OF RAILGUNS, ASTEROIDS, AND ROBERT HEINLEIN

OF RAILGUNS, ASTEROIDS, AND ROBERT HEINLEIN…

I never underestimate the articles that readers and contributors to this website discover and pass along, but this one is a "whopper doozie" that was spotted by B.H.  Reading it, I thought of an odd quartet of people: (1) Robert Heinlein, the famous science fiction author,  (2) J. Michael Straczynski, creator and producer of the 1990s television sci-fi series Babylon Five, (3) Dr. Carol Rosin, and finally (4) Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev. What made me think of them was this article, which almost begs that one "read between the lines" when reading it, especially since the article itself mentions Robert Heinlein specifically. We'll get back to that:

Could US Navy's Railgun Help Tap Moon's Resources?

Electric rail guns, or mass drivers as they are sometimes called: it is that technology which made me think of the above very strange and odd quartet. The article wants us to think that the rail gun will be tested on a US Navy ship. But the fact of the matter is, it already has been tested. Successfully. The only problem was the special projectiles that the weapon fires cost around $800,000 each so the Navy elected not to deploy the weapon (or so we're told... but that may not include that "space fleet" that British hacker Gary McKinnon says he saw when he hacked into American defense databases).

What's really worrying, however, is the talk of using such a device to "launch payloads" from the Moon:

Recent testing of the electromagnetic railgun under Navy auspices had the technology firing a projectile that exceeds Mach 6, approaching a velocity that hearkens back to early ideas of utilizing this machinery on the moon to hurl payloads from the lunar surface.

Mach 6 — six times the speed of sound — is about 4,600 mph (7,400 km/h) at sea level here on Earth. The escape velocity from the relatively small, nearly airless moon is about 5,300 mph (8,530 km/h).

In 1974, Princeton University professor and space visionary Gerard O'Neill proposed use of an electromagnetic railgun to lob payloads from the moon. (The basic idea, however, may originate with sci-fi author Robert Heinlein, who laid out something similar in his 1966 novel "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress.")

"Mass drivers" based on a coilgun design were adapted to accelerate a nonmagnetic object. One application O'Neill proposed for mass drivers: toss baseball-sized chunks of ore mined from the surface of the moon into space. Once in space, the ore could be used as raw material for building space colonies and solar-power satellites.

Whew! We can relax: it's being proposed simply as a means of launching stuff we mine on the Moon.

Except that little mention of Robert Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress doesn't envision anything so calming. Rather, in Heinlein's novel, the "Mass driver" is used to hurl rocks from the Moon to a defenseless Earth, which soon capitulates to Heinlein's lunar rebels rather than suffer an interplanetary bombardment for which it has no defenses. It was a diabolical idea, since the gravity well of the Earth was used to accelerate the already enormous velocity of the lunar railgun's projectiles. Straczynski picked up on the idea in the second season of Babylon Five, where an alien space fleet uses mass drivers for planetary bombardment, literally using asteroids to bomb its enemy into a depopulated stone age.

That's science fiction. But if you've been following some of my blogs over the years related to the dangers of weaponizing space, you'll see the relevance of railguns/mass drivers to the affidavit of Dr. Carol Rosin, and to the statements of Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev shortly before the Chelyabinsk meteor incident in February 2013. Dr. Rosin, you'll recall, maintained that Dr. Wernher von Braun told her shortly before his death that the effort to weaponize space would be promoted in five phases in the following order: as a defense against (1) Communism, (2)  terrorists, (3) "nations of concern", (4) asteroids, and finally (5) extra-terrestrials. Railguns/mass drivers are the original "rod of God" technology, able to fire projectiles whose sheer mass-energy kinetic impact can rip through the strongest armor, or, if large enough, asteroids. And as I've also pointed out, Dmitri Medvedev called for an international planetary asteroid defense system prior to the Chelyabinsk incident. When queried about what sorts of weapons would be involved, Medvedev stated that themornuclear armed missiles could be fired at asteroids to destroy them, and then went on to indicate other means, which were unspecified. Railguns/mass drivers would certainly fall into that unspecified category.

And let it be noted: this is not a technology that we need to guess at; it already exists. The real question is not whether it exists, but how far it has been taken. There are some - myself included - who entertain the idea that the Chinese chemical plant explosions may actually have been a demonstration of the "rod of God" techn0logy, for one simple reason: in the first of those explosions, the crater left was very narrow and deep, not the type of crater signature that would typically result from a chemical explosion. Then there were the strange remarks made by general Mattis to the reporter who asked him if a military response to North Korean provocations might include "kenetic weapons," i.e., railguns/mass drivers/"rod of God" weapons. Mattis' affirmative reply no doubt had them burning the midnight oil in Pyongyang and Beijing.

So why am I exercised about this article? Simple: because we've been given a clue how weaponizing space will be "sold" to a skeptical public: we need such technologies for mining and exploiting space assets. And, oh, look! This technology could not only launch stuff into space, but could do double duty as an asteroid-busting defense system. It's not a weapon; it's a launch system (shades of Gerald Bull).

The bottom line? I suspect this is the beginning of yet another "meme" that we'll be hearing more and more of, as talk about the technology is gradually ramped up to accustom the general population to the idea that it could be used to mine asteroids, as well as bust them apart if need be.

See you on the flip side...

20 thoughts on “OF RAILGUNS, ASTEROIDS, AND ROBERT HEINLEIN…”

  1. Railgun technology involves “line of sight” aiming. It is claimed by the Navy that a railgun using this technology can accurately strike an object 100 miles away. That would indicate sighting the straight line projectile at an object that should be 6,666 feet below the sight on a spherical earth, using the scientifically accepted formula of 8″ times the number of miles squared. Where is the curvature in this exercise?

  2. Well Jules Verne invented the nuclear submarine.
    Well I guess what we have here is a class l and an almost class 2 civilization coexisting on the same planet.
    And maybe the asteroid that supposedly killed the dinosaurs was not a random event but an intentional act of terraforming of the earth for humanoid habitation

  3. Can’t help but think of Robert Stanley’s “take” on what is going on in our Solar System! 😉 A “rogue son” of one of the “gods” creating his own ‘reality’ in order to storm the bastions of the Empire from which he was kicked out??!!

    That would seem to fit in with the melding of humanity with machines…..soldiers for his own Private Army!! How about the “Hubrids” that have to be taught how to live as we do here?? So many loose ends to trying to figure out what the heck is going on??!!

    It simply does not fit into the straightjacket mentality of Western minds. One can actually understand why there had to be Secret Societies….the “reality” of what is going on simply does not fit into The Box we were handed by the Romans!!

  4. Seems to me it’s part of the ongoing preparation for a very big war, and I don’t think it will be on Earth, but perhaps *for* Earth.

    1. And that leaves a big question: Has the Earth already been occupied? (Charles Fort and his “We are property” comment.)

      And if so, do the occupiers have humanity’s best interests at heart within any ‘big war’? Or, are they just trying to save their own @sses at humanity’s expense? (Enlil & Co. come to mind…)

      1. according to tommy williams at thi, it’s all over, marduk’s gone and we’re like one of those prison camps where the german guards left and it was two weeks before the prisoners realized they weren’t prisoners.

  5. The cost of a rail gun projectile is not $800,000, it’s actually a fraction of standard munition rounds. The problem is barrel wear. The plasma generated by the shot tends to tear up the barrel.

    It would be pretty easy to fix. Just seal the barrel aperture with an industrial strength condom and evacuate the barrel to a vacuum before each shot, reducing the plasma generation.

    1. Sorry but I DID read somewhere that that was the price if my memory serves me correctly, either that, or the cost of firing one round was $800,000. Now you DO have me confused. Perhaps I’m thinking of the Zumwalt story and had the two confused.

  6. and these videos cover so many categories – sundar and susan are working a little too hard at doing a bad job.

    www dot bit chute dot com/video/-QRvlE5HFVk/
    SUNDAR PICHAI INTERVIEW BACKFIRES ON YOUTUBE BIG TIME!

    www dot bit chute dot com/video/0mYmsckqycc/
    HOLY SMOKES! THIS IS OFF-THE-CHARTS BAD FOR SUSAN!

    pretty obvious they’re going full bore censorship and flailing to control the narrative. in the process their efforts at mindkontrol, transhumanism and conspiracy kinda bulge from every angle under their costumes.

    1. i just heard pg&e shut off power at oroville and paradise from 9pm, 6/8/19 and turned it back on at 11am, 6/9/19. on the 9th? at 11? does this come under foreshadowing heading for disaster capitalists and conspiracy? curious what that does to power need to control the dams too.

      1. I suspect that Oroville Dam and Powerhouse has emergency diesel generators to power must-have operations. Beyond that, well, they are a power-generation facility…

  7. from the land of btw and congrats on meme reading and predictions:

    www dot youtube dot com/watch?v=hvFEzNyfUxA
    Boris Johnson frontrunner to lead UK

    good call doc.

  8. I like the phrase “Rods from God” as used by Niven & Pournelle in their SF novel Footfall . Basically, they are just metallic telephone poles with strap-on guidance kits. Start ’em on their way, and gravity does the rest of the work…

    In the Bigger Picture, I suspect a lot of the meme-spreading is to “open up” humanity to the promise & perils of being wide-open to the universe. Go back to Orson Welles’ radio broadcast derived from War of the Worlds , the original SF movie The Day the Earth Stood Still , and others of that time. Humanity was insular and one step up from medieval in its reactions.

    Jump forward a half century, and aliens are “ho-hum.” If a saucer landed on the White House lawn, they are likely to get ticketed for causing a scene.

    Since this meme-spreading is coming from way up the power pyramid, it has to have a deep purpose. In the absence of real aliens, it would be for control purposes (fear). But if real aliens have given a deadline, “Disclose by this date, or we will do it ourselves,” that could get interesting…

  9. Whether BB guns or Mass Drivers, it’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye. Rationalizing deployment of BB guns is called a Dual Use Paradox Exercise. We told mom they were needed for “target practice.” We omitted that the target was chipmunks.

  10. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress was one of my favorites. What I remember was the class struggle. a tale of revolution and rebellion. Definitely a classic in the making; and now regarded as one of his best works, if not the best. What struck me from the get-go was a beggar’s union forming w/in the first few pages of the story.
    Robert Heinlein retired in Henderson NV, near Las Vegas.

    The Rod of God was used in GI Joe: Retaliation[2013]. They threatened various world leaders with destruction of their major cities if they did not comply w/demands. London was actually destroyed, to exhibit: they’re not bluffing, the Rod of God is as devastating as advertised.

    Now, the race to the Moon takes on another perspective.
    Is it any wonder we were quarantined? If not, we soon will be? Or, perhaps we’ll be subject to an Act of God from the heavens?

    Yep, this plays out nicely in scenarios of alien invasions/wars.
    Reminds me of another old TV show:
    You Asked For It! [1950 – 1959]
    Would a 21st Century CNN run a live-in-action:
    reality streaming: GI Joe: Retaliation?

    I put nothing past these…
    more alien, than alien… beings?

    Let thy Kingdom Come.
    Let thy will be done Peace
    as in the heaven so upon Earth?

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