Remember that story about Japan wanting to girdle the Moon with microwave collectors and beam power to the Earth? Well, they're also building lasers with huge power output:
The Death Star weapon is here! Japan fires world's most powerful laser to produce energy equal to 1,000 times the planet's power consumption
Now, many of you shared this article with me, and when one reads about the laser, one can see why. Pay close attention to these statements:
'With heated competition in the world to improve the performance of lasers, our goal now is to increase our output to 10 petawatts,' said the institute's Junji Kawanaka, an associate professor of electrical engineering at the university
To put that into context, according to Popular Science, a 50,000 watt laser successfully took down a drone just a mile away.
That 50kW laser was 10 billion times less powerful that the one used in Japan.
Up until today's announcement, the world has only ever witnessed a 1-pettawatt laser created by the University of Texas, Austin.
Not only did the Japanese laser generate twice as much power, but the team says it also has 100 times as much energy as its Texas rival.
Note that a mere 50,000 watt laser was able to shoot down a drone a mile away, presumably without phase conjugation and all the nifty things science has come up with to make lasers more efficient through atmospheric distortion. And, as the article avers, the Japanese laser is "10 billion times" more powerful (drone? What drone?) and has 100 times more energy than a similar laser in Texas.
But, comparisons to Star Wars' death star laser notwithstanding (that laser would be, if real, far more powerful, making the Japanese instrument look like a toy), we can all rest peacefully because the Japanese toy is "mainly of scientific interest rather than having any real-world purpose."
Now I don't know about you, but I have a little difficulty wrapping my mind around the notion that Japanese scientists and technicians are building lasers with huge power and energy outputs just because they want to satisfy the delights and passions for "pure research," for if 50,000 watt lasers can take down drones, even at the paltry distance of one mile, the military potentials for the Japanese toy seem rather obvious. Granted, one cannot put this on a truck and drive it around and shoot down drones. But neither can one put a 16" naval rifle on a truck either. One puts such large military platforms on the platform that their size and operational characeristics demand(and that raises certain questions of its own).
The real question here is really what the Japanese are experimenting with such large lasers for. Mr. Abe's rearmament scheme seems to be an appropriate context from which to view this development. But there are others. Consider carefully, for example, this statement from the beginning of the article:
The power of the 'Death Star'-like beam is equivalent to 1,000 times the world's total electricity consumption, the scientists claim.(Emphasis added)
Now, if you've been following my high octane speculation - particularly that which I suggested at my second talk at last year's Secret Space Program conference in San Mateo, CA - this may have a familiar ring to it. At the conference I suggested that if your national security apparatus suspected that in the UFO phenomenon one was dealing with a type I or type II civilization on the Kardashev scale, then what one would do would be to "leverage" systems of those scales as demonstrations of human capabilities. In Kardashev's scheme, a type one civilization requires the energy output of an entire planet, a type two civilization that of an entire star, and a type three that of an entire galaxy. So, what I was suggesting with my "corollaries" was that one would have to demonstrate a capability to engineer systems of a planetary or stellar scale, and engineering such gargantuan energy outputs as in this laser would be one way to do so. And, as the article states, the Japanese want to produce a laser of 10 petawatts output, five times that of this leviathan.
I think it should be obvious that this achievement has self-evident military potentials. The real question is, where are the Japanese going to park their big behemoth? on what platform could it be used, and how? Obviously, the size of the laser is prohibitive - at first glance at least - for any mobile platform save perhaps for a very large ship or aircraft. And of course, there are the usual problems of turning such achievements into practical and viable weapons platforms.
But as we all know, the Japanese are master engineers, masters of optics (obviously), and master miniaturizers...
See you on the flip side...