[ExI] EP, lasers and power satellites

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Sat Mar 3 16:03:37 UTC 2012

On Sat, Mar 3, 2012 at 5:00 AM,  Tim Halterman <timhalterman at gmail.com> wrote:

>> Between drones and Hellfire missiles, the US already has the ability
>> to fire on even our own citizens anywhere in the world.  A propulsion
>> laser is in the same class as a Hellfire missile so it isn't going to
>> make things any worse.

> Keith,
>    I'm sorry this jumped out at me slightly.  Looking at stuxnet virus as
> an example I really can't see something like this ever being secure
> enough.

If it comes down to building laser propulsion to solve the
energy/carbon problems or several billion people starving and dying in
resource wars, which do you pick?

> We've even recently seen a drone being spoofed and stolen (this is
> not necesarilly a fact but appeared plausible).  What would prevent this
> potential weapon from possibily falling into the wrong hands.  Even Iran
> has the capabilities of putting satellites into space, this would involve
> security not even from the software communication side but also the
> hardware side, these satellites could be physically manipulated in space.

That's true, but it's not simple.  Two GW of propulsion output
requires four square km of radiator just to get rid of the waste heat
from the lasers.  The income from this thing is $50 B per year, so
there is reason to be sure it is not diverted.

> Do we need defense satellites for defense satellites?

A big propulsion laser is its own defense.  It's possible to destroy
one with a big nuke inside a thick carbide shell, but it's not an easy
task.  Certainly beyond Iran for a *long* time.

> This reminds me of the star wars talk in the Reagan days.

Well, yes.  Things, particularly computers, have come a long way since
those days.  Did you read the article on what the software is being
used for now?


More information about the extropy-chat mailing list