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Here's an image of some airship in the John Carter movie.

John Carter

The way they fly doesn't seam to be explainable on the basis of any know aeronautic principle.

So, how do they fly?

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Any flying Barsoomian technology does so by manipulating the forces of the Eight Ray. The Eight Ray is emitted by planets and other massive objects, so it can be assumed to the Barsoomian equivalent of gravity. The flying technology of the Red People is able to control and manipulate the Eight Ray for flight.

Their vehicles have less of a need for aerodynamic principles like fully functioning wings when they are manipulating the fundamental force of gravity. They would still need a thrust mechanism and some means of dealing with changing direction, which explains the sails on each wing which may help with tacking and direction changing as well as adding or becoming potential thrust.

  • Did I then misinterpret the movie, or did they change how flight worked for that adaptation? To me it seemed they explained that the air vehicles rode on light (explaining why they had to fly lower at night, less light). – Xantec Jun 10 '12 at 5:42
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    @Xantec, I think it was because the solar panels (I assume that's what the blue scales are) are what power the machinery that controls the 8th Ray and the maneuvering/thrust mechanisms. – Teknophilia Jun 10 '12 at 16:45
  • That makes sense. Thanks. – Xantec Jun 11 '12 at 11:30

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