Skip to comments.Will Space Battles Be Fought with Laser Weapons?
Posted on 03/22/2012 1:34:51 AM PDT by U-238
What would science fiction be without laser beams? From handheld ray guns to spaceship-mounted turbolasers, the futuristic weapon of choice definitely involves bright, colorful blasts of energy.
In the early 21st century, projectiles still remain the standard means of inflicting damage from a distance. Yet continued research into "directed-energy" weapons by the United States military, among others, could someday bring lasers to a battlefield near you.
Lasers are already used in guidance, targeting and communication applications, but significant technological obstacles stand in front of turning them into weapons by themselves. For certain niche scenarios, lasers might prove themselves ideal. It seems unlikely, however, that they will ever outright replace missiles and bullets, as they do in so much sci-fi warfare.
No conventional weapon is a panacea," said Douglas Beason, former associate lab director at Los Alamos National Laboratory. "Why would we expect directed-energy weapons to be any different?"
Lasers are tight rays of photons generated by the excitation of atoms in a liquid, gas or solid; or electrons in a beam. Weapon makers are attracted to lasers because they can shoot faster than any projectile. "You can deliver energy at the speed of light," said Beason.
They also can reach targets with absolute precision while potentially never running out of ammunition. "They call it unlimited magazines," said Beason. "Rather than being able to drop one bomb, you're limited only by the amount of energy you can carry."
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Just by moving something in the way of a fast moving spacecraft or satellite and causing it to fragment into thousands of pieces of debris will be the next generation of space weapons to be used.
I’d have to say that it all depends on the target. After all you can fling a rock at a space station and destroy it. The “Rod from God” is basically a tungsten telephone pole launched from space at a ground based target. It comes in at hypersonic speed and delivers some serious energy that way.
Man the mirrors!
Would it not be the same for the laser?
You fire a three second laser pulse and you have that 3 second length of laser beam continuing thru space until it hits something? Granted after a few light years it may be dissipated?
They also don’t make a big bang or flash when you pull the trigger. Although the projectile would be supersonic, it would make locating the firing point more difficult; thereby improving concealment.
GI Joe is way ahead of you there. Doc built these in his spare time while being a doctor and learning to drive a tractor trailer in his on base one man factory.
Due to diffraction the beam will spread out over long distances. Within relatively short astronomical distances the intensity will be below eye safe levels.
I don’t believe I am breaking Newton’s law.. The momentum is not occuring down the long axis of the ‘barrel’ but between the magnets exerting force imparting momentum inward and the projectile exerting force outward in response. Thus the momentum sum continues to zero itself. Thus my continued response that there is no recoil in the classic sense.
In that clip, we see photon-capacitors (never heard of those before) used to collect laser energy, then we have laser beams arcing due to the gravitational effects of the Earth.
between the magnets exerting force imparting momentum inward and the projectile exerting force outward in response. Thus the momentum sum continues to zero itself.
If the forces exerted are symmetrical then the projectile goes nowhere. If the forces are asymmetrical the launcher accepts the inverse of the projectiles acceleration, summing the system to zero. Unless you are using a definition of recoil different than any I have ever seen, the rearward movement of the launching mechanism in response to the acceleration of the projectile is the recoil.
True but a laser pulse would get out of the neighborhood a lot faster.
Nice to meet you too. Can you think of another way to respond to my posts other than an insult? I wish you well and better in your future endevours.