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The Future of Superior Firepower

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Here are a few of the weird and wonderful DARPA projects in the works, from the defense spending bill (H.R. 2863) newly passed by the House (via Greta Wodele at GovExec.com):

    – Aircraft capable of lifting an entire army brigade from "fort to fight"
    in order to eliminate the need for bases outside the United States.
    – Mechanical and chemical ways to process military waste into fuel [and to] harvest the electrical energy behind the motion of ocean
    – Tiny bullets and grenades that are capable of steering themselves in flight to hit the hardest and farthest targets.
    – Jam-proof communications satellites.
    – Robots that could repair, upgrade and refuel other satellites.
    – Pulsing neutron stars as location-tracking devices.

The $408 billion bill passed 398-19, in a refreshingly bi-partisan display of our country’s commitment to staying in shape.

Don’t you love the smell of neutron stars in the morning?

Cross-posted at Suitably Flip.

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  • Even though some of these projects are extemely outlandish, I know there are even weirder ones that were almost considered.

    “Pulsing neutron stars as location-tracking devices.” What? I don’t even think this makes sense?

  • Duane

    Pulsing neutrons stars (pulsars) are the best timekeepers in the Universe. A neutron star is about 10 km in radius, with a mass of a couple times the Sun’s mass. It has a strong magnetic field (a trillion or so times the Earth’s field), which, for complcated reasons, results in conical radiation patterns aligned with the magnetic field axis. If the magnetic axis is not aligned with the spin axis, the radiation cones sweep around, like a lighthouse. The spin period is often measured in milliseconds, and is so stable that they are considered to be the best measure of time known, even better than atomic clocks. That’s because the moment of inertia is huge — it’s takes a huge torque to perturb the spin. So, the trick is to use the time of arrival of pulses from two pulsars, using the fact that the speed of light is finite, to locate yourself. The idea was originally proposed as a means for satellites to self-monitor their position. There are enough pulsars out there that Earth occultation is not a problem.

  • Wow. Thanks. That explains a lot… Now I know why NASA still exists.

  • The Duke

    What did Azimov say?

    Once something is an idea… it’s already invented (from rough memory)

    Could have been Orwell… or Hubbard…

    Anyway, the idea is what stimulates the invention…

    Hurry up transporter… I’m tired of the commute.

  • The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office agrees with you.

  • These all sound like crazy ideas. I’ve been making posts on other firepower of the future that are starting to make their way onto the battlfield now, check it out, cool videos.

  • Joe

    DARPA is coming out with some unbelievable new military technologies. Steering bullets in flight is something that I would personally like to see. Check out my link for the latest military technology videos and photos.