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Space mirrors (and why there isn't one)


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1 hour ago, Mikenike said:

Still, you are correct, how in the heck would you hide something that is 1000 sq ft in LEO, or even HEO.

If it had to be in LEO I probably wouldn't bother with solar, I'd go straight to bomb-pumped. Much smaller, much cheaper. One-shot, but you could have multiple.

If it absolutely had to be solar-powered, I'd put the solar collector somewhere separate from the weapon and beam the power with a microwave laser or similar.

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2 hours ago, Mikenike said:

1. We signed a treaty with the Reds that we wouldn't use space as a weapon

2. A mirror of that size and proportion would be an outrage for every UN country in the world

Well, that's the Kzinti Lesson for you. Whenever we end up building orbital installations to beam power down to Earth, they'll be publicized as needed for energy generation. And we might very well be in the situation where it's the only way for us to get enough power on the planet without ruining what's left of the environment. But of course, anything that can replace a power plant and concentrate its energy to a relatively tight beam is a weapon. The world will just have to deal. Fortunately, as Pds314 helped to establish, it's not as simple as throwing some mirrors into orbit, so we have some time before this becomes a burning issue.

31 minutes ago, RCgothic said:

If it had to be in LEO I probably wouldn't bother with solar, I'd go straight to bomb-pumped. Much smaller, much cheaper.

Yeah, but with that, you won't even be able to pretend it's anything but a weapon. A bomb pumped laser has only one purpose. You might be able to convince people that it's for asteroid defense. And indeed, powerful nuclear-pumped lasers might be our best defense, but it's going to be a tough sell to have it under control of any military.

Edited by K^2
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