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The Science Of Superheroes

In 2014 when David Ayer signed a contract to write and direct Suicide Squad, the world had no idea what the outcome would be.

But the release of Suicide Squad has proved to be Britain’s most talked about subject, triumphing above tonight’s opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympics in Rio – well nearly.From Margot Robbie’s colourful pigtails to Jared Leto’s noticeable metal grills, Suicide Squad has kept picture editors and social media busy, even though the reviews have been mixed.

But just like in Suicide Squad, could superheroes, good or bad, truly be amongst us?

Your Life has pulled together the top 5 superhero powers that could be scientifically possible:

1. Spider-Man:

Peter Parker aka Spider-Man, is just an average guy that was bitten by a spider, which gifted him the superpower of generating spider silk from his wrists. But, anyone can be a superhero if all you need is the silk from a spider’s web. Students who are studying Physics at the University of Leicester have calculated that a single spider web, if anchored properly, could halt a four-car New York City subway train travelling at full speed. The Physics students found that the amount of force the spider web would need to stand up to a barreling train would be a very hefty 300,000 Newtons. That means the spider web would be required to absorb some 500 million joules of energy to ensure it would not snap against the force.

2. The Punisher:

Frank Castle aka the Punisher, is just a guy with lots and lots of firepower, military training and a dead family to avenge… nothing ‘impossible’ about that, however clichéd. But he’s not bulletproof… originally conceived as a Vietnam veteran, the Punisher knows a lot about war. Then he should also know that the average odds of an American soldier dying in Vietnam was around 0.5 per cent (1 in 185). But most US troops completed two tours of ‘Nam. In waging a never-ending 1 man war on crime, even those odds would catch up with you eventually. Sorry Frank. Man down.


3. The Scarecrow:

This Batman villain uses a toxic fear inducing gas to defeat his enemies. He has almost complete immunity through exposure; all of this is pretty possible. But it doesn’t explain his desire to dress up in a hessian mask and scare the bejeebus out of people for kicks. Grow up Scarecrow.

4. Wolverine:

Popular X-Man Wolverine’s bone claws are arguably feasible. Having rigid bone protruding from your skin isn’t a nice idea but it’s not that outlandish a concept. However, whacking them against something might be more painful for the superhero than anyone else. Protein-infused polymers used in bone implants could make them stronger, but the mutant’s ‘claws’ are also meant to be retractable and without a healing factor well, he’d bleed to death after one use. Extraordinarily inefficient.


5. Iron Man:  

Well, to start with iron couldn’t actually work as a suit, as iron is an extremely heavy and dense metal. However, the exo-skeleton that Iron Man wears could actually exist!  In fact, a few prototypes with Iron Man similarities are already making headlines around the world! The HULC is a hydraulic-powered exoskeleton that provides users with the ability to carry loads of up to 200 pounds for extended periods of time. It has been made, but is not on the field yet! But what about his flight, and why did he never hit a bird? Well, there have been several attempts to make this type of exoskeleton. One such device, called Bell Rocket Belt, could lift the wearer up to 2500 metres in the air! As for the ARC reactor? Well, science will need a few more developments or a kidnapped deranged playboy genius scientist to make this happen….

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