The Physics Debate: “Top Gun: Maverick” Ejection Scene.

Key Takeaways

– Neil deGrasse Tyson and Scott Kelly engaged in a Twitter debate regarding the physics of a scene in “Top Gun: Maverick.”
– Tyson criticized the scene where the character Maverick ejects from a hypersonic plane at Mach 10.5, claiming that at that air speed, the body would not survive.
– Scott Kelly disagreed, stating that survivability depends on the altitude, and at the altitude a hypersonic aircraft would be flying, the ejection would be survivable.
– Other Twitter users supported Kelly’s argument, mentioning the existence of sophisticated ejection seats for high-mach ejections.
– Tyson has not responded to the debate.

The Physics of “Top Gun: Maverick”

The movie “Top Gun: Maverick” has been generating a lot of buzz, not only for its action-packed scenes and stunning visuals but also for a Twitter debate between astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and astronaut Scott Kelly. The debate revolves around the physics of a particular scene in the movie where the character Maverick ejects from a hypersonic plane at Mach 10.5. Let’s delve into the details and explore the arguments presented by both Tyson and Kelly.

Tyson’s Critique

Neil deGrasse Tyson, known for his scientific expertise and ability to analyze the accuracy of science in popular media, took to Twitter to express his concerns about the physics portrayed in “Top Gun: Maverick.” He criticized the scene where Maverick ejects from the hypersonic plane, claiming that at that airspeed, the human body would not survive. Tyson’s argument is based on the extreme forces and temperatures experienced during such high-speed ejections.

Kelly’s Counterargument

Scott Kelly, a former NASA astronaut, entered the Twitter debate to offer a counterargument to Tyson’s critique. Kelly stated that the survivability of an ejection at high speeds depends on the altitude at which the aircraft is flying. He explained that at the altitude a hypersonic plane would typically be operating, the ejection would indeed be survivable. However, Kelly emphasized that reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere without proper protection would be extremely dangerous.

Support from Twitter Users

Kelly’s counterargument received support from other Twitter users who chimed in on the debate. Many users pointed out that advanced ejection seats are specifically designed to handle high-mach ejections. These seats incorporate advanced technologies such as rocket motors, parachutes, and protective gear to ensure the safety of the pilot during ejection. The existence of these sophisticated ejection seats further supports Kelly’s claim that ejections at high speeds can be survivable under the right conditions.

Tyson’s Response

As of now, Neil deGrasse Tyson has not responded to Scott Kelly’s counterargument or the support from other Twitter users. It remains to be seen whether Tyson will provide further clarification or concede to the points made by Kelly and the Twitter community.


The Twitter debate between Neil deGrasse Tyson and Scott Kelly regarding the physics of a scene in “Top Gun: Maverick” has sparked interest and discussion among fans and science enthusiasts alike. While Tyson criticized the scene, claiming that the body would not survive an ejection at Mach 10.5, Kelly countered by stating that survivability depends on the altitude. The support from other Twitter users, highlighting the existence of advanced ejection seats, further strengthens Kelly’s argument. It will be interesting to see if Tyson responds to the debate and provides further insights into the physics behind the scene.

Written by Martin Cole

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