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Why do we need X-ray lasers???

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Re: Why do we need X-ray lasers???
Post by namelessfly   » Thu Mar 27, 2014 2:29 pm

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Not to beat my own drum, but I get the impression that Weber had not considered the fact that the KE of his missiles vastly exceeded warhead yields until KZT, Bafoote and I started commenting about planet killing KE attacks.

I still think this is a good use for slightly used, only surrendered once, SLN, SDs.
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Re: Why do we need X-ray lasers???
Post by crewdude48   » Thu Mar 27, 2014 2:34 pm

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namelessfly wrote:Not to beat my own drum, but I get the impression that Weber had not considered the fact that the KE of his missiles vastly exceeded warhead yields until KZT, Bafoote and I started commenting about planet killing KE attacks.

I still think this is a good use for slightly used, only surrendered once, SLN, SDs.


And why exactly would the current owners of said SDs want to do that? I can't imagine any good reason to get every person on the rest of human occupied space really really pissed at them.
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Re: Why do we need X-ray lasers???
Post by jgnfld   » Thu Mar 27, 2014 3:06 pm

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I doubted I was the first to notice this.

Ah well, even physics and math students at prestigious universities louse up the old "how much does a ball cost if a bat is $1 more than the ball and you spend $1.10 in total" question. I guess we can forgive authors on relativistic calculations!

namelessfly wrote:Not to beat my own drum, but I get the impression that Weber had not considered the fact that the KE of his missiles vastly exceeded warhead yields until KZT, Bafoote and I started commenting about planet killing KE attacks.

I still think this is a good use for slightly used, only surrendered once, SLN, SDs.
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Re: Why do we need X-ray lasers???
Post by crewdude48   » Thu Mar 27, 2014 3:16 pm

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jgnfld wrote:"how much does a ball cost if a bat is $1 more than the ball and you spend $1.10 in total"


Insufficient data. What did I spend $1.10 on? (My math teachers hated me. This is how I answered as many word problems as possible.)
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Re: Why do we need X-ray lasers???
Post by jgnfld   » Thu Mar 27, 2014 3:36 pm

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I didn't state it so precisely as the scientists who have done and replicated this study. There it is stated completely unambiguously, e.g., "A bat and a ball together cost $1.10. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?". Even so a surprising number of math and science students miss that question. 80% of all students do. I forget the percentage at MIT and Princeton, but it was still quite high.

crewdude48 wrote:
jgnfld wrote:"how much does a ball cost if a bat is $1 more than the ball and you spend $1.10 in total"


Insufficient data. What did I spend $1.10 on? (My math teachers hated me. This is how I answered as many word problems as possible.)
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Re: Why do we need X-ray lasers???
Post by kzt   » Thu Mar 27, 2014 3:42 pm

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namelessfly wrote:Given the fact that the KE of a missile at only 1/3 Cee vastly exceeds the yield of a multiple megaton warhead, I think of the nuke as a burster charge that causing the vaporized missile to become a cloud of plasma that expands at a few % Cee as it impacts.

We know that the firewall of a nuke in space expands at ~10,000 km/sec.

At 10Km for the missile wedge and a minimal closing speed of .25C you get 75,000 km/sec closing speed, so the missile that is turned into a plasma cloud has 0.13 milliseconds of expansion, so the plasma cloud will be not more than 1.3 km wide when it whacks the sidewall.

Though if I was trying to overload the sidewall my missile wedge would drop more like 0.15 milliseconds before impact, at which point the entire energy of the missile is concentrated in a 5 meter diameter circle.
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Re: Why do we need X-ray lasers???
Post by namelessfly   » Thu Mar 27, 2014 5:59 pm

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jgnfld wrote:I doubted I was the first to notice this.

Ah well, even physics and math students at prestigious universities louse up the old "how much does a ball cost if a bat is $1 more than the ball and you spend $1.10 in total" question. I guess we can forgive authors on relativistic calculations!

namelessfly wrote:Not to beat my own drum, but I get the impression that Weber had not considered the fact that the KE of his missiles vastly exceeded warhead yields until KZT, Bafoote and I started commenting about planet killing KE attacks.

I still think this is a good use for slightly used, only surrendered once, SLN, SDs.


Total = $1.10 = bat + ball
bat = ball + $1
Total = ball + ball +$1
$.1 = 2 x ball
Ball = $.05
bat = $1.05

$1.10 =
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Re: Why do we need X-ray lasers???
Post by cralkhi   » Thu Mar 27, 2014 10:47 pm

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Whitecold wrote:In the end it boils down to "because the plot says so."

6 orders of magnitude more energy trump about every targeting consideration,


Not really.

If you can't hit the target, it doesn't matter how powerful the weapon is.

Even if the countermissiles and point defense don't destroy the missile before it gets close (laserheads have a standoff range of tens of thousands of km), sidewalls and wedges destroy material objects, so you can't hit Honorverse ships with them.

and missiles were used before laser heads were invented, and could achieve kills.


Yeah, but not by kinetic impact -- the missile wedge hit the ship. The missile wedge is like 10km wide... much more forgiving than actually hitting with the comparatively tiny missile.

And you can't even hit with wedges with modern defenses.
So kinetic impacts are completely unworkable.

Nukes needed direct hits, and could achieve them,


I beileve it's mentioned somewhere (maybe "The Universe of Honor Harrington" in More Than Honor or the "Modern Starship Armor Design" essay in In Fire Forged) that 'contact nukes' are actually 'sidewall contacting' nukes. The sidewall is a MUCH bigger target than the ship.
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Re: Why do we need X-ray lasers???
Post by kzt   » Thu Mar 27, 2014 11:58 pm

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cralkhi wrote:I beileve it's mentioned somewhere (maybe "The Universe of Honor Harrington" in More Than Honor or the "Modern Starship Armor Design" essay in In Fire Forged) that 'contact nukes' are actually 'sidewall contacting' nukes. The sidewall is a MUCH bigger target than the ship.

"Contact Nukes" are running in sidewall penetration mode. Setting off a really big shaped nuclear weapon within a km or so of a ship is going to make it have a not very good day. If you actually hit the ship with the warhead it's just GONE. But that would either be a really lucky day or a really unlucky day, depending on your PoV.

The other old-school approach is sidewall burning mode, where you use a monstrous shaped fusion bomb to overload the sidewall generators from thousands of KM out.
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Re: Why do we need X-ray lasers???
Post by Joat42   » Fri Mar 28, 2014 1:05 pm

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Whitecold wrote:In the end it boils down to "because the plot says so."

6 orders of magnitude more energy trump about every targeting consideration, and missiles were used before laser heads were invented, and could achieve kills.


Not really unless it's directed in a specific direction. An object traveling at near c velocities hitting a sidewall will do negligible damage to any ship but the impact will look very spectacular and probably mess up sensors but nothing more.

A focused nuclear blast will have a much better chance penetrating a sidewall since it's energy are focused on 1 small area.

In other words, the inverse square law is not very forgiving on undirected energy.

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