Dec. 9, 2010 at 11:47 AM ET
On Wednesday night’s “Mythbusters,” President Barack Obama issued a familiar challenge to hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman — test whether or not Greek physicist, engineer and math geek Archimedes actually torched ships with a massive solar heat ray.
Sure, it sounds cool and some dusty texts even hint that the weapon not only existed, it came in handy during the Siege of Syracuse, but the “Mythbusters” gang had already tested (and "busted") it twice before. So why try again?
Other than the obvious answer — because the commander-in-chief said so — limitations in the previous tests were criticized by science and history buffs alike. This time around, the test included one element not considered before — manpower. With the help of 500 eager students and just as many mirrors, the all-new ray was put to the test.
The third time wasn’t lucky for the solar ray, as the myth was busted once again — for now.