Re: SPACE: Lunar Warfare

Mark Grant (
Wed, 15 Jan 1997 00:49:20 +0000

On Tue, 14 Jan 1997, Michael Lorrey wrote:

> I was admitting my own mistake. See, even the hugely arrogant Mike can
> admit it when he is wrong. I was also posting the correct answer, which
> was not what Mark had posted.

Duh, in physics there's a widely-used concept of "order of magnitude"
calculations were you simply try to get within a factor of ten of the real
value. A factor of three is pretty good when you're only aiming for a
factor of ten. Whether it's fifteen or six tons is immaterial, because
it's certainly *not* ten thousand tons.

> Not at all. I was referring to atmospheric impacts. According to James,
> earthgov will still need to build and use meganukes to have as much of
> an impact under vacuum conditions as a much smaller nuke would on earth,

But as I pointed out, by James calculations a 10MT groundburst nuke on the
moon will have the roughly same effect on underground structures as on the

> As you all have read my statements before, that war strategically is a
> competition of cost effectiveness in battle. These two differences, in
> gravitational potential and environment, between earth and the moon are
> significant in giving any lunar David a much more even hand against the
> terran Goliath.

The moon has a factor of four energy advantage, Earth has nukes; That's
it. As you say yourself, "there's no such thing as a free lunch"; shame
that Heinlein didn't apply that maxim to his own scenarios and not just to
other people's.


|Mark Grant M.A., U.L.C. EMAIL: |