Can Master Chief Swim? (Part 1) (Game Science!)

Nerd​ ​Punch! We​ ​know​ ​in​ ​games​ ​that​
​Master​ ​Chief​ ​and​ ​other​ ​Spartans​ ​will​ ​immediately​
​die​ ​if​ ​they​ ​fall​ ​in​ ​water. ​In​ ​the​ ​Halo​ ​2​ ​game’s
Gravemind​ ​mission​ ​where​ ​Chief​ ​jumps​ ​into​ ​water​ ​to​
​avoid​ ​the​ ​Covenant​ ​ship’s​ ​weapon,​ ​he survives.​ ​Obviously​
​that’s​ ​because​ ​the​ ​Gravemind​ ​captured​ ​him​ ​though.​ ​Before​
​his​ ​capture,​ ​he was​ ​definitely​ ​sinking​ ​and​ ​would​ ​have​
​drowned.​ ​No​ ​countermeasures​ ​were​ ​deployed​ ​to​ ​ensure
his​ ​survival.​ ​But​ ​Chief​ ​didn’t​ ​die​ ​immediately​
​like​ ​in​ ​the​ ​games,​ ​he​ ​just​ ​didn’t​ ​float. So​ ​would​ ​Master​ ​Chief,​
​a​ ​super​ ​soldier​ ​from​ ​500​ ​years​ ​in​ ​the​ ​future​
​that​ ​saved​ ​the​ ​entire​ ​human race​ ​from​ ​alien​ ​invasion,​
​die​ ​if​ ​he​ ​found​ ​himself​ ​unconscious​ ​in​ ​the​ ​deep​
​end​ ​of​ ​a​ ​kiddie​ ​pool? First​ ​we​ ​need​ ​to​ ​know..​
​How​ ​buoyant​ ​is​ ​master​ ​chief?​ ​​ ​Well​ ​lets​
​see​ ​how​ ​buoyant​ ​he​ ​is​ ​without his​ ​armor​ ​first.​
​I​ ​mean​ ​can​ ​he​ ​even​ ​float​ ​without​ ​his​ ​armor?​
​Most​ ​humans​ ​do​ ​float,​ ​but​ ​John​ ​isn’t most​ ​humans.​
​John​ ​is​ ​6​ ​foot​ ​7​ ​inches​ ​and​ ​287​ ​pounds​
​without​ ​his​ ​armor.​ ​Some​ ​examples​ ​of what​ ​Master​
​Chief​ ​would​ ​look​ ​like​ ​in​ ​terms​ ​of​ ​size,​
​and​ ​what​ ​we’re​ ​dealing​ ​with,​ ​is​ ​Strongman Vincent​
​Urbank​ ​or​ ​this​ ​giant​ ​dude. To​ ​do​ ​that,​ ​we​ ​need​
​to​ ​calculate​ ​his​ ​buoyancy​ ​force,​ ​which​ ​is​ ​what​
​pushes​ ​him​ ​up​ ​in​ ​the​ ​water, and​ ​the​ ​gravity​ ​force,​
​which​ ​is​ ​what​ ​pulls​ ​him​ ​down​ ​in​ ​the​ ​water. For​ ​formula​ ​for​ ​buoyancy​
​force​ ​is:​ ​​ ​Fb=(volume​ ​of​ ​Chief​ ​x​ ​density​
​of​ ​fluid​ ​x​ ​gravity). The​ ​formula​ ​for​ ​gravity​
​force​ ​is:​ ​Fg=(mass​ ​of​ ​object)(9.81​ ​meters/second^2). To​ ​find​ ​the​ ​volume​ ​of​
​Chief​ ​so​ ​we​ ​can​ ​use​ ​it​ ​in​ ​the​ ​buoyancy​
​formula​ ​we​ ​use​ ​the​ ​formula: Volume=Mass/Density. Master​ ​Chief​ ​weighs​ ​287​
​pounds,​ ​so​ ​we​ ​convert​ ​that​ ​to​ ​130,183​ ​grams. Volume=130,183​ ​grams​ ​/​ ​Density. Humans​ ​have​ ​an​ ​average​
​density​ ​of​ ​1000​ ​kg​ ​per​ ​cubic​ ​meter​ ​with​
​15-20%​ ​bodyfat.​ ​Considering John​ ​is​ ​jacked,​ ​has​ ​a​
​low​ ​body​ ​fat​ ​of​ ​say​ ​8-10%,​ ​and​ ​reinforced​ ​bones​
​and​ ​dense​ ​tissue,​ ​let’s give​ ​him​ ​a​ ​density​ ​of​
​1100​ ​kg​ ​per​ ​cubic​ ​meter​ ​or​ ​1.1​ ​grams​
​per​ ​cubic​ ​cm. Volume=130,183​ ​grams​ ​/​ ​1.1​
​grams​ ​per​ ​cubic​ ​cm. Divide​ ​that​ ​by​ ​a​ ​density​
​of​ ​1.1​ ​grams​ ​per​ ​cubic​ ​centimeter​ ​to​ ​get​ ​118,348.36​
​cubic​ ​centimeters. 118,348​ ​cubic​ ​cm=130,183​ ​grams​
​/​ ​1.1​ ​grams​ ​per​ ​cubic​ ​cm. Because​ ​there​ ​are​ ​28,316.8​
​cubic​ ​centimeters​ ​in​ ​a​ ​cubic​ ​foot,​ ​we​ ​divide​
​our​ ​volume​ ​by​ ​this​ ​to get​ ​Chief’s​ ​volume​
​in​ ​cubic​ ​ft. 4.179​ ​cubic​ ​feet​ ​with​
​no​ ​air​ ​in​ ​John’s​ ​lungs=118,348​ ​cubic​ ​cm/28,316​
​cubic​ ​cm. I​ ​know​ ​you’re​ ​like,​
​“woah​ ​woah​ ​hold​ ​up​ ​Master​ ​Chief​ ​would​ ​have​
​air​ ​in​ ​his​ ​lungs,​ ​that​ ​could​ ​have a​ ​huge​
​affect​ ​on​ ​his​ ​buoyancy.”​ ​I​ ​got​ ​it. Normal​ ​adult​ ​human​ ​males​
​have​ ​up​ ​to​ ​5​ ​or​ ​6​ ​liters​ ​of​ ​lung​ ​capacity​
​for​ ​more​ ​athletic​ ​guys. Again,​ ​John​ ​ain’t​ ​no​
​ordinary​ ​fella.​ ​According​ ​to​ ​Halo​ ​books,​ ​at​
​age​ ​14​ ​John​ ​has​ ​the​ ​body​ ​of​ ​an 18​ ​year​
​old​ ​Olympic​ ​athlete​ ​due​ ​to​ ​augmentations.​ ​There​
​is​ ​speculation​ ​that​ ​Michael​ ​Phelps​ ​has a​ ​lung​ ​capacity​
​of​ ​12​ ​liters,​ ​though​ ​this​ ​is​ ​unsupported.​ ​World​
​record​ ​free​ ​diver​ ​Herbert​ ​Nitsch has​ ​a​ ​reported​ ​lung​
​capacity​ ​of​ ​14​ ​liters.​ ​It​ ​isn’t​ ​too​ ​crazy​
​to​ ​think​ ​that​ ​an​ ​augmented​ ​super soldier​ ​could​ ​have​
​a​ ​lung​ ​capacity​ ​of​ ​double​ ​an​ ​average​ ​human.​
​So​ ​let’s​ ​give​ ​him​ ​12​ ​liters​ ​of lung​ ​capacity. 9.81​ ​with​ ​no​ ​air​ ​in​
​John’s​ ​lungs​ ​+​ ​12​ ​liters​ ​or​ ​0.42​ ​cubic​
​feet​ ​of​ ​lung​ ​capacity​ ​with​ ​air=4.59​ ​cubic feet​
​or​ ​0.13​ ​cubic​ ​meters​ ​total​ ​volume​ ​with​ ​air​
​in​ ​lungs.​ ​So​ ​his​ ​overall​ ​density​ ​is​ ​actually​ ​1​
​gram per​ ​cubic​ ​cm​ ​with​ ​full​ ​lungs​ ​and​ ​no​
​armor​ ​on. So​ ​back​ ​to​ ​our​ ​buoyancy​
​force​ ​equation:​ ​ Fb=(.13​ ​cubic​ ​meters​ ​x​
​density​ ​of​ ​fluid​ ​which​ ​is​ ​1000 kg​ ​per​ ​cubic​
​meter​ ​for​ ​freshwater​ ​at​ ​4​ ​degrees​ ​celsius​ ​x​
​gravity​ ​which​ ​is​ ​9.81m/s^2).​ The​ ​Force of​ ​buoyancy​ ​for​
​John​ ​is​ ​1,275​ ​Newtons.​ ​Now​ ​we​ ​need​ ​to​ ​find​
​out​ ​if​ ​the​ ​force​ ​of​ ​gravity​ ​for​ ​John is​ ​greater​
​than​ ​the​ ​force​ ​of​ ​buoyancy.​ ​If​ ​the​ ​force​
​of​ ​buoyancy​ ​is​ ​greater​ ​than​ ​the​ ​force​ ​of gravity,​
​the​ ​object​ ​will​ ​float.​ ​On​ ​the​ ​other​ ​hand,​
​if​ ​the​ ​force​ ​of​ ​gravity​ ​is​ ​greater,​ ​it​ ​will​
​sink.​ ​If​ ​they are​ ​equal,​ ​the​ ​object​ ​is​ ​said​
​to​ ​be​ ​neutrally​ ​buoyant. So​ ​let’s​ ​complete​ ​the​
​force​ ​of​ ​gravity​ ​equation:​ ​The​ ​formula​ ​for​ ​gravity​
​force​ ​is:​ ​Force of Gravity=(mass​ ​of object)(9.81​
​meters/second^2).​ ​(130.18​ ​kg)(9.81)=1,277.07​ ​Newton’s. Force of Buoyancy=1,275​ ​with​ ​full​
​lungs​ ​and​ ​no​ ​armor. Force of Gravity=1,277 Conclusion:​ ​He​ ​will​ ​sink.​
​Or​ ​if​ ​he​ ​had​ ​an​ ​extra​ ​2​ ​liters​ ​of​
​stomach​ ​gas​ ​from​ ​drinking​ ​a​ ​bunch​ ​of fizzy​ ​soda​
​it’d​ ​be​ ​1,294.92​ ​Newtons. What​ ​about​ ​Saltwater?​ ​Most​
​of​ ​the​ ​sea​ ​is​ ​saltwater,​ ​and​ ​saltwater​ ​is​ ​more​
​buoyant​ ​than​ ​fresh water.​ ​Basically​ ​you​ ​repeat​ ​the​
​same​ ​calculations,​ ​but​ ​saltwater​ ​has​ ​a​ ​density​ ​of​ ​around​
​1029 kg/m^3​ ​instead​ ​of​ ​1000​ ​kg/m^3​ ​of​ ​freshwater​ ​at​
​4​ ​degrees​ ​Celsius.​ ​So​ ​the​ ​end​ ​result​
​is​ ​a​ ​force​ ​of buoyancy​ ​of​ ​1,312​ ​Newtons. Force of buoyancy=1,312​ ​Newtons
Force of gravity=1,277 Newtons Conclusion:​ ​John​ ​will​ ​float​
​in​ ​saltwater​ ​without​ ​drinking​ ​any​ ​diet​ ​coke.​ ​But​
​in​ ​order​ ​to​ ​have​ ​that iconic​ ​Master​ ​Chief​ ​voice​
​he​ ​would​ ​need​ ​to​ ​be​ ​a​ ​chronic​ ​smoker,​ ​so​
​he’d​ ​lose​ ​a​ ​few​ ​liters​ ​of​ ​lung capacity​
​and​ ​function,​ ​and​ ​would​ ​sink.​ ​Let’s​ ​just​ ​say​
​that​ ​voice​ ​is​ ​natural​ ​though,​ ​so​ ​yah​ ​he floats​
​in​ ​saltwater.​ ​That’s​ ​good​ ​news,​ ​and​ ​this​ ​might​
​save​ ​his​ ​life​ ​in​ ​a​ ​hypothetical​ ​situation​ ​we will​
​bring​ ​up​ ​in​ ​a​ ​bit. For​ ​now,​ ​John​ ​is​ ​not​
​so​ ​lucky.​ ​Master​ ​Chief​ ​and​ ​his​ ​armor​ ​are​
​basically​ ​inseparable,​ ​and​ ​he​ ​will live​ ​or​ ​die​
​depending​ ​on​ ​our​ ​conclusions​ ​of​ ​his​ ​buoyancy​ ​in​
​armor. What​ ​we​ ​are​ ​going​ ​to​
​do​ ​is​ ​add​ ​his​ ​armor​ ​to​ ​our​ ​previous​ ​calculations​
​of​ ​him​ ​without​ ​armor​ ​to get​ ​the​ ​buoyancy​ ​of​
​him​ ​in​ ​his​ ​armor. So​ ​Master​ ​Chief​ ​weighs​
​about​ ​1000​ ​pounds​ ​in​ ​armor. Or 317,520 grams Master​ ​chief​ ​is​ ​around​
​7​ ​feet​ ​tall​ ​and​ ​weighs​ ​about​ ​1000​ ​pounds​ ​in​
​his​ ​armor.​ ​So​ ​his armor​ ​weighs​ ​around​ ​700​ ​pounds​
​separately. Master​ ​Chief’s​ ​armor​ ​is​
​composed​ ​of​ ​some​ ​form​ ​of​ ​titanium​ ​alloy.​ ​One​
​of​ ​strongest​ ​titanium alloys​ ​is​ ​Ti3Au,​ ​which​ ​is​
​a​ ​Titanium​ ​Gold​ ​alloy.​ ​It​ ​is​ ​about​ ​3-4​ ​times​
​harder​ ​than​ ​most​ ​steels.​ ​And it’s​ ​four​ ​times​ ​harder​
​than​ ​pure​ ​titanium.​ ​The​ ​density​ ​of​ ​Ti3Au​ ​is​
​estimated​ ​to​ ​be​ ​about​ ​8.21 g/cubic​ ​cm. John’s​ ​volume​ ​is​ ​4.59​
​cubic​ ​feet.​ ​Spartan​ ​2​ ​armor’s​ ​volume​ ​is​ ​1.365​
​cubic feet=((317,520grams/8.21grams​ ​per​ ​cubic​ ​cm)/28,316).​ ​So​
​the​ ​combined​ ​volume​ ​is​ ​5.95​ ​cubic feet. Force​ ​of​ ​buoyancy​ ​is​
​1,716​ ​Newton​ ​=(5.95ft^3​ ​or​ ​0.17m^3​ ​x​ ​1029​
​kg​ ​x​ ​9.81) So​ ​let’s​ ​complete​ ​the​
​force​ ​of​ ​gravity​ ​equation:​ ​The​ ​formula​ ​for​ ​gravity​
​force​ ​is:​ ​Fg=(mass​ ​of object)(9.81​ ​meters/second^2).​ ​(447.703​
​kg)(9.81)=4,391.96​ ​Newton’s. Force of Buoyancy=1,716​ ​Newton’s Force of Gravity=4,391​ ​Newton’s Conclusion:​ ​He’s​ ​roughly​
​not​ ​buoyant​ ​at​ ​all.​​ ​​This​ ​is​ ​bad​ ​news​
​because he​ ​couldn’t​ ​shed​ ​the​ ​suit​ ​off​ ​quickly​
​if​ ​sinking​ ​either​ ​as​ ​it’s​ ​basically​ ​bolted​ ​on.​
​The​ ​MJOLNIR armor​ ​is​ ​removable,​ ​but​ ​it​ ​takes​ ​a​ ​great​
​deal​ ​of​ ​training​ ​to​ ​do​ ​so.​ ​Initially​ ​the​
​Spartans​ ​required an​ ​entire​ ​team​ ​of​ ​technicians​ ​to​
​put​ ​the​ ​armor​ ​on​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​take​ ​it​ ​off.​
​As​ ​the​ ​years​ ​progressed and​ ​the​ ​SPARTANs​ ​got​
​more​ ​used​ ​to​ ​the​ ​armor,​ ​however,​ ​they​ ​were​ ​able​
​to​ ​take​ ​it​ ​apart​ ​on​ ​a smaller​ ​scale​ ​(things​
​such​ ​as​ ​removing​ ​a​ ​shoulder​ ​plate)​ ​As​ ​far​
​as​ ​we​ ​know,​ ​Kurt​ ​(the SPARTAN-II​ ​who​ ​trained​ ​the​
​SPARTAN-IIIs)​ ​is​ ​the​ ​only​ ​SPARTAN​ ​who​ ​knows​ ​how​
​and​ ​is​ ​able to​ ​take​ ​his​ ​armor​ ​off​ ​and​
​put​ ​it​ ​on​ ​by​ ​himself;​ ​the​ ​other​ ​SPARTANS​ ​know​
​how​ ​to​ ​take​ ​off​ ​bits and​ ​pieces,​ ​but​ ​have​
​no​ ​idea​ ​how​ ​to​ ​disassemble​ ​the​ ​torso,​ ​shoulder​ ​and​
​leg​ ​parts.This​ ​was necessary​ ​on​ ​the​ ​off​
​chance​ ​that​ ​a​ ​SPARTAN​ ​might​ ​need​ ​to​ ​make​
​repairs​ ​in​ ​the​ ​field​ ​(as​ ​seen in​ ​Halo:​ ​The​
​Flood,​ ​when​ ​a​ ​combat​ ​form​ ​maims​ ​Chief’s​ ​shoulder​
​and​ ​he​ ​momentarily​ ​removes the​ ​armor​ ​plating​ ​to​
​repair​ ​it). So​ ​if​ ​Master​ ​Chief​ ​were​
​to​ ​fall​ ​into​ ​deep​ ​water,​ ​he​ ​wouldn’t​ ​feasibly​
​be​ ​able​ ​to​ ​take​ ​enough​ ​of​ ​it off,​ ​quickly​ ​enough,​
​to​ ​avoid​ ​sinking​ ​to​ ​the​ ​bottom​ ​of​ ​the​
​ocean. Even​ ​if​ ​he​ ​could​ ​take​
​his​ ​armor​ ​off​ ​completely,​ ​he​ ​still​ ​may​ ​not​ ​be​
​buoyant​ ​depending​ ​on​ ​the body​ ​of​ ​water​ ​he​ ​fell​
​into​ ​and​ ​would​ ​eventually​ ​sink​ ​and​ ​drown,​ ​just​
​a​ ​much​ ​slower​ ​death,​ ​so taking​ ​his​ ​armor​ ​off​
​wouldn’t​ ​necessarily​ ​be​ ​a​ ​helpful​ ​thing​ ​anyway​
​depending​ ​on​ ​the​ ​situation. Obviously​ ​Dr.​ ​Halsey,​ ​the​
​creator​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Spartans,​ ​wouldn’t​ ​overlook​ ​this​
​sort​ ​of​ ​obvious​ ​design flaw,​ ​right?​ ​She​ ​must​
​have​ ​designed​ ​something​ ​for​ ​the​ ​suit​ ​to​ ​combat​
​this. Well​ ​It​ ​is​ ​a​ ​sealed​
​system,​ ​so​ ​he​ ​won’t​ ​drown​ ​right​ ​off​ ​the​
​bat.​ ​That’s​ ​good. He​ ​has​ ​integrated​ ​thruster​
​packs,​ ​but​ ​they​ ​would​ ​not​ ​work​ ​underwater​ ​very​
​well​ ​and​ ​they​ ​are limited​ ​use​ ​and​ ​cannot​ ​be​
​relied​ ​on​ ​for​ ​long​ ​term​ ​buoyancy.​ ​They​ ​were​
​really​ ​designed​ ​for​ ​use in​ ​space,​ ​and​ ​limited​
​maneuvering​ ​in​ ​normal​ ​atmosphere. The​ ​Mjolnir​ ​MK​ ​VII​ ​was​
​an​ ​armor​ ​system​ ​mentioned​ ​by​ ​Dr.​ ​Halsey​ ​in​ ​her​
​personal​ ​journal.​ ​It would​ ​appear​ ​to​ ​be​ ​the​ ​last​
​planned​ ​phase​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Mjolnir​ ​project.​ ​At​ ​the​
​time​ ​the​ ​Mjolnir​ ​project began,​ ​Halsey​ ​had​ ​planned​
​on​ ​the​ ​MK​ ​VII​ ​suit​ ​featuring​ ​the​ ​following​
​upgrades: Limited​ ​shaping​ ​of​ ​the​ ​energy​ ​shield​ ​(partial​
​overlaps,​ ​airfoils​ ​etc.).​ ​The​ ​energy​ ​shield​ ​could​
​be shaped​ ​to​ ​increase​ ​hydrodynamics,​ ​but​ ​it​ ​wouldn’t​ ​help​
​much​ ​as​ ​the​ ​shaping​ ​of​ ​the​ ​energy​ ​field would​
​be​ ​quite​ ​limited,​ ​nor​ ​is​ ​drag​ ​when​ ​moving​
​forward​ ​the​ ​issue.​ ​The​ ​issue​ ​is​ ​involuntarily moving​
​downwards​ ​in​ ​a​ ​body​ ​of​ ​water,​ ​so​ ​this​
​wouldn’t​ ​help​ ​at​ ​all. It​ ​doesn’t​ ​appear​ ​that​
​anybody​ ​actually​ ​developed​ ​the​ ​Spartan​ ​suits​ ​with​
​water​ ​survivability​ ​in mind,​ ​sorry​ ​Chief. Let’s​ ​say​ ​Dr​ ​Halsey​
​and​ ​the​ ​Spartan​ ​program​ ​tasked​ ​us​ ​with​ ​the​
​water​ ​survivability​ ​of​ ​these suits.​ ​What​ ​could​ ​we​
​do​ ​with​ ​modern​ ​technology​ ​to​ ​keep​ ​Spartans​ ​from​
​drowning​ ​and​ ​sinking​ ​to their​ ​deaths,​ ​how​ ​can​
​we​ ​help​ ​them​ ​achieve​ ​some​ ​buoyancy? First​ ​off​ ​i’m​ ​curious,​
​how​ ​fast​ ​will​ ​Master​ ​Chief​ ​sink​ ​in​ ​water? We​ ​would​ ​need​ ​to​ ​calculate​
​the​ ​terminal​ ​velocity​ ​of​ ​master​ ​chief​ ​in​ ​armor​
​with​ ​the​ ​presence​ ​of​ ​a buoyancy​ ​force.​ ​Turns​
​out​ ​it’s​ ​a​ ​really​ ​not​ ​simple​ ​equation:
Terminal​ ​Velocity​ ​of​ ​Master​ ​Chief​ ​in​ ​saltwater​ ​is​
​8m/s​ ​or​ ​26​ ​feet/s​ ​=​ ​sqrt​ ​((4​ ​*​ ​gravity​
​of​ ​9.8​ ​m/s2 *​ ​diameter​ ​of​ ​Master​ ​Chief​ ​sinking​
​in​ ​a​ ​vertical​ ​pencil​ ​dive​ ​​ ​would​ ​be​ ​0.56​
​m​ ​*​ ​(he​ ​has​ ​a​ ​density
of​ ​8210​ ​kg​ ​/​ ​m3​ ​-​ ​saltwater​ ​density​ ​of​
​1027​ ​kg/m3))​ ​/​ ​(3​ ​*​ ​.8​ ​drag​ ​coefficient​
​of​ ​human​ ​in​ ​feet​ ​first pencil​ ​dive​ ​*​ ​saltwater​
​density​ ​of​ ​1027​ ​kg/m3)) So​ ​if​ ​you​ ​threw​ ​a​
​standard​ ​cast​ ​iron​ ​dumbbell​ ​into​ ​the​ ​ocean,​ ​Master​
​Chief​ ​would​ ​sink​ ​about twice​ ​as​ ​fast​ ​as​ ​that.​
​Yep,​ ​he’s​ ​screwed​ ​without​ ​us.​ ​Here’s​ ​the​ ​real​
​reason​ ​he​ ​is​ ​so​ ​screwed, and​ ​it’s​ ​not​ ​him​ ​drowning​
​or​ ​being​ ​crushed​ ​by​ ​water​ ​pressure.

6 thoughts on “Can Master Chief Swim? (Part 1) (Game Science!)”

  1. Part 1 is up! If you want to know what really happens to Master Chief when he crash lands in the ocean, hit the play button. Stay tuned for Part 2 where we get in-depth with how exactly Master Chief is screwed, and what we can do to make him effective in the water!

  2. There is literally a Spartan armor model designed for water. It's called oceanic. Other models are not suited for water.

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