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Old 02-23-2020, 04:28 PM   #12
Agemegos
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Oz
Default Re: Coolant [Spaceships]

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericbsmith View Post
For some fun reading look up the "Rods from God" weapons platform. The basic idea of "Rods from God" is to put some telephone pole sized tungsten rods in orbit and then drop them on targets on the ground. Because of their size, shape, and composition they barely decelerate coming into the atmosphere and they hit with the equivalent force of a small nuclear weapon without any of the fallout.
There was a more modest plan in Project Thor to use rods that were only about the size of a crowbar, and to equip each of them with a bit of terminal guidance and a simple target-seeking system, so that each one could utterly destroy a tank or inflict a heavy hit on a battleship. That came to nothing because no sort of terminal guidance seemed to be practical on examination, and because no simple guidance system could work through the sheath of plasma that these things would make around themselves, and because tanks and ships can move rather a long way in the 22-minute minimum time from de-orbiting burn to impact.

But when you're talking about mass destruction…. A city is a big enough target not to need terminal guidance to hit it. And it moves in a slow and predictable way that means you don't need sensors to find it. A packet of orbital crowbars or a big long rod from God is going to have an atrocious effect even at "only" 7.8 km/s.

That's only 0.000 026 times the speed of light. You don't need relativistic or even 0.001 c impactors to blow a large city off the map. Any thousand-tonne spaceship in or capable of reaching low orbit is a potential seven-kiloton bomb.
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Last edited by Agemegos; 02-23-2020 at 05:43 PM.
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