Saturday, August 23, 2014

Terraforming robots

Abiogenesis (Short Film) from Richard Mans on Vimeo.

I need to step up my game when looking for science fiction shorts on the internet. This is twice in the past two weeks that I09 beat me to one.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Three technologies in the military sphere

Three technologies have been making headlines in defense circles, all of which hold the possibility of significantly impacting how we fight wars.


First up, old-school kinetics. Weapons that shoot faster, farther, and hit harder. Or in this case, vastly harder, at much longer ranges, and with speeds that put these systems in a category of their own. 

Hypersonic is a blanket term covering a number of weapons ranging from magnetic accelerators to air-breathing and rocket powered missiles. What these have in common is exceeding Mach 5 (five times the speed of sound) for nearly the entire duration of munition flight time. Much or all of the associated damage from these systems comes from the sheer kinetic energy imparted into the targets.

Enough energy in some cases to set fire to metal.

The US Navy will be conducting at sea trials in the near future.

In science fiction, rail guns have been largely depicted as slightly longer-ranged cannons. Hypersonic missiles and the effects of their speed on shaping battle spaces have been largely absent.

One of the most likely near-term real world applications of accelerator technology is as defensive weapons to shoot down incoming missiles and indirect fire projectiles such as, artillery shells. Where present day point defense weapon systems are essentially point blank in range, defense accelerators on naval vessels hold a very real potential to extend the envelope for accurate defensive fires to the horizon. An inbound missile or shell tracked by a radar or even sufficiently advanced optical network can come under sustained fire the moment it clears the curve of the Earth.

Currently, sustained shoot down attempts only take place during the terminal seconds of a weapon's flight.

Additionally, a rail gun round can reach the horizon traveling near the velocity it departed the weapon muzzle at. This, where standard chemical projectiles move with significantly decreased velocity at much shorter ranges. That drop in speed necessitate an arced flight path to get as much range as possible. Such an arc exposes conventional rounds to all sorts possible of disturbances. Rail gun projectiles by contrast have a nearly flat flight path, which increases accuracy through both reduced deviations and simplified targeting.

Likewise, rail guns could make air-defense artillery a significantly more lethal threat to manned and unmanned aircraft with the ability to accurately and nearly instantly engage high flying targets. For the first time since smart bombs allowed bombers and fighters to nail targets from above 3,000 meters, air-defense cannons may once again become a significant factor in shaping the battle space.

On the offense side of the equation, naval rail gun artillery is poised to extend the range of wet bombardment platforms farther inland when used for indirect fires. With significantly a higher rate of fire than conventional artillery, a rail gun-equipped cruiser could lay down the kind of firepower associated with battleships on inland targets well outside the historical reach of naval warfare units.

Meanwhile, accelerators and hypersonic missiles mounted on ground vehicle could end up blurring or erasing the distinction between anti-armor and anti-aircraft weapons.

Next up: Hypersonic missiles and supper capacitors. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Mid year science / science ficiton shorts

The cutest science fiction short film of the year so far.

Orbitas | by PrimerFrame from PrimerFrame on Vimeo.

Also, a rather beautiful motion capture study of Olympians. Highly abstracted.

Citius, Altius, Fortius from Felix Deimann on Vimeo.