"Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor!" bellows Odin during 2011’s award-winning Marvel superhero flick Thor. Which sounds about right considering that Mjölnir, if it existed, would weigh some 4.5 quadrillion pounds…
According to the film, Mjölnir was forged from a dying star, and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has decided to work out what a gigantic hammer made of star stuff would actually weigh.
It turns out it's rather a lot. According to the scientist, who took to Twitter to announce his findings: “If Thor's hammer is made of neutron-star matter, implied by legend, then it weighs as much as a herd of 300-billion elephants.”
Tyson also posted a snap of himself wielding Mjölnir to demonstrate that he’d made use of the weapon’s correct dimensions while making his calculation.
Neutron stars, which are formed by the gravitational collapse of massive stars, are two to three times the mass of the sun but compact enough to fit into an area of about 369 km². Apparently a teaspoon full of neutron star matter would weigh as much as a mountain.
But despite Tyson's scientific credentials, Twitter commentators were quick to pick holes in the physicist’s claims, demanding to know the species and age of elephant Tyson used for his comparison and wondering whether or not he included the weight of Mjölnir’s handle.
He’s yet to respond but, pedantry aside, Tyson’s claim shows that Thor really is worthy of the title 'superhero'.
And the long haired Norse god will be back on the big screen later this year, played by Chris Hemsworth in Thor: the Dark World, which is scheduled for relase in November.