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The Star Wars defense program initiated by the US army seemed weird at first. OK, the Russian, the Arabs and the Koreans could have launched some nuclear missiles but that was more or less taken care of in the past few years. Just recently, Iâ€™ve come to understand that the Star Wars program could actually be designed to rid us of alien invasions or meteorite threats. Yeah, OK, Iâ€™ve read too much sci-fi, I admit. But the possibility remains and hereâ€™s some proof that Iâ€™m not actually that loony.
I donâ€™t know if you got to read Arthur C. Clarkeâ€™s â€œEarthlightâ€ sci-fi novel. Anyhow, the 1955 novel climaxes in a battle between some lunar fortress and three attacking spacecraft. At the height of the battle, the defending commander unleashes “The Stiletto”, which resembles “a solid bar of light” and pierces one spacecraft “as an entomologist pierces a butterfly with a pin.” Additionally, the Stiletto is more of “a jet of molten metal, hurled through space at several hundred kilometers per second by the most powerful electro-magnets ever built.” Neat penetrating ray missile thingy!
Remember Pentagon’s Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)? One of their projects actually aims at turning â€œthe Stilettoâ€ into a real weapon. Now, the â€œStar Warsâ€ denomination doesnâ€™t seem that far-fetched anymore, does it?
DARPAâ€™s version of â€œthe Stilettoâ€ is called MAHEM – Magneto Hydrodynamic Explosive Munition. Itâ€™s supposed to use magnetic fields that will propel either a narrow jet of molten metal or a chunk of molten metal that morphs into an aerodynamic slug during flight. Unlike Clarke’s â€œStilettoâ€, the molten jets will be projected by a device that generates a powerful electromagnetic field from an explosion, not giant electr-magnets..
For now, MAHEM is supposed to be carried by a warhead: “MAHEM could be packaged into a missile, projectile or other platform and delivered close to target for final engagement and kill,” says DARPA. MAHEM would apparently be useful against tanks and other missiles, but I reckon it could also work swell against meteorites and alien spaceships.
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