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19 July 2020

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Yeah, Right

Unlikely, Fred.

Sure, the physics of an Alderson Drive can be derived from first-principles, but something like the Langston Field is only ever going to be discovered by accident.

As for putting satellites in Mars orbit, no need. Just land your payload on Deimos and let it do the orbital-mechanics work for you.

Well, until the UN gets the s**ts with the Martians and blows the damn thing up.

Barbara Ann

Sir

Perhaps some of us were just be playing along to see if our responses were taken seriously.

Christian J. Chuba

I'm taking off my Cap morality hat and just looking at the physics.
Pro-side:
1. We already have lasers that can light up a drone from a small ground based system, one in geosynchronous orbit would have scads of time to focus on one spot. Scads is a scientific term :-).

2. It does not have to melt steel or blow up a building, it just has to find something that would go boom if it gets really hot and start a chain reaction.

3. If you get that clear day, I don't think that photons lose energy over distance. That is what the sun uses and on a clear day we get baked pretty good.

Con side:
1. Once anyone suspects we have this capability, I would think this would be fairly easy to detect. You are talking about a line of sight weapon firing a straight beam in geosynchronous orbit. It could move after the attack but I would think the attack itself would take time.
I think it's more likely we are tossing around bags of cash to find locals but who knows?

CK

There was once a literary "law" attributed to R. A. Heinlein that goes:
"Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by human stupidity." This is a parsimonious law as malice must always include intention while stupidity only requires existence.
HOWEVER:
There is another literary "law" often attributed the L. J. Gibbs that goes:
"Once can be happenstance, twice is reconnaissance, third time is enemy action."
It is probably good to obey the correct law.

Christian J. Chuba

Power:
Regarding power source, nuclear reactor or solar array with battery cells to store necessary energy the choice will be driven by whichever one is easiest to maintain. Size is not is not the driving factor has pieces of it can be shot into orbit and then assembled like the ISS.

Detectability:
While I believe the military can design a weapon in secret, I find it hard to believe they would deploy and use it without notice but I guess Russian Intelligence is too busy infiltrating Facebook and the Chinese looking at yearbook videos on TikTok.

Dissipation: Can a bean stay concentrated and powerful enough over distances? I'm in over my head here.

Countermeasures:
The target would need to be exposed or in a building that can be penetrated. Now that I think of it, even if it could penetrate that building that looks like half a steel can on its side (must be easy to build), can't be too hard to put in a loft with a light layer of sand bags. Just need something that can withstand heat for a period of time and make the weapon too expensive to operate.

turcopolier

Christian Chuba

How much did you know about the F-117 before its existence was announced?

Fred

Yeah, Right,

Then you would have a single package on a 6 mile wide rock orbiting along the equator a few thousand miles up. It wouldn't give you the planetary covered I envisioned.

ambrit

Sir;
The other aspect of such a "Death From Way Above" scenario is the possibility, or probability, of the Russians and Chinese doing the same things in space as many here suspect America is doing.
There is a saying somewhere that posits that any new weapon devised will be eventually used.
For that reason alone, here's hoping we manage to get off planet in numbers large enough to perpetuate the species before any "accident" happens here at the base of the gravity well.
Oh, and I'll go out on that rotten limb and say that many here believe your original idea because we want it to be true.
Stay safe!

Christian J. Chuba

Col, regarding the F-117 nothing. If a space weapon is feasible, I'm certain our military could build it and deploy it above the U.S. to test it in secret. We have been blessed with ample room.

Just thinking that someone would figure out that we had a space weapon after we used it the first time against another country even if they did not know how it worked. But if you start a fire here and there, maybe not.

Christian J. Chuba

It would be a great weapon. Even if you figure out how to shield against the laser, you can't put shielding on everything. You will always have high value soft targets somewhere. All you need are other satellites or drones and a secure communication channel and the entire country is vulnerable to attack. Even with limitations, that is a weapon worth having. The best counter-measure would be to figure out how to destroy it.

Sorry to go on but this is interesting.

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