Oh, rich, fictional, billionaire superheroes... How you taunt us with your gadgets and dashing looks! Why can’t we be just like you?
But wait, why can’t we?
Regular Joes don’t need to plunge ourselves into vats of radioactive materials in order to save the world. All we need is a few billion dollars — and maybe a couple of degrees in physics and engineering, too.
Iron Man is one of the most believable superheroes out there simply because he isn’t actually “super.” Tony Stark used science and technology to give him his “powers.” And as Marvel Comics discovered in a recent interview with super smarty-pants Ryan Haupt, there will be some very real science on display when "Iron Man 2" hits theaters this week.
Of course, Iron Man wouldn’t be Iron Man without his armor. Still, Haupt points out what everyone probably forgets: the armor isn’t actually made out of iron.
“Iron as a viable metal was discarded in the comics less than a year after the character's creation,” he said. Instead, he suggests a combination of three materials; nickel-titanium (nitinol), carbon-carbon composite and single-crystal titanium. Nitinol can actually be repaired after being heated to a certain temperature.
“This property could come in extremely handy when making repairs after being hit by many bullets," he explained.
Even if you are able to create Iron Man armor for yourself, how do you go about powering it?
Haupt told Marvel that Tony’s chest reactor is very similar to a Tokamak fusion reactor from the Cold War era.
“This reactor is a nice fit for Iron Man because it incorporates the various functions the reactor must fill,” he said. “It generates a buttload of power, incorporates magnetic fields and is shaped like a donut.”
And according to Haupt, the Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR) will give you the thrust you need to get airborne.
Now for the really amazing part.
The reactor and rocket need plasma and hydrogen to work, and Haupt suggests Tony Stark himself would be able to fuel them.
“An adult human male carries about five liters of blood in their body. A little more than half of that blood is plasma,” he said, “Plasma is 90 percent water. Water has two hydrogens right there for the taking, with the help of a little electrolysis.”
So Tony just has to make sure to drink his liquids — and not the alcoholic kind.
Iron Man isn’t the only superhero that could easily be brought to life in the real world, either. With no powers, Batman has had to rely on his training and gadgets alone, too — and his are even more plausible.
Nowhere is this more evident than the recent films “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight,” where creators spent countless hours and cash making sure Bruce Wayne’s accoutrements were as real-world based as possible.
So, what about it, readers? Could we see a real superhero in the next five years? If you had the cash, would you rather be a reality based superhero like Iron Man and Batman or be the bearer of actual powers?
Let us know what you think in the comment section or on Twitter!