[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)
>
>http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/reactionlessdrive.php

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

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Prador-Moon-Polity-Neal-Asher/dp/0330528467

(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").
-- 

Marc

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


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