Superhero movies are asking us to lift our disbelief, but one of the most iconic moments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has proven impossible for other reasons.
Thanos’ snapshot at the end of Avengers: Infinity War caused half of the population of the entire universe to vanish. While the supernatural part of this is clearly not realistic, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology (via life science) noted that Thanos snapping his fingers while wearing the Infinity Gauntlet was actually impossible.
According to the study, snapping a finger is the “fastest acceleration of the human body ever measured,” and the physics involved should have been impossible for Thanos to wear while wearing the glove.
Basically, the study says the acceleration of a finger when it snaps is incredibly fast – three times as fast as the acceleration of a professional baseball player’s arm during a pitch. A snapshot takes only seven milliseconds, which is more than 20 times faster than the blink of an eye.
To create such a quick maneuver, the most important component, according to the study, is friction. Researchers found that trying to snap with metal gloves didn’t create enough friction.
“Our results suggest that Thanos could not have snapped because of his metal-armored fingers,” said author Raghav Acharya. “So it’s probably the Hollywood special effects, not the actual physics!”
From Negan to Thanos, villains who think they’re saviors