The Physics of Space Battles

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Post by czar on Wed Dec 16, 2009 7:38 pm

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Post by Nocbl2 on Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:36 pm

Awesome.
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Post by Rotaretilbo on Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:36 pm

An interesting article. I'll finish reading it, and then comment further.

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Post by Dud Doodoo on Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:39 pm

He raised some good points, but I find it hard to imagine that a slug fired from a rail gun could be more easily counteracted than a missile travelling many times slower than it.

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Post by BBJynne on Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:41 pm

I haven't read it yet, so this may have been addressed, but since missiles keep accelerating while slugs do not, I'd think that for long range the missiles are better

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Post by Nocbl2 on Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:43 pm

Dud Doodoo wrote:He raised some good points, but I find it hard to imagine that a slug fired from a rail gun could be more easily counteracted than a missile travelling many times slower than it.
I don't get how either could be easily counteracted.
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Post by Dud Doodoo on Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:48 pm

I don't think that he ever suggested either would be easy, just that kinetic weapons could be better countered than other types, and would be a factor that would play a role in the battle.

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Post by BBJynne on Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:56 pm

okay so I read it

kinetic weapons would be easier countered because you can shoot them to move them off course (slugs) or blow them up (missiles)

this is a really good article though
I've never heard of the gyroscope thing before, which probably means I haven't been reading the proper kind of sci-fi but w/e
gyroscopes were really interesting, and so was the stuff about how it would have to follow orbits and stuff.

so yeah...

I liked it

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Post by Rasq'uire'laskar on Wed Dec 16, 2009 10:00 pm

Hmm...
I thought about this a while back, and I figured that a space conflict would be something like this:
1: Build orbital platforms that can accelerate a 10 ton mass to 1/10 the speed of light (in both directions).
2: set them in orbit around the moon, so they are always on the opposite side from your target planet (Orbiting once every 28 days.)
2.5: Give them a nudge so that they orbit a quarter of the distance around the moon, and are pointing at your target planet.
3: Fire off a dozen rounds.
4: Contact survivors and demand unconditional surrender.

Now, with intersystem war, things get dicier, but I imagine that planets would still be impossible to defend. If, for example, you can create a sort of missile that accelerates to 1/10 the speed of light in the four years it spends moving from Alpha Centari to Sol, and then fires off thousands of one-ton stealthed iron masses, you're doomed.
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Post by BBJynne on Wed Dec 16, 2009 10:02 pm

That makes sense, but if you don't want to risk destroying the planet, it becomes less viable.
It seems more like a total war solution than colonization or anything like that.

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Post by Rasq'uire'laskar on Wed Dec 16, 2009 10:07 pm

Against a planet with an established ecosystem, yes.
Against a planet best stripped of it's resources and constructed upon, no. Essentially, the planet will be the same, minus any major landmarks and/or stable climates.
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Post by Dud Doodoo on Wed Dec 16, 2009 10:10 pm

BBJynne wrote:okay so I read it

kinetic weapons would be easier countered because you can shoot them to move them off course (slugs) or blow them up (missiles)

this is a really good article though
I've never heard of the gyroscope thing before, which probably means I haven't been reading the proper kind of sci-fi but w/e
gyroscopes were really interesting, and so was the stuff about how it would have to follow orbits and stuff.

so yeah...

I liked it
Allow me to rephrase that: If I remember correctly he mentioned that missiles are a preferable alternative to unguided weapons (bullets) due to such weapons being easily countered with point defense than missiles. Seeing as slugs fired from a large rail gun (MAC) would be travelling at nearly relativistic speeds, I highly doubt it would be easier to shoot them down than it would be to destroy a missile.

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Post by Rotaretilbo on Wed Dec 16, 2009 10:35 pm

He said that missiles are preferable to large kinetic slugs, because they're course can easily be calculated, whereas missiles can actually alter their course and are potentially much smaller, while still making a larger impact than similar sized kinetic weapons.

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Post by Kasrkin Seath on Thu Dec 17, 2009 7:13 am

Missiles would likely travel much slower than kinetic rounds, and ocne they run out of fuel, they could no longer change course, so they could be using simple kinetic ponit defense systems and possibly just cause a missile to run out of said fuel o destroy.

A Heavy kinetic slug on the other hand would be VERY difficult to stop once its in motion, not to mention hit when its moving within even something like a tenth the speed of light(it has to be detected, tracked and point defense needs to be fired off... if these are ships that are relatively close to each other, then it would be near impossible to stop

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Post by Vigil on Thu Dec 17, 2009 8:42 am

The problem is a Kinetic Slug would fly in a straight line, so say you used a MAC, you have to calculate the enemy's ships speed and trajectory and factor them into the shot.

Missles don't have that problem, they are much slower, but if the ship makes an unexpected course correction, you can quickly compensate with a short burst of it's engine.

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Post by Kasrkin Seath on Thu Dec 17, 2009 12:44 pm

That is true, but considering the advances in computer technology, calculating those would be no big deal. The hard part would be aligning the ship to fire off something like a MAC, which runs the length of the ship.

The problem with missiles is that they would be a lot easier to stop than a kinetic round.

Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Both would be usefull weapons, but I dont see one type of weapon outclassing another to the point where it becomes the sole weapon in use

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Post by Dud Doodoo on Thu Dec 17, 2009 1:25 pm

Well as most of you know there are two types of MACs, rail guns and coil guns. While rail guns would almost always be used for heavy payloads, as they are in Halo. A coil gun could potentially be used as a rapid fire weapon, firing conventional bullets at much higher velocities than chemical weapons normally would. These would be relatively close range and free moving, ineffective against larger ships. To fill the gap between these two types, there would be missiles. Missiles would be both faster and more accurate at long ranges than coil guns. They would not be as effective at close ranges as coil guns nor would they be as devastating at long ranges as a rail gun, but nevertheless they would fill the gap between them, and fired en mass they could do considerable damage to even the largest ships.

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Post by czar on Thu Dec 17, 2009 1:50 pm

Vigil wrote:The problem is a Kinetic Slug would fly in a straight line, so say you used a MAC, you have to calculate the enemy's ships speed and trajectory and factor them into the shot.

Missles don't have that problem, they are much slower, but if the ship makes an unexpected course correction, you can quickly compensate with a short burst of it's engine.
Cept missiles wouldn't do a whole lot in space. Slugs are our best bet.

"Explosions are basically a waste of energy in space. On the ground, these are devastating because of the shock wave that goes along with them. But in the vacuum of space, an explosion just creates some tenuous, expanding gases that would be easily dissipated by a hull."
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Post by Kasrkin Seath on Thu Dec 17, 2009 2:05 pm

Dud Doodoo wrote:Well as most of you know there are two types of MACs, rail guns and coil guns. While rail guns would almost always be used for heavy payloads, as they are in Halo. A coil gun could potentially be used as a rapid fire weapon, firing conventional bullets at much higher velocities than chemical weapons normally would. These would be relatively close range and free moving, ineffective against larger ships. To fill the gap between these two types, there would be missiles. Missiles would be both faster and more accurate at long ranges than coil guns. They would not be as effective at close ranges as coil guns nor would they be as devastating at long ranges as a rail gun, but nevertheless they would fill the gap between them, and fired en mass they could do considerable damage to even the largest ships.

MAC guns are Coil Guns, not rail guns. But your point about the two stands.
And about missiles, if it detonated when in contact with the ship ALOT of that force is going straight into it. This is besides the point that they could use missiles like RPG's are used today; they impact and detonate, firing a stream of molten metal that bores its way through the hull of whatever it hit. Just do the same thing with the space missiles.

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Post by Rotaretilbo on Thu Dec 17, 2009 3:30 pm

First of all, per the article, missile fuel wouldn't be an issue if we designed them to only use their engine in sporadic burst for course changes.

Further, we could probably design missiles so that just before impact, they do an engine burn to try and punch through the hull prior to detonating. Then there wouldn't be anywhere to waste energy on.

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Post by LeafyOwNu2 on Thu Dec 17, 2009 3:32 pm

Standard missiles as we know them today are really not an option in space. Most of the damage caused is transmitted through the shock wave, which won't exist in space. The other half, the explosion, wouldn't be as large because there isn't anything to burn in space. So you are generally left with kinetic energy.

Kinetic Slugs are more streamlined and harder to stop. It is also fesable that you could create more of them than missiles because they won't need guidance systems, fuel, or explosives. With their cheaper cost you could fire more of them.

Kinetic Slugs make much more sense to me than missiles in space.

To do massive damage just use a one shot laser like the man suggested.

Also Rot, if they were smart they wouldn't pressurize the inside of their vessel. The missile would do no more damage inside the ship than out.
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Post by Dud Doodoo on Thu Dec 17, 2009 4:38 pm

Kasrkin Seath wrote:
Dud Doodoo wrote:Well as most of you know there are two types of MACs, rail guns and coil guns. While rail guns would almost always be used for heavy payloads, as they are in Halo. A coil gun could potentially be used as a rapid fire weapon, firing conventional bullets at much higher velocities than chemical weapons normally would. These would be relatively close range and free moving, ineffective against larger ships. To fill the gap between these two types, there would be missiles. Missiles would be both faster and more accurate at long ranges than coil guns. They would not be as effective at close ranges as coil guns nor would they be as devastating at long ranges as a rail gun, but nevertheless they would fill the gap between them, and fired en mass they could do considerable damage to even the largest ships.

MAC guns are Coil Guns, not rail guns. But your point about the two stands.
And about missiles, if it detonated when in contact with the ship ALOT of that force is going straight into it. This is besides the point that they could use missiles like RPG's are used today; they impact and detonate, firing a stream of molten metal that bores its way through the hull of whatever it hit. Just do the same thing with the space missiles.

The MACs described in Halo were coil guns yes, but the term Magnetic Accelerator Cannon includes both types. On top of this, rail guns are the more logical choice for large, powerful cannons, which is supported by the fact that the navy is using them as such. Coil guns, on the other hand, can accelerate many slugs in quick succession, and there have been multiple rifles which have shown this.

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Post by Nocbl2 on Thu Dec 17, 2009 5:18 pm

The missiles I really don't see working. I mean, we're talking hundreds of MILES between ships, so they would be out of the question if we're talking speed, unless it's a dogfight and the fighters get really close to each other.

Kinetic slugs, eh. Feasible. But they couldn't do much else but make a hole in the ship to chuck in a couple of missiles that would shatter vital systems. The slugs themselves as weapons wouldn't do too well against a reactor core- they might shut it down for a minute or so, but would otherwise just go through the other side. Unless they hit something solid, nothing happens.
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Post by Angatar on Thu Dec 17, 2009 5:25 pm

Missiles can go quite fast when there's not a whole lot of resistance to stop them.

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Post by Vtrooper on Thu Dec 17, 2009 6:30 pm

on the space note: we may have a planet called Reach soon, fucktard Halo nerds
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