They may have had some major political reasons to do that, though this would be rather iffy given the desire to kill a high value target they had no rational reason to think would be standing on the landing platform.The Romulan Republic wrote: The torpedo performance was embarrassing. By all rights, they should have been able to glass the base and everything for a few miles around with that one hit, going off of the old numbers. Unless we presume they were using weaker munitions to prevent collateral damage, which I suppose is possible.
Sorta yes, sorta no, because while the large scale mass ejection demands a high energy imput, the fact that it's moving so slow raises major problems with the idea that the beam is a pure thermal-KE weapon subject to simplistic calculation. A slow moving chain reaction is actually a somewhat compliant idea with how you might get such a slow moving blast wave. However we'll need a blu-ray exam to find out how slow slow actually is, and we never see the blast finish so we cannot judge the true crater depth or how much of the effect was induced from the direct blast and how much was from the rebound of the impact.
But on the plus side for Star Wars debaters... wasn't their a Trek argument, back in the day, that the Death Star blast worked by means other than raw firepower, such as a chain reaction? Shouldn't the detailed footage of the blasts undermine that?
Course Alderaan blewup at up to 10% of the speed of light, so end of the day it changes nothing in practical terms for the actual effectiveness of the Death Star. It does suggest that scaling anything about other SW capabilities based on the Death Star is dubious, but I've long felt that way a long time anyway because we don't know anything useful about how turbolasers work in the first place and thus how they might scale. Are all bolts the same except for scale, or does say, velocity serious affect the behavior like it does for real life ammunition. Do turbolasers have proof limits? Don't know, but it'd matter a great deal.
But yeah I mean, knock a few orders of magntitude off the Death Star firepower, and that 1E38 joules figure IIRC does not account for the explody-ring, and it's still just stupid powerful. Scaling might even work in favor of smaller weapons, not bigger ones, though that is unlikely.