Polywell Visions: Transprotation

If polywell fusion is developed, in what ways will the world change for better or worse? Discuss.

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GIThruster
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Postby GIThruster » Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:48 pm

What you're describing has a host of political and social issues attached to it that have already begun to surface with the use of lasers aboard the AC-130 Spectre Gunship:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... e-off.html

The trouble with death rays from above is, they leave no trace of who fired or if someone fired at all. If you can eliminate a target and avoid responsibility for this, the world is left in chaos. One supposes (though I have not checked) this is the reason silencers are not used in battle. (Isn't there a war convention preventing this?)

Just IMHO, but the ability to use lethal force without having the responsibility of that use is one of the greatest dangers civilization will ever face. We don't need to make matters worse. Spectres are cool, but I'd hate for us to be killing from miles away with no sign of who did the killing--just doesn't seem honorable and far too easy to abuse such power.
"Courage is not just a virtue, but the form of every virtue at the testing point." C. S. Lewis

cksantos
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Postby cksantos » Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:57 pm

GIThruster wrote:far too easy to abuse such power.


I agree, but if you take all the DOD super cool projects and smash them together thats what emerges. So, its not that radical and humans are obsessed with easy. The invention of the chair is a perfect example, lol.

MirariNefas
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Postby MirariNefas » Tue Jun 22, 2010 8:09 pm

cksantos wrote:
Plus the only people who would be capable of blowing it up would be 1st world nations.


I'm not so sure about that. Yes, we could mostly shield it from missiles. But what shielding system can stop incoming bullet sized projectiles? Or a laser? Lasers that can shoot down missiles in a fraction of a second are a first world technology, but a one use laser that shoots a giant unarmored slow moving target seems easy enough to manage. Given the incentive, I think third world militaries could develop counter strategies soon enough to render our investment worthless.



cksantos wrote:@MirariNefas space weapons are technically illegal.


Eh.

cksantos
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Postby cksantos » Tue Jun 22, 2010 8:27 pm

We can stop mortars and artillery small bullets would not be more than 10-20 years past that on a military only budget. But, you need that capability for civilian space vehicles anyway for debris shields, the technologies could drive each other putting you in the 5-15 year time frame.

As for 1 shot cheap lasers defense, maybe some type of super light ablative/reflective/absorbative shielding on the balloon material? Mylar or something. BTW lockheeds designs are not stationary, however it is sub sonic. Giant electric ducted fans powered ala polywell could provide tremendous thrust. Building a giant 1 shot laser is probably within 3rd world reach but aiming it at a sattelite is not. I would imagine hitting 200-500mph blimp at the edge of space with a 1 shot laser also is not.

A global balloon system would protect itself through preemptive strikes as well. Call it preventative medicine.

MirariNefas
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Postby MirariNefas » Tue Jun 22, 2010 8:41 pm

A global balloon system would protect itself through preemptive strikes as well. Call it preventative medicine.


World police state? The other first world nations might not agree. Maybe in the NWO scenario.

I think I prefer to break the space weapons ban instead. It's just easier. Inside the atmosphere, blimps will have a lot of resistance limiting mobility. They'll never be able to hold enough for a strong armor layer. And they're too big to hide. A space system can be too small to easily spot optically, hidden from radar, and a polywell-driven engine means you can move it around enough to keep its orbits unpredictable even when its position is given away.

Obviously, my point is somewhat weakened by the fact that military is investing in airship systems at all. I just don't think it makes sense to make them into too much of a target when alternatives open up.

cksantos
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Postby cksantos » Tue Jun 22, 2010 8:59 pm

MirariNefas wrote:World police state? The other first world nations might not agree. Maybe in the NWO scenario.


Could just be US aid blimps with peacekeeping/riot control weapons on-board. Like the microwave antipersonnel equipment I read about somewhere.

MirariNefas wrote:I think I prefer to break the space weapons ban instead. It's just easier.

That sounds pretty scary though. Space based polywell weapons...Masers, Lasers, HARRP from orbit, rail guns pointed down(rods from god), asteroid realignment into earths orbit = human dinosaurs.

MirariNefas wrote:Obviously, my point is somewhat weakened by the fact that military is investing in airship systems at all.


That was basically my point is that they already are doing all the different parts and if they dont see the potential in putting it all on the same platform then they need to hire me :lol: Unfortunately some think tank/war gamers probably already made this point. Of course it was mentioned that this site is used as newbie training so maybe we have some brain power going here.

93143
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Postby 93143 » Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:16 pm

Polywell-powered lift fans could generate an awful lot of thrust, if powered by the highly mass-efficient multi-GW cores. An airship could carry a lot more armor if it didn't have to be able to hover unpowered...

cksantos
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Postby cksantos » Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:56 pm

93143 wrote:Polywell-powered lift fans could generate an awful lot of thrust, if powered by the highly mass-efficient multi-GW cores. An airship could carry a lot more armor if it didn't have to be able to hover unpowered...


Sounds like the blimp in sky captains and the world of tomorrow

hanelyp
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Postby hanelyp » Wed Jun 23, 2010 5:34 am

Regarding laser weaponry, if I were expecting someone to use it against me I might surround likely targets with corner cube retro-reflectors.

cksantos
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Postby cksantos » Wed Jun 23, 2010 6:21 am

hanelyp wrote:Regarding laser weaponry, if I were expecting someone to use it against me I might surround likely targets with corner cube retro-reflectors.


I think that would work except the ones i was looking at are circular so there would be gaps in the shield. Edmund scientific has them, but 76mm worth is 575 dollars. I hope your super secret target is really small and stationary, as they are not very aerodynamic.

However for a stationary object a shield of water cooled polished platinum might work as a reflective high temp shield, not that its affordable in anyway what so ever . Locating your operations underground is a technique employed by guerrilla fighters world wide, and would be effective and cheap. An submarine would be safe. If your super paranoid and think that the government is trying to attack you with lasers you could go scuba diving....

MirariNefas
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Postby MirariNefas » Wed Jun 23, 2010 7:22 am

Polywell-powered lift fans could generate an awful lot of thrust, if powered by the highly mass-efficient multi-GW cores. An airship could carry a lot more armor if it didn't have to be able to hover unpowered...


Reality check: does the blimp aspect provide any benefit, then? No! It just makes it bigger, meaning more surface area to armor, so more weight, requiring more lift fans....

If you're going with powered lift and armor, forget the helium and make it smaller.

Regarding laser weaponry, if I were expecting someone to use it against me I might surround likely targets with corner cube retro-reflectors.


I thought the whole mirror as armor against lasers things was a myth? High powered lasers would heat up the dust and gasses around the mirror enough to warp its optical properties and quickly overcome reflectivity, or something like that.

That sounds pretty scary though. Space based polywell weapons...Masers, Lasers, HARRP from orbit, rail guns pointed down(rods from god), asteroid realignment into earths orbit = human dinosaurs.


Oh that is just hilarious. Earlier you were talking about flying dreadnoughts armed with lasers and phalanxes parked over every sketchy country ready to intervene whenever they look like they might want to prevent you from parking a flying dreadought over them... in effect, world takeover... and you think space weapons, a virtual inevitability in the future of the human race, is scary?

Space weapons will happen sooner or later. It's no worse than nukes. Sorry, we're just in a chapter when humanity can kill everyone if they really want to. Precipitating WWIII with belligerant flying dreadnoughts won't help that.

cksantos
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Postby cksantos » Wed Jun 23, 2010 9:41 am

MirariNefas wrote:Earlier you were talking about flying dreadnoughts armed with lasers and phalanxes parked over every sketchy country ready to intervene whenever they look like they might want to prevent you from parking a flying dreadnought over them... in effect, world takeover... and you think space weapons, a virtual inevitability in the future of the human race, is scary?


I must have laughed for 5 minutes solid when I read this, good stuff. Admittedly my brainstorming on the blimp/dreadnought idea may have got out of hand. Space weapons can effectively perform all the functions of the dreadnought and vice versa. But the dreadnought is closer to buildability than a space platform. Its easier and thus more likely to be built. I mean the lockheed craft was designed to be a dreadnaught.

The interest is across the services and the notional applications are diverse, ranging from logistics--delivery of an integrated fighting unit within theater, for example--to sensor, communications and even laser-weapon relay platforms.


http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/ ... 0606p2.xml

Anyone here have any idea how light a PB11 reactor could get, if you could have 20T+ coils etc.

MSimon
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Postby MSimon » Wed Jun 23, 2010 11:41 am

Estimates have been all over the ball park. Anything from 25 to 100 tons for a fully functional (power supplies, converters etc.) device.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

cksantos
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Postby cksantos » Wed Jun 23, 2010 9:05 pm

Is this 1st generation estimates or theoretical minimum weights. Or do we not know sh** and are making everything up.

What possible unforeseen development could enable tiny reactors, ie 1000T coils, nanotechnology composite structures, and other such hypothetical advancements could affect this estimate. What is the limiting factor (assuming we have any idea at all).

93143
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Postby 93143 » Wed Jun 23, 2010 9:07 pm

MirariNefas wrote:
Polywell-powered lift fans could generate an awful lot of thrust, if powered by the highly mass-efficient multi-GW cores. An airship could carry a lot more armor if it didn't have to be able to hover unpowered...


Reality check: does the blimp aspect provide any benefit, then? No! It just makes it bigger, meaning more surface area to armor, so more weight, requiring more lift fans....


There's a continuum of solutions between a standard blimp and something so heavily armoured that the extra armour required to cover a given amount of gasbag outweighs the lift from the gasbag (this point of zero return being of course dependent on size). Now, it's entirely possible - not even particularly unlikely - that a useful amount of armour (for a given definition of "useful") is always beyond the zero-return point for a plausible size of airship, but you haven't demonstrated that.

Let's see... Let's assume a spheroidal gasbag about the size of the Hindenburg, so about 20 m minor radius and 120 m major radius. Volume is ~200,000 m³, area is ~24,000 m². Lift at 20,000 ft is ~100,000 kgf, meaning that if it did nothing else, it could lift about 100 tonnes of armour to that altitude. This represents a thickness of about a half millimetre of steel...

Now, I haven't gotten into the derivatives and whatnot, to properly assess what happens with powered lift, but I'd say you're probably right...


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