[LMB] 0.5c ship impact

Marc Wilson marc.wilson at gmx.co.uk
Sun Jul 6 14:09:25 BST 2014

On Sun, 06 Jul 2014 09:42:29 +0200, Baur <baur at chello.at> wrote:

>Am 06.07.2014 08:58, schrieb Gwynne Powell:
>>> From: Damien Sullivan phoenix at mindstalk.net
>> Some snips for brevity.
>snippitites est
>>> Say a ship masses 1000 tonnes ......  So, this fairly small
>>> ship hits with the energy of 2,390,000 large nuclear bombs.  The US has,
>>> or has had, about 10,000 bombs, probably mostly 10x smaller than that.
>> Are they INSANE? Are you telling me that ships with planet-killing capacity
>> just go zooming around and everyone LETS them??? Why would you let 
>> vessels like that come roaring in to your planet? Those numbers are 
>> terrifying - I'm not joking about that. 
>> And why hasn't it been done, on a regular basis? I can imagine any total
>> nutcase who was on the losing side of some revolution or invasion fleeing
>> the planet and then wiping the whole place out for revenge or paranoia
>> or religious fervour. 
>> The Nexus is a scarier place than I'd realised.
>EVERY SF universe with an interesting drive (interesting in this context
>means "it gets you there in days or shorter") is a very scary place
>every starship with an interesting drive is a wepaon of mass destruction ..
>for realistic drivers this is called the "Kzinti lesson"
>"A reaction drive's efficiency as a weapon is in direct proportion to
>its efficiency as a drive." (Larry Niven)
>a reactionless drive makes matter much, much worse - because it is
>really hard to design a reactionless drive that does not violate
>conservation of momentum and/or conservation .. this makes it much
>easier to build planet busting spaceships (and among other things also
>makes a perpetuum  mobile possible)
>for example its one of the great problems of the honorverse (carefully
>brushed under the carpet)

Another interesting approach to this is in Neal Asher's universe, in the
book called Prador Moon.


(for those of you not familiar with this universe, it posits strong AI
and FTL travel via various means, one of which is the "runcible", a sort
of AI-mediated artificial wormhole.  You can literally walk to another
world. And yes, travellers are colloquially known as "quince").


A lawyer's job is basically well-informed risk analysis. - Anthony Cartmell

More information about the Lois-Bujold mailing list