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Old 12-13-2020, 09:52 AM   #11
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: [Vehicles] How big should a self-destruct be?

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Originally Posted by DataPacRat View Post

Is anyone up to enlightening me on how GURPS converts mass-of-antimatter to explosive-force-equivalent, and thence to damage-rolls?
4e is more accurate in that it has antimatter doing little Concussion or even Explosive Burning damage. What antimatter does give you is gamma rays and you only get conventional explosive damage from the surrounding matter that the gamma rays ionize.

You'll get that from big antimatter charges in atmosphere that ionize all the air in 750 yards or more. You won't get it in space. If you use enough antimatter (with a hard to determine value of "enough") you will eventually ionize all of your space probe in addition to filling surroundign space with a huge quantity of toxic rads in a very inefficient process.

Small quantities of antimatter have almost no utility in mining..

Try Plastex B instead.
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Old 12-13-2020, 10:24 AM   #12
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Default Re: [Vehicles] How big should a self-destruct be?

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Sorry, I phrased myself badly; I don't necessarily mean no trace of the probe ever having existed, just no trace of the AI's programming or data.
Would securely wiping the storage media, leaving an inert but intact shell, suffice?
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Old 12-13-2020, 10:49 AM   #13
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Default Re: [Vehicles] How big should a self-destruct be?

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
4e is more accurate in that it has antimatter doing little Concussion or even Explosive Burning damage. What antimatter does give you is gamma rays and you only get conventional explosive damage from the surrounding matter that the gamma rays ionize.

You'll get that from big antimatter charges in atmosphere that ionize all the air in 750 yards or more. You won't get it in space. If you use enough antimatter (with a hard to determine value of "enough") you will eventually ionize all of your space probe in addition to filling surroundign space with a huge quantity of toxic rads in a very inefficient process.

Small quantities of antimatter have almost no utility in mining..
I found some more 3e rulings on nuclear-scale explosives, in High-Tech p30 - including the different effects if set off in a vacuum.


Quote:
Try Plastex B instead.
Is there any (non-superscience) way to chemical explosives from a t-ray imager (hard-SF chemscanner, VX2p18)? I can't seem to find any relevant smuggling tech, given that t-scanners can penetrate surfaces.


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Originally Posted by RyanW View Post
Would securely wiping the storage media, leaving an inert but intact shell, suffice?
Ultra-tech data-recovery methods can extrapolate a lot from very little; the fewer of the physical storage media's atoms that are connected to each other, the better.
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Old 12-13-2020, 11:52 AM   #14
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Default Re: [Vehicles] How big should a self-destruct be?

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Is there any (non-superscience) way to chemical explosives from a t-ray imager (hard-SF chemscanner, VX2p18)? I can't seem to find any relevant smuggling tech, given that t-scanners can penetrate surfaces.
I'm not sure why a t-ray imager is being described as a chemscanner, but it's trivial to block terahertz radiation with a sheet of metal as far as I can tell.
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Old 12-13-2020, 12:06 PM   #15
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Default Re: [Vehicles] How big should a self-destruct be?

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I'm not sure why a t-ray imager is being described as a chemscanner, but it's trivial to block terahertz radiation with a sheet of metal as far as I can tell.
Terahertz spectroscopy can detect a pretty wide range of interesting materials, though it's hardly a universal chemscanner (it seems to be mostly used for biological materials, such as drugs and explosives detection).
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Old 12-13-2020, 07:10 PM   #16
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Default Re: [Vehicles] How big should a self-destruct be?

I think I've found my self-destruct method: from Pyramid 51, a "triggered nuclear isomer" explosive. At REF 100 and $500/lb, even $1 of it is useful (about 5.3 d6, if I have the formula right); and like antimatter, setting it off emits enough radiation to help wipe the RAM this AI is worried about.

Also mentioned in the article is that it's "insensitive", and won't be set off by random impact, friction, heat, or sparks. ... Which is kind of important, given that one of the TL8 explosives listed is hexanitro hexaazaisowurtzitane, which isn't particularly noted for its stability in the present-day.


Anyone have any thoughts to share on the stuff, before I start deciding on technobabble for the half-life of the isomer being used, or toying with carrying bits of it around with cyberswarms, or the like?
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Old 12-13-2020, 08:39 PM   #17
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Default Re: [Vehicles] How big should a self-destruct be?

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Anyone have any thoughts to share on the stuff, before I start deciding on technobabble for the half-life of the isomer being used, or toying with carrying bits of it around with cyberswarms, or the like?
The main problem is that it doesn't seem to actually work; the idea was briefly hot some years back and then didn't pan out (similar to cold fusion a bit before it). This doesn't mean you can't use it, it just means you're using dated technobabble.

If you can make it work, it does imply compact gamma ray lasers. Of course, that's available standard at TL 11.
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Old 12-13-2020, 08:48 PM   #18
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: [Vehicles] How big should a self-destruct be?

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The main problem is that it doesn't seem to actually work; the idea was briefly hot some years back and then didn't pan out (similar to cold fusion a bit before it). This doesn't mean you can't use it, it just means you're using dated technobabble.

If you can make it work, it does imply compact gamma ray lasers. Of course, that's available standard at TL 11.
Gamma ray lasers are TL12. You only have X-ray lasers at TL11.

Upgraded technobabble might be something invovling one of those super-heavy elements from the "island of stability" fissioning from something other than a neutron.
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Old 12-14-2020, 07:16 AM   #19
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Default Re: [Vehicles] How big should a self-destruct be?

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Upgraded technobabble might be something invovling one of those super-heavy elements from the "island of stability" fissioning from something other than a neutron.
I could work with that.

Say, do any GURPS books mention how heavy and expensive a particle accelerator and collider might be, so I can start estimating what it would take to manufacture this stuff while stuck on some random moon? 3e's Vehicles' fuel-generation gizmo-list mostly concentrates on chemical and physical processes - distillation, metal-oxide reduction, and such - plus a couple of ridiculously-high-TL superscience doodads that aren't particularly relevant, either.

I know that some small-scale particle accelerators can be reasonably cheap even today; and at $1.10 per gram (well, including whatever it's embedded in), the isomer obviously isn't /particularly/ hard to put together with a TL10 economy; but there's a world of difference between paying a buck for a bottle of soda and making some yourself, from scratch.

(I might loosely base my approach on antimatter production, ala https://www.baen.com/Chapters/067187...7187686402.jpg , but I'm open to any reasonably-consistent sets of numbers.)
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Old 12-14-2020, 09:25 AM   #20
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Default Re: [Vehicles] How big should a self-destruct be?

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Upgraded technobabble might be something invovling one of those super-heavy elements from the "island of stability" fissioning from something other than a neutron.
Yet another technical question: Assuming that metastable nuclear isomers can, in fact, be stored and can also be detonated on command, is there any reasonable way to take your pile of the things and use them to generate electricity? And what'd be the most reasonable model - non-rechargeable battery, RTG, explosive-fuelled internal combustion engine...?
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