'Solo' Gave a Name to the Fuel for Hyperspace Travel

Interstellar travel is still mostly science-fiction, but at least there's a name for fuel.

In Solo: A Star Wars Story, a roguish pilot cons his way through a distant galaxy for one thing: coaxium. Well, actually, he did it all for a girl, but coaxium was the key to a life of freedom far, far away.

While it sounds vaguely sci-fi, “coaxium” is precious fuel that allows anyone in Star Wars to travel vast distances through hyperspace. Because in the Star Wars universe, hyperspace travel is a fact of life. You see it all the time in the films, whenever Han says “Punch it!” and Chewie is all “Rrrr-ghgh!”

But in our real world, hyperspace is still fiction as our laws of physics are still bound by four dimensions (the fourth being time). Many physicists, however, posit that hyperspace could exist outside beyond the four dimensions. So travel through hyperspace means we as a species are capable of proving the laws of physics, as we know them now, to be wrong.

Unfortunately there is nothing on Earth equal to coaxium. There is no substance in which a whole cargo’s worth is more than enough to power a fleet, or blow away those unlucky to be near it to hell. It’s easier to find a metal that resembles Vibranium from Black Panther more than anything like coaxium. Highly combustible and meant to be kept at room temperature, coaxium is expensive and rare, making it the perfect score for smugglers and thieves.

But for a certain Rebel Alliance, coaxium is even more valuable than that.

When Alden Ehrenreich’s Han comes across “about sixty million credits worth” of refined coaxium, the intimidating Enfys Nest (Erin Kellyman) tells him it’s actually “the blood that brings life to something new.”

“Yeah, what?” Solo asks. Enfys replies, “A rebellion.”

Neat! And in the future, when we do discover a fuel powerful enough to travel through hyperspace, hopefully, the person who discovers it is a big enough nerd to name it coaxium.

This December, Inverse is counting down the 20 best science moments in science fiction this year. This has been #13.

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