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Subject: Starwars Lasers BS?
AchtungLagg    7/26/2004 11:10:18 PM
I just think this is the best place for this rant, you see, while watching star wars movies which i really like for nonmilitary reasons, it still perplexes me that such an advanced society fights ship to ship like wwii dogfights (where are the 1million mile range missiles?) and why are the laser shots slower than bullet projectiles, and why do they have color? Or am i getting something wrong? Would a projectile weapon be more accurate?
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andyf    recoil etc   8/12/2004 10:39:34 AM
PBW do not measurably recoil, its about momentum. subatomic particles dont weigh much. and as for antimatter as a power source,, I'd rather have a nasty inefficient fision plant. if the power gets interrupted with that it just shuts down AM? FOOM!!! in BIG letters E=2(mc)^2 it wouldt be like that warp core stuff that happens every episode of star trek this would set the facing hemisphere of delta proxima 9 on fire. I quite like the idea of Vacuum energy though- even that could be scary scary stuff
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Warhammer    RE:defence versus junk and KE projectiles.   8/12/2004 11:46:43 AM
Not sure sand alone would stop all the particles, but good idea. A pebble moving towards the ship would push right through the sand. Anything just floating about would be swept away, but things with velocity could be catastrophic. Mainly what would be needed would be a forward deployed EM field. Don't need a star trek calibur force field, just a strong enough field to nudge all particles to the side.
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Ehran    RE:progress and keeping the lights on   8/12/2004 12:23:32 PM
years ago i was reading a computer magazine which had a nice article on why we would never for various reasons be able to build a 100 MHz processor. 3 pages after was an ad for a 100 MHz processor machine.
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MattZone    Force Fields   8/12/2004 5:36:36 PM
Supposedly, several research labs in the U.S., U.K. and elsewhere are working on a way to "energize" metal objects. If it works right, a sheet of tinfoil may be able to stop a .50 caliber round. Who knows what it would do for a tank or a spaceship? The way it was explained to me, the metal is used as a base to shape a coherent E.M. field. The E.M. field then acts like Kevlar, distributing the force of the projectile throughout the field instead of into the metal. It's no Star Trek force field that extends beyond the boundaries of the ship, but is still very cool. Of course, this is just bar talk. But consider that the bar is a few miles from M.I.T., then tell me what you all think??
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realpolitik    Conversion of movement to energy = damage   8/12/2004 10:34:39 PM
To add to the discussion regarding impact of smaller (lesser mass) projectiles (be they fighters, or tungsten slugs, or meteors) upon larger masses (Space Battlecruiser, Star Base, etc.) : It is useful to think in terms of conversion of movement to energy, and to think of the energy as a combination of things: heat and light (explosion), physical deformation (causing bits of the target to deform out of their normal shape), and alteration of movement vectors of the target (changing in the course and speed of the target.) If a small fighter (or projectile) hits a Battlecruiser, and the movement of the fighter is stopped completely by its impacting the physical hull of the Battlecruiser, then the moving mass of that fighter is converted substantial damage upon the Battlecruiser, and armor may not be much help in absorbing the damage. If the Battlecruiser has a "force shield" that can absorb energy of the impact, then perhaps it will not be damaged, or it will reduce the energy that reaches the physical hull. An alternative design strategy is to design your Battlecruiser so that it is not super rigid, but perhaps composed of many component parts, with redundancies, and with a hull structure that can surivive loss of some parts due to impacts. This is analagous to "soft skinned" military vehicles being able to survive armor piercing MG fire better than lightly armored vehicles. Essentially what happens is the projectiles are not stopped by rigid structures - instead they pass through, doing some localized damage, but quite a bit of their movement energy is not lost (not converted to energy/damage) and they keep going after passing through. The counter to that design is to make a projectile that fragments, explodes, or otherwise distributes its energy over a wider area, rather than penetrating through...
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wkwillis    RE:Mass drivers    8/13/2004 4:25:25 AM
One thing about kinetic weapons. The molecular bonds between atoms are what makes something move backward on absorbing recoil. If your object is moving at relativistic speeds, it will not be able to transfer more momentum than the bonds between the area it is impacting and the rest of the object. You just get a neat shiny hole where it went in and another where it went out. Now if you could explode your .9 c projectile just before it hit what you were aiming at, you get 1,000,000,000 neat shiny little holes going through the object you were aiming at. Think of a 1 meter cube reduced to 1,000,000,000 1 mm cubes, and 4 m of edge becoming 4,000,000 m of edge for purposes of momentum transfer.
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Warhammer    RE:Mass drivers    8/13/2004 9:10:07 AM
Good point. Though, it wouldn't be a neat, shiny hole, at least not if the projectile was moving at .9c. More than likely the impact would cause fusion reactions all throughout the ship, and it would explode quite spectactularly. If not such fusion reacations, then every single thing in the bullet path would be sucked out the hole it made. Hell, they could launch a uranium slug at another ship at that speed, and it would fission on impact. Nuclear lightspeed torpedoes, the war would be over as soon as it started.
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Ehran    RE:Force Fields   8/13/2004 2:39:20 PM
would it defend against a neutral particle beam? i have heard of investigating using electricity to strengthen the bonds tween molecules in a crystal lattice which may have armour applications down the road but that's toughening the material not an EM field. be interesting to see how they deal with some of the side effects of an EM field strong enough to affect a .50 round. never mind what it does to the electronics in the vehicle it could well be strong enough to suck the hemoglobin out of the crew or something equally awful.
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Ehran    RE: What about destroying a Star ?   8/13/2004 2:42:44 PM
cannot see it happening. the amount of energy you would have to pump into the star to overcome its gravitational attraction is so enormous that it's virtually inconceivable by a human mind. you essentially need to apply enough energy to accelerate the entire mass of the star to escape velocity. many, many, many zeroes involved in megatons of boom.
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Warhammer    RE: What about destroying a Star ? Ehran   8/13/2004 3:38:27 PM
Anti-matter might do it. And if we got anti-matter, we might be able to get a bomb some thousands of miles into the sun. Not sure of the size of an anti-matter charge required, but I think it is possible. Also, if we were able to drag a tiny blackhole to a sun, that might push it over the edge. The technology is thousands of years away, unless we figure out some method to destabalize a suns internal reactions on the inside through the use of harmonics or something. We could probably test various methods out on stars that are already unstable and near nova/supernova. If we could blow up a sun, we might as well blow up the emeny planet. Any exploding of stars will probably be for scientific purpose mainly.
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