Tag Archives: rail gun

The future is … expensive

pile-of-dollar-bills Wired’s Gadget Lab blog has a piece on science fictional technologies or engineering projects that are within our grasp in almost every way … except financially. It’s a decent enough blend of informative and snarky that I can forgive the use of the term “sci-fi” in the title … 😉

Floating cities, Transatlantic tunnels … it’s kind of sad to think that, as the commenters there keep pointing out, most of the projected costs would vanish into the budget for the Iraq “liberation” and rattle around like a ball bearing in an oil tanker. Also pointed out is the conspicuous absence of the space elevator – I seriously want to see one of those built before I die. [Image from stock.xchng]

Additional bonus! The last two entries in the Wired piece are about rail guns and space travel; frequent Futurismic commenter Brian Wang combines the two in a post about the potential of rail guns to be used as economical launch systems to lift payloads to orbit.

Blowing things up from far away

rail-guns-navy Everyone knows spaceships will have laser guns that go “pew, pew” and kill the fat guy in the x-wing.  But until then, we’ll have to make do with blowing the crap out of stuff at 220 miles with the most powerful rail gun ever.  The 32-megajoule Electric Laboratory Rail Gun (a name only a military bureaucrat could love) is four times more powerful than the previously-most-powerful rail gun, capable of accelerating steel slugs to Mach 7.

The scary thing is, this model is only half as powerful as the specifications given by the Navy – they want a 64 megajoule weapon.  BAE’s got a ways to go, the current model only lasts a few shots before blowing itself out of alignment.

(story and image via DailyTech)