Ways cutting-edge technology from right now can turn your planet’s garbage into useful goods, brought to you by the National Science Foundation

Any Jawa can dismantle a starship. But to do so quickly, cheaply and efficiently before being interrupted by Stormtroopers (or Stormtroopers pretending to be Sand People), you need the right tools. Luckily you can use new tech that’s already available in a galaxy not-so-far away.

Citizens of every star system may find these tips taken from real, fundamental science and engineering research useful.

  1. Survey your Star Destroyer.
    Whether it’s been nose-deep in sand for 30 years or just fell from the sky after an epic space battle, the most valuable equipment can be hard to find. Laser-scanning technology, like that used in innovative geospatial research in archaeology, could help find it.
  2. Hide, watch and wait.
    Are remnants of the Galactic Empire looking for their lost Destroyer? You may want to lay low for a while. Take a page from NSF-funded mathematicians and engineers: bend light and cloak yourself.
  3. Send in the robots.
    Who knows the danger waiting inside a Star Destroyer? Robots especially designed to scout unfriendly terrain are the perfect advance team.
  4. Pick your goods and sort them.
    Plastic, metal, carbonite – rebels and young Jedi can’t be picky when it comes to materials, so the more recyclable, the better. Use improved multi-sensor sorting technology, like this one being developed by an NSF-funded business, to identify valuable, easily recycled goods.
  5. Identify the parts.
    Does the Empire use bar codes or RFID? It would be uncivilized not to. Scan and identify useful components quickly thanks to NSF-funded bar code technology.
  6. Download the data.
    Time to see what the Empire is up to. But who knows what malware Imperial Security has developed? Before you plug into a port, protect yourself with the latest in cybersecurity.
  7. Find a buyer and ship.
    Systems engineers know how to design efficient supply-and-demand logistics, such as this food bank distribution system. Have your R2 unit run a few computations and match parts with those who need them.


Following these tips can take your salvage business from a junk shop on Tatooine to the upper levels of Coruscant.

[image of Star Destroyer courtesy of Star Wars, Lucasfilm Ltd.]