Star Wars Fans Building a Full Scale Replica of the Millennium Falcon


Star Wars geek extraordinaire, Chris Lee, is building a full scale replica of the Millennium Falcon an hour outside Nashville. And who doesn’t love the “fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy?”

In Star Wars, Han Solo won the Falcon—a freighter with a “few special modifications”—in a game of Sabacc with Lando Calrissian. He used it to smuggle goods, transport a young Luke Skywalker, and fight the ultimate battle between good and evil. The ship is, of course, legendary on the silver screen. And now it’ll emerge from the depths of space and time in Tennessee.

Lee’s replica will be 114 feet long (50% the length of a Boeing 747) and 81.5 feet across. The frame will consist of steel, plywood, and fiberglass and will be as close to spec as possible—quad laser cannons to dejarik table.

To accomplish this feat, the team painstakingly rendered and reconciled detailed blueprints. No trivial matter—Hollywood doesn’t generally concern itself with reality. A prime challenge, for example, was that the exterior and interior dimensions didn’t match in the original blueprints.

The project may strike you as slightly Quixotic. And it may be. To finish it, Lee’s team needs all the help they can get—funding, building, assembling. They’re crowd sourcing expertise and labor and selling t-shirts to support the effort. Folks from England, to Norway, to New Zealand have contributed.

In all likelihood the ship won’t be complete for at least 5-7 years. But when (and if) that golden day comes, the Millennium Falcon will land in a clearing on an 88 acre parcel of land in the Tennessee countryside. The Falcon will be visible from several vantage points around the property. And from space too. In fact, Lee is counting on a Google Maps screen capture upon completion.

Is this geekdom gone wild? Yes, yes it is. But there’s more than simply the desire to build the biggest, baddest sci-fi model of all time. Lee hopes to found a maker camp for kids. Campers will come from across the empire and learn to weld and wire just like Anakin. And maybe even contribute a component or two to the Falcon herself. If you can’t wait five years to see the final product, see here for the Full Scale Millennium Falcon Project’s 3D animated tours of the Falcon’s interior and exterior:

Star Wars Fans Building a Full Scale Replica of the Millennium Falcon

Besse Cooper, World’s Oldest Person, Dies at 116. 114 year old Iowan Dina Manfredini is new record holder.

Besse Cooper, Paul Cooper


The 116-year-old woman believed to be the oldest person in the world passed away yesterday afternoon.

The Associated Press reported that Besse Cooper, a retired Georgia school teacher with a passion for politics, died quietly in her bed at a Monroe, Ga. nursing home about an hour’s drive from Atlanta. Cooper had recently battled stomach flu, but she had reportedly recovered by Monday. On Tuesday, Cooper had her hair set and watched a Christmas movie, but then she experienced breathing problems. She expired at about 2 p.m. after receiving oxygen.

“With her hair fixed it looked like she was ready to go,” Sidney Cooper, Besse Cooper’s 77-year-old son, told the AP.

(MORE: World’s Oldest Dad, 96, Fathers Another Child)

The younger Cooper said his mother was a determined, strong and intelligent individual. CNN reported that just five years after her birth in 1896, Besse Cooper started walking from her family’s Sullivan County, Tenn. log cabin to school in order to make sure one of her brothers got to class. Her time in the classroom developed into a love for school, and she eventually studied education at Johnson City’s East Tennessee Normal School (now East Tennessee State University).

After graduation, she started teaching in Tennessee for $35 an hour, but she moved to Monroe during World War I after her friend informed her she could make more money in the Peach State, according to CNN.

In addition to her appreciation for education, Besse Cooper also developed a fondness for politics. CNN reported she joined the suffrage movement when she was 24, speaking about the importance of having a voice in politics and registering women to vote. After the 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote, she never missed a chance to cast her ballot — except twice (In 2012 and in 1948, when she and her husband — who died in 1963 — believed Thomas Dewey would easily win).

Sidney Cooper told CNN that his mother cherished her 80s most out of the nearly 12 decades she lived. He said she loved to garden, watch the news on TV and read — despite her declining eyesight. But Besse Cooper still had it going on, even during the last years of her life. As an 111-year-old, she impressed Robert Young, Guinness senior consultant for gerontology, with her abilities.

“It’s a sad day for me,” Young told AP of Besse Cooper’s death. “At that age she was doing really well, she was able to read books.”

AP reported the supercentenarian was distinguished as the oldest person on the planet in January 2011. In May of the same year, however, Guinness World Records discovered another woman who was 48 days older, Brazilian Maria Gomes Valentin. After Valentin died the following month, Cooper reclaimed the honor no other Georgian has ever received. She told Guinness in 2012 that her secret to longevity was staying out of others’ business and abstaining from junk food.

Besse Cooper’s death makes 115-year-old Dina Manfredini, who lives in Johnston, Iowa, the new record holder. Only seven other people in history have bested Besse Cooper’s time on this Earth — 116 years and 100 days, according to Guinness. The oldest person ever documented — France’s Jeanne Calment, who passed away in 1997, lived to be 122.
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Tennessee couple discovers that they’ve been using a 4 billion year-old, extremely valuable meteorite as their doorstop

The rock is nothing much to look at: 33 pounds and oval shaped. If you didn’t know its history, you probably wouldn’t be surprised that Donna Lewis’s family used it as a doorstop, later parking it in the front garden.

It was even painted green for a time.

As it turned out, this was no ordinary rock. On Thursday, Donna and her husband George formally announced that the family rock picked out of a cow pasture in the 1930 is in fact a meteorite, Fox News reported.

Researchers from the University of Tennessee believe the ancient and very valuable rock came from a known meteorite strike that first turned up evidence in Tazewell, Tenn. in 1853.

According to Arizona State University’s Center for Meteorite Studies, a meteorite is a solid body from outer space that has fallen to the Earth’s surface. The Lewis meteorite is classified as a “find” by the center, since it was not observed falling to earth but rather was recognized after the fact by its distinct features.

George Lewis first started to suspect his rock might be special after running a metal detector over it in May. To his surprise, the detector’s dial registered “overload,” reports the Lexington Herald-Leader.

After confirming the rock’s other worldly pedigree, Eastern Kentucky University purchased it, for eventual display in the school’s new Science’s building.

EKU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy Chairman, Jerry Cook, says the meteorite will be at the Kentucky Academy of Science annual conference on campus Friday and Saturday, the Associated Press reported.

“We’re extremely lucky to find something like this,” Cook said, according to an EKU press release, ” and to find one locally is a real plus for us.” The rock is estimated to be more than 4 and a half billion years old.

In addition to being extremely rare, meteorites of this size are also valuable. In an October auction, cosmic rocks for sale had price tags ranging from the tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to the Associated Press.