BB-8 has already won 2015 despite Star Wars: The Force Awakens not coming out yet, but apparently not everyone is won over. In an interview with Wired, NASA Jet Propulsion Lab roboticist Brett Kennedy posits the theory that (gasp) our favorite little soccer ball droid isn’t actually fit for space travel!
BB-8 may have rolled into our hearts without any trouble, but according to Kennedy, physics would work against his cute li’l shape in most situations: “If you can imagine rolling a soccer ball along it, that’s a good surface for it. But how many places do you think you have enough flat ground where you can actually roll a soccer ball?” It did make me consider that so far we’ve only really seen BB-8 on the planet of Jakku, wherever Maz Kanata’s castle is, and in the typical R2-unit copilot spot in an X-wing. So, does that mean he won’t be able to handle more difficult terrain, limiting how much we’ll get to see him in the movie?
But there’s one thing that Kennedy didn’t consider:
BB-8 + bag = your argument is invalid. As long as the bag holds out, at least.
Now, Kennedy isn’t anti-droid, by any means: He’s got more vintage tastes, discussing the various capabilities of R2-D2 and C-3PO and how they relate to real-world tech. Of course, those two also had their fair share of rust-inducing adventures on Tatooine in A New Hope. So the real lesson is—the droids find a way!