Particle cannons, laser beams and flashy stuff! Fire!

Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by Meteor, Apr 6, 2015.

  1. tonguetied
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    tonguetied Contributing Member Contributor

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    First off everyone seems to think that all beams are just pure light, I will give you that photon torpedoes do sound like that, but there is room for more to it than that. Secondly light does bend by gravitational influence, some astrological objects have been found because a strong gravitational force has caused pinpoints of light to become two points, or something similar. And there is always the black hole that even light cannot escape. With something like the transporter on Star Trek why not simply beam away a portion of another ship out in space? It could be pretty catastrophic with the right part missing.
     
  2. Meteor
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    Meteor Active Member

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    I personally don't think transporter technology like that is even possible or philosophically moral. Zap! You just turned Captain Archer into energy and reassembled him on the planet. Except its just a clone if you think about it really. You just watched the original Captain Archer die as he was disassembled molecule by molecule. I can certainly see where it would be super useful in warfare, though I'm not sure its even possible after what Michio Kaku said in his Big Think video on the matter. I'll need to find it again. I don't believe he fully dismissed the possibility of the technology except where using it to teleport life forms was concerned.
     
  3. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    Bending spacetime so close to a planet will likely destroy it from the gravitational forces.
     
  4. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    The transporter was a kludge, a quick fix to the problem of the Star Trek production crew not having the shuttle set finished. They pulled the idea out of their ass.
     
  5. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    It's called gravitational lensing and it requires a massive gravitational field, like from a neutron star or black hole.
     
  6. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Photon torpedoes are torpedoes with a matter/antimatter mixer as a warhead.
     
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  7. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    Well, every weapon has its disadvantages in given locations.
     
  8. tonguetied
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    tonguetied Contributing Member Contributor

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    Why is it that we want to blow up things in space? It would seem we try to treat space travel as being similar to traveling by ships at sea where we may meet unfriendly ships, but that seems rather unlikely. I would like science fiction stories to present something more logical than attacking a bunch of other beings. If you are merely extending man's preoccupation with war into space it seems rather pointless, it is the discovery that could be there that should be a better story, IMO.
     
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  9. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    There may always be a need to defend oneself. If human evolution is any indication, I suspect all sentient life came about from competition with others for resources. It's likely other sentient life will still have that instinctive drive to not be outdone and would use force if necessary.

    Utopias of peaceful beings all in harmony is a nice dream, but not likely as there needs to be some aggressiveness to survive.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I agree. However, conflict and battles still may take place, particularly between factions of humans. I'd rather see the story involve finding a peaceful resolution, especially one that is unique to the setting.

    Face it, part of being human is that humans are competitive and prone to violent expression. The real story is in overcoming that violent instinct.

    So there is room for space warfare without it having to become a tale of ingenious mass murder.
     
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  11. tonguetied
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    tonguetied Contributing Member Contributor

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    So based on your first sentence then it might be better to design methods to protect yourself. If you are fighting other humans then you know how to kill them, but if you are fighting some other life form you may have no idea how to kill them. More importantly life in space is rather tenuous at best, designing ships that can somehow survive the occasional impact of some object while you are traveling over twenty thousand mph would be a difficult task, there is no maneuvering a space craft to dodge a small rock. You need a Timex spaceship, "takes a hit, keeps on ..." for any long journey. I am thinking double hulls with stop leak between the hulls for example. Multi chambered with redundancy galore, etc. Or as Chinspinner might say a hull made out of reflectivenesium, any beam aimed at it is simply reflected back to the source, your weapon is my friend.
     
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  12. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    If you introduce energy beings, you may need to devise something else, but even a rock monster would vaporize from a well placed nuke.

    The Enterprise had a deflector array (distinctly separate from the shields), others simply hand waved it, not wanting to get bogged down with explanations. I would prescribe the latter until there is a call for more detail.
     
  13. Cappy and Pegody
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    Cappy and Pegody Member

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    I am using plasma canons Plasma shots that store massive amounts of energy that discharge on impact. A few rounds of this takes out shielding and then comes the energy beam weapons. I am toying with rail guns as well, that could send payloads at incredible speed. I think plasma hand guns would be good inside a ship. They have enough mass to be shot and when they hit they discharge energy instead of mass that way you will not punch a hole in the ship.
     
  14. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Round and round, spiraling into madness they do. Contributor

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    I am not to keen on lasers myself. I use them extremely conservatively due to over use and obvious pit falls such as reflective surfaces or a prism. I play around with rail guns, coil guns, modified cartridges with miscellaneous types of ballistics, missiles, mortars, grenades, and flamethrowers. Even giving a highly advanced race a fusion based projectile weapon. Lasers have become to cliché at least for me. I have a plasma sword based on the same concepts as Michio Kaku talks about, but only one. As well as normal metal based swords and knives in various alloys and design. I also eliminate the shield/force field type of defense in lieu of the ships durability based upon the hull structure and materials. Though I briefly utilize active camouflage, I feel that it takes a lot of the fun in high stress low profile situations where stealth is a factor.

    I remember a study I read years ago, that most people actually prefer using physical objects when in conflict (not just war) to hurl at their opponents. Don't remember the exact reason off hand, but it seems we have a primal urge to physically see and feel the power of our destructive nature upon an adversary. To be fair the study is old, and the theory and dynamic may be proven wrong. IDK, just thought it was interesting to read it at the time. This is only an opinion, that I favor due to the barbaric way we still engage in conflict, as we seem ill suited for such things based upon how we are designed. It still fascinates me, that in our frailty as a species we are always looking for new and improved ways to injure and kill one another. Not saying that is all we research, but it is on the list of things to help/hinder our species. Just a thought. :p
     
  15. Matt E
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    Matt E Stormblessed Supporter

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    I think there are some interesting trade-offs here between beam and kinetic weapons. I would expect that a future military would probably include both weapons in their arsenal. Lasers have the benefit of being undetectable, as they move at the speed of light, and can slice through a space-craft like a knife through butter, under the right circumstances. Missiles have the benefit of having a guidance system, meaning they can make corrections as they move towards the target. Also, they can be launched on a trajectory which allows them to fly over obstacles such as mountains, as mentioned.

    I don't see why a military couldn't have both, although I can imagine that lasers would be more beneficial in space, as there are no obstacles that could get in the way of your LOS, and projectiles would probably be best for ground warfare, because I agree that LOS is definitely a big problem on the surface. When possible, you don't want to have LOS with the enemy, so that they can't fire their lasers at you either.

    Do y'all have any thoughts about defense systems? Would a laser be better at intercepting an incoming threat as compared to an interceptor missile or gatling gun?
     
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  16. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    That would depend entirely on the response and accuracy of the tracking system. Since c = 299,792,458 m/s or 186282 mi/s, there is no self propelled projectile (missiles) that would be able to outrun or outmaneuver the beam, but it could outrun or outmaneuver the tracking system or throw up screening such as chaff.

    There is always some latency in response due to signal conversion and margin of error in accuracy due to floating point precision and accuracy. We probably will eventually manufacture computers that have faster response and better floating point, but it'll still require latency down to tiny fractions of a second.
     
  17. Masterspeler
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    Masterspeler Active Member

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    Funny that I was discussing this with somebody a while back. War, is what lead to every major invention or discovery. Without the need for better weapons, armor we would still be living in Eden playing tongas and singing Kumbaya. Im sure its not completely true, but for the most part the argument can be made, and I have to admit that I tend to believe this is the case.

    Yes, telescopes, early flying machines and calculus may not have been devised with war in mind by their inventors, but they have been perfected for that purpose. da Vinci was a military consultant, as were so many brilliant minds. Jet engines, rockets, the internet all were developed for war first. Im actually trying to think of something that was not conceived for war and never used or useful for such. I know some thing were designed by DARPA that were useless for war and ended up as consumer products.

    Back to weapons on starships and sci-fi. (I love these threads by the way) In my WIP I use a mix of future tech and old tech. The future stuff is derived from one breakthrough. I still dont know if I should go into the details of some of it (like how you can avoid reflectors, refractors or any other similar setups for particle beams). I've still have a nasty aftertaste of plagiarism (not literary but academically) not to mention the whole Oppenheimer, I am become death, the destroyer of worlds thing. (I sound cocky with things like this, but damnit, I need to cling on to something! lol My health is falling apart, so if I'm insane let me dream!)

    So, you can avoid the LOS issue by having wired drones. Toss em over a mountain and zap. I did like the grav lensing idea but for different reasons.

    "Target aqcuired, sir!"
    "Fire!"
    "Target destroyed...along with his entire civilization"

    I may give away one of the weapons systems in my WIP but drones dont get used so much. They can be used in tactical strikes, or just overall line of battle. I dont see why "beams" cant be used but the speed and scale might be different. They would be automated rapid firing taking out anything that moved that wasnt a ship. This could lead to strategies changing, as in ships not clustering, but spreading out to the point of solo missions.

    This just came to me now. It wont work for my novel though. Ramming ships. A ship with an icebreaker style tip. (very loosely put, it could be material or energetic) so battles consist of which captain can position his vessel to ram the other at flanking speed through the enemy ship's beam. You'd have to really visualize that dance before putting it into words so it wouldnt be boring (my weakness alas, although I write like Im an M240B...)

    I feel bad now, Im typing way too much, arent I?

    AB
     
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  18. EnginEsq
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    EnginEsq Senior Member

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    "Navy Shipboard Lasers ..." Congressional Search Service Report, June 2015
    "Potential targets for shipboard lasers include ... rockets, artillery shells, mortars (sometimes collectively referred to as RAM)"

    April 4, 2014, Jerusalem Post, on an Israeli anti-artillery-defense laser that "brings down mortars like flied"
    "Iron Beam fires lasers at mortar shells, and has proven a high rate of accuracy, Yaari said, describing the system as "highly impressive."

    So even with current or near-future tech, shooting down artillery shells with lasers is considered possible.
     
  19. tonguetied
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    tonguetied Contributing Member Contributor

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    This thread is fairly old but since Meteor just opened it I glanced at several replies and none of them addressed Meteor's question very directly. If I understand Meteor's post correctly, the idea of how to see your beam weapon was the root of the issue. I would suggest since it is sci-fi you would have a monitoring system that could simply provide a visual of the beam. Just like a radar station monitor only reveals blips of where some object is based on data collection from multiple antenna and compilation of the data a similar mechanism would be developed for your beam weapon. Even if you could visually see a beam in an atmosphere environment any weapon would probably be an intense pulse and at light speed the track would be over before your eye could ever process it. This brings up the interesting concept of tracers being inserted into your beam weapon stream, something that is visible and follows the same path, might be useful for terrestrial combat. However for a Star Trek type scenario a secret monitoring mechanism would be more useful, your target has no way to see it but you do.
     
  20. newjerseyrunner
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    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

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    I have several types of weapons in one of my stories, two are beam weapons of very different types.

    The human characters have a positron beam weapon. It fires positrons (anti electrons) at relativistic speeds out of a sort of rail gun towards an enemy ship. On impacting anything, they annihalate and produce gamma rays.

    An alien species has another weapon that makes antimatter look like a firecracker. They produce a kugelblitz (special type of micro black hole) of a size based on the distance to the enemy ship. They calculate it so that it explodes near the enemy. Black hole explosions are far more powerful than antimatter could ever be and are even smaller and harder to shield against than a positron.
     
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  21. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Round and round, spiraling into madness they do. Contributor

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    Don't get me wrong it sounds like a neat concept
    weapon for clearing things out on a mass scale,
    though on a micro scale would it not be possible that
    these miniature black holes would collide to become a
    much larger black hole dependent on the amount
    of mini black holes that are fired in close proximity to one another.

    One thing to compact your enemies down to basic particles on the atomic
    scale, but how do they prevent the black holes from gravitating toward
    one another and forming a much bigger one that might be able to swallow
    an entire solar system?
     
  22. Mumble Bee
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    Mumble Bee In my defense, words are my weapons. Contributor

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    Could you hit a ship with some sort of quantum weapon, so every possibility of that ship exists at once? The resulting ships would crash and rip each other apart.

    On the flip side, weapons you use could multiply after fired and one bullet turns into a shit ton of them.
     
  23. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    Talking of beam weapons didn't a US company (raytheon ?) develop a microwave weapon that boils the water in your skin - as i recall its non lethal but makes it virtually impossible to do anything sensible like fight back because it feels like your skin is on fire... i think it was supposed to be for hostage scenarios

    Barry Eisler riffs on the same idea in 'requiem for an assassin' where he has the Mossad develop a hand held unit that does the same thing
     
  24. tonguetied
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    tonguetied Contributing Member Contributor

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    And to think we used to use cigarette lighters. Reminds me of how NASA solved writing in space within microgravity with an ink type pen, the Russians used pencils.
     
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  25. newjerseyrunner
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    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

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    That's not what the weapon would do at all. Micro black holes are actually extremely hot, they have quantum effects that cause them to evaporate in a process called Hawking radiation. As they evaporate away, they do so faster and faster as they get smaller. If you know the exact energy of the black hole you can predict when it will evaporate away completely. The last few microseconds of a black holes life it puts out a enormous gamma ray explosion, similar to a matter antimatter anihallation, but far more powerful.
     
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