Re: SPACE: Lunar Warfare

The Low Willow (
Thu, 16 Jan 1997 19:10:31 -0800 (PST)

On Jan 16, 7:00pm, Michael Lorrey wrote:

} > while, as most of the acceleration happens close to Earth. More time
} > for Earth to defend (against big rocks... the bigger it is, the slower
} > and easier the target)
} slower? I don't think so. Any rock will accelerate the same regardless
} of mass, as Galileo proved, and the bigger it is, the more momentum it
} has so its harder to deflect from its course with a given repulsive

g-acceleration will be the same, yes; I meant the effort in pushing a
rock into Earth. For defense I was thinking more about breaking up the
rock -- people have been talking about a meteoroid defense system, after

} > or to launch a crushing counterattack.
} Since luna does not NEED to attack earth, the onus will be on earth to
} attack first. This puts earth gov't in a poor PR position, where they

The only gov't-of-Earth that can be said to exist, the UN, has a treaty
stating the Moon is not for commercial development. And sometimes
individual nations get picky about people trying to secede from them.
Probably especially if it's for tax reasons. And some nations don't
always listen to PR.

} > could hit Luna in 8 hours, by putting missiles and their fuel in Earth
} > orbit first. Actually I was wrong; using a better mean distance (384400
} > km) the time is more like 9.7 hours.
} You were projecting the use of a propulsin system so efficient that it
} could accelerate constantly at above one G from the earth to the moon?

No, I was postulating a Saturn V. The time given above is for an object
moving at 11 km/s, which is the velocity needed to get off of Earth in
the first place. Where did your acceleration figure come from?

} And an easily detectable military mobilization in orbit will be seen to
} be as much of a threat by any non allied nations on earth, raising

Perhaps. It wouldn't kill an Earth power to just launch missiles from
the ground, a la Apollo; I was just noting that vastly greater speeds
aren't very hard to obtain. As the US already has the power to wipe out
most life on the planet, objecting to putting some missiles in orbit
would be somewhat silly, although somewhat natural. But the US might
not care. Or the US might sell it as a defense against lunar rebels.
Or claim it's just part of a meteoroid defense system... hell, it might
actually _be_ a meteoroid defense system. Big nuke on fast rocket
capable of hitting a slow target. Should be somewhat flexible.

} costs of putting earth resources in orbit (since they won't be able to
} get them from the moon) add additional expense to such an endeavor.

A meteoroid defense would justify fairly heavy costs.

} mount a successful 8 day campaign here ON EARTH to recover 100 square
} miles of desert wasteland.
} There is a HUGE differential in the costs that a defender must incur vs
} the attacker to win a confrontation. Here on earth the differential can

Assuming your numbers were correct, so what? Conquest and destruction
are completely different things. That's why your supposed differentials
don't apply to Luna -- regardless of who attacks first, each side is
fighting by attacking the other with big weapons. Different big
weapons, but big weapons.

} Whatever the scenario, one of the important points is that any corporate
} group that seriously develops the moon, once it is assured of resource
} that they would be incredibly irresponsible to their stockholders to NOT

Ah, would these stockholders still be on Earth? If so, I hope I don't
have to expand on the flaws in this scenario. Even if not, the colony
might not be independent of further immigration, which Earth could cut

} benfits from, their ability to multiply greater rates of capital growth

Without an influx of skilled people, perhaps not.

Again, I'm not saying there aren't scenarios where a young colony can't
break away. In some scenarios they might be let go without pain. I
just don't see that the gravity well is a super-ace that lets Luna off
under any conditions.

Another variation: Luna declares independence. Earth protests formally
and harasses any ground connection but otherwise does not attack. Earth
then heavily invests in getting a government presence in space, which
can compete directly with Mikeycorp or turn against you later, "bringing
the deviants back into the fold." An attempt to maintain your monopoly
in space before the gov't grows strong there then justifies a
destructive attack against you.

} What is the situation with superconductors and EMPs? I thought that they
} did not conduct magnetic fields at all, just current? Also, you would

In my understanding, past a certain level of current the self-inducted
magnetic fields interfere with whatever is happening inside the
superconductor, which then stops being a superconductor. In the case of
metals, you still have a conductor. In the case of ceramics, you have a
wonderful space heater. Given the complexity of the superconducting
phenomenon, I would be rather surprised if you could have arbitrary
amounts of current be carried with no resistance without limit. So
whether an EMP directly induces current past the maximum load, or heats
the superconductor past its critical temperature causing a failure that
way, there could be a problem.

Merry part,
-xx- Damien R. Sullivan X-) <*>

And so the harper was told these fairy tales,
Of these fairy hills of the ancient Gaels
Some big, some small
Si bheag, si mhor,
And never the battle is won.