Although Marvel’s keeping a pretty tight lid on Avengers: Endgame, fans are still doing their best to theorize how the team will stop Thanos. One such theory postulates that Ant-Man might enter the supervillain’s backside, expand, and explode out of him. Now, Nerdists‘ Kyle Hill, the host of Because Science, suggests that although this plan might not be as crazy as it seems, it probably wouldn’t work in the Avengers universe.
In the video — which Hill cleverly calls Avengers: Rear Endgame — he suggests that Thanos doesn’t have to explode for this Ant-Man move to kill him. If Ant-Man really entered Thanos’ colon, all he would have to do is perforate the bowel tissue, or tear through it. Bowel perforation is an severe injury because many species of bacteria live inside your guts doing beneficial, harmful, and neutral things. But if they get out into your surrounding body tissues, they can cause deadly infections. The approximate mortality rate is between 11 and 81 percent, which means that perforation could be enough to defeat Thanos.
But can Ant-Man get into Thanos’ butt? Hill says he can.
“If Ant-Man can access with his suit the so-called quantum realm, which is the universe on the very smallest scales, he should be able to easily move between the spaces of say clothing fibres on the millimeter scale and even skin cells of organisms on the micrometer scale.”
He highlights that the Ant-Man suit has allowed the user to pass between the metal atoms of a missile’s casing.
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Once Ant-Man enters Thanos’ butt, Hill says that Ant-Man might expand by pressing outwardly on the air around him, which is easy because air isn’t very heavy and doesn’t provide much resistance to outward expansion. But the tightened colon of Thanos would offer more resistant force to Ant-Man.
Hill estimates the forces, and concludes that if the tension created in the walls of Thanos’ colon by Ant-Man’s expansion exceeds the ultimate tensile strength of colon tissue, the colon will rupture — and the Ant-Man move will work.
Scientific research suggests that 0.9 million Newtons per square meter are needed to rupture the human colon, which isn’t that much in the overall scheme of tensile strength. But how much pressure does Ant-Man exert on the colon around him? And does Ant-Man actually apply force to things when he enlarges? The movie isn’t clear on this, which poses a problem — even Rudd doesn’t know the answer to the question.
Hill concludes that more often than not, enlarging provides some force. He estimates that 2.5 pounds per square inch is the pressure value that Ant-Man must press across every square inch of his body — and thus on Thanos’ colon walls. The tension value needed is 0.2 megapascals, which is four times less than the ultimate tensile strength of human colon tissue.
“And so, if our assumptions, estimates, and calculations are reasonable, no, Ant-Man would not be able to just fly into Thanos’ colon, expand, and defeat him from the inside out.”
Hill concludes that if Ant-Man tried, he would get stuck in Thanos’ colon at a size equal to Thanos’ colon.