I was recently reading a book titled “The Physics of Superheroes” by James Kakalios. I was dismayed to discover that there was no scientific basis for the wavelength differential between a red sun and a yellow sun imbuing anyone with special powers, which placed Superman in the realm of fantasy fiction rather than science fiction. Superman fan that I am, this disturbed me as I prefer to think of Superman as plausible.
So, my brain popped out a scientific reason why the yellow sun could provide superman with all his special powers.
It all takes place inside the Kryptonian cell, which we all know acts much like a battery absorbing energy. The belief is that the cell absorbs the energy from the yellow sun. In actuality, the cell is absorbing energy from its own internal biological microscopic gyroscope lurking inside the Kryptonian mitochondria (something which would live inside all Kryptonian organisms). This micro-gyroscope has a dual purpose of creating energy, and creating a small anti-gravitational force which helps Kryptonian organisms survive on a planet of such great mass.
Add yellow sun to the cell, and the cell wall emits a Kryptonian melanin-like enzyme, Catalyst-K, to protect the cell. This enzyme enervates every aspect of the cell, including the mitochondria, sending the gyroscope into overdrive. The resultant power increase and anti-gravitational force emitted by the cell grows exponentially creating a field around the cell that is virtually impenetrable, yet still conducts the energy between cells through the entirety of the entity at an accelerated rate, allowing for super-fast neural connections, super-health, among other features.
In an entity like Superman, the sheer number of cells generating anti-gravitational forces would make him impervious, capable of near infinite speeds, provide him extraordinary strength (which you might wonder, “is it really strength or did he generate a field that made something else lighter?”) Concentrated effects of gyroscopic energy could account for his ability to direct heat in beams out of his eyes. Gravimetric cushions could account for his ability to snatch people around at G-force velocities or take them from one pressure level to another without injuring them. He would be able to generate enough anti-gravitational power to alter space-time, fly into the sun and out, and withstand just about anything. For all his imperviousness, Superman would probably have a warm cushiony feeling about him, making a flight with him on a cold night quite comfortably warm.
Clearly the Kryptonian cell is hypersensitive to light and radioactivity. Red sunlight, as we know, inhibits Superman's super-abilities, but doesn't turn them off entirely, an indication that his cells still contain a lot of energy, albeit the speed of the gyroscope has diminished to its basic Kryptonian state, greatly reducing his super-abilities.
The question is, what happens if Lex Luthor discovers this, and if he does and manages to somehow culture Catalyst-K which triggers the enervation of the gyroscope, what other things can that enzyme do? What threats would Superman have to face down should Lex get a hold of Catalyst-K?