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EXCLUSIVE: Let’s Measure the Gravity of Krypton on WGN America’s MANHATTAN!

Have you checked out WGN America’s Manhattan yet? If not what in the samhell are you waiting for, exactly? A personal invitation? Well, we already basically gave you that in our review of the series but perhaps a bit more convincing is what you need. OR maybe you are one of those brilliant smarties who heeded our call and is loving it big time since it premiered on Sunday night.

Well either way, we’re fairly certain you’re going to enjoy this exclusive clip we’ve finagled just for you (yes you, over there. Uh huh!). Because the series — outside of being just plain good — is also very funny, nerdy, and smart.

All of which is evidenced in the bit of scientific silliness played out by Michael Chernus (Fitz) and Christopher Denham (Meeks). Admit it: you’re curious about the scientific ramifications of Kryptonite on the human body you friggen geeks, you.

But how accurate are their estimations, really? We saddled that question to our very own science genius/editor Kyle Hill:

“Superman can supposedly leap a tall building in a single bound, but how strong he really is will directly affect the estimation of Krypton’s gravity. In the video the characters estimate a 500-foot tall building and that a male in peak physical condition can jump 5 feet in the air. Therefore, the characters conclude, Superman is 100 times stronger on Earth–though normal on Krypton–and Krypton must have a surface gravity of 100G. They are right; for how incredibly strong gravity can be, you can fight it by simply jumping upwards. So it’s not a bad estimation of ‘normal’ strength. However, we can get a bit more complicated.


From the 1941 cartoon introduction of Superman, we can estimate that Superman (6 feet, 3 inches tall) is leaping a building that is roughly 200 feet tall. According to Men’s Health, a male in peak form can barely jump 2 feet. Low and behold, we still get the 100 to 1 ratio! And, like the characters say, if that translates to being able to handle 100 times the gravity then Krypton could feasibly have an acceleration due to gravity of 978 meteres per second per second! (Although 978 m/s/s is based on the acceleration due to gravity at Earth’s equator, not the nominal value, which would be 981 m/s/s.)

All told, it’s a decent estimation!”

So — who’s watching Manhattan? Let’s discuss it in the comments.

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  1. Krypto says:

    Rasputin is indeed correct, Supes powers come from the direct radiation caused by our YELLOW sun, Kryptons sun is RED, emitting a different kind of radiation that doesn’t affect them, this is why kryptonians have no powers on their home planetQ

  2. rasputin says:

    Um. I thought Superman’s powers come from our sun being different than Krypton’s.

    If it were about the size of the planet and gravity, bc Supe’s physiology is somewhat related to ours, then he would be incredibly wide and somewhat taller, with truly massive legs and torso.

    I think only casual fans of Superman shouldn’t write articles about his home planet.

    • boB says:

      No one’s saying it’s *because* of the gravity.  People who don’t read articles shouldn’t post comments on them.

      That said, Superman isn’t “jumping” over buildings, he’s flying.  This renders the entire nerd-argument moot.

    • jw says:

      Id say the kryptonian physiology may be similar but since thier species is indigenous to that world u can create all types of different reasons why physically they look the way they do cause nature can make anything.