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Maverick Fact-Checked By Neil deGrasse Tyson

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson fact checks Top Gun: Maverick and objects to the Mach 10 scene in the movie that should have killed Maverick.

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson fact checks Top Gun: Maverick. 30 years after the original 1986 film, the sequel sees Tom Cruise reprise his iconic role as test pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell and return to the Top Gun program to train a new generation of fighter pilots for a dangerous mission. Among this group is Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the son of Nick “Goose” Bradshaw who resents Maverick for his role in his father’s death.


Before returning to the Top Gun program, in one of the film’s first adrenaline-filled scenes, Maverick finds a Lockheed Martin SR-71 scramjet nicknamed Darkstar beyond Mach 10, which destroys the prototype and forces him to jump out of the cockpit at high speed. Later, when Maverick returns to the Top Gun program, he is given the task of training Navy pilots for a mission that destroys an unapproved uranium enrichment plant located in a deep depression at the end of a narrow gorge and is heavily defended by surface-to-air missiles, radar and fighter jets.

Related: Top Gun 2’s Mach 10 Scene Proves Maverick’s Fatal Obsession

utilities, Neil de Grasse Tyson took to Twitter to check the facts Top Gun: Maverick. The famed astrophysicist talked mainly about the Mach 10 scene, claiming that if Maverick actually ejected at that speed,”his body would splatter like a chain mail slapping a wormTyson also commented on the film’s main mission, thoughtfully “Why not take out the missile banks first?“Then the pilots would be able to”flying without daring maneuversCheck out Tyson’s series of tweets below:

Is Top Gun: Maverick realistic?

Although Cruise and the company went to great lengths to film Top Gun: Maverick is practical and actually performs many of its deadly aerial stunts, the film still contains some moments that are not quite realistic, of which the Mach 10 scene is a good example. For starters, the experimental plane nicknamed Darkstar doesn’t even exist and is only inspired by actual Lockheed Martin jets, none of which can reach speeds above Mach 10. Based on Tyson’s fact-checking, it is not possible to eject Maverick at such high speeds. either, and the astrophysicist seems to have the scientific evidence to prove it.

Tyson’s second critique of Top Gun: MaverickWhy not take out the missile banks?“reads a bit like a”Why didn’t the Eagles fly the ring to Mordor?” one of the Lord of the Rings’ often discussed plot holes. However, the film answers Tyson’s question, as the team plans to avoid detection for as long as possible before destroying the primary target. By taking out the missile banks first, the enemy would have been warned and could have used their own fighter jets sooner. Like most movies, Top Gun: Maverick is a mixed bag in terms of realism, which probably won’t diminish the audience’s enjoyment of last summer’s biggest blockbuster, and it shouldn’t.

Next: How Fast Is Mach 10? What speed Maverick travels in Top Gun 2

Source: Neil de Grasse Tyson/Twitter

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