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Marq: I would take that Wikipedia article with a dump truckload of salt especially given the fact it sites a webcomic that is anything but hard sci-fi. Nearly all the articles cited have a lot of exaggeration in their write-ups and almost no notes from the actual projects. The Rods From God concept did not approach the power of actual nuclear weapons and neither have any of the other actual white paper weapons like it. In fact, one of the specific reasons the concept was examined was a high power bunker buster with a global reach, not nuclear weapon equivalency. The two key points for even considering the system was its ability to bypass or defeat anti-access weapons systems and because of its global reach leave enemies nowhere to safely hide denying them sanctuary.
The RAND article Space Weapons Earth Wars, notes the more realistic expectation of power of such weapons is more in line with existing bunker-busting weapons and that such weapons would be specifically useful in that role and would be used against singular targets rather than approaching the level of even small nuclear weapons. Even more importantly they note it would be far more effective to not use a satellite but an ICBM like a missile with a kinetic warhead.
They hit like a ton of bricks, quite literally in some respects, but they aren't approaching nuclear weapon power levels. Which is why RAND pointed out a more effective system would basically be a modification of ICBM systems. The US is tinkering around with the missile-based concept still.
My understanding is that Rods from God are technically legal right now, in a "Ain't No Rule" sort of way.
Rods from God are not even anywhere near being illegal. There are no laws against putting weapons in space beyond a restriction on WMD's. That's it. Orbit to Surface Kinetic weapons would perfectly legal.
It’s less a technicality and more that the treaty only explicitly prohibits space-based WMDs. The US and Russia were both actively attempting to militarize space by 1967, they would never have agreed if all weapons were banned.
Edited by archonspeaks on Sep 19th 2019 at 4:35:57 AM
Rods from God are, however, ridiculously cost-inefficient.
Edited by dRoy on Sep 19th 2019 at 11:13:37 PM
Just because you CAN make something, doesn't mean you SHOULD make it.
Rods from God also sounds kind of blasphemous.
Honestly, as a Christian myself... I totally dig the name.
But yeah, it does have a blasphemous implications if you think about it.
It sounds like a bible themed porno.
"American Fucksticks" would be a more fitting name for them anyway. That is more or less their proposed function, after all.
It's nothing new anyway. Warfare has always had phallic implications, ever since early humanity realized how effective a pointy stick was at killing stuff.
Don't tell me that the guys who slammed battering rams into gates weren't imagining doing something else in the process.
Edited by M84 on Sep 19th 2019 at 10:27:11 PM
In Greek mythology, one of Ares' epithet was "the Penetrator".
For clarity, Ares is typically armed with a spear, which makes sense as it was the main weapon of Greek soldiers in war back in antiquity.
Edited by MarqFJA on Sep 19th 2019 at 6:45:30 PM
In a sci-fantasy setting I made, similar weapons are referred to as "Angel's Trumpets", which I think is a fitting name.
For the record, I actually asked the question about kinetic bombardment because I watched Kyle Hill's Because Science video on the subject. I only linked to the Wikipedia article to provide a summary of the concept for anyone who isn't familiar with the term (be they posters or random passerbys).
Even then, the real-world examination takes the piss out of the weapon. The energy it hits with isn't close to same as what happens with a nuke it's all kinetic mostly traveling straight down. I could see a rod smashing a good-sized building or bunker to bits or causing a hell of a mess like a large conventional bomb but not quite anything approaching what happens with nukes.
Skimming through that video I’ll note that it’s (correctly) pointed out that a kinetic bombardment from orbit would be nowhere even near on the same scale as a nuclear weapon.
IIRC, a strike from the weapon being discussed would hit with around the force of 10 tons of TNT. Of course, it wouldn’t be an explosion, more a sort of crushing blow that struck far down into the earth, which is appropriate for its intended role as a bunker buster.
Edited by archonspeaks on Sep 19th 2019 at 9:07:11 AM
Well, with kinetic bombardment, it depends on how much force you're launching the rod down with. Just dropping it doesn't do much damage, though if you can launch it hard enough at the ground it's actually one of the best bombs possible.
There’s not really any “launch” when it comes to kinetic bombardment. The weapon brakes and enters a suborbital trajectory that brings it to its target, which is basically a fancy way of saying it falls out of space. If you’re going to be launching things there’s not really much point in launching from space, since re-entering the atmosphere kills your momentum pretty quickly.
Even weapons like Lazy Dog basically just fell on their targets, but their mass and sectional density made them incredibly destructive.
Edited by archonspeaks on Sep 19th 2019 at 9:18:26 AM
In any case, there are a lot of weapons out there that aren't illegal that folks sort of assume are, like nuclear weapons (the issue with nukes isn't that they're illegal, it's that they usually massive overkill and nobody wants to deal with the retaliation that would ensue.)
I think one of the only outright illegal weapons are biological weapons.
And even then legality never really stopped any one, its the other consequences that do.
Especially the cost.
Biological weapons are also pretty messy and unpredictable as far as weapons go too. At least napalm isn't contagious.
That reminds me, not sure if we shared this or not, but this IGN op-ed about the depiction of White Phosphorus in the newest Call of Duty game has been... let's politely call it "Discussion-provoking." Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and the Cruel Realities of White Phosphorous
I follow the guy on Twitter, things were intense for a day or two after the article dropped. It really brought out the stupid in some folks.
The op-ed writer was apparently a former Marine who objected to the game including Willy Pete as a kill-streak reward.
Also, reading through the IGN article's comments section reinforced my belief that any comments section on the internet will devolve into a cesspool.
Edited by M84 on Sep 20th 2019 at 4:58:19 PM
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