Northeast Atlanta Gaming

May 29, 2016

Luna: New Moon, thoughts on earth to moon access.

Filed under: Uncategorized — foodnearsnellville @ 7:08 pm

This is a continuation of discussions begun here.

The fastest a probe has gone from Earth to Moon is a little less than nine hours, and when that probe passed the moon, it was traveling 36,000 miles an hour (circa 16,092 meters per second). That’s a pretty incredible delta V, considering, for example, that the muzzle velocity of a M14, hardly a slow poke of a weapon, is 850 meters per second. If military weapons can achieve those kinds of speeds, or perhaps more, with nuclear propulsion, then the delta V alone makes stone (or more likely, depleted uranium long rod penetrators) a potent weapon. Why depleted uranium? It’s cheap, a nuclear waste product, with a density approaching that of osmium.

The question we’re building to is: would our AWC (aggressive Western country) have a first strike lunar capability? In my mind, it could be done with missiles, but more intriguingly, it seems reasonable to ask if they have stealth space planes. In my mind, 100 years or more of development of this kind of vessel (starting dating from when Ronald Reagan proposed these ships) would not only realize this kind of craft but would also leave them modular in propulsion. The rocket-ramjet they lift with could be replaced with a nuclear motor (and water as fuel) once in orbit. My recollection is that nuclear motors have a higher specific impulse, and therefore, greater top end speed.

A lunar colony of the kind Luna:New Moon envisions has an excess of power. The D-He 3 fusion power plant has to be common, and many processes must rely on an abundance of power. Growth is limited by available biomass, and the element limiting growth most would be nitrogen. Oxygen, by contrast, is relatively common.

In the world of Luna, the Corta process is the nitrogen source, and yields other useful gasses (so again, if the Corta process is your nitrogen source, why are you bombing Corta processing plants? Are you really that much of a closed cycle vis a vis nitrogen?).

Food is a bottleneck, and growth of food is expensive in terms of energy, water, and light. But attacking food is a way to commit genocide in a lunar war, and really, something to be avoided.

Attacks should be specific. They should be directed at the lunar “instruments of war”. The lunar colony is just too vulnerable to handle indiscriminate attack. But to start answering the question originally proposed, our AWC could lift a squadron, say, of space vehicles over the span of a day, rearm them for interplanetary combat, and assuming a top speed in excess of 40,000 miles an hour, launch an attach in several hours. The first ships may carry no weapons at all, but rather, the optical equivalent of Britain’s Window.

Directed attacks: on Earth, cruise missiles work in part because those employing them have a terrain map of the Earth down to a very fine detail, and those maps are embedded in the targeting system of the weapons. Absolutely nothing prevents the use of the same kind of technology in a “smart weapon” attack on the moon.



May 28, 2016

Luna: New Moon, and how it could affect the future Western world.

Filed under: Books — foodnearsnellville @ 8:47 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Ok, I’m going to use this article to discuss Ian McDonald’s Luna: New Moon, and work through some notions the novel may never get to. Luna is a kind of “Game of Thrones” in space, with five powerful families duking it out over the Moon’s wealth. At the end of the novel – yes, there are spoilers here – tools that are de facto mass drivers are used to destroy existing Helium 3 processing plants. The whole Moon economy is thrown into disarray as family feuds escalate to an almost warlike state.

You know, sort of what Saddam Hussein did to Kuwait.

And my reaction, having grown up in a Western country, and seen what Western countries do to people who control, oh clove supplies, or canals, or the other canal, or oil (see here, here, and here), is to think someone on the moon is cruising for a bruising.

So the question at hand is, what would it take for the Earth to take over enough of the moon to eliminate the threat of Joe Psychopath from mass driving existing He 3 processing plants to death? Or for that matter, the Earth if they get in his way?

Assume a colony exists, is doing well, is much smaller than Earth physically, and much smaller in economic size than the Earth.

Part of the issue with a lunar colony that has mass driver technology is that the gravity well for Earth is much larger than that of the moon. As Robert Heinlein pointed out in “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”, enough mass drivers in place and they could easily deliver unacceptable damage just by tossing big rocks at the Earth.

So if the Earth were stupid, and had no defenses against mass driver assaults, it would just have to give up. But we are assuming aggressive Western countries here, with full blown spying resources, some space capabilities, energy sources (H, He 4, U, Pu, solar, etc) that are independent of He 3, and are pretty frickin’ mad.

That’s item one. Item 2 is I don’t see why the social media of today wouldn’t exist in much greater fashion in the time period of Luna, and that video of the attacks would be all over the place. Twitter, or its replacement, would be buzzing and the instigators would have the worst press in the whole world. They’ve killed plenty of people over a busted wedding, mind you.

Second, I suspect the Western world would have spy satellites situated close to the moon and would be watching everything. Amateur astronomers with tracking scopes could probably have filmed a good part of the action as well.

I don’t think the guilty parties could lie their way out of this.

So, I’m a AWG (aggressive western country) and so what do I do?

First I demonize my opponents. I would have them declared terrorists, and claim their monetary and physical assets within my reach, out to low Earth orbit. That alone may be enough to stop the madness, but as this is a hypothetical exercise, we’ll continue. A war, though it risks plenty lives, can serve as an economic boost, and wars tend to make those that declare them politically popular.

The moon would be blockaded. Nothing from Earth flows to the Moon. Anything from the Moon is confiscated. This includes routine data transmissions. You don’t want the Moon messing with financial instruments during a time like this.

The moon would be cyber attacked. If the moon has a million or two folks, the Earth, by this time, has in excess of 30 billion people. For every genius on the Moon, there are 30,000 geniuses on the Earth.

I take my time extending my reach. I secure low Earth orbit. I make sure I can deflect mass driver attacks.  I secure or destroy anything at L1. I want to control stable lunar orbital locations, and from a military perspective, those are the Lagrange points L1, L2, L4 and L5. I then take L4 and L5. I then clear out L2, and set up spy satellites there.

I then do not put troops on the moon, I circle the moon with semi autonomous drones, the space equivalent of Predators. For surface operations, the modern equivalent of a drone tank would be used. And then slowly, steadily, I destroy their mass drivers, or take them over.

Peace would be contingent on Earth control of every lifting system. Helium 3 would only go through AWG controlled mass drivers. Anyone attacking He 3 plants would be ruthlessly destroyed. What government the moon forms otherwise, is really not of the AWG’s concern.

That’s the plan, in outline. Comments and other notes certainly appreciated.




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