Found an interesting website about futuristic/sci-fi weapons


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Nightcrawler
March 2, 2006, 08:37 PM
Observe the sidearms page (http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/rocket3l.html) from the Atomic Rocket Website (http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/index.html).

Last but not least is the old standby: the laser pistol. Dr. Schilling does not think this is as far fetched as most believe. Erik points out that the problem with a man-portable laser pistol would be the power source. Kinetic weapons are probably going to outperform beam weapons for man-portable sidearms for a long time.

The key to making a laser do bullet levels of damage is pulsing the laser. The first pulse creates a steam explosion and a shallow crater in the skin of the hapless pirate. By careful timing, the second pulse arrives after the steam from the first pulse has dissipated and creates a second crater at the bottom of the first. If you don't delay the pulses, the cloud of steam interferes with laser beam, protecting the target. By altering the variables one can have a laser beam that will penetrate a human body but only bore a little way into metal. As an added bonus, lasers have no recoil. Here follows Dr. Schilling's analysis:

There are four basic technological approaches I would consider based on my personal knowledge, all of which would lead to similar end results if they worked at all.

Phase-locked diode laser arrays
Lots of microlasers on a chip, all working together. Extremely efficient, if you can actually get them to work together.
Diode-pumped YAG lasers
Lots of microlasers on a chip, each working alone. They won't produce a good beam that way, but if you tune them to the right absorption band and direct them all into a YAG crystal, you can get the latter to lase quite efficiently.
Pulsed linear induction accelerators
Fairly conventional technology for producing high-energy, high-current electron beams with external magnetic fields. This one will need to be pushed right up to the theoretical limits to work on a handgun scale, and it will need an unconventional electron source such as a pseudospark discharge.
Wake field accelerators
Clever way of producing high-energy electron beams using the internal electric fields of forced plasma waves. Still in it's infancy, potential unknown but may well be adequate in the long run





I've read elsewhere on the site that when objects get to 2kps or greater in velocity, their impact energy is roughly equivalent to their weight in TNT. Anybody know about this?

I know the military did a lot of research on hypervelocity flechette weapons. Weapons like the Steyr ACR were a result. The problem was that 5,000fps isn't quite enough velocity to achieve much of anything (at least not with a 10-grain projectile). But if you could get, say, a 20 grain projectile to about 7,000 fps, what would the end-result be?

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Nightcrawler
March 2, 2006, 08:41 PM
What would the Asteroid Pirate look like after they got hit?

The method of subsequent explosions on the back of an expanding cavity driving the cavity through the target will leave a wound much like that of a gunshot, except without fun stuff like the bullet fragmenting or breaking up. A variant where nearly parallel beams a few cm apart literally rip the tissue between them could leave a wound looking more like an ugly gash - add on a few more of these beams on the same plane and you could literally cut someone in half with one millisecond pulse, using only about as much energy as goes into accelerating the bullet of a modern day battle rifle. (ed note: in some SF novels by E.E."Doc" Smith and Robert Heinlein, this is referred to as setting your sidearm to "fan beam")

Will there be a large splash of blood and gore on the wall behind the unlucky pirate?

Quite likely, Note that since you do not have the momentum associated with a projectile, it will be more spread out than you would get from a gunshot wound, and you would get blood and gore coming out the front, too.

I assume that since the beam is one millimeter in diameter but the hole in the pirate is four centimeters, little or no wound cauterization will occur.

Nope, the wound would be ragged and messy. It is created by mechanical, not thermal effects.


What will the laser pistol look like?

The laser weapon will probably end up looking something like a camcorder, with a big lens that the beam goes through, and a fairly compact design. Since mirrors and internal optics can bend the beam inside the weapon, there is no need for the long barrels you see on modern firearms. Cooling, if necessary, would probably not involve fins - I would expect something more like the radiator on modern automobiles. Remember, shedding your heat through contact with the air is much more efficient than radiation.

(ed note: keeping in mind that using contact with the air doesn't work if there is no air, i.e., in vacuum. C. James Huff notes that there is one kind of fin for radiant cooling and another for air cooling. He mentions that the fins on a CPU hot sink is a good example of the latter. For a vacuum rated laser he recommends a compressed or liquified gas cartridge since a radiant cooler would be inconveniently huge.)

Also, lasers are getting surprisingly efficient. When each beam pulse contains no more energy than imparted to a rifle bullet, lasers might need cooling no more than a modern rifle.

Another interesting thing is that you could use the beam optics for your scope. Just install a switchable mirror that flashes reflective for the millisecond the beam is on, and you could then direct the light from your target that comes into your weapon's optics straight into an eyepiece. You could see exactly where the beam would strike without having to make any allowances for parallax or beam deflection (since the incoming light would be deflected along exactly the same path as the outgoing beam). Thus, no separate lens for a scope, sitting on top of the gun.

bigun15
March 2, 2006, 08:53 PM
Will there be a large splash of blood and gore on the wall behind the unlucky pirate?

Quite likely, Note that since you do not have the momentum associated with a projectile, it will be more spread out than you would get from a gunshot wound, and you would get blood and gore coming out the front, too.

Hollywood would get a kick out of making a movie with that. They'd be torn between their love of money in the box office and their hatred of freedom against guns.

PlayboyPenguin
March 2, 2006, 09:21 PM
Very cool, it even had the weapons from "Space 1999" and Han Solo's blaster (my personal faves). We have a big sci-fi museum up here in Seattle that has the actual weapons in it. There is actually a large section dedictaed to the sci-fi weapons. :)

Manedwolf
March 3, 2006, 12:44 PM
I expect the next battlefield-useable weapon to be railguns. The current roadblocks are that superconductors still need to be chilled, and develop "quench" points that reduce their effectiveness.

Once they get superconductors to work at high temperatures, it's just a matter of sequentially firing a line of ring magnets to accelerate a projectile to hypervelocities, and designing a stable projectile. Explosives aren't needed, just the kinetic impact.

I'd expect to see those first on nuclear-powered ships, with their unlimited electricity, and then perhaps on something like a main battle tank as a primary cannon. Very little recoil, MUCH less stress on the crew inside without the massive explosions, and smaller, nonexplosive and more effective ammunition. Win-win all around, once they get it figured out.

Rifles? Eventually. If you can't drop it, bang a door open with it, drop it in mud and sand and have it keep working, it's not much use in combat.

I'd also expect to see big anti-missile lasers on ships replacing the Phalanx guns. You can have enough to have redundancy if some fail, you have power, and you have the advantage that a laser hits its target in (to our perception) the instant it's fired.

MillCreek
March 3, 2006, 01:56 PM
And that is one of my very favorite sections of the Science Fiction Hall of Fame Museum. There are a lot of props from many SF movies and television shows; including the original captain's chair from the original Star Trek series. The interesting thing about so many of the props is how crude they look close up. They look much better on camera.

Manedwolf
March 3, 2006, 03:42 PM
Check out some of the Star Wars props close up. Lando's spear/axe thing from Jedi includes the casing of a Conair wand hair dryer and what seems to be part of a toilet float.

Manedwolf
March 3, 2006, 03:44 PM
From the aforementioned site:

http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/buckRogers05.jpg

Woah, watch that muzzle, Buck! :eek: :D

Chrontius
March 5, 2006, 12:46 AM
Manedwolf: that's a coilgun, not a railgun.

I want one of those powerholsters!

50caliber123
March 5, 2006, 08:35 AM
what about magnetic-coil technology? I heard that is starting to take off well. I still believe that firearms will always play an important role in combat though. At least for the next 1000 years.

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