Re: SPACE: Lunar Warfare

Michael Lorrey (
Thu, 16 Jan 1997 23:00:58 -0500

The Low Willow wrote:
> 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
> all.
> } > 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?

I know that at 8km/s it takes 8.6 hours to get from earth surface to
GEO, which is only 41,000 km up. At 11km/s it should take around 6
hours. Given the goal is reaching the L1 point (at around 185,000 miles)
with excess velocity, I'm guestimating off the cuff around 50-60 hours
at a bare minimum to reach the moon with conventional propulsion.
> } 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.

Hey, I'm not saying its not possible. I just think that people are
giving earth governments too much credit. They are way too incompetent
for this to be probable.

> } 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.

To who? TO you maybe because you have a modicum of vision. The average
joe voter cant think beyond the next sixpack.

> } 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.

Destruction of facilities would be acceptable. Desctruction of civilians
would raise such a ruckus in the UN that it would likely break up. Japan
alone would walk out of the UN if the subject of nuclear bombardment
came up.
> } 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
> off.

What do you mean, as far as I see, its lunocos fifth column. The
stockholders would be the most likely to push earth gov to acceed to
lunar independence, as they would probably control a large percentage of
the lobby and reelection money that politicians slather over.

> } benfits from, their ability to multiply greater rates of capital growth
> Without an influx of skilled people, perhaps not.

True, but when in history has that ever really worked? All it would take
is one rogue nation willing to act as a landing field for lunoco
transports. Promise them the earthside He3 concession, and you'll have
two bit countries falling all over themselves to toe the lunar party

> 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.

Possible. I just think that given gov'ts past record of incompetence,
and the added weight of supporting whining retirees and welfarees that
contribute nothing productive, will doom any earthgov enterprise.

> } 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.

Yeah but the levels of flux that are run through such coils for use in
induction guns is extremely high, I would guess, until I dig up my
formulary for pulse power devices, that it is as high as that which
would be induced by an EMP from a near miss. Its the microelectronics
that can't stand EMPs. Thats why survivalists all drive cars with
point/coil ignition systems, so when doomdsay comes they will have cars
that still run.
> 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.


Michael Lorrey ------------------------------------------------------------ President Northstar Technologies Agent Inventor of the Lorrey Drive

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