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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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eon    RE:time dilated nukes-eon to Ehran   8/20/2004 12:16:12 PM
I agree. If you're firing a projectile at any notable fraction of C, it will do all the damage you could ask for by sheer KE; a warhead would be gilding the lily. Plus the problem of what the time-dilation would do to any fusing mechanism, i.e. it might not have enough time to arm and fire before the whole shebang is volatilized along with the target by impact force. Going back to my earlier posts, a solid chunk of matter like nickel-iron is all you need, if it's going fast enough..
 
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ker       8/7/2007 2:09:37 PM

Relativistic warheads are rather hard to dodge as well. Not because you can't move out of the way, but because by the time you see it, it is already 90%+ the distance to you.

If you detect a warhead moving at .9c 100 billion miles out, the time it took the light to make that 100 billion miles, has given the projectile time to move 90 billion miles closer to you. At this distance, you still have a chance to evade. Anything closer, and you will probably get blindsided. The projectile will seem to have near infinite acceleration, it is only 10% behind the light it is following. Everytime you view it, it will be 90% closer than it looks. If you see it at 100 billion miles away, it is actually 10 billion miles away and it will hit you in about 14 hours. If you first see it at 10 billion miles 1.5 hours. 1 billion miles you only have about 9 minutes. If you see it at 100 million miles, you have about 53 seconds before you need to move or die. That is looking at .9c, .95c cuts all those prior times in half. .999c and it is another half.

If we ever get .9c velocities or higher in our weapons, they will be a formidable weapon, close up and relatively far away. Smaller missiles used for shorter ranges, larger ones for longer distances on bigger, slower targets.

We don't even have to be able to project the missiles at that speed, just get the ship moving at .9c and the bomb will do the rest of the work. The ship gets to .9c, moves towards target, lets bomb go, alters course, and goes home. The bomb continues on to target, and if it is a planet, there isn't much that will stop it from destroying its target. Relativistic dive bombing could be tomorrows weapon of mass destruction.

Energy weapons will play their part in close up encounters, but an alien race doesn't even have to be in our solar system to destroy our planet if need be.
Fuel conservation and aquesition becomes key.  To live you must not move in predictable ways.  To move unpredictably you must burn fuel.  I forsee a short war.  Then an unplesent peace.   Hate mail.  You know.
Preventing other (races?) groups from getting war ships becomes important.  So do you shoot the planets near you foe as soon as  you work out their locations/orbits?  The envirmentalists won't be happy.
 


 
 
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jebus42    Gammalord   8/9/2007 12:25:06 AM
   I like this thread. I only wish I had seen it 3 years ago. To answer AchtugLagg initial question. The StarWars WWII style dog fights with spaces ships and lasers is precislly the idea. It's all about the visual style and how cool it was compared to any sci-fi movie before it.
  The Long Range guided missle may well be the default weapon of choice for space combat, at least until we develop some seriuos power generators for all those power hungry lasers and shields. Not to mention FTL drives. About thirty years ago I read an article about the problems of space combat. Like lasers not doing enough damage to any target because of the speeds involved. Example: If your firing a 1 megajoule laser at a target and your beam lasts for x tenths of a second, or less. And the target is moving at a leasurly 2500 KPS ( kilometers per second.)  Or 8,250,000 inchs per second. if your laser pulsed for even a 1000th of a second. The ship moved 8250 feet in that time.
  At best your laser beam will track along the hull like machine gun bullets in old movies. scratching the paint but unable to focus long enough to burn through the hull. 
  Think of a welders torch. Very hot, and able to burn through steel plate. But if you swing your fingers through the flame very quickly. You will not be burned. Iv'e done it and was not burned. I wasn't drunk either. But it wasn't one of my brighter ideas. And since we don't have any of those super energy producing power sources. We won't be pushing any amout of metal at anywhere near light speed. and shells don't follow the target so you have to lead the target like you were passing the football to where the wide receiver is going to be not at where he is when you let go of the ball. Hope someone reads this and passes it around. Maybe we can get this thread going again.
 
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doggtag    This thread was one of the better way-out-there what-ifs   8/9/2007 7:04:36 AM
Another thing to consider here that I don't recall was even hit upon: this was all that the special effects industry of the day could handle (George Lucas an Co basically had to invent the tech to make the film as they went along: it was the mid-1970s, and people weren't going to settle for Harryhausen-esque stop motion techniques.
 
But if we fast forward to the later movies in the series, we see in Attack of the Clones where ObiWan follows Jango Fett into Geonosan space, only to get into a cat-and-mouse chase thru the asteroid belt, only to have Jango fire off a seeker missile: think kamikaze droid actually, as it obviously needed the thinking and predicting algorithms necessary to maneuver accurately enough, and reaquire a lock if lost, thru the asteroids,..yet was able to be proximity-fooled by a timed ejection of spare parts out the back of the Jedi Starfighter, kind of like radar chaff.
 
Then again in Revenge of the Sith, at the beginning space battle, one of the Vulture droids (newer generation Droid Starfighter) popped open its wings a little further to launch four missiles, two at each Jedi fighter. A chase seen ensued in which, even as the missiles chased the Jedi all around various other ships and debris, Anakin was able to enter a corkscrew spin, which somehow tricked the missiles to pursue the same maneuver, slamming two of them into each other...Amazing how the further the missiles flew, it seemed they got so dumb right at the end of their flight as to be fooled by maneuvers and countermeasures. But then again, isn't that how every Hollywood film depicts the heroes escape the missiles? At the very last few seconds, a quick maneuver or chaff/flare decoys the threat (it's not like any modern aircraft can actually out-G a number of AAMs, so I doubt future fighters would be able to just-as-easily evade future missiles).
 
So I think it was more a matter of, what were the limitations of the movie special effects industry back in the day?
Dogfighting with lasers was probably done partly on the grounds of romantic nostalgia (WW1 & WW2 aces), and partly on the grounds that the effects industry of the day just couldn't provide it (remember how cheesy Top Gun and the Iron Eagle movies showed scale models being blown up by small pyro charges to simulate missiles, with the end result being flaming remains coming crashing down that looked nothing like actual aircraft crashes...like a plane with its cockpit shot off but the rest of the plane, including fuel tanks, was in slow flames, rather than outright exploding from all the fuel and a disintegrating turbine).
 
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jebus42    how empty is space?   8/9/2007 4:27:50 PM
  I had another thought about those fraction of light speed metal slugs used for a kinetic kill, or the high speed seeking missle's. Space has no atmosphere and is a vacume. But it's not empty. There are particles of mater and even larger bits floating around everywhere. ( Star Trek ships have navagational shields to prevent damage from this minute material.) 
  How much damage can your slug or missle warhead take from micro/particles before its destroyed/ damaged enough to cease functioning, or veer off target? Will you need to put shields on your missle/torpedos? Anything with a shield significantly increases the amout of energy you emit. Which means the ability to detect you with sensors increases. And anti-missle systems will have a better chance of aquiring and destroying the target.
 
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TrustButVerify    replying to initial post...   8/16/2007 10:08:56 AM
The reason the ship combat in Star Wars resembles WWI/WWII dogfighting is that George Lucas and his team based those scenes on footage of WWII dogfights. By the way, if my Star Wars tech manual is canonically correct, those aren't lasers; they're "beams" of high-temperature gas, or something like that. It's too bad that a big part of enjoying Star Wars is putting your brain in neutral.
 
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andyf       8/31/2007 11:44:00 PM
saw an edition of 'future weapons'
they had the US navys railgun on it..
8 megajoule
 
yummy
full version is supposed to be 64 megajoule,, mach 8
there going to use it for shore bombardment it seems, i'd want it for anti air myself
 
they also had a coilgun they were working on, this they seem to be intending as a mortar
a silent mortar- any applications?
 
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Herald1234    Throw rocls. Down with LUCASS.    9/1/2007 5:37:10 PM

 
Bad science.
"...finding a way to make the sun burn hotter might be possible..."

That's the idea of how stars work anyway: despite their massive sizes, they only have a limited amount of "fuel" to consume, at which time solar physics makes some changes in what the star "works with": to survive, the sun must start fusing its other elements it has created from its earlier fusion cycles, which is what makes the difference between white, red, yellow, blue, and brown dwarfs and giants ("sun" types).
This should confuse y'all a bit...or make things more clear: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/astro/astfus.html" target=_blank href_cetemp="
http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/astro/astfus.html">link

I have a book laying around somewhere that says what "phase" a star goes into during it billions-of-years-lifetime that says what elements it's fusing after its hydrogen then helium are used up. And like the above link states, iron is "typically" the cut-off,.. but not always.

Solar physics is very complex and even interesting. Especially considering that our own sun is among the "small fry" category: we have observed/measured other stars that fall easily into the "giant" class, having diameters as big as the Earth's orbit around our sun. These beasties have used up all their hydrogen, and have begun to fuse heavier elements, creating massively larger temperatures, sizes, and gravity wells.

Certainly suns CAN and DO fuse heavier elements than iron under the right conditions: all that blown-off matter from novae and supernovae is what creates our cosmic supply of "stuff": the aluminum and iron in your car, the copper and tungsten in your computer, even the carbon in your body, all used to be "sun stuff". All those elements didn't just "congeal together" out of primordial post-Big Bang dust. So it makes sense to me that the universe is expanding: as stars "burst", they send forth a new "batch" of elements, to later be used as planet material (or asteroids, comets, etc). Perhaps all the Big Bang really created was the elemental hydrogen of the first stars... and after enough of it gathered together, gravity took over and with enough heat, fusion began, as did the creation of the rest of the universe's "stuff".
But that's just one theory.


You used to be a hundred stars, GRUM.
How's that for metasphysical thinking, eh?.

The gravitational influence of the stellar mass decreses over time as it radiates its mass away as light. The gravity well SHALLOWS as a yellow dwarf becomes a red giant. we will actually lose our Oort cloud as the sun's gravitational influence falls off with age.
___________________________________________________
 
Other comments;
 
1. Range limitation for beam weapons depends on divergence. If its not a neutralized charge beam with our conceptual EM technologies it will be a limitation of Hundreds of kilometers.
 
2. Rail gun barrels blow apart from the charge travelling down the rails. There is an upper limit to how much charge steel and copper can handle. 
 
3. Coil guns overheat.
 
4. No gun in an atmosphere that throws a slug faster than Mach 1 is silent.
 
5. Try stopping a comet, just try. If you don't rendezvous and tow it or push it off you will get smacked. Its also how you aim the silly thing at your choice target.
 
 
Missiles are/will get so smart that when one today growls at you in your headset, and it leaves the rail, that twerp Anakin has no chance at all with his garbage Hollyweird technology. The space faring version of the weapons will be more akin to self-guided mines that you'll dump into the vicinity of your victim. he'll never see what kills him, if he flies Old Republic or Empire junk. 
 
Herald
 
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Herald1234    Throw rocls. Down with LUCASS.    9/1/2007 5:37:13 PM

 
Bad science.
"...finding a way to make the sun burn hotter might be possible..."

That's the idea of how stars work anyway: despite their massive sizes, they only have a limited amount of "fuel" to consume, at which time solar physics makes some changes in what the star "works with": to survive, the sun must start fusing its other elements it has created from its earlier fusion cycles, which is what makes the difference between white, red, yellow, blue, and brown dwarfs and giants ("sun" types).
This should confuse y'all a bit...or make things more clear: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/astro/astfus.html" target=_blank href_cetemp="
http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/astro/astfus.html">link

I have a book laying around somewhere that says what "phase" a star goes into during it billions-of-years-lifetime that says what elements it's fusing after its hydrogen then helium are used up. And like the above link states, iron is "typically" the cut-off,.. but not always.

Solar physics is very complex and even interesting. Especially considering that our own sun is among the "small fry" category: we have observed/measured other stars that fall easily into the "giant" class, having diameters as big as the Earth's orbit around our sun. These beasties have used up all their hydrogen, and have begun to fuse heavier elements, creating massively larger temperatures, sizes, and gravity wells.

Certainly suns CAN and DO fuse heavier elements than iron under the right conditions: all that blown-off matter from novae and supernovae is what creates our cosmic supply of "stuff": the aluminum and iron in your car, the copper and tungsten in your computer, even the carbon in your body, all used to be "sun stuff". All those elements didn't just "congeal together" out of primordial post-Big Bang dust. So it makes sense to me that the universe is expanding: as stars "burst", they send forth a new "batch" of elements, to later be used as planet material (or asteroids, comets, etc). Perhaps all the Big Bang really created was the elemental hydrogen of the first stars... and after enough of it gathered together, gravity took over and with enough heat, fusion began, as did the creation of the rest of the universe's "stuff".
But that's just one theory.


You used to be a hundred stars, GRUM.
How's that for metasphysical thinking, eh?.

The gravitational influence of the stellar mass decreses over time as it radiates its mass away as light. The gravity well SHALLOWS as a yellow dwarf becomes a red giant. we will actually lose our Oort cloud as the sun's gravitational influence falls off with age.
___________________________________________________
 
Other comments;
 
1. Range limitation for beam weapons depends on divergence. If its not a neutralized charge beam with our conceptual EM technologies it will be a limitation of Hundreds of kilometers.
 
2. Rail gun barrels blow apart from the charge travelling down the rails. There is an upper limit to how much charge steel and copper can handle. 
 
3. Coil guns overheat.
 
4. No gun in an atmosphere that throws a slug faster than Mach 1 is silent.
 
5. Try stopping a comet, just try. If you don't rendezvous and tow it or push it off you will get smacked. Its also how you aim the silly thing at your choice target.
 
 
Missiles are/will get so smart that when one today growls at you in your headset, and it leaves the rail, that twerp Anakin has no chance at all with his garbage Hollyweird technology. The space faring version of the weapons will be more akin to self-guided mines that you'll dump into the vicinity of your victim. he'll never see what kills him, if he flies Old Republic or Empire junk. 
 
Herald
 
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ens. jack    HALO combat   9/5/2007 1:46:34 PM
Someone might have mentioned this, I didnt read the whole discussion, but personally, I find the HALO space combat sequences to be pretty good. They take place in orbit, around strategic objectives, like normal naval combat. Ranges are usually fairly limited, due to planetary interference and stuff. One side uses huge plasma cannons, firing raw energy, while the other uses nukes delivered like mines, or MAC's (Magnetic accelerator cannons). I found it feasible, but that might just be that I think capital ship combat is the bomb, plus no lasres to screw all the realism in it.
 
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