Re: King of the moon

From: Eugene Leitl (
Date: Thu Apr 19 2001 - 05:08:37 PDT

On Thu, 19 Apr 2001, Rodent of Unusual Size wrote:

> I said 'uncontested,' not 'incontestable.' As for Nukes In Space,
> the physical effects are fairly useless, yes -- but the EMP
> would not be (at least against other small-mass unatmosphered

I have no exact idea what might happen, as EMP is created by sharp
decceleration of charged particles, created in the nuke fireball. Because
there's no atmosphere, the charged particles will be deccelerated very
suddenly by material bulk instead of relatively slowly in the upper layers
of the atmosphere as in NEMP (if you're close, you'll see some explosive
evaporation (ablation) of the surface layer which absorbs the xrays; if
you're really really close this will generate considerable, but very brief
forces, with enough mass you won't notice much -- if you're biological at
this close range you'll want to have heavy shielding, anyway. Optional, if
you're solid state to start with).

So I'm not sure about EMP (which can be hardened against, anyway).
Moreover, the bulk of targets will be on the average quite remote from
ground zero, and will see less impact than natural variation in the solar
wind background. Moreover, they'll see the warhead coming, and have time
to intercept with a kinetic kill, or turn it into plasma with a beam

> targets). And nukes have nothing to do with the superiourity
> of an asteroid-mounted battle platform; the gravity well

Naw, not asteroid mounted. You mine the asteroid, and generate a large
cloud of hardware in a volume ~lightsecond across. That way you have large
crossection at low hardware concentration, giving you intrinsic protection
(spatial distribution, active perimeter protection), good insolation for
power production and large aperture for phased-array beam focusing.

> differential does. And how. Heinlein really only touched on

Actually, if you disassemble a 100 km rock and turn it into gossamer metal
reflectors, you can just fry Earth's surface. Ditto with microwaves.

> first-order impact effects in 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress;'
> the second-order atmospheric effects of multikilotonne masses
> arriving at astronomical velocities would probably be far greater
> and farther-reaching, both on the x/y/z and t axes. 'Hot Fudge
> Sundae falls on a Tuesday this week.'

Yeah, it would be best to no piss off the space types. It's like playing
sitting duck to an army of snipers.

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