Re: SPACE: Lunar Warfare

Mark Grant (
Mon, 13 Jan 1997 18:24:11 +0000

On Mon, 13 Jan 1997, James Rogers wrote:

> This is all good and well, ASSUMING, that you are using radar sensing
> technology. However, current state-of-the-art ballistic missile defense
> sensors for coast, reentry, and terminal phases *do not* use radar
> technology.

So, what are they using? In order to detect something at a distance in a
vacuum you have to either bounce EM radiation off of it, or look for the
EM radiation that it emits. Which are they doing, and what with?

> After much
> nasty calculation based on the above values, you will be disappointed to
> learn that the safe distance from ground zero is between 500-1000 meters for
> a 1Mt surface burst, depending on soil conditions.

Hmm, isn't that about the same figure that I gave, if you scale it for 1MT
rather than 10MT? That is, 500 - 1000 x 10^(1/3) ~= 1200 - 2400. AFAIR I
said 1500 for 10 MT, and actually that was diameter rather than radius so
your figure would be larger.

> The reason is apparently
> that virtually all the blast and cratering effects are consequences of
> having an atmosphere, and soil doesn't propagate shock waves very well.

>From what I remember the moon is renound for propagating shock waves
extremely well, though that probably doesn't apply for the surface soil.
I don't remember how deep it is.

> Note that this is not an exact science, and that there are many factors
> involved. I was simply demonstrating that nuclear weapons lose most of
> their effectiveness in subterranean lunar environments. Nuclear weapons are
> hundreds of times more effective on earth.

Yeah, but I was assuming an underground base anyway so the difference
doesn't seem to be significant.


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