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Star Wars Potential

  1. Jan 12, 2005 #1
    Can a system of lasers be built which has the ability to deliver a vast amount of energy on a small spot on Earth making it a possible effective substitute of the nuclear bomb?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 12, 2005 #2

    russ_watters

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    Certainly not, unless you could power a laser or energy beam with a nuclear bomb (ie, a focused emp or something like that). A nuclear bomb outputs more energy than everything else on earth combined at the time it goes off.

    In any case, that's not what Star Wars is: its an anti-ballistic missile defense.
     
  4. Jan 12, 2005 #3
    OK.
    Well, can that be done?
     
  5. Jan 12, 2005 #4

    russ_watters

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  6. Jan 13, 2005 #5
    Thank you. So why isn't it succesful?

    Difficulty in targeting? Can't they use a little spread out beam with a higher amplitude so that they don't have to be so accurate with their aim?
     
  7. Jan 13, 2005 #6

    russ_watters

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    So far, it is successful. Do you mean why hasn't it been done before? There are a mountain of technical hurles to overcome (now mostly overcome). Targeting is one, laser power output is another, and beam coherence (when you heat the air it gets turbulent and disperses the beam) is another.
     
  8. Jan 13, 2005 #7
    According to Richard Garwin, the SDI's pop-up infrared laser was to be powered by an exploding fission device. This is not to imply that all of the fission energy would be transferred through the laser beam.
     
  9. Jan 13, 2005 #8

    russ_watters

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    I didn't know that. I did know its possible (in theory) to direct the energy from a nuclear bomb - Tom Clancy described a similar phenomena in The Sum of all Fears, where a vaporizing TV dish (in an atomic bomb blast) emitted a focused-emp that knocked out the satellite it was aimed at.

    [Google...] A few sites mention a nuclear x-ray laser (I'd heard of the x-ray laser, but not that it was powered by a nuclear weapon), but it doesn't look to me like that ever got off the drawing board. In any case, it seems it was at least possible.
     
  10. Jan 13, 2005 #9
    Oops. That seems correct. It must indeed have been an X-ray laser. I read about it 20 years ago in Garwin's The Fallacy of Star Wars and have not brushed up on that issue since then.


    Edit: The Union of Concerned Scientists site mentions Kurt Gottfried as the "senior author" of The Fallacy of Star Wars, and Amazon.com lists John Tirman as the only author. However, IIRC Garwin said in his recent book Megawatts and Megatons that he was one of the contributors.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2005
  11. Jan 13, 2005 #10

    ohwilleke

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    There have been problems. The biggest one has been getting a laser sufficiently powerful to fit in a small enough space to fit on a 747.
     
  12. Jan 16, 2005 #11
    Its possible but you would have to increase the mass.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2005
  13. Jan 17, 2005 #12
    Anything is possible. A Boeing 747, Lufthansa AirBus or C-5 Galaxy can be retrofitted by a Fusion Reactor (x1000+ times more powerful compared to other powersource systems).

    Like a mobile/portable version of this one http://fusion.gat.com/diii-d/photos/
     
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