Mythbusters To Test Star Trek’s Gorn Cannon

Finally someone is going to test the Star Trek cannon (that is ‘cannon’ with two n’s). Mythbusters, the Discover Channel show that puts urban legends (and TV & movie magic) to the test, is finally going to take on Star Trek. Specifically they are going to test the feasibility of the cannon that Captain James T. Kirk built to defeat the Gorn in the original series Star Trek episode "Arena"


Gorn Cannon!
In "Arena" Captain Kirk and a Gorn Captain are pulled off their ships by superbeings (the Metrons) and put onto a planet to fight it out old school. Eventually Kirk finds the ingredients for gunpowder (potassium nitrate, sulfur and coal) and uses them to create a makeshift cannon from some kind of bamboo-like plant with diamonds as his projectile. Here is the final scene:

The plausibility of this scene is certainly up for debate and had been submitted to Mythbusters for a test by a fan. Yesterday Grant Imahara, one of the Mythbusters, reported (on his Twitter page), that he was going to discuss the gorn cannon idea at a story meeting and he was watching “Arena” to get ready. He later posted an image from the meeting (see below). Then, after the meeting he reported the good news:

YesssssKirk!!! It’s official. #Gorncannon is a go for next season’s Viewer’s Special. Thanks to all fans 4 your help! :)

Today Imahara tweeted that he ordered a Starfleet uniform (appropriately in science blue), and that the show’s crash test dummy “Buster” will be getting a red shirt.

Grant Imahara pitches Gorn Cannon for Mythbusters
(photo: Grant Imahara)

The Mythbusters are actually experts in make-shift cannons, having created them from a variety of materials over the years. Here are just a couple of examples: the first a cannon made out of a log, and the second is one using non-dairy creamer:


Fore more about Mythbusters, visit You can watch the entire episode of "Arena" online at YouTube.




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Can’t wait to see that!



I always wondered if that canon Kirk made was actually possible, can’t wait to see the Mythbuster’s take on it!

That is cool! I will watch that but will not be surprised if it is “Busted”.

That’s awesome..for all you cannon freaks..ha ha….
love that show!!!!

Nice! This ought to be fun :)

Sounds like fun!

Cannon=like a big gun

Canon=the real Star Trek or ‘fill in the blank’

I hope Anthony will tell us when that episode airs (I’ve seen it once or twice, but I’m not a regular viewer).

That is definite TiVo-worthy material.

“Yes… good…good… He knows, Doctor. He has reasoned it out!”

I CAN NOT WAIT to see this! Poor Buster!

Am I the only one who is wondering if Kari will be in an Uhura miniskirt and go-go boots?

Also: I would LOVE to see them make a rubber Gorn to shoot the thing at… you know… for realism.

I bet they say lie and say it aint possible just to prevent Jackass-like amateur attempts to recreate the #Gorncannon in real-life

Didn’t he put huge diamonds in the cannon? I am curious how they want to copy that. ;-)

Hopefully we will see the Gorns in the next Star Trek movie. Usually we didn’t see aliens, which are really different looking than humans, in Star Trek movies. Most have just different face features. Gorns in the next movie would be cool. Especially if they look more like the ones in ENT and not like the one in TOS.

@11 – um, no … now that you’ve brought it up …

Good deal! I’ve always wondered whether that cannon scenario was plausible. Looking forward to it!

There is no way to weigh or ascertain the exact quantity or quality of elements inserted into the cannon. This would be an educated guess at best. Just don’t look into the barrel when it goes off!

Damnit! And I will probably have to wait months until I can see it here >_<


My guess is that bamboo is not nearly strong enough to withstand any type of explosion. Then again, who says it was bamboo?

Could have been some incredible alien fiber that just looks like bamboo but is actually stronger than steel!

Can we see Kari in the starfleet mini-skirt please? thats my only request! Thanks!

Kewl, we have to see this!


Hey. This will be great. Anthony. You havt to give us the Update for the Show. I like that the Buster the Gorn will be wearing a red shirt and Grant will be in a Blue shirt. Now thats Cannon. or Canon. Lol. Ha Ha!!!.

Man, I have been waiting for them to do this on MB for ever!

awesome, I like to think I helped with this, I requested it many times

The gorn didnt respect cannon!!!!

Maybe they should test the rock Cpt Kirk pushes off the cliff to crush the Gorn….if they can find a foam rubber rock. I have to admit, ever since I was a kid and saw that on TV in the 60’s. I had that in the back of my mind to try this in some survival test but never had the need as I never had any Gorns around when you need them.


Don’t think it necessarily requires REAL diamonds. They were only used as the projectiles, if I remember right.

And if the bamboo doesn’t hold up, you can always argue that it was super-strong ALIEN bamboo. LOL

From my own experiences/experiments, back as a kid with a chemistry set, there is one major setback for why this wouldn’t work as depicted in “Arena.”

The ingredients that Kirk found to make the black powder (sulfur, potassium nitrate & coal) were all dry. In order to create a fast-burning mixture, the ingredients need to be fully moistened, then dried, followed by grinding the product into fine powder. Without the water acting as bonding agent, all you have is some non-explosive, coarse dust.

I second the request for Kari in a TOS miniskirt. :D

This is going to be awesome with a capital AWE.

You just know if the first cannon doesn’t work, they’ll make another, bigger one. And then another. And another. No matter what, Buster’s definately going down. HARD. *rubs hands evilly*

…In any case, this is bound to make an interesting Mythbusters episode.

Who needs those MB clowns to test this?

Any REAL fan made a Gorn cannon by the spring of 1967.

And we found that beer cans work better than bamboo. Later we found that PVC pipe worked a lot better and potatoes were even better than diamonds for ammo.

On alien planets, beer cans, potatoes, lighter fluid and PVC pipe may be laying around barren areas of rock in piles just like bamboo, potassium nitrate, sulfur, charcoal and giant diamonds. ;-)

This is great, I LOVE Mythbusters! I will be watching, for sure. Glad to see them do something Trek!


You bring back memories. I am suprised we didn’t kill ourselves in the late sixties!


In light of this announcement, I thought it was time to dust off this old chestnut:

The cannonistas will be outraged!

Next, I’d love to see Mythbusters make a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bearskins.

#34 “I am suprised we didn’t kill ourselves in the late sixties!”

‘That which does not kill us, makes us stronger’ – Friedrich Nietzsche

There’s an funny unhealthy obsession with the Gorn on this website. I mean, one ep in TOS, and one in ENT, and I think the Gorn almost rivals Khan as a candidate for the next film’s antagonist.

Whatever happened to the Mugatu?

Despite the list on the white board, no way are these guys going to touch off their makeshift cannon with a flint-struck spark and a piece of cloth. They are *very* safety conscious. LOL

I don’t know about US television / movies but here in germany stations have a gents agreement not to show CORRECTLY how you make weapons or harm yourself – for example if someone on screen cuts his/her wrist its ALWAYS shown the wrong way.

If thats true for 60s TS TV also this cannon should not work as shown in Arena – but maybe will work with some slight modifications.

Guys, I couldn’t care less if the “canon Gorn cannon” is busted or proven.

I just think its incredibly cool that Star Trek is THIS HOT again!!!

Can’t wait for the episode!!!

Holy crap yes!!!! XD

Way to go Imahara!

– 24thCRS!

“I know! You construct a weapon. Look around, can you form some sort of rudimentary lathe? ” -Guy, GQ

Now, where are they going to get the diamonds for the canon?

this is totally gonna get busted

I agree, it’ll probably get busted, but I’m sure we’ll all enjoy the process.

Any idea when this episode will air?

I could argue about bamboo or diamonds, and other things. Just remember what was said by the Metrons, they are the creators/providers of all that is to be on the asteroid that Kirk and the Gorn battle on, so the Metrons who are Demi Gods can make matter and let the elements have any property values they desire.

The whole point of the story humanity can think and create, they may be more mobile and quicker than repiles. But it is the thinking brain that gives us the advantage in many things. But it is our emotional choices that let us become benign and not kill that grants us to one day become GOD like. As where we still have a reptilian brain in our heads, it is though our Frontal Lobes that can control the Reptile still in us.

But their is one part of the Reptilian brain that still can over power the Human Brain, and that part is labeled our Sex Drive. Until we can over rule that Humanity may never become extinct. Weapons and stupidity may override that survival factor before our minds learn to control things.

Or until Lesbians learn that we can now convert human stem cells into valid sperm cells, which can now possible make the male an benign factor in human life.

Were any Gorn harmed in the making of this film?

This is cool! I can’t wait to see it. I love Mythbusters.

Yeah, Kari is HOT. Please have her in the Starfleet mini!!