Hot answers tagged

39

They even have a Dyson swarm set up that can extract as much energy as I will need You should be building a Nicoll-Dyson beam. If you weren't aware of these engineering marvels, it involves constructing a phased laser array on the outside of each element of your Dyson swarm. In the limit, this results in a laser weapon that can turn the output of your star ...


37

The problem with an unguided projectile at interstellar scale isn't accelerating it, it's hitting anything at the other end. Here's the scale of the problem. Assume that your railgun has perfect bench accuracy: that is, if you fire it twice at the same point, it will hit the exact same point in space, every time. Assume that it's 1km long, but despite that ...


32

Consequences Not Too Bad, Considering The average warhead in the US nuclear arsenal, dialed to full-yield, is 200kt. We'll assume that most of the weapons used approximate that. You have specified that a few of the big boys are being employed, though, so: NukeMap of the consequences of a 1.2MT bomb in Owens Valley. The biggest of the bombs is going to ...


20

Railguns have to be useless if there is relativistic travel Unfortunately, absolutely base table-stakes for being to travel at any significant fraction of C is some kind of detection, deflection, or shielding technology that can shrug off incoming projectiles, because by traveling at that speed, you have turned everything you run into into a projectile ...


13

Instead of replacing conventional infantry entirely, a perhaps more realistic role for powered armor would be to be sparsely mixed in among conventional infantry as an augmentation to their abilities, e.g. to provide scouting with special sensors and augmented movement speed or endurance to provide fire support by carrying specialized or heavy weapons to ...


12

Power armor can be the swiss army knife of military equipment. It can serve as a framework for attaching any number of add-on tools and weapons each of which would be too heavy to carry without the powered framework. It can serve as hazardous environment protection and (maybe only for short periods of time) as a space suit. The combat protective component ...


9

Awesome, wimpy power. There aren't many bonds in normal air to cut: O-O, N-N, maybe H-OH if there's some humidity. So you get isolated neutral O and N atoms, and maybe H and OH on occasion. The isolated atoms have more energy than bound ones, so the most striking thing about your sword is that it's a perpetual motion machine. Either that or it has to pay ...


8

Just chemically breaking down the elements in the air is not that big of a deal, Mike's answer does a good job of outlining why... but let's pretend the sides of you sword also contain complex mono-molecular geometry, something similar in shape and function to RNA, then it could take those loose elements and reform them into new molecules. Since you have the ...


6

It gives you firepower, armour and ammo in a low profile, as well as the ability to work/fight in hostile environment. Its worth considering what your powered armour is, and how you want to use it. Modern infantry sections tend to carry a variety of weapons. A load carrying suit that can keep up with infantry means that you have more heavy weapons on hand ...


5

Fast moving space ships will be watching for incoming impactors. This fleet is moving fast and can't dodge. Space junk and rocks are a threat to them. They will be watching for such and they will have countermeasures as have frequently been bandied about on this stack. Space is not hazy and you can see a long way using various EMR frequencies. 0.2c is ...


4

Railguns are unlikely to produce velocities higher than a few km/s. The physics involved in electromagnetically propelling the projectile by an electrical current passed through the rails and projectile mean they will be slow in comparison to a simple chemical rocket. I will assume some translation error and take "rail gun" as referring to some ...


4

There's a real-world thing called a Pata. It looks like this: It is, more or less, a broadsword or rapier blade protruding from the end of an armoured gauntlet. Quoth the wikipedia page, The pata is most commonly paired with either a shield or another pata, though it can also be used with a javelin, axe, or belt. The restrictive handle was particularly ...


4

It's the difference between the power source of the items. Your impermanent items are powered by "batteries". A reservoir of Mana that needs to be filled, then the item works. When this power is used up, it needs to be recharged. As with electrical batteries, performance drops with every recharge cycle and eventually becomes so low that the "...


4

There's a chance your detonations could set off tectonic faults in Owens Valley. In 1872 there was an estimated 7.8-7.9 magnitude quake that killed 27 people, or 10% of the population in the valley. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1872_Owens_Valley_earthquake The explosions might be enough to trigger the fault again, especially if Godzilla's route matched the ...


4

Real life military justification is special ops teams. They have to: Go on foot. A vehicle or helicopter can bring them only so far, and drone can not rescue a hostage, for example; Go stealthy, and stay stealthy. Drones have to stay at a considerable distance to avoid alerting the enemy; Need to carry a lot of gear. Today, this is a major limiting factor ...


4

There are plenty of reasons to use them: more armor protection and a larger logistical strain for your enemy. Current caliber weapons are chosen because they are effective at killing or incapacitating infantry despite their armor. Bringing larger calibers isn't very efficient as it means more recoil, less bullets per magazine and less total ammunition ...


4

Every situation where manpower is limited The idea of fighting sending human waves against the enemy, while still considered, is already outdated in the modern theory of war. In particular, when an army doesn't have a big amount of soldiers, either for social reasons (no draft, the need of high numbers of workers and farmers to sustain the army) or ...


3

That's not really what Penrose process is for. The "Penrose process" has the rather limited effect of extracting some rotational energy that surrounds a spinning black hole. It isn't a tremendous amount of energy extracted, and I think you have other ideas how to get energy from small black holes. Once you have the energy in fungible form, use it ...


3

can they use the penrose process to fire a laser/particle beam at the black hole, using the black holes gravity to accelerate the kinetic energy of the photons, and then fire that beam at an enemy ship? First of all, photons would always move at c, because of the physics we know today. We can't accelerate nor decelerate them. At most they would blue shift ...


3

TL;DR: plasma weapons just aren't really very good. Yours seems unlikely to compare favourably against almost any other kind of weapon. Here's the problem with guns that fire plasmoids like this: hot, pressurised gas expands. In order for your plasma gun to be useful, the plasmoids it throws are gonna have to be quite warm... tens of thousands of kelvin, ...


3

The Wikipedia page on powered exoskeletons notes the times exoskeletons have been prototyped before (not always powered), and by whom/for what purpose: In 1890, as a mobility aid In 1917, for strength augmentation In the 1960's, by General Electric and the US Military In the 1960's, as an aid in recovery from paralysis In 1972, also as an aid in recovery ...


3

Let's set aside the plausibility of a blade really cutting atomic bonds, and let's take for good that it happens. Any singlet atoms that you would produce is not exactly friendly, considering that it will desperately try to recombine because chemistry. Considering both abundance and reactivity, I would say that the nastiest thing that you will produce is ...


3

Maximise collateral damage by creating an earthquake The military aren't entirely stupid. They've recognised that just dropping a nuke on Godzilla isn't going to work, and even a succession of nukes might not do it. So in the face of opposition which their weapons can't hurt, they have to go lateral. And with the extinction-level threat that Godzilla ...


3

The nature of the spell requires some flaw in its perfection: it can not be used everywhere, at any time, by anyone. One such flaw is that it is temporary. Another such flaw is that it can only be used by people with a certain condition, such as this person here, or a member of this family. It would also be possible to create things that can be used in only ...


3

The Permanence Comes At A Cost The luxury items are linked to a specific mana signature, yes? How do you think the enchantment is maintained? Simply put, this link binds the mana of one specific person into it when first activated, then draws upon that person's mana to keep its enchantment "fresh" and functioning in tip-top shape. Regular enchanted ...


3

You could never hit, at that range, with a rail gun - but not for the reasons listed. You're firing projectiles with mass on fight paths that last years. Every single object in area will interact with them, in terms of gravity. They'll be attracted in very slightly different directions, depending on the flight path. Unless you have perfect knowledge of ...


3

If you're fighting aliens the size of powered armour, you might want power armour because your vehicles aren't versatile enough but your infantry can't carry weaponry effective enough. Similarly, you might need power armour if your enemy chooses to uses power armour, whatever their reason are.


2

Relativistic shotgun (only works on approaching ships). You don't need to get anything up to speed, the incoming ships are already moving plenty fast. What you need is to overwhelm their automatic impact defense systems and also keep them from avoiding your weapon. Bring in the shotgun approach... Figure out how good their defense systems are, how accurate ...


2

Construction work One reason why American soldiers are beloved throughout the Middle East is that they need to enter and search many, many buildings, and they believe in never using a door. While it is certainly practical to make new entryways with high explosive, a powerful portable jackhammer attachment might help to nudge consumer satisfaction up that ...


2

While it has been mentioned in passing in a couple of the answers, I don't feel like the gravity problem hasn't been given enough airtime here. Even if you solve all of the aiming problems (pointing it in the right direction, getting exactly the right energy output, etc.) and even if you have total knowledge of the distribution of gasses, radiation, and so ...


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