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Plausible Concepts for Interplanetary War

war military space interplanetary weapons

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#1
Jakob

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Starting this thread as a clearing house for discussion of space weapons. Primary emphasis will be on space-to-space and space-to-surface weapons, but surface-to-space may also be considered. To start...

 

Laser arrays for propelling spaceships can also be used like nuclear cannon weapons

 

The Lubin UCSB laser propulsion system efforts have been funded by Breakthrough Starshot for $100 million. They are working working to demonstrate proof of concept for light-propelled nanocrafts.

A large scale network of several 70 Gigawatt lasers on Earth, Earth Orbits, the moon Mars and asteroids is not as distant as one might think because of several converging systems and technological shortcuts.

 

It looks like we could get 100 kilograms to 2% of light speed and 10 tons to around 0.3% of light speed, or 1000 kilometers per second. That would be a solid tungsten cube 80 centimeters across (no need to be aerodynamic in space). The kinetic energy would be on par with a large thermonuclear weapon (around 1-2 megatons) which should be enough to put a giant hole in any ship that's not either insanely huge or armored with exotic matter.

 

This could be the main gun of a space battleship.

 

As for a secondary gun, it could be a miniaturized nuclear Verne gun. It's not capable of relativistic launch speeds, but you could use it to build a giant nuclear shotgun that launches hundreds of tons of metal shards at close range to destroy fighter swarms and lightly armored ships.


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#2
Jakob

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I'm also come up with the idea of space mines. The basic idea is that we would mass-produce nuclear pumped lasers and spread them over a vast area as a sort of area denial weapon. For instance, if we wanted to block off access to Earth from any Type I civilization level threat, we could put a sphere of space mines in high Earth orbit, say at 100,000 kilometers. Each system would be equipped with sensors that automatically fire if they detect a ship within 1000 kilometers. If we space them randomly one every thousand kilometers or so, and stack them ten levels deep, from 90-100,000 km for redundancy, that would be a bit under a million. Plausible for a civilization with Type I level manufacturing capabilities.


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#3
Unity

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Mass Drivers

https://youtu.be/hCk-12UtYEI

Accelerating asteroids and comets to massive speeds to bombard planetary installations

#4
Jakob

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Mass Drivers

https://youtu.be/hCk-12UtYEI

Accelerating asteroids and comets to massive speeds to bombard planetary installations

Lasers would probably be better. Wouldn't large mass drivers also be fixed to fire in a specific direction, which could be awkward?


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#5
Unity

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I'm not sure about the power generation required for lasers though. Unless we have fusion power it may be prohibitive and then it would require a class of ship that is a particular size or larger

#6
Jakob

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I'm not sure about the power generation required for lasers though. Unless we have fusion power it may be prohibitive and then it would require a class of ship that is a particular size or larger

70 gigawatts for the specs I mentioned above, or possibly even as low as 3.5 GW with photon recycling. Should be trivial to produce if we have rockets that can move something the size of an aircraft carrier (probably) at any appreciable speed. We could probably do 70 terawatts if we had those kinds of ships.


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#7
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Interesting. Have you considered taking your ideas to physics forums? Not sure what kind of Sci-Fi you're writing (you said you're a writer correct?) But they could probably help with references/calculations especially for more "hard" Sci-Fi. I see you like the arxiv though which is excellent. Please use any citations you run across as realistic space exploration is really interesting to me :)
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