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In the film Independence Day there is the scene where a military guy attempts to shoot an object off the captured alien spacecraft in the US military hanger. Upon firing his gun a force field instantly appears and deflects the bullet off (and in reality probably into someone’s face). Yet this same force field allowed an object to be placed on the spaceship in the first place.

My question is, how does the shield differentiate between the bullet and someone walking through it? Velocity? Velocity x mass? I always thought a far easier way to destroy the mothership was to very slowly parachute a nuke onto it.

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I'm afraid your plan is doomed to fail. The force-field seems to entirely prevent solid matter from passing through it, regardless of velocity.

From the original script, David places the can, then (and only then) is the force-field is turned on by a nearby technician:

Grabbing a coke can from the "recycle" trash bin, David places the empty can on top of the alien attacker. David turns and faces the gathering.

DAVID: Could anyone please step back away from the craft?

They do and David nods to a Technician inside the craft. The Technician disappears inside, closing the door behind him. A loud HUM emits from the craft. David has to yell over it.

The same scene appears in the film's official novelisation

David reached into a trash receptacle and fished out a soda can.

“We’ll just recycle this guy,” he said to himself, trotting back to the attacker and reaching up to set the can on the tip of the wing. When he returned to the observation platform, he waved a signal to the technician sitting behind the windows of the attacker. The man hit a switch, then gave David a thumbs up.

For the record, in all versions the bullet ends up ricocheting off the shield and hitting the metal catwalk above. Its final resting place is unknown.


As pizzaholic81 has mentioned, the Harvester ship seen in Independence Day: Resurgence ploughs straight through a massive debris field. Solid objects simply bounce off it.

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  • Supporting Valorum's theory, recall the Harvester ship in Resurgence plowing through the debris field of the mothership. – pizzaholic81 Apr 28 '17 at 22:04

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