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A safer alternative to nuclear weapons?

  1. Dec 5, 2006 #1
    I was wondering.

    We all know nuclear weapons are dirty, dirty weapons. I was thinking that a good weapon would be a magnifying lense. Sounds a little odd, but read on.

    Many young kids use these devices to barbeque ant hills. Why not put much larger magnifying lenses into space? There could be a purpolsion system onboard to angle it sideways to the perspective of the earth and the sun when it isn't in use, and if a global war broke out, it could be moved into the desired place and turned accordingly.

    Well, I am against weapons of mass destructions anyways, but wouldn't this be equally as destructive, minus the radiation? One problem I have thought of with this concept is burning the atmosphere wherever the device is used.

  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 5, 2006 #2


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    Good luck sending a billion-ton magnifying glass into outer space! It currently costs some $10,000 per kg to get things into orbit.

    - Warren
  4. Dec 5, 2006 #3


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    As chroot implies, you would use the other way of focusing light rays, not a lens. Quiz question for the OP -- what is that other method?
  5. Dec 5, 2006 #4
    hmm, what if the "targeting system" on your lens was slghtly off, seems rather destrucive to me, to the environment that is, or rather to that which you didn't intend to target whatever it may be
  6. Dec 5, 2006 #5


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    Fresnel lens, or array of mirrors.

    Personally, I think it is rather ridiculous to try and find a weapon that does as much damage as a nuke, without the radiation. Its rather like trying to develop bullets that don't have lead in them so we can avoid lead poisoning :grumpy:
  7. Dec 6, 2006 #6
    The major draw pack of space borne weapons is the space borne countermeasures. A major part of the the StarWars plans of the 80's/90's was countermeasures to take out enemy satellites on day one of the war. These either comprised nuclear triggered single pulse laser systems to take satellites out at range or smaller nuclear charges that would navigate to within range of enemy satellites.
    As soon as you deploy an orbital weapons platform somebody will deploy something to shut it down before you had chance to use it.

    But a Solar ray has no long term effects. If you Nuke an area then you can't get in to secure it, so you only have opposition depletion not land gain. Carpet bombing or frying the area allows you to get in quick, mob up surviving opposition and secure the position.

    Of course securing the land has it's own problems but that is a problem of Politics not Physics
  8. Dec 6, 2006 #7
    i prefer weapons that have negative effects on the aggressor as well as the victim. i don't trust people's humanity to stop them from destroying each other but their fear of hurting themselves is a decent deterrant(though not exactly fool proof)
  9. Feb 4, 2007 #8
    didn't i see this in a recent James Bond movie?
  10. Feb 4, 2007 #9
    Sorry but the topic made me chuckle, how can you have a safe weapon of mass destruction? :bugeye: :wink:
  11. Feb 7, 2007 #10
    If it descructs safely? :smile:
  12. Feb 7, 2007 #11
    Why not focus on something more constructive? How about free medical care instead of nukes? A lot safer alternative if you ask me.
  13. Feb 10, 2007 #12
    Suppose a "big" meteorite is going to crash the earth, is it a good option to using mass destruction weapon such as nukeS?
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