Midnight In The Desert — laser

The US Military Is Making Lasers That Create Voices out of Thin Air

Posted by K R on

The US Military Is Making Lasers That Create Voices out of Thin Air

Within three years, the Pentagon's non-lethal weapons lab hopes to have a direct energy weapon that can produce an effect like a haunted walkie-talkie or the biblical burning bush. Watch the video above and listen carefully for what sounds like a human voice during the second spin. That’s not an audio recording or a broadcast transmitted over radio…it’s not human at all. It’s an auditory effect that’s created by military scientists who manipulated the air with lasers — and it’s the Pentagon’s most interesting idea for stopping people charging checkpoints, or just scaring the crap out of them. The U.S....

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Is China's space laser for real?

Posted by K R on

Is China's space laser for real?

In a recent article in scientific journal Optik, a faculty member at China's Air Force Engineering University proposed building a laser-armed satellite, a "broom" to do battle with the pernicious problem of space debris. Laser-armed satellites, naturally, generate a lot of attention, and so the proposal of Quan Wen and his co-authors has made its way into several splashy headlines. But it's more than hype. The concept addresses a real (and growing) problem: there's something like 17,852 artificial objects orbiting earth (PDF), and an estimated 300,000-plus pieces of space debris larger than a marble. At the fast orbital velocities up...

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Scientists Building Giant Lasers to Rip Holes in Space

Posted by K R on

Scientists Building Giant Lasers to Rip Holes in Space

When someone says they plan to “break the vacuum,” this probably means they’re a parent about to attempt to clean a room normally occupied by a teenager … unless they’re a laser physicist. Then it means they’re getting ready to use a laser to rip a hole in empty space and pull out the matter/antimatter combo of electrons and positrons. Isn’t ripping holes in space the job of the Large Hadron Collider? Regardless of who is doing the ripping, is this a good idea? As with many sci-fi-to-real-life stories these days (see “Cloning monkeys”), this news comes out of China,...

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America’s Newest Amphibious Ship Is Getting a Laser Weapon

Posted by K R on

America’s Newest Amphibious Ship Is Getting a Laser Weapon

The U.S.'s latest amphibious ship is getting a laser weapon just in time to show off at the 2018 Rim of the Pacific wargames. The USS Portland, which will function as the flagship for the multinational military exercises, is set to receive the latest version of the Navy’s Laser Weapon System. The new weapon will likely make an impression on visiting sailors—especially those from China—that also participate in the exercises. The USS Portland, a San Antonio-class landing platform, dock ship is set to enter service with the U.S. Navy in April. US Naval Institute News reports the Navy is installing...

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Exploring alien worlds with lasers

Posted by K R on

Exploring alien worlds with lasers

In everyday life we look and touch things to find out what they are made of. A powerful scientific technique does the same using lasers – and in two years' time it will fly in space for the first time. A researcher working with ESA has been investigating how lasers might be used in future space missions. "We fire a laser at a material of interest," explains Melissa McHugh of Leicester University in the UK, "and measure how much its colour is changed as it scatters off the surface, to identify the molecules responsible. "This is a well-established technique terrestrially...

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