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Space as a warfront.

  1. Mar 8, 2006 #1
    I saw an article a few days old and thought I would get the reactions of some others on it: http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,70303-0.html

    First off, I am against monopolizing a natural resource, it would prevent competition, and thus, fair prices for goods.

    Also, the 'higher ups' seem to immediatly think of deploying weapons in an enviroment that does not even require them. Even if they are for defence, they will more likely to be used to deter another nation from trying to get a foothold in space or on the moon. I was even futher irritated when I came across this pamphlet: http://www.fas.org/spp/military/docops/usspac/visbook.pdf (This file is about one megabyte, it may take a while to load.)

    Already space is being made a war ground, and I always had the secret ideal that all of mankind migh work together to learn more about it and help others become part of that goal. And what of the future, if space travel allows travel to more distant planets? Are nations then going to claim those as territories and prevent others from using its resources?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 8, 2006 #2
    Sorry, that is not likely to happen.
  4. Mar 8, 2006 #3

    You mean, colonialism without natives? Yeah, sounds about right. Did you think human society had changed in the last 5,000 years or something?
  5. Mar 8, 2006 #4


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    Is it REALLY that much more expensive to create helium 3 that it becomes financially necessary to create weapons to fight with other nations?
  6. Mar 8, 2006 #5

    Given that to make it you need to have tritium decay, and tritium you have make yourself as well, the answer would be yes.
  7. Mar 8, 2006 #6


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    I think the article is slanted and sensationalistic. I don't know where he got that timeline for moon bases, since that doesn't even seem realistic. Gagnon is just an anti-war, anti-military activist and isn't much of an authority on space related activities.

    The last few paragraphs are factually accurate, but what does he mean by "a public affairs officer from U.S. Space Command, who declined to give his name". The public affairs officer's comments are pretty much standard space doctrine and he would have no reason not to give name (in fact, if it was a military officer, his name was probably on his shirt, plus the job of a public affairs officer is to talk to the press). I think the author felt the "declined to give his name" part would give the impression that the author was an expert investigative reporter uncovering deep military secrets.

    Overall, not a very enlightening article.
  8. Mar 8, 2006 #7


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    I agree with BobG's assessment.


    Sensationalistic journalism - what a concept. :rofl:

    Issues were brought up in the days of SDI/StarWars. It is not as straightforward as one would think. :rolleyes:
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2006
  9. Mar 17, 2006 #8
    Will if there aliens that are going to invade us yes.But if there aren't maybe.The U.S.(space) marines corps are working on way to send marines to space as a quick way to transport around the world.Helium-3 probally wouldn't be the only thing worth to going war there's probally would somthing very importent to our ecconmy(for earth ex:Oil).
    Edit:the candian goverment thinks the we are.
  10. Mar 17, 2006 #9


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    We're not going to space for oil, that's rediculous. $200/barrel is a nice way of saying "we're sick of oil, let's find something else" so if tritium just happens to cost more then $200/barrel to mine, transport, and refine from another planet, there is a distinct chance that no one in their right mind will bother with oil. It's like going to another planet for automobile anti-freeze.

    And is it just me or is Wired a place where you can seemingly get a lot of sensationalized and science-ignorant articles? I brought up an article a long time ago on here about some wired article about some kid who claimed to prove einstein wrong and space time or something like that and it turned out to be a day-dream/TD crap :P
  11. Mar 17, 2006 #10
    No that was just an example.I didn't mean we would go to space for oil.I was just comparing in resources space to oil in the middle east.
  12. Mar 17, 2006 #11


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    First things first in order to get weapons on the moon we need a base to protect. I strongly doubt that will happe as soon as they think. And denying the rest of the world helium 3 is stupid, especially you can use it in fusion. That just makes fission all the more attractive to other nations. Personally I rather them have fusion.
  13. Mar 17, 2006 #12


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    Wait a second, im getting a little off track here now that you mention it. Aren't tritium and deuterium the fuel sources for envisioned nuclear reactions and used in thermonuclear weapons? Doesn't it take much more energy to create fusion using helium?

  14. Mar 17, 2006 #13
    I thought tritium was necessary for atomic fusion, as opposed to fission.
  15. Mar 17, 2006 #14


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    Tritium is a preferable fuel source for nuclear fusion. I think it's because it can fuse at lower pressures and temperatures then deuterium and hydrogen. I'm not sure though, wheres astronuc!
  16. Mar 17, 2006 #15
    If I remember -

    [tex]^2_1D+^3_2He \rightarrow ^1_1p + ^4_2He[/tex] is in theory a desirable reaction for fusion energy because (i) it does not produce neutrons and (ii) much useful energy can be gotten electromagnetically (decelerating the fast protons) instead of thermally (so the efficency limits of heat engines do not apply). As far as I know this is very unrealistic, because (i) D-He3 fusion requires much higher energies than for example D-T (which is already very hot), and (ii) D-D fusion will occur under in the same regime and produces lots of fast neturons, which defeats the benefit of D+He3 not producing fast neutrons. So myself I don't see what the big deal is about.

    At the moment I can't find an online source to back me up on this, wikipedia's fusion page doesn't discuss this.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 17, 2006
  17. Mar 18, 2006 #16


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    Does this really make any sense at all? First we have:
    This may well be true, that the US gov has poured billions into a boondoggle that has benefited only the defense contractors and not resulted in a useful weapon.

    But how do you leap from that statement to:
    How is it that space gives us control over the earth? We certainly control the air space over Iraq, therefore we control space over Iraq, are we in control in Iraq? Unless they are implying that we will be dropping bombs from space? We can land a ballistic missile on any point on the earths surface already, how will space improve that?

    It is a fundamental military truth that only soldiers on the ground can control the ground.

    This article is all smoke and no fire as far as the milatary information is concerned.

    I do agree with the effort being made to give incentives to the commercial sector to invest in private manned space travel. The gove. should get out of manned space flights entirely and concentrate on real and meaty scientific explorations of the solar system.
  18. Mar 18, 2006 #17


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    In my continued efforts to be anal, i must point out that the US does have a few working directed energy weapons. One has shown to be very succesful in its trials at destroying artillery shells and another is designed to destroy missiles although i believe they're still running performance tests on the aircraft.
  19. Mar 19, 2006 #18


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    He-3, which we use a lot, costs of the order hunderd Euros / dollars a litre (atm. pressure). It's mainly obtained from decay of plutonium.
    So yes, it is a pretty expensive gas, but to go to the moon for it ...
    Better produce more plutonium ! :bugeye:
  20. Mar 19, 2006 #19


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    What kind of applications does it have outside of nuclear fusion and what applications does it have for nuclear fusion (considering I thought the current plans/hopes were to use Deuturium or Tritium for fusion reactions)?
  21. Mar 19, 2006 #20
    The only signficant use of He3 is for dilution refrigerators - cryogenic refrigerators which use the technique of diluting a He3/He4 mixture, analagous to evaporation (see the explanation from Berkeley). These go down to ~10milliKelvin = 0.01 kelvin. Very, very cold. Since the only people who need this today are physicists, there is not really that much demand.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 19, 2006
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