Monday, May 10, 2010

Strange But True

- The Wikipedia page about Mass Drivers does not mention Robert A. Heinlein's The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, despite a section specifically about possible use of mass drivers as weapons. At least the page for TMIAHM does link back to the mass driver page.
Update: Tim Minear's movie screenplay is online!
Update II: I have now read it. It's good. I don't think Hollywood will make it.
Update III: Wikipedia page now links to "mass drivers in fiction."

- It only became Mr. Sinatra's My Way after a buddy got it for him, second-hand: the tune was not written for Frank Sinatra and was first a hit in France for another singer, with entirely different lyrics. Paul Anka penned the lyrics we hear sung badly at karoke bars for what Sinatra had planned as his final album.


Dr.D said...

The wiki page seems to focus mostly on coil guns, but the real fun is with rail guns. When I worked for the Navy a few years back, rail guns were one of the areas that I was involved with, and they were really mean machines. They have a long way to go before they become practical weapons, but when you can get a chunk of steel up to a few km/s in the length of a barrel, you have the potential to do huge amounts of damage. I have seen 1 cm cubes of lexan blow 8" diam holes in three pieces of 4" steel plate sandwiched together. They are really great machines.

Justthisguy said...

When I was helping shoot the light gas gun at Marshall, we had a primitive rail gun in the next room. Had a bunch of huge capacitors in there. I don't think they had it working right when I left.

I read the script, and yes it's good.

Free Luna! (and Earth)

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Reading the script. How very cool.

pdb said...

Ok, I'm about halfway through the script.

I will probably lose about ten punches on my libertarian scifi nerd card, but does anyone else think this is more fun than the book? It sure moves faster, has more humor and a lot more action. I can't say that either is BETTER, they're just awesome in different ways.

I would love to see this movie made. Maybe get the guys who did Iron Man on it.

Crucis said...

Here's a different version of "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" via "The Celtic Woman."

Geodkyt said...

Dr.D --

Out at Dahlgren (NSWCDD), they are WELL on their way to practical rail guns. For TBMD from capitol ships, at first, but still. . . .

wv: "dingster" -- What yon hipster will be if he doesn't pull his frakkin' IPod buds out while crossing the street in front of me.

Dr.D said...

@ Geodkyt
TBMD? Do you know if they have had some sort of break through in the rail life problem? As of about four years ago, the max number of shots on a pair of rails was around 15 - 20 shots at the outside, and the idea of having to disassemble and replace rails that frequently was simply completely unacceptable.

My own interest was more in the power sources for the rail guns, particularly pulsed alternators. I know that Dahlgren was big on capacitor banks, but I did not think that was a good way to go for shipboard applications. Pulsed alternators are really interesting machines that do amazing thing.

Either way, you need to pull several hundred thousand amps DC to drive the projectile, it is quite a discharge. Not anything you want to try at home.

Andrew said...

Wikipedia missed an obvious connection? If only it were a collablorative project that anyone could edit!

wv: "tochan" -- directions to my house.

Comrade Misfit said...

If you look at the top of the Wiki Mass Driver page,you will see a link to the use of mass drivers in fiction. TMIAHM is there.

Geodkyt said...

Dr. D --

Rail life is still an issue. But ordnance development is more than the sum of the individual parts.

Things just keep puttering along. We're at least a decade from laying down an appropriate capital ship to install the system in yet ANYWAY, so bug-smacking is still acceptable.

Now, if we were planning on a keel laying ceremony next year on a large gun, nulk powered, major capital ship to support marine landings and shoreline operations (BBN, anyone? One can hope. . . ), I would be more skeptical. But interesting things are happening in materials technology as we speak -- and most are not in DoD.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

pdb -- I got halfway through the script last night. I agree, I'd like to see the film made.

That being said, I like Mannie better in the book so far. But then, what I'd really like to see more than a movie is something more like a miniseries that was a lot more faithful to the book.

The problem with a movie is that it's just damn hard to develop Heinlein-esque characters in two hours.

og said...

If you'd like to see the modern day equivalent of Mass Drivers, and you're willing to travel to Mordor sometime in sep 13-18, I can introduce you
Several companies use linear servos, which have a direct lineage back to the original Mass Driver concept.