Re: SPACE: Lunar warfare

Michael Lorrey (
Thu, 02 Jan 1997 12:52:13 -0500

The Low Willow wrote:
> On Jan 2, 11:09am, Michael Lorrey wrote:
> } The Low Willow wrote:
> } > Apollo took four days to get to the moon (unless that was the length of
> } > the entire mission.) Military missiles should be able to take one day
> } > or less.
> } Why one day or less? No military "missiles" are capable of anything but
> } suborbital capability. Using Titan Centaurs would work, but considering
> You build bigger missiles with more fuel. Then they go faster. Of
> course we don't have such missiles now; we haven't needed them. You're
> talking about a lunary colony that can contemplate rebelling against
> Earth yet assuming Earth's weaponry will stay the same? Nutty.
> } a few hundred miles up is still 238,500 miles away.
> But energetically much closer. 11 km/sec closer. Wait, that reminds
> me...
> Luna is about a light-second away; 3e5 kilometers. Terrestrial escape
> velocity is 11 km/sec. 300,000/11 is 27,000 seconds is 7.5 hours. So a
> missile that could barely escape Earth's surface could, if launched from
> our orbit, reach the Moon in 7.5 hours. What was that about Saturns,
> again? I think we do have such missiles. Or did.
> } > And quite possibly frigates or bases would be put in *lunar* orbit.
> } > Better aim, and faster. If the energy isn't enough, use nukes. Not
> } > much to contaminate down there...
> } ANything put in lunar orbit would get shot at. A lunar Govt would
> What lunar gov't? I thought we were talking about a rebellion. LunaCorp
> starts shooting at US ships, LunaCorp is toast.
> } > 6 feet isn't much protection in the kind of warfare we're talking about.
> } Sure it is. Read your 50's era directions on bomb shelter construction.
> 1950's hell. What are the depths of nuclear or meteor craters? Can we
> design earth-penetrating missiles to direct their blast downward? Etc.
> } Any lunar settlers would contain a high percentage of people who are
> } disposessed, alienated, exiled, as who would give up living on earth if
> } they didn't HAVE to? THink of this: a lunar settling corporation puts
> Wow. Read your science fiction. Lots of starry-eyed (groan) idealists
> would do so. Well, maybe not lots, but enough to start a colony.
> Heinlein's penal colony is not the only way to go. And education and
> skills have a high value in space, not brute labor.
> } together a deal with earth governments strapped with overpopulated
> } welfare rolls to take welfarees off their hands for a set fee. The corp
> } ships em to the moon and puts them to work shoveling dirt and growing
> } Sure, but you've got a population of highly "humane" leaders who dodge
> } drafts, hug trees, and avoid conflict when ever they can as decisive is
> Leaders change. All the more so under threat. Russia and China have
> different leaders. And your "humane" leaders are the same ones who
> permanently exiled lots of welfarees. You're not adding up here.
> Missiles in Earth orbit can ensure MAD with Luna -- no one's advantage.
> Military at Luna can make MAD highly unlikely -- advantage, Earth.

Missiles in earth orbit also violate a number of current treaties with a
number of countries. You'd have a major problem uniting everyone enough
to ignore the mistrust symbolized by those treaties.

> small, "brain drain", colony may well be sentimental about Earth and
> morally unable to wipe out 6 billion people and an ecosystem.

You are still under the assumption that an ecosystem would be wiped out.
As meteor strikes on industrial, military, and possibly population
centers would not have ANY radiation (you are still making the same
mistake the grounders did in Heinlein's book) there would be no toxic
fallout, and no ecosystem loss. If you target a first or retaliatory
strike at industry and military only, while bombarding the earth with
propaganda differentiating the people from their government (you have
the highest transmitter site around, being on the moon).

> rabble won't have much moral weight at home, else they wouldn't have
> been shipped there in the first place. True, they could have been
> shipped by heartless leaders while rebelling under wimpy leaders; my
> point isn't that Luna can't rebel, but that it isn't guaranteed to.

Sure it isnt guarranteed to, however this brings to mind Carl Sagan's
book Cosmos. In it is an analysis of possible evolution of power centers
in the solar system in the future. This used the same game theory used
to prove the unwinnable nature of nuclear war on earth. The analysis
said that in any Earth/Moon power contest, the moon will win in the end.
So maybe it is highly probable at worst.
> Belters I don't know about. And if anyone manages to live on Mercury
> (Power Capital) or Venus ("we all live in a yellow refrigerator... and
> you can't find us") ("well, you probably can, but can you hit us?")
> they'll be in choice positions.

Mercury will be like the Middle East: In a strategically poor position,
but if they become the dominant energy source for the solar system, via
laser and microwave transmissions, all they have to do is turn out the

Venus is impossible.

Mars would within 100-200 years become more powerfull than Earth and the
Moon, as it is higher still, terraformable( i.e. high population
capacity), and within decent range of the asteroid belt, while far
enough from Terra/Luna to make warfare difficult (Four weeks at 1 G
acceleration/decelleration, three at constant acceleration for
missiles). How Mars will jive with Belters I have no idea, but it may be
rather anarchic.

Jupiter and Saturn: if you stellate them via Von Neumann machine
overload, their moons would be great mini systems. Ganymede and or Titan
would become power centers.

Neptune, Uranus, Pluto: Too small and far away. Uranus or Neptune would
be good long term sources of He3 and Deuterium.

Michael Lorrey
Northstar Technologies Agent
Inventor of the Lorrey Drive

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