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Birth of a Notion.
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The Mini Death Star is a satellite in orbit that unfolds a quite-
large telescope, and has a high-energy laser. The laser is powered
by a bank of capacitors, which get recharged by a large array of
solar cells. Due to inefficiencies in how laser beams are
generated, the satellite also needs appropriate
devices. It would be reasonable to design it so that by the time
the capacitor banks are recharged after a laser-shot, the laser
will have cooled enough that it could shoot again.
The actual laser beam is maybe a centimeter in diameter, and is
intended to kill one person. After all, weapons of mass
destruction are forbidden to be placed in orbit! The particular
orbit should be nearly geosychronous, to maximize time above a
target zone. The beam has to be powerful enough to accomplish
its task after crossing 35,000+ km of space, passing through 100
kilometers of atmosphere, some layers of clothing, and perhaps a
few other minor things like bunker concrete. :)
The satellite is remotely operated, and of course shortly after it
is launched it needs to be used to shoot at some test-targets in
order to properly synchronize the aiming of the laser with the
telescopic "sight". A large-enough telescope will be able to see
things at night, and of course infrared sensors can be used, too.
When a war begins (or if already in one, like say with the ISIS
gang), then the Mini Death Star can be used to take out individual
enemy fighters. Preferred targets would be ranking officers and
other leaders, of course. But, hey, if the laser can be fired 10
times an hour (every six minutes), and some particular enemy
force consists of 1000 men, then after 100 hours or so the enemy
force will be hugely reduced. The sun is always shining in space,
so the laser can shoot at night on the ground....
Ordinary Death Star
It is a GOOD thing weapons of mass destruction are forbidden in space! [Vernon, Feb 28 2016]
Was working great for awhile... [whatrock, Feb 28 2016]
Personal orbital ABM satellite
[not_morrison_rm, Mar 01 2016]
||// Due to inefficiencies in how laser beams are generated,
the satellite also needs appropriate radiant-cooling devices.
||I was about to suggest something for this, but then I noticed
your name at the bottom.
||[Vernon], this looks like a peaceful innovation. If it really
were to be automated, e.g., with intelligence systems
tracking people's location based on their phone GPS
signals, the 10 times per minute would result in,
365*24*10=87600 per year. Not a weapon of mass
destruction, but... ? A weapon of mass incapacitation?
||"atomic bombings killed 90,000146,000 people in
Hiroshima and 39,00080,000 in Nagasaki" (Wikipedia).
||Now I understand why that antimissile-laser-on-a-
plane project was cancelled.
||Pairs well with the Dial-a-Smite phone app.
||With computer control and a little creativity the resulting burn
marks, when viewed from above, could spell J I H A D.
||I predict that corner-cube hats will become the new
fashion accessory for the well-turned out isis member
(and I use the word "member" quite precisely).
||If you build a laser in space that aims at the ground, pretty soon some-one will build a laser on the ground that aims into space...
||And you could simply claim that your device is merely a
malfunctioning data communications satellite [link].
||Ahem, Personal orbital ABM satellite...
||where the Death Star is classed as "ordinary"