View Full Version : Plasmas and coincidence

Loose rivets
7th May 2013, 17:04
While searching for something for the medical forum, I happened across this:


Strange, last night I was reading this:

U.S. Army weapon shoots lightning bolts down laser beams (http://www.gizmag.com/laser-induced-plasma-channel/23117/)

Also just looking at this:


Very, very interesting.

tony draper
7th May 2013, 18:12
I foresee a possible problem here,you point your plazma beam at the skies to down your enemy drone and mother nature turns you into a receiver rather than a deliverer.

7th May 2013, 18:22
Watch Pick TV (satellite channel 152) in 40 minutes time and you may get an hint of an answer if the SG-1 team do their stuff.

7th May 2013, 19:32
Hand held version = Star Trek Phaser !

A A Gruntpuddock
7th May 2013, 20:39
Problem is that most vehicles are insulated from lightning by the tires.

The 'Faraday cage' effect protects the occupants.

Even in a tank, I suspect that the current would simply flow through the hull and cause little damage.

Seems to be a very expensive way of achieving sfa.

8th May 2013, 12:54
U.S. Army weapon shoots lightning bolts down laser beams

One had a specialized little side business in the 80's, done mostly for the convenience of friends in other places with projects and research needs for special things. Among other results, it provided tools and methods for measuring and analyzing laser beams of various powers.

Clientele for that was mostly research folks tucked in hidden corners of labs with sandboxes filled to gills holding mirrors and targets and lasers of various sorts, trying to analyze some foible of Nature in a novel way. By us their secrets were kept safe and separate -- from each other, of course -- but our biz was not designed nor vetted-and-registered nor managed nor operated with seriously official mil-style security as a parameter. We were very clear about that - very clear, so even the defense customers who might be thus disposed did not invoke any of the the C and S and P and x-y-Z alphabet soup topics when dealing with us... whatever their real inclinations and intentions, because our categorical answer to any suggestion of the paperwork for such was the N-word.

Sometime about, maybe, 87, the phones for that began to ring a lot in the wee-hours of the night. The end of the triage tree for handling unanswered priority calls ended right next to my pillow.

Suddenly I was introduced to a whole new, unsolicited, phenomenon of folks calling up from all corners of the planet during pillow hours, wanting unique equipment on relatively short notice to measure SERIOUSLY powerful laser beams and willing to pay heavy-duty cash up-front to get it. An early quotation we offered up in the spirit of the thing, that was then eagerly accepted before we said woaa-now and talked them out of it, required some thirty feet of stacked layers of precision attenuating glass between source and sensor to meet their . spec without melting our most dynamically interesting sensor, as just one exotic example.

The whole thing was interesting, met a lot of new pen-pal candidates, but found it difficult to take most of the requests seriously enough to accept orders --- until we did some snooping to understand what the underlying change in state-of-art was that prompted this surge. Fusion reactors were a thought -- in vogue at the time -- mil things were a thought, but not our territory, even rock & roll was a possible, given the times... but no simple set of facts explained the very large surge of global interest that was pushing such exotic requests to our nearly-invisible business.

I mentioned this over dinner at a technical Committee meeting in Washington, DC that was not connected to any of the above. Some weeks later a customer in California asked me to drop-by for discussion, and there and then I got a very sketchy and very informal and very off the record description of one aspect of Pres Reagan's Star-Wars program, which was meant to impress the Soviets and others regarding US research and capabilities in advanced weaponry --- all supposed to be very classified and exactly the kind of thing my little Co, would run screaming from at the first possible opportunity, (principally because of the overhead and suffocating bureaucracy inherently associated with such).

The net of that meet-and-greet was that we shouldn't get very excited about responding to the sort of super-technical requests (per above), but nobody in the US chain of things would care very much if we did.... which was definitely not the normal way of process, as we knew well, in strategic technology issues. More detail was not supplied then, but a nice little contract from Nasa for some more ordinary measuring things developed shortly afterward, perhaps just a coincidence.

Eventually the company did, in clear conscience, send a few well-made and fully functional megawatt laser-beam-power measuring things to odd destinations in places like Liechtenstein and the Couyoucos Islands, but did so very selectively and without any real commercial enthusiasm. In advanced research, inherently very competitive, one on the outside never knows the real purpose of anything, eh?

Only years later did I read and laugh at the news-made-public regarding Star Wars, explained to moi in relative truth, at last.

There's still a pony or two in that pile, somewhere.