
1600 kt atomic exposion = 100 mile radius of distruction 

and if
50 kt = 210 PJ

then
1600 kt = 6,720 PJ
or
6.72 EJ

which basically means that an average human has MORE energy in them than a Mark IX bomb. Not much, but still... enough that I've forgotten the whole point of why I spent the last hour doing this. 


  • 16 comments
It really, really kinda is. And that's BEFORE you take the whole faith gives Ascended beings power thing. I mean... that has the possibility to be impossible amounts of energy.
In a kind of vampiric way, though. I mean, the only way that 'faith' could transfer power (energy) to an ascended being is a literal transfer of life-force, which makes it little better than the Wraith. Conservation of mass and energy would seem to apply here.
Stupid LJ, I hate it when it does that. ::claps hands:: Yay, I'm glad I was on the right track here! So, does that express as a loss of years, or basically the cosmic equivalent of sweat? You know, a byproduct of energy use but basically harmless to the, er, devotee.
I'm trying to figure it out. this will probably lead to a long post tomorrow, but assuming that people can't lose more than 8,360 Jules of energy a day - the number people usually burn - and assuming the total population of Pegasus is less than 6.7 billion (the average planet population as dervived from "The Kindred" x the average number of planets believed to be habitable in a galaxy), that's a maximum of 51 petajoules a day if everyone's faithful, ie, the Little Boy atomic bomb, or as little as 67 gigajoules (a barrel of oil). Depending on if the faith is stored or must be immediately used, and exactly how much is involved....

well, it's an interesting thought study.
Hm, I would think the energy would be able to be stored up to a point, thus making the ascended being literally more powerful through energy absorption. Since they're not constrained by physical mass the way a corporeal being is, the energy might be spread on the astral plane or something. Which could actually, now that I think of it, make that 'devotional' energy available to all ascended.
while i do think all Ascended would have access to it, not all go near it/use it. Like drugs. I'm sure I could go out right now and find any number of them in my town, but because I'm not using them/not addicted/don't, their relative presence isn't so much an issue.

... plus I just posted this
::nods::

no one in the series doubts that they have the power to call themselves gods, only the good intentions
That is an awe-inspiring amount of pseudo-maths. Although, wouldn't the gatebuster blast have been influenced by the presence of naquadah in the actual gate itself? I haven't seen the episode, but that would seem to follow. Of course, I can't imagine there's going to be a final exam here to check up on these things, so who cares? Sounds good to me.

Score in mathematical technobabble: A+
well, technically not since the Gatebuster has never been used to actually destroy a Stargate. In "Beachhead," they tried to destroy the Gate, but instead ended up feeding the mechanism the Ori were using to try to make the first Supergate, and no gates were involved at other times the Mark IX was being used.

But you are right. The Stargates are 29 tonnes of Naquadah and other matericals. I'm sure that, if the gatebuster was ever used to actually bust a Gate, that the resulting explosion would be horrific beyond measure. If the reaction from the nuclear bomb managed to create a reaction in the naquadah in the gate, which I must assume would happen with that amount of energy.

(Takes technobabble score and runs with it.)
Aha, that makes sense, that they didn't actually destroy a gate. I expect that the latter situation would look an awful lot like Doranda in scope, since naquadah is pretty damn powerful if it's able to power the local gates for millennia without any other source of power.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who sits up and thinks about these things, though. Or wikis exceedingly strange things, like ancient Welsh landmarks, their connections to the Gunpowder Plot, and notorious American serial killers of the 20th century. (Now I feel like I'm picking Jeopardy categories--I happened to run the entire category they had on torture a few weeks back, and I think my parents looked at me a little oddly...)
:D I know what you mean. these things bug me immenesely. and now I'm going to spend all night thinking about how the Ori's faith-thing works.
  • 16 comments