Weapons in space Watch

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Tyler Durden
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#1
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I was wondering what anyone thought of this move by America's beloved Commander-in-Chief?

Personally I think it's a bad idea for a number of reasons. Primarily because it will merely serve to antagonise other nations. I can see it becoming similar to the Cold War with massive stock-piling and constant tension. Clearly that's a worst case scenario but nevertheless offensive weapons which so transcend the type that exist now will never reduce global tensions. I suppose if they want to create defensive technology then fair enough, but this has got to be a bad move.

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JonD
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A Cold War with whom? The Iranians, perhaps? The Australians?
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Tyler Durden
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(Original post by JonD)
A Cold War with whom? The Iranians, perhaps? The Australians?
I was thinking more along the lines of a general augmentation of global tensions. I think it would be naive to suggest that the Soviet Union and the US were the only two powers affected by the Cold War. In the same way I fear that a number of countries will be negatively affected by this.

To answer your question, perhaps China? I don't know. Bearing in mind this is a longterm project.
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Steph!
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oh dear god. scary!
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Speleo
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Why settle for military supremacy on earth if you can rule space too. :rolleyes:

This will be a huge waste of money, and knowing past high tech weapons systems, for example Reagan's(?) failed 'star wars' system, probably won't work.

Would be much better to spend the money on something useful that actually helped people. The USA can't really afford to lose any more popularity in other countries at the moment.
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foxo
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It suppose it's seems *safer* than nuclear weapons. Still horrible, though.
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fr browne
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And what would be the result of all of this to "universal warning"? Let the doom-mongerers about start spreading rumours of a universal catastrophe.

i think its a really bad idea, first we practically destroy our own world through and arms race and multiple war so now it can begin in space. Wheres the logic in that?
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nikk
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(Original post by englishstudent)
I was wondering what anyone thought of this move by America's beloved Commander-in-Chief?

Personally I think it's a bad idea for a number of reasons. Primarily because it will merely serve to antagonise other nations. I can see it becoming similar to the Cold War with massive stock-piling and constant tension. Clearly that's a worst case scenario but nevertheless offensive weapons which so transcend the type that exist now will never reduce global tensions. I suppose if they want to create defensive technology then fair enough, but this has got to be a bad move.

Opinions?
Although not ideal, I think it would be safer to allow the development of space weapons than to ban it. My reasons are as follows:

1) The threat of near earth asteroids where one *will* eventually hit earth is not being taken seriously by governments (probably because the majority of the non-scientific taxpayers would see it as fantasy land). At present, if we were to detect an asteroid on collision course with earth there is no way we could prevent it. At least if we start to build weapons platforms in space, we may have a system we could easily adapt to counter any threats.

2) Weapons in space are inevitable. China is fast becoming a space power and I have no doubts that countries like that will start to develop weapons. Therefore, we will need some kind of defense. As we have seen with the nuclear weapons, the pocession of powerful weapons on both sides can actually work as an engine of peace because both sides would not be willing to face the consequences of conflict.

3) As with the development of all new technology, there is likely to be many technological spin-offs where the technology is adapted for civilian uses (development of laser technology in healthcare etc).
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Golden Maverick
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(Original post by NikNak)
Although not ideal, I think it would be safer to allow the development of space weapons than to ban it. My reasons are as follows:

1) The threat of near earth asteroids where one *will* eventually hit earth is not being taken seriously by governments (probably because the majority of the non-scientific taxpayers would see it as fantasy land). At present, if we were to detect an asteroid on collision course with earth there is no way we could prevent it. At least if we start to build weapons platforms in space, we may have a system we could easily adapt to counter any threats.
How will a system designed either to drop rods of uranium on ground targets, or a laser/missile system designed to destroy 100kg satelites destroy a huge asteroid. Given an asteroid the size of a house burns up in the atmosphere, the ones to worry about will be huge and far too big to be destroyed by the proposed systems.

Also, if we were to detect an asteroid on a collision path, we should have on average 10 years to prepare for it or destroy it. That's plenty of time when the survival of humans is at stake. (As incentive to get working!)
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Speleo
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1) The threat of near earth asteroids where one *will* eventually hit earth is not being taken seriously by governments (probably because the majority of the non-scientific taxpayers would see it as fantasy land). At present, if we were to detect an asteroid on collision course with earth there is no way we could prevent it. At least if we start to build weapons platforms in space, we may have a system we could easily adapt to counter any threats.
It's not a good idea to spend millions (probably billions) on a system that could possibly save us in the event of an extremely unlikely scenario. I doubt that a weapons system in space would even help much against asteroids, if an asteroid big enough to cause major damage to the earth came, then I don't think a few lasers are going to stop it.


2) Weapons in space are inevitable. China is fast becoming a space power and I have no doubts that countries like that will start to develop weapons. Therefore, we will need some kind of defense. As we have seen with the nuclear weapons, the pocession of powerful weapons on both sides can actually work as an engine of peace because both sides would not be willing to face the consequences of conflict.
People lived in fear of a nuclear holocaust for decades in the cold war, it's not wise to start that up again. It would make much more sense to use all the money and effort in preventing any country from making space weapons than to make your own. Hey, you could even make ground based devices to destroy enemy satellites.

3) As with the development of all new technology, there is likely to be many technological spin-offs where the technology is adapted for civilian uses (development of laser technology in healthcare etc).
Why not spend the money on healthcare lasers in the first place? It'd be cheaper and faster.
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nikk
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(Original post by Speleo)
It's not a good idea to spend millions (probably billions) on a system that could possibly save us in the event of an extremely unlikely scenario. I doubt that a weapons system in space would even help much against asteroids, if an asteroid big enough to cause major damage to the earth came, then I don't think a few lasers are going to stop it.
My point is that we will have a better defence than we have at present, which is zero. I am not saying this would be a 100% fool proof asteroid destroying system, because obviously it wouldn't. However, it IS a weapons platform in space and may be of use. Basically, I am saying it would be better than what we have now, which can only be a good thing.

(Original post by Speleo)
People lived in fear of a nuclear holocaust for decades in the cold war, it's not wise to start that up again. It would make much more sense to use all the money and effort in preventing any country from making space weapons than to make your own. Hey, you could even make ground based devices to destroy enemy satellites.
You are assuming the these space weapons would be as destructive as nuclear weapons. From what I gather, it is more in the sense of lasers that will be able to destory nuclear weapons fired from the ground by any country. The weapon itself would not be immensely powerful (as in it would be able to take out a missle but not destory a whole city).

The use of nuclear weapons in space is another ballpark altogether.

(Original post by Speleo)
Why not spend the money on healthcare lasers in the first place? It'd be cheaper and faster.
Well the development of much technology was at first never foreseen to be used in the context we use it now. Many new materials and such like developed as part of the space program have had huge benefits in other areas.

War has the same effect on technology - we are faced with a particular problem and develop a solution. Later on, someone comes along and says 'hey we could use that for this as well' etc. Much of modern day technology such as radar was developed because of WW2. If the war hadn't of happened then yes we would have still developed it, but at a much later date. The space program works the same way, it forces us to be innovate and push the boundaries of science, which has big pay-offs in other areas.
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Speleo
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My point is that we will have a better defence than we have at present, which is zero. I am not saying this would be a 100% fool proof asteroid destroying system, because obviously it wouldn't. However, it IS a weapons platform in space and may be of use. Basically, I am saying it would be better than what we have now, which can only be a good thing.
As golden maverick said, these asteroids are huge, and as you said, "The weapon itself would not be immensely powerful". If you mean that they would be a platform to mount more powerful weapons, which could take out asteroids, on when needed, then it still doesn't justify the weapon system, as it would work just as well (and would be cheaper) to put an empty platform, ready for weapons but holding none, up just in case, or even better, to keep a platofrm on the ground to be launched into space when necessary.


You are assuming the these space weapons would be as destructive as nuclear weapons. From what I gather, it is more in the sense of lasers that will be able to destory nuclear weapons fired from the ground by any country. The weapon itself would not be immensely powerful (as in it would be able to take out a missle but not destory a whole city).

The use of nuclear weapons in space is another ballpark altogether.
I agree that the proposed systems will not be powerful enough to cause major harm, but there is the potential to easily convert them into nuclear missile launchers. To be honest, I don't trust the USA (or any other government for that matter) not to turn them into nuke satellites.

Well the development of much technology was at first never foreseen to be used in the context we use it now. Many new materials and such like developed as part of the space program have had huge benefits in other areas.


War has the same effect on technology - we are faced with a particular problem and develop a solution. Later on, someone comes along and says 'hey we could use that for this as well' etc. Much of modern day technology such as radar was developed because of WW2. If the war hadn't of happened then yes we would have still developed it, but at a much later date. The space program works the same way, it forces us to be innovate and push the boundaries of science, which has big pay-offs in other areas.
Yes, I agree, 'necessity is the mother of invention', but that doesn't justify the space systems. I think that it applies much more in time of war (when there is an actual war happening right at the moment) than modern day space exploration.
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material breach
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(Original post by NikNak)
1) The threat of near earth asteroids where one *will* eventually hit earth is not being taken seriously by governments (probably because the majority of the non-scientific taxpayers would see it as fantasy land). At present, if we were to detect an asteroid on collision course with earth there is no way we could prevent it. At least if we start to build weapons platforms in space, we may have a system we could easily adapt to counter any threats.
If the asteroid is an "earth killer" than nuclear weapons would be about as good as a fly swat. You would be better off trying to nudge the asteroid in its orbit a long distance away to significantly change its orbit.

If you think about how dangerous nuclear weapons are on earth, think of the dangers of putting them into space. What happens if the shuttle blows up on launch spraying tons of very dangerous radioactive material all over the shop which would kill millions.
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Howard
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(Original post by englishstudent)
I was wondering what anyone thought of this move by America's beloved Commander-in-Chief?

Personally I think it's a bad idea for a number of reasons. Primarily because it will merely serve to antagonise other nations. I can see it becoming similar to the Cold War with massive stock-piling and constant tension. Clearly that's a worst case scenario but nevertheless offensive weapons which so transcend the type that exist now will never reduce global tensions. I suppose if they want to create defensive technology then fair enough, but this has got to be a bad move.

Opinions?
Not exactly new. I though Reagan started the Star Wars project about 20 years ago.
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Tyler Durden
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(Original post by NikNak)
Much of modern day technology such as radar was developed because of WW2. If the war hadn't of happened then yes we would have still developed it, but at a much later date. The space program works the same way, it forces us to be innovate and push the boundaries of science, which has big pay-offs in other areas.
Much scientific development in the field of genetics has come from tests Nazi doctors did on their unfortunate victims. I don't think one can say that the overall effect of Nazism was positive though. It's a slippery slope. If you start justifying something inherently negative by using the possibility that some of the effects might be good it'd be hard to know where to draw the line.
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Tyler Durden
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(Original post by NikNak)
My point is that we will have a better defence than we have at present, which is zero. I am not saying this would be a 100% fool proof asteroid destroying system, because obviously it wouldn't. However, it IS a weapons platform in space and may be of use. Basically, I am saying it would be better than what we have now, which can only be a good thing.
[Sorry I should've done all this as one post]

Again I feel this is a slippery slope. The aim of these weapons is not as a defence against natural phenomena such as asteroids. Indeed the offensive weapons are not to defend against ANYTHING. They are precisely to launch attacks.

It seems that two of the fundamental arguments that you put forward for this project are that we will receive beneficial side effects. If a government wants breakthroughs in laser technology for health reasons then they should invest in that. If a goverment wants to defend against asteroids (or even agressive nations) then they can research necessary technology.

To justify these weapons on the grounds that they might have positive side-effects is naive in my opinion. And dangerous.
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material breach
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I really hate slippery slope based arguements. Surely the arguement here is the fact they will have domination of an area that should not be dominated. Space, like the Antartic should be kept for scientific research IMO at least for the mean time. The USA is just worried that countries might start doing what they are doing and use satilites to spy on them. The risks far out weight any good for technological advancement and America should not be allowed to dominate space like this.
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Anth
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Doesnt this break a convention, like the Hague or Geneva conventions?

I am pretty sure I have read summat about satellites capable of firing at people being against a convention :confused:

Goes looking for summat about it
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Tyler Durden
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(Original post by Gaskell)
Doesnt this break a convention, like the Hague or Geneva conventions?

I am pretty sure I have read summat about satellites capable of firing at people being against a convention :confused:

Goes looking for summat about it
If only they cared...

If they can go to war and totally contravene the UN why should they listen to these conventions?

It's terrifying really.
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nikk
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(Original post by Speleo)
As golden maverick said, these asteroids are huge, and as you said, "The weapon itself would not be immensely powerful".
A small meterorite (I believe about the size of a house once it had penetrated the atmosphere) exploded in the atmosphere in the early 1990s over siberia, destroying hundreds of kilometres of forest. If that had happened over London, the whole subject would be looked upon alot more seriously than it is now.

The point being that, yes, to completely wipe out life on earth, it would have to be a very big asteriod. However, much much smaller asteriods could easily destroy a city.

(Original post by Speleo)
If you mean that they would be a platform to mount more powerful weapons, which could take out asteroids, on when needed, then it still doesn't justify the weapon system, as it would work just as well (and would be cheaper) to put an empty platform, ready for weapons but holding none, up just in case, or even better, to keep a platofrm on the ground to be launched into space when necessary.
I have to disagree. Surely mounting an upgrade onto an existing platform is cheaper than building an entire system from scratch?

(Original post by Speleo)
I agree that the proposed systems will not be powerful enough to cause major harm, but there is the potential to easily convert them into nuclear missile launchers. To be honest, I don't trust the USA (or any other government for that matter) not to turn them into nuke satellites.
So I assume from what you say, you wouldn't trust new space powers like China to not build these weapons. In that case, would it not be a good idea for us to have these weapons as well as a deterant?

(Original post by material breach)
If the asteroid is an "earth killer" than nuclear weapons would be about as good as a fly swat. You would be better off trying to nudge the asteroid in its orbit a long distance away to significantly change its orbit.
Who said anything about an Earth killer? I just talked about the threat of asteroids hitting the Earth, which includes small ones that could destroy a town / city. I believe we need to develop defences against this threat. In the absence of government commitment to do this, I think the space weapons system is a good idea. At the very least, the development of space weapons technology could be used to build a system from scratch. Even better, we could rapidly adapt the existing technology with upgrades so it could tackle the threat itself.

(Original post by englishstudent)
Much scientific development in the field of genetics has come from tests Nazi doctors did on their unfortunate victims. I don't think one can say that the overall effect of Nazism was positive though. It's a slippery slope. If you start justifying something inherently negative by using the possibility that some of the effects might be good it'd be hard to know where to draw the line.
I hardly think you can compare wanting to build a space based platform to defend the USA against attack by nuclear weapons (by being able to shoot down missles from space) can be compared to the Nazis.

(Original post by englishstudent)
[Sorry I should've done all this as one post]

Again I feel this is a slippery slope. The aim of these weapons is not as a defence against natural phenomena such as asteroids. Indeed the offensive weapons are not to defend against ANYTHING. They are precisely to launch attacks.

It seems that two of the fundamental arguments that you put forward for this project are that we will receive beneficial side effects. If a government wants breakthroughs in laser technology for health reasons then they should invest in that. If a goverment wants to defend against asteroids (or even agressive nations) then they can research necessary technology.

To justify these weapons on the grounds that they might have positive side-effects is naive in my opinion. And dangerous.
Let's consider history for a moment:

In WW2, America was the only nuclear power and when it realised the power these weapons gave them over their enemy they didn't hesitate to use it. Ever since other countries have developed nuclear power, the US, or any other country, wouldn't seriously risk launching a nuclear weapon because of the consequences of being attacked back. It is a deterant.

The same thing will happen with space based weapons. If we don't develop them and our enemies do, they will use them against us at some point. It is inevitable. If we both have them, it is status quo and they will not be used.
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