Re: SPACE: Lunar Warfare

James Rogers (
Sun, 19 Jan 1997 00:29:46 -0800

At 11:16 PM 1/17/97 -0800, Hara Ra wrote:
>Michael Lorrey wrote:
>> 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
>> charge.
>I've been reading this thread with increasing amusement. The trend in
>weaponry is to increase the projectile's velocity for passive
>projectiles like bullets and to increase the delivered energy for active
>ones such as bombs. The most efficient chemical warheads are the ones
>which spray fuel into the air at the target, using air as the oxidizer -
>in most explosives about 70% of the mass is in the oxidizer portion.

Kinetic energy weapons are becoming increasingly popular for military
applications. There isn't really any way to effectively shield against this
type of attack other than to accept the abuse and then dissipate the energy.
Kinetic energy weapons do not require "special" conditions to function
optimally like virtually all other high energy weapons.

Fuel/Air Explosives are of limited usefulness. They CAN be efficient, but
only under the proper conditions. Under poor conditions, they may not even
BTW, in most explosives, oxidizer is less than 50% of the total mass.
Nitrogen, which is usually responsible for binding the oxygen to the
organics, is responsible for 20-40% of the total mass and does not consume
any oxidizer during detonation. The most powerful of explosives usually
have the distinction of requiring very little oxidizer due to the high
nitrogen concentrations (>50% mass). Even compounds often referred to as
"oxidizers" are largely fuel by percent mass. If you are referring to
composites (like "safe" dynamites), high "oxidizer" levels are required
because most of the oxygen is consumed by the fuel bound in the "oxidizer".

>When the velocity exceeds Earth's escape velocity it becomes more
>effective to increase the velocity instead of the mass of the projectile
>with the available energy. Using big rocks is lumbering and very slow,
>several days to target. However 10kg projectiles at 100km/second only
>take 50 minutes; particle beams are even faster, and lasers have the
>ultimate velocity. A suitable intense laser beam cuts an ionized path
>into the atmosphere and is self focussing. Meanwhile, I will just live
>on the lunar farside....

Velocity is almost always better. 0.5mv^2...
In the long run, it might just come down to energy efficiency.

-James Rogers