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Physicists call Super Mario Galaxy's scientific accuracy into question

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Students at the Department of Physics and Astronomy at England's University of Leicester have run the numbers on Wii game Super Mario Galaxy — specifically the gravity and density of the game's tiny planets on which Mario runs around — and find that the nature of that galaxy implausible at best.

According to a paper titled "It's a-me, Density!" (PDF) published in the university's Journal of Physics Special Subjects, the wee planets of Super Mario Galaxy and its 2010 sequel "would likely explode due to the severe imbalance of gravitational pressure to degeneracy and coulomb pressures."

"Clearly, the degeneracy pressure far outstrips the gravitational pressure by eleven orders of magnitude," the paper concludes. "The outcome of this discrepancy is that if constructed, the planet would survive for only a very brief moment before violently destroying itself and any short plumbers who happen to be running about on its surface."

The brief paper also explores the effect of short-range gravity on Mario and his ability to jump on the surface of such small planets, as well as his overall appearance.

"The slight lack of resistance to upwards blood flow would inflate and redden the subject's face," the paper reads. "It is possible that this is the source of Mario's baby-like complexion."

For more equation-laden research on the physics and astronomy of Super Mario Galaxy, check out the full paper.

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