Gamma-Ray Burst Weapons, Next Arms Race?

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Durandal7, Aug 14, 2003.

  1. Durandal7 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2001
    #1
    http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99994049

    Makes you wonder about a repeat of the Cold War arms race, only this time with China over Gamma weaponry instead of the USSR over nukes.
     
  2. hvfsl macrumors 68000

    hvfsl

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    #2
    Does the radiation disappear quickly or does it stay around for hundreds of years like conventional nuclear based weapons?

    Anyway I don't think it will create a new arms race since Russia no longer has the money to do it and China does not have the technical knowledge, a lot (if not all) of China's weapons are based on Russian designs. To create a arms race a totally new tech would have to be created, like weapons of mass destruction (the explosive kind) that don't leave radition behind after the explosion.
     
  3. big macrumors 65816

    big

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    #3
    60% of the energy you put into it? seems like we shoul be researching this for domestic energy, and public/individual transportation
     
  4. patrick0brien macrumors 68040

    patrick0brien

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    #4
    -hvfsl

    Thankfully no. Gamma rays are a form of light in the electromagnetic spectrum - like X-Rays, Microwaves, Radio, etc. As a result, it's not pervasive.

    Don't forget the term "radiation" is a generic one that simply describes energetic particls "radiating" from a source. This refers to any particle.

    The word "radiation" has become associated with the Alpha and Beta particles from a fissing unstable heavy atom like Uranium 239 or Plutonium 235. Radioactivity and radiation are not at all the same thing - though slang has blurred that.

    The key difference is that fission radiation is a particle - a packet of protons and neutons that broke away - through the weak force - or decay, from the original heavy unstable element. These particles often become entangled in substances they run into, thus we get contamination.

    Gamma rays, are light, and therefore fleeting. However, unlike alpha and beta particles, they are not stopped by substanced they run into. Meaning that there is no place to hide - not even lead.

    How's that for a nuclear physics lesson! :D
     
  5. Cubeboy macrumors regular

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    Bridgewater NJ
    #5
    Hmm, interesting, I never knew conventional chemical explosives emitted Gamma rays, how does this (EMP?) bomb compare with nuclear weapons in terms of the amount of gamma radiation emitted? Several magnitudes greater I'd imagine?
     
  6. Fukui macrumors 68000

    Fukui

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    #6
    Humans have got to be the only species that I know of that constantly and purposefully comes up with new ways to kill themselves...
     
  7. Wes macrumors 68020

    Wes

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    #8

    Hmm I had learned at school that 5 Cm's of lead could halve the amount of gamma passing through.

    What we learnt was:

    Alpha: Piece of paper can stop it
    Form: Electron
    Beta: Piece of alumium
    Form: 1 Proton 1 Neutron (Like Helium atom nucleus)
    Gamma: 5 Cm's lead halves it.
    Ray: No form taken.
     
  8. MacBandit macrumors 604

    MacBandit

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    #9
    2 inches of lead is a lot of lead.
     
  9. patrick0brien macrumors 68040

    patrick0brien

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    #10
    -Wes

    I stand corrected. Perhaps I should have said that even lead cannot stop it - there will always be penetration through lead, even if it is a single photon at the Gamma freq that emerges from the other side.
     
  10. Cubeboy macrumors regular

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    #11
    I bet a blackhole or a distortion in time can stop it (photons that is). :p :D
     
  11. patrick0brien macrumors 68040

    patrick0brien

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    #12
    -Cubeboy

    Oh, you mean this one I got right here in my pocket-ssssssssssssSSSSUUUUCCCKKKK


    >paff<
     
  12. hvfsl macrumors 68000

    hvfsl

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    #13
    I just realised a use for this weapon, orbital weapons platforms. They would be very useful against Islamic terrorists where the US only wants to destroy a building or cave with them in it. In the long run it would be cheaper than using bombs, and more accurate too. Of cource that is the use that would most scare the Russians and China since there is no defense against it. Maybe the US will use the weapons as part of the new star wars system.
     
  13. bobindashadows macrumors 6502

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    #14
    Well, there's no defense that i can see at the moment, but they could always send a guided missile up and knock out the orbital weapons platform, which I would classify as an offensive strike in the name of defense. And it would be cool if they implemented it in SDI, but I'd like to see them work on the current implementation and get the success rate above like 33% (thats what I heard, correct me if I'm wrong). Granted, they could just send out 10 of the SDI missiles and that would pretty much ensure the incoming missile's destruction, but the less used the better.

    It is a very controversial topic, because we hope that the money spent never actually get used, because that would mean a very serious war. However, not spending the money would result in being unprepared should such a war arrive... I personally feel that a war with another superpower will eventually come. Whether that war's technology has outgrown this SDI technology is another story.
     
  14. MacBandit macrumors 604

    MacBandit

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    #15
    Please tell me how they would do that? How are they going to send a missile up and knock out a satellite? China just finally achieved the ability to launch missiles into orbit and that was just because they happened to get some help from us. It's not easy to send something into orbit.
     
  15. hvfsl macrumors 68000

    hvfsl

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    #16
    I don't know about other countries but the US has missiles that are specially designed to knock out satelites in orbit. They are launched from planes high up in the atmosphere. They were designed to be used against Russian satelites, for example taking out a spy satelite or if the Russians had their own orbital weapons platforms. There are some that say the USSR built some satelites with nukes on them.
     
  16. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

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    VA
    #17
    1/3 of all the objects Norad is tracking in space today are from a single test of a Russian anti-satellite weapon system.

    Basically they launched a missile at a satellite and blew it up in close proximity - creating 10,000s of pieces of shrapnel which now a good portion of remain in orbit and will eventually burn up in the atmosphere over the next couple decades.

    If there ever is a war in space, no one will be able to leave the planet without making sure their spaceship is armored :D

    D
     
  17. mvc macrumors 6502a

    mvc

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    #18
    If there is ever a war in space, noone will be left on the planet. :(
     
  18. elfin buddy macrumors 6502a

    elfin buddy

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    #19
    I think that you've got your alpha and beta particles mixed up. Alpha particles are a Helium nucleus, that's two protons and two neutrons. Beta particles are electrons, that are emmitted along with a corresponding anti e-neutrino (very difficult to detect, but possible). But yeah, you know what you're talking about :)
     
  19. Wes macrumors 68020

    Wes

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    #20

    Yup sounds like you cracked it, been about 4 months since I studied this stuff.
     
  20. Squire macrumors 68000

    Squire

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    #21
    An interesting reading:

    "Today, there are about 8,000 bodies in orbit being monitored from Earth. Out of all those, only around 3 to 400 are active and useful. There are also probably half a million pieces of debris too tiny to be monitored."

    The article goes on to say that the largest pieces (i.e. booster rockets) are not necessarily the most dangerous because they are easy to monitor and, therefore, avoid. And the smallest pieces just cause some damage to the surface of a ship. "However, a particle an eight of an inch in diameter-say about the size of an aspirin- could puncture the hull of a spacecraft or space station and cause de-pressurization...These small objects are so dangerous, of course, because of their tremendous speed."

    Gotta clean that place (space) up a bit.

    Squire

    Edit: I almost forgot this one. Perhaps some of you remember reading an article about this massive conventional bomb knows as MOAB and nicknamed the "mother of all bombs." Here's the link to the CNN article.

    http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/03/11/sprj.irq.moab/
     
  21. MacBandit macrumors 604

    MacBandit

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    #22
    That's true but unless China has bought the equipment to do this or made great strides in recent years then they don't have the ability to knock satellites down yet.
     
  22. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #23
    Because Islamic terrorists are different that your non-towelhead, white terrorists, right? :rolleyes:
     

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