Written by Dabney B. on Wednesday, March 14th, 2012
This week’s articles have focused on two space-cleaning options that are only a tiny step away from becoming satellite-destroying weapons. Of course, the idea of creating space weapons is a tricky subject. On the one hand, space has already been populated with a plethora of spy satellites. On the other hand, these satellites are somewhat harmless in that all they do is observe. It is that fact alone that has prevented nations from rising to arms against the US, Russia, and other space-faring nations.
People accept the inevitability of nations building weapons in the heart of their homeland, or perhaps even along the border. When a nation wants to build a super weapon that hovers above other nations, however, people will start to get uneasy. If a weapon were sent in orbit around earth, it would automatically threaten every single nation beneath it.
Try to avoid thinking of space weapons as an impossibility. Space-to-earth weapons are a very real threat that could be developed sometime in the future.
Of course, weapons that work here on earth would be next to useless in a zer0-gravity vacuum, so space weapons would have to be a bit unorthodox. One possible type of weapon, known as kinetic bombardment, is perhaps the most terrifying weapon ever invented, rivaling even nuclear weapons.
Satellites would essentially drop tungsten rods, shaped a bit like long missiles or telephone poles, on their targets. These rods would be completely inert, relying entirely on kinetic energy to deal damage. Travelling at 36,000 feet per second, the approximate speed of a meteor, these rods would utterly destroy anything they hit. The most appealing feature of this type of weapon is that it would be especially effective at destroying subterranean targets, as the bulk of the force would be directed downward, deep into the earth.
If the concept of an actual meteor launching weapon isn’t horrifying enough, it gets worse. Infrared signatures caused by launch would occur in orbit, and from a constantly changing position. That fact, paired with the rod’s relatively small radar signature, would make this weapon extremely difficult to detect. And forget about defending against it — no armor would be capable of withstanding the impact. The only defense would be to be elsewhere when the rod hits.
Nicknamed “Rods from God,” these weapons will hopefully remain in the pages of science fiction novels. The last thing any of us need is a weapon as devastating as a nuclear missile, and one that orbits directly over the USA every 100 minutes — the typical orbital time of a satellite.
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