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Gigantic Air Gun To Blast Cargo Into Orbit

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the phwipt-phwipt dept.

Transportation 384

Hugh Pickens writes: "The New Scientist reports that with a hat tip to Jules Verne's From the Earth to the Moon , physicist John Hunter has outlined the design of a gigantic gun that could slash the cost of putting cargo into orbit. At the Space Investment Summit in Boston last week, Hunter described the design for a 1.1-kilometer-long gun that he says could launch 450-kilogram payloads at 6 kilometers per second. A small rocket engine would then boost the projectile into low-Earth orbit. The gun would cost $500 million to build, says Hunter, but individual launch costs would be lower than current methods. 'We think it's at least a factor of 10 cheaper than anything else,' Hunter says. The gun is based on the SHARP (Super High Altitude Research Project) light gas gun Hunter helped to build in the 1990s while at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California. With a barrel 47 meters long, it used compressed hydrogen gas to fire projectiles weighing a few kilograms at speeds of up to 3 kilometers per second."

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384 comments

Pumpkins (5, Funny)

trip11 (160832) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713417)

The real question on all of our minds though: "How far will it launch a pumpkin?"

Re:Pumpkins (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29713637)

the REAL question is: what trendy movie or comic will some random Slashdotter allude to, without ever explaining the reference of course, so that others who have seen the movie or comic will feel like part of an exclusive club of cool people by virtue of being cool enough to get the reference.

Re:Pumpkins (5, Informative)

kryptKnight (698857) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713841)

For those who don't know, the OP is referring to pumpkin chunking [wikipedia.org]. It's a competition to see whose machine can throw a pumpkin the farthest. There are separate categories for catapults, trebuchets and cannons, and there are annual competitions and championships all over the world.

Re:Pumpkins (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29713939)

what's the difference between a catapult and a trebuchet? if you exerted all the energy required to carry an object to orbit all at once ala a cannon wouldn't you just destroy the object?

Re:Pumpkins (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29713971)

A catapult uses a spring of some sort.

A trebuchet uses a falling weight.

The idea of the long barreled cannon is that it can spread out the acceleration of the object over its travel down the length of the barrel, rather than relying on a short rapid acceleration that would be likely to cause damage.

Re:Pumpkins (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29714005)

So true, yet so poorly moderated....

Re:Pumpkins (5, Funny)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713911)

Into orbit. RTFH before posting. ;)

Re:Pumpkins (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29714063)

Into orbit. RTFH before posting. ;)

Not into orbit. At least, not unless there's a rocket attached to the pumpkin. You may want to RTFS before suggesting someone's question would be answered by RTFH-ing. ;)

G-forces ???? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29713453)

Just wondering how they plan to address the problem of controlling the G-forces and prevent damages to the cargo.

The cannon idea was tried before ...... not a test single cargo survived the trip (or made it to orbit).

Re:G-forces ???? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29713477)

Just get the goatse [goatse.fr] guy to fart the cargo into orbit.

Re:G-forces ???? (1)

RocketRocketship (1416283) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713575)

From the article, they acknowledged that this would be unsuitable for cargoes sensitive to high G-forces. They suggested that rocket fuel would be a suitable payload.

Re:G-forces ???? (5, Informative)

Tx (96709) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713579)

If you RTA (yes I know, not likely), you'll see that they acknowledge this issue, their intent is to use this for robust cargo only (rocket fuel is given as an example, not e.g. satellites or humans). They also state that ablative heatshields would be necessary to survive atmospheric transit, so wouldn't be a fully reusable vehicle either. Sounds like one for the back burner, as it isn't solving the current launch capability issues.

Re:G-forces ???? (5, Insightful)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713925)

If you RTA (yes I know, not likely), you'll see that they acknowledge this issue, their intent is to use this for robust cargo only (rocket fuel is given as an example, not e.g. satellites or humans)

Send up consumables, for sure. Fuel, water, compressed air, freeze-dried food, etc. Even if just used for that, this is not a bad plan. There's no rule that says you have to use only ONE method to get stuff off-planet.

Re:G-forces ???? (4, Interesting)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713967)

Actually, the ability to cheaply fill fuel depots in orbit does a significant amount to reduce the problems associated with current launch technology. Consider Apollo. The massive Saturn V rocket was required because in addition to taking the CM, SM, and LM to orbit, it also had to take the fuel to get it from LEO to the moon -- fuel was the most significant fraction of the mass (2:1 or 3:1 if I remember correctly). Instead, if this had been available to move fuel to orbit on the cheap, you could have used a couple of Saturn IB rockets and rendezvoused in LEO with a freshly filled Earth departure stage. I wouldn't be surprised if it would have been able to cut the cost of Apollo in half. This could also allow a new moon mission architecture without the massive Ares V.

Remember, space missions are like exponential Russian nesting dolls. If you remove a layer (in my example, the EDS), you can reduce the initial launch mass drastically. This is why things like ISRU and various electric propulsion schemes are such hot topics, even though they don't help you get off the ground either.

I See. Yet Another Cockamamie Scheme... (0, Flamebait)

sixwings (1648941) | more than 4 years ago | (#29714243)

...from the baby-boomer generation. Catapulting cargo into orbit, eh? This is so absurd as to be laughable. But this is what you get from thinking inside the box. You can only think in terms of what's in the box. Does anybody really think that humanity is going to colonize the solar system with such painfully primitive technologies as rockets, space slingshots, and solar sails? Isn't it time that we start thinking outside the box? Isn't it time that we start questioning our most ingrained assumptions in physics so that we can find real solution to the space propulsion and energy production crises? I think so.

Take motion, for example. Physicists think that they understand motion but they really don't. All they got are equations that describe observations. Ask any physicist why two particles in relative inertial motion stay in motion and all you get is a bunch of nonsense mixed with ignorance and self-deception. Some will say nothing is needed and that Newton proved it centuries ago. Others will say that momentum keeps them moving. Still others will tell you that physics is not about the why of things but the how. It's annoying, really.

Yeah. With carp like this, is it any wonder that we are still in the dark ages when it comes to space propulsion? If physicists could truly grok [reference.com] motion, they would understand that it is a causal phenomenon and that, as a result, we are immersed in energy, lots and lots of it. A reevaluation of our understanding of the causality of motion leads to the inescapable conclusion that we are immersed in an immense lattice of energetic particles. Soon, we will use the lattice for both propulsion and clean energy production. We will have levitating vehicles that can go almost anywhere at tremendous speeds and negotiate right angle turns without slowing down and without incurring any damage due to inertial effects. Floating cities, earth to Mars in hours, New York to Beijing in minutes... That is the future of energy and travel.

My advice to all policy shapers and decision makers in the energy production and global transportation arena is this: take a careful look at the writing on the wall and prepare yourselves for the coming changes. The future is here.

The Problem with Motion [blogspot.com].

Re:G-forces ???? (1, Informative)

Hojima (1228978) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713761)

Just a quick bit of physics review: 1)A=V/t 2)d=.5*A*t^2 now substituting, we get d=.5*(V/t)*t^2=.5*V*t. The distance of the cannon is 1.1, the final velocity is 6, thus the time is about .37s. This would imply an acceleration of about 1670G. So the acceleration due to gravity is essentially multiplied thousands of times. Ever watch DBZ? Yea, well even Goku had a tough time with 100x gravity. Don't see how it will work with anything but raw materials. Any structural entity would be reduced to a density stratum.

Re:G-forces ???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29713927)

This would imply an acceleration of about 1670G. So the acceleration due to gravity is essentially multiplied thousands of times.

In fact, I would wager that it is roughly 1670 times the acceleration due to gravity.

...even Goku had a tough time with 100x gravity.

Well, if Goku can't withstand it, what chance to we mere mortals have?

Re:G-forces ???? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29714013)

Next time just use v^2 = u^2 + 2 * a * s and you don't need to calculate the launch time first.

Re:G-forces ???? (4, Interesting)

riboch (1551783) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713957)

They probably hope to discover "inertia canceling."

I could not find it in the article, so:
What are the power requirements for such a mechanism?
Where will it be located?
What about ITAR issues?
Why not make it longer for smaller accelerations?

The concerns about the hypersonic regime of fluid flow should not be an issue if they fire from a mountain, there are a hand full of craft that can handle the plasma, although none accelerate like that at such a low altitude.

Aside, what happens to fuel (liquid and solid) under such high g-load? I can find no studies on it.

P.S. I am an Aerospace Engineer.

Your official guide to the Jigaboo presidency (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29713455)

Congratulations on your purchase of a brand new nigger! If handled properly, your apeman will give years of valuable, if reluctant, service.

INSTALLING YOUR NIGGER.
You should install your nigger differently according to whether you have purchased the field or house model. Field niggers work best in a serial configuration, i.e. chained together. Chain your nigger to another nigger immediately after unpacking it, and don't even think about taking that chain off, ever. Many niggers start singing as soon as you put a chain on them. This habit can usually be thrashed out of them if nipped in the bud. House niggers work best as standalone units, but should be hobbled or hamstrung to prevent attempts at escape. At this stage, your nigger can also be given a name. Most owners use the same names over and over, since niggers become confused by too much data. Rufus, Rastus, Remus, Toby, Carslisle, Carlton, Hey-You!-Yes-you!, Yeller, Blackstar, and Sambo are all effective names for your new buck nigger. If your nigger is a ho, it should be called Latrelle, L'Tanya, or Jemima. Some owners call their nigger hoes Latrine for a joke. Pearl, Blossom, and Ivory are also righteous names for nigger hoes. These names go straight over your nigger's head, by the way.

CONFIGURING YOUR NIGGER
Owing to a design error, your nigger comes equipped with a tongue and vocal chords. Most niggers can master only a few basic human phrases with this apparatus - "muh dick" being the most popular. However, others make barking, yelping, yapping noises and appear to be in some pain, so you should probably call a vet and have him remove your nigger's tongue. Once de-tongued your nigger will be a lot happier - at least, you won't hear it complaining anywhere near as much. Niggers have nothing interesting to say, anyway. Many owners also castrate their niggers for health reasons (yours, mine, and that of women, not the nigger's). This is strongly recommended, and frankly, it's a mystery why this is not done on the boat

HOUSING YOUR NIGGER.
Your nigger can be accommodated in cages with stout iron bars. Make sure, however, that the bars are wide enough to push pieces of nigger food through. The rule of thumb is, four niggers per square yard of cage. So a fifteen foot by thirty foot nigger cage can accommodate two hundred niggers. You can site a nigger cage anywhere, even on soft ground. Don't worry about your nigger fashioning makeshift shovels out of odd pieces of wood and digging an escape tunnel under the bars of the cage. Niggers never invented the shovel before and they're not about to now. In any case, your nigger is certainly too lazy to attempt escape. As long as the free food holds out, your nigger is living better than it did in Africa, so it will stay put. Buck niggers and hoe niggers can be safely accommodated in the same cage, as bucks never attempt sex with black hoes.

FEEDING YOUR NIGGER.
Your Nigger likes fried chicken, corn bread, and watermelon. You should therefore give it none of these things because its lazy ass almost certainly doesn't deserve it. Instead, feed it on porridge with salt, and creek water. Your nigger will supplement its diet with whatever it finds in the fields, other niggers, etc. Experienced nigger owners sometimes push watermelon slices through the bars of the nigger cage at the end of the day as a treat, but only if all niggers have worked well and nothing has been stolen that day. Mike of the Old Ranch Plantation reports that this last one is a killer, since all niggers steal something almost every single day of their lives. He reports he doesn't have to spend much on free watermelon for his niggers as a result. You should never allow your nigger meal breaks while at work, since if it stops work for more than ten minutes it will need to be retrained. You would be surprised how long it takes to teach a nigger to pick cotton. You really would. Coffee beans? Don't ask. You have no idea.

MAKING YOUR NIGGER WORK.
Niggers are very, very averse to work of any kind. The nigger's most prominent anatomical feature, after all, its oversized buttocks, which have evolved to make it more comfortable for your nigger to sit around all day doing nothing for its entire life. Niggers are often good runners, too, to enable them to sprint quickly in the opposite direction if they see work heading their way. The solution to this is to *dupe* your nigger into working. After installation, encourage it towards the cotton field with blows of a wooden club, fence post, baseball bat, etc., and then tell it that all that cotton belongs to a white man, who won't be back until tomorrow. Your nigger will then frantically compete with the other field niggers to steal as much of that cotton as it can before the white man returns. At the end of the day, return your nigger to its cage and laugh at its stupidity, then repeat the same trick every day indefinitely. Your nigger comes equipped with the standard nigger IQ of 75 and a memory to match, so it will forget this trick overnight. Niggers can start work at around 5am. You should then return to bed and come back at around 10am. Your niggers can then work through until around 10pm or whenever the light fades.

ENTERTAINING YOUR NIGGER.
Your nigger enjoys play, like most animals, so you should play with it regularly. A happy smiling nigger works best. Games niggers enjoy include: 1) A good thrashing: every few days, take your nigger's pants down, hang it up by its heels, and have some of your other niggers thrash it with a club or whip. Your nigger will signal its intense enjoyment by shrieking and sobbing. 2) Lynch the nigger: niggers are cheap and there are millions more where yours came from. So every now and then, push the boat out a bit and lynch a nigger.

Lynchings are best done with a rope over the branch of a tree, and niggers just love to be lynched. It makes them feel special. Make your other niggers watch. They'll be so grateful, they'll work harder for a day or two (and then you can lynch another one). 3) Nigger dragging: Tie your nigger by one wrist to the tow bar on the back of suitable vehicle, then drive away at approximately 50mph. Your nigger's shrieks of enjoyment will be heard for miles. It will shriek until it falls apart. To prolong the fun for the nigger, do *NOT* drag him by his feet, as his head comes off too soon. This is painless for the nigger, but spoils the fun. Always wear a seatbelt and never exceed the speed limit. 4) Playing on the PNL: a variation on (2), except you can lynch your nigger out in the fields, thus saving work time. Niggers enjoy this game best if the PNL is operated by a man in a tall white hood. 5) Hunt the nigger: a variation of Hunt the Slipper, but played outdoors, with Dobermans. WARNING: do not let your Dobermans bite a nigger, as they are highly toxic.

DISPOSAL OF DEAD NIGGERS.
Niggers die on average at around 40, which some might say is 40 years too late, but there you go. Most people prefer their niggers dead, in fact. When yours dies, report the license number of the car that did the drive-by shooting of your nigger. The police will collect the nigger and dispose of it for you.

COMMON PROBLEMS WITH NIGGERS - MY NIGGER IS VERY AGGRESIVE
Have it put down, for god's sake. Who needs an uppity nigger? What are we, short of niggers or something?

MY NIGGER KEEPS RAPING WHITE WOMEN
They all do this. Shorten your nigger's chain so it can't reach any white women, and arm heavily any white women who might go near it.

WILL MY NIGGER ATTACK ME?
Not unless it outnumbers you 20 to 1, and even then, it's not likely. If niggers successfully overthrew their owners, they'd have to sort out their own food. This is probably why nigger uprisings were nonexistent (until some fool gave them rights).

MY NIGGER BITCHES ABOUT ITS "RIGHTS" AND "RACISM".
Yeah, well, it would. Tell it to shut the fuck up.

MY NIGGER'S HIDE IS A FUNNY COLOR. - WHAT IS THE CORRECT SHADE FOR A NIGGER?
A nigger's skin is actually more or less transparent. That brown color you can see is the shit your nigger is full of. This is why some models of nigger are sold as "The Shitskin".

MY NIGGER ACTS LIKE A NIGGER, BUT IS WHITE.
What you have there is a "wigger". Rough crowd. WOW!

IS THAT LIKE AN ALBINO? ARE THEY RARE?
They're as common as dog shit and about as valuable. In fact, one of them was President between 1992 and 2000. Put your wigger in a cage with a few hundred genuine niggers and you'll soon find it stops acting like a nigger. However, leave it in the cage and let the niggers dispose of it. The best thing for any wigger is a dose of TNB.

MY NIGGER SMELLS REALLY BAD
And you were expecting what?

SHOULD I STORE MY DEAD NIGGER?
When you came in here, did you see a sign that said "Dead nigger storage"? .That's because there ain't no goddamn sign.

Re:Your official guide to the Jigaboo presidency (0, Offtopic)

lbalbalba (526209) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713683)

This a-hole has been posting the same denigrative and racial post multiple times now, think that maybe it's about time we should consider banning this person/account from slashdot by now ?

Agree with you, but ..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29713701)

... can you reply to the right post??

Re:Your official guide to the Jigaboo presidency (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29713709)

Hey apetits, this one is just for YOU!

Congratulations on your purchase of a brand new nigger! If handled properly, your apeman will give years of valuable, if reluctant, service.

INSTALLING YOUR NIGGER.
You should install your nigger differently according to whether you have purchased the field or house model. Field niggers work best in a serial configuration, i.e. chained together. Chain your nigger to another nigger immediately after unpacking it, and don't even think about taking that chain off, ever. Many niggers start singing as soon as you put a chain on them. This habit can usually be thrashed out of them if nipped in the bud. House niggers work best as standalone units, but should be hobbled or hamstrung to prevent attempts at escape. At this stage, your nigger can also be given a name. Most owners use the same names over and over, since niggers become confused by too much data. Rufus, Rastus, Remus, Toby, Carslisle, Carlton, Hey-You!-Yes-you!, Yeller, Blackstar, and Sambo are all effective names for your new buck nigger. If your nigger is a ho, it should be called Latrelle, L'Tanya, or Jemima. Some owners call their nigger hoes Latrine for a joke. Pearl, Blossom, and Ivory are also righteous names for nigger hoes. These names go straight over your nigger's head, by the way.

CONFIGURING YOUR NIGGER
Owing to a design error, your nigger comes equipped with a tongue and vocal chords. Most niggers can master only a few basic human phrases with this apparatus - "muh dick" being the most popular. However, others make barking, yelping, yapping noises and appear to be in some pain, so you should probably call a vet and have him remove your nigger's tongue. Once de-tongued your nigger will be a lot happier - at least, you won't hear it complaining anywhere near as much. Niggers have nothing interesting to say, anyway. Many owners also castrate their niggers for health reasons (yours, mine, and that of women, not the nigger's). This is strongly recommended, and frankly, it's a mystery why this is not done on the boat

HOUSING YOUR NIGGER.
Your nigger can be accommodated in cages with stout iron bars. Make sure, however, that the bars are wide enough to push pieces of nigger food through. The rule of thumb is, four niggers per square yard of cage. So a fifteen foot by thirty foot nigger cage can accommodate two hundred niggers. You can site a nigger cage anywhere, even on soft ground. Don't worry about your nigger fashioning makeshift shovels out of odd pieces of wood and digging an escape tunnel under the bars of the cage. Niggers never invented the shovel before and they're not about to now. In any case, your nigger is certainly too lazy to attempt escape. As long as the free food holds out, your nigger is living better than it did in Africa, so it will stay put. Buck niggers and hoe niggers can be safely accommodated in the same cage, as bucks never attempt sex with black hoes.

FEEDING YOUR NIGGER.
Your Nigger likes fried chicken, corn bread, and watermelon. You should therefore give it none of these things because its lazy ass almost certainly doesn't deserve it. Instead, feed it on porridge with salt, and creek water. Your nigger will supplement its diet with whatever it finds in the fields, other niggers, etc. Experienced nigger owners sometimes push watermelon slices through the bars of the nigger cage at the end of the day as a treat, but only if all niggers have worked well and nothing has been stolen that day. Mike of the Old Ranch Plantation reports that this last one is a killer, since all niggers steal something almost every single day of their lives. He reports he doesn't have to spend much on free watermelon for his niggers as a result. You should never allow your nigger meal breaks while at work, since if it stops work for more than ten minutes it will need to be retrained. You would be surprised how long it takes to teach a nigger to pick cotton. You really would. Coffee beans? Don't ask. You have no idea.

MAKING YOUR NIGGER WORK.
Niggers are very, very averse to work of any kind. The nigger's most prominent anatomical feature, after all, its oversized buttocks, which have evolved to make it more comfortable for your nigger to sit around all day doing nothing for its entire life. Niggers are often good runners, too, to enable them to sprint quickly in the opposite direction if they see work heading their way. The solution to this is to *dupe* your nigger into working. After installation, encourage it towards the cotton field with blows of a wooden club, fence post, baseball bat, etc., and then tell it that all that cotton belongs to a white man, who won't be back until tomorrow. Your nigger will then frantically compete with the other field niggers to steal as much of that cotton as it can before the white man returns. At the end of the day, return your nigger to its cage and laugh at its stupidity, then repeat the same trick every day indefinitely. Your nigger comes equipped with the standard nigger IQ of 75 and a memory to match, so it will forget this trick overnight. Niggers can start work at around 5am. You should then return to bed and come back at around 10am. Your niggers can then work through until around 10pm or whenever the light fades.

ENTERTAINING YOUR NIGGER.
Your nigger enjoys play, like most animals, so you should play with it regularly. A happy smiling nigger works best. Games niggers enjoy include: 1) A good thrashing: every few days, take your nigger's pants down, hang it up by its heels, and have some of your other niggers thrash it with a club or whip. Your nigger will signal its intense enjoyment by shrieking and sobbing. 2) Lynch the nigger: niggers are cheap and there are millions more where yours came from. So every now and then, push the boat out a bit and lynch a nigger.

Lynchings are best done with a rope over the branch of a tree, and niggers just love to be lynched. It makes them feel special. Make your other niggers watch. They'll be so grateful, they'll work harder for a day or two (and then you can lynch another one). 3) Nigger dragging: Tie your nigger by one wrist to the tow bar on the back of suitable vehicle, then drive away at approximately 50mph. Your nigger's shrieks of enjoyment will be heard for miles. It will shriek until it falls apart. To prolong the fun for the nigger, do *NOT* drag him by his feet, as his head comes off too soon. This is painless for the nigger, but spoils the fun. Always wear a seatbelt and never exceed the speed limit. 4) Playing on the PNL: a variation on (2), except you can lynch your nigger out in the fields, thus saving work time. Niggers enjoy this game best if the PNL is operated by a man in a tall white hood. 5) Hunt the nigger: a variation of Hunt the Slipper, but played outdoors, with Dobermans. WARNING: do not let your Dobermans bite a nigger, as they are highly toxic.

DISPOSAL OF DEAD NIGGERS.
Niggers die on average at around 40, which some might say is 40 years too late, but there you go. Most people prefer their niggers dead, in fact. When yours dies, report the license number of the car that did the drive-by shooting of your nigger. The police will collect the nigger and dispose of it for you.

COMMON PROBLEMS WITH NIGGERS - MY NIGGER IS VERY AGGRESIVE
Have it put down, for god's sake. Who needs an uppity nigger? What are we, short of niggers or something?

MY NIGGER KEEPS RAPING WHITE WOMEN
They all do this. Shorten your nigger's chain so it can't reach any white women, and arm heavily any white women who might go near it.

WILL MY NIGGER ATTACK ME?
Not unless it outnumbers you 20 to 1, and even then, it's not likely. If niggers successfully overthrew their owners, they'd have to sort out their own food. This is probably why nigger uprisings were nonexistent (until some fool gave them rights).

MY NIGGER BITCHES ABOUT ITS "RIGHTS" AND "RACISM".
Yeah, well, it would. Tell it to shut the fuck up.

MY NIGGER'S HIDE IS A FUNNY COLOR. - WHAT IS THE CORRECT SHADE FOR A NIGGER?
A nigger's skin is actually more or less transparent. That brown color you can see is the shit your nigger is full of. This is why some models of nigger are sold as "The Shitskin".

MY NIGGER ACTS LIKE A NIGGER, BUT IS WHITE.
What you have there is a "wigger". Rough crowd. WOW!

IS THAT LIKE AN ALBINO? ARE THEY RARE?
They're as common as dog shit and about as valuable. In fact, one of them was President between 1992 and 2000. Put your wigger in a cage with a few hundred genuine niggers and you'll soon find it stops acting like a nigger. However, leave it in the cage and let the niggers dispose of it. The best thing for any wigger is a dose of TNB.

MY NIGGER SMELLS REALLY BAD
And you were expecting what?

SHOULD I STORE MY DEAD NIGGER?
When you came in here, did you see a sign that said "Dead nigger storage"? .That's because there ain't no goddamn sign.

Re:Your official guide to the Jigaboo presidency (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29714099)

Ah I love the smell of terrified redneck racist in the morning it smells like victory!

Still I pity your need to overcompensate for your inadequacies.

Starting to get afordable (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29713471)

At 450 kilos you can launch three people with breathing gear and parachutes. Think of it as the "Econo" version of space tourism.

Re:Starting to get afordable (2, Informative)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713613)

Only if you want them to arrive on orbit as people paste. The G-forces in a cannon launch would be very high.

Re:Starting to get afordable (5, Funny)

Jamu (852752) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713779)

Only if you want them to arrive on orbit as people paste. The G-forces in a cannon launch would be very high.

I'll make a list...

Re:Starting to get afordable (1)

Mishotaki (957104) | more than 4 years ago | (#29714211)

Only if you want them to arrive on orbit as people paste. The G-forces in a cannon launch would be very high.

I'll make a list...

screw the breathing gear! make it 4 people, my list is too big!

Re:Starting to get afordable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29713787)

Only if you want them to arrive on orbit as people paste. The G-forces in a cannon launch would be very high.

It's just the opposite of a falling elevator, you just have to jump when it launches instead of before it hits.

Re:Starting to get afordable (2, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713673)

At 450 kilos you can launch three people with breathing gear and parachutes.

Don't forget the big floppy shoes, polka dot cover-alls, and big red rubber noses.

Re:Starting to get afordable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29713801)

Doh it's just one if you happen to be launching average Americans. And they can propel themselves by their Unwarranted Self-Importance farts.

Is that a gigantic air gun ... (5, Funny)

dijjnn (227302) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713483)

Is that a gigantic air gun with a 1km barrel in your classified launch facility, or are you just happy to see me?

Saddam already tried just that (1)

Barryke (772876) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713495)

It has been said .. Saddam already tried just that.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_gun [wikipedia.org]

Re:Saddam already tried just that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29713529)

Iraqi space program! LOL!!!

NOT a Railgun (1, Redundant)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713497)

This is a light gas gun. It uses a chemical explosion to propel the payload.

Re:NOT a Railgun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29713569)

So since it's not a railgun, I'm assuming we can't call it a mass driver then.

Can I ask what the g-forces on this thing would be? Could we launch people on this without having their insides being squeezed out of various orifices?

Re:NOT a Railgun (3, Funny)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713707)

With enough duct tape over any likely orifices, I don't see why not. I still don't think they would survive launch though.

Re:NOT a Railgun (1)

Quantumstate (1295210) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713805)

Of course, you just need to remember that your duct tape doesn't need to be able to withstand the full forces, it just needs to be stronger than the parts of you which are not orifices.

Re:NOT a Railgun (1)

Quantumstate (1295210) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713803)

With launch speed on 6km/s that is an average speed of 3km/s over a 1.1 km tube giving a time of 1.1/3s. With the change in speed being 6km/s or 6000m/s this gives acceleration of 44200 m/s^2. g is about 10m/s^2 so that makes it about 4420g. Given that most people pass out at about 10g I think this answers your question.

Re:NOT a Railgun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29713615)

$500M at 5% investment cost and 5 year build time is $25M/year times 5 years is $125M plus $25M per year. Assume on deployment annual principal amortization of 2% per year or a 50 year life with no net maintenance cost above price variations. $10M.

450KG per projectile and let's be generous that 50% of that is useful net payload.

1st year $150M+$10M and $35M per year thereafter, and assume a 5 year breakeven analysis, $300M. Divided by 225KG net per firing and current cost of $10,000 per KG and a goal of well less assertive than their madness of $2000 per kg, you would need:

$10,000/KG $300M fixed cost (no salaries or rent or repair or profit margin) 30,000 firings.
$2,000/KG $300M fixed cost (no salaries or rent or repair or profit margin) 150,000 firings.

150,000 firings in 5 years is 115 per day on a 5 day work week (maintenance allowance).

Just Anon

Re:NOT a Railgun (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713855)

Assuming initial cost + interest at 5% as you posit, you have a total of $625 million after 5 years.

Carrying costs are therefore $31.5 million annually thereafter.

Even allotting for only 225 kg/shot, that's 2.25 million a shot available.

1 firing a day, 5 day work week, at $10k/kg is more than half a billion of revenue in the first year.

If they did like airplane owners, and ran it 7 days a week, 1 firing a day yields $821 million the first year.

30,000 firings @10,000/kg would be $67.5 BILLION. You dropped a decimal point somewhere.

Re:NOT a Railgun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29714049)

(I am not the one you were replying to)

$625 million after 5 years

That's for 1 gun. How many shot does the barrel survive? 100? 1000? 10000? That's very generous even for artillery gun.

Even allotting for only 225 kg/shot

Well yes, you need some weight to cover your already hot projectile going through the atmosphere at Mach 9.

1 firing a day, 5 day work week, at $10k/kg

Are you kidding? That's 225 000 dollars per shot. How much you think the propellant (or compressed gas) alone will cost? The expendable heat shield?
The barrel wear?

1 firing a day, 5 day work week, at $10k/kg

Oh, and most importantly: Who the hell would want to pay $10k/kg for a SUBORBITAL launch of an UNBELIEVABLY SMALL cargo container?

Re:NOT a Railgun (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29714163)

Gawd, but your math skills suck. No wonder you posted AC.

firing a day, 5 day work week, at $10k/kg

Are you kidding? That's 225 000 dollars per shot

225 kg * $10,000 per kilo = $2,250,000, not $225,000. You're off by an order of magnitude.

Here, lets make it simple:

225 kg x $1 per kg = $225.00
225 kg x $10 per kg = $2,250.00
225 kg x $100 per kg = $22,500.00
225 kg x $1,000 per kg = $225,000.00
225 kg x $1,0000 per kg = $2,250,000.00

Like I said, you dropped a decimal place.

Re:NOT a Railgun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29714219)

Haha, yes, I forgot how to multiply by ten, thanks for spending so much time correcting me.

If you're going to be totally anal about this, you forgot a comma here:

225 kg x $1,0000 per kg = $2,250,000.00

My point still stands, because you can't find launch customers at this price. It will be cheaper to launch kerosene or water on Ares 5 (or any available rocket for that matter) than build a container with a rocket engine and navigation system for each hundred kg of cargo.

Actually, I'm posting as AC because I can't argue with people trying to make a business case out of this without getting a serious karma hit.

This will also be used at sporting events (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29713519)

To shoot t-shirts into the crowd. Casualties are expected.

Gerald Bull (4, Interesting)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713521)

Gerald Bull was Canadian engineer who died (bullet in the head) trying to build such a cannon.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_HARP [wikipedia.org]

Re:Gerald Bull (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29713753)

Did he shoot his eye out?

Re:Gerald Bull (5, Informative)

Gudeldar (705128) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713763)

Bull was killed by Mossad because he was helping Iraq build a "supergun". You make it sound like he was killed because of Project HARP.

Re:Gerald Bull (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 4 years ago | (#29714139)

Right you are. Just one of Iraq's special weapons, actually.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/iraq/other.htm

nothing new here (0)

jimmywho (1650623) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713531)

Main problem with Jules Verne's gun is that the people inside could not handle the acceleration caused by them being shot off. Cargo it seems would have a better chance but any sensitive equipment (like 99% of anything used in space) or explosive materials (fuel) wouldn't be able to be shot up in a gun. Once again an old idea with a different name that will only waste money and the minds of others.

Re:nothing new here (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29713543)

Sounds like a great way to send up food and water actually. With some work maybe even oxygen.

Re:nothing new here (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29713597)

To Darfur :)

Though - seriously, it's a gun that can launch a payload to any spot on earth, and the payload is way smaller than any ICBM, thus harder to detect.

Re:nothing new here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29713661)

Funny thing, fuel IS one of the objects that they say could be launched with this.

FTFA (that you clearly didn't read): "While humans would clearly be killed and conventional satellites crushed by the gun's huge g-forces, it could lift robust payloads such as rocket fuel."

Re:nothing new here (2, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713663)

If we try hard enough we should be able to think up a form of rocket fuel that survives the transit. Oh, there it is: water ice. Just freeze a slug and toss it up to the satellite with solar power to be remanufactured into oxygen and hydrogen for use as a fuel or breathable air or potable water while in orbit.

The idea works better shooting from Mars, but whatever...

TFA, my good sir: (2, Informative)

Eil (82413) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713687)

While humans would clearly be killed and conventional satellites crushed by the gun's huge g-forces, it could lift robust payloads such as rocket fuel. Finding cheap ways to transport fuel into space will lower the cost of keeping the International Space Station in orbit, and in future it may be needed to supply a crewed mission to Mars.

Re:nothing new here (1)

Night64 (1175319) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713723)

Fuel is not an explosive material. Fuel plus oxidizer plus fuse (e.g., a gun shell) is explosive material. Even then, it will not explode inside the barrel or in transit unless you really want to. Next question, please.

Re:nothing new here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29713745)

How you were modded insightful when you clearly didn't read the article and have absolutely nothing insightful to say says a lot about the current state of the slashdot crowd.

Re:nothing new here (2, Informative)

AJWM (19027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713777)

or explosive materials (fuel)

Fuel isn't explosive. Fuel-oxidizer mixes, or some monopropellants, may be explosive, but are not necessarily shock-sensitive. This would be fine for launching suitably-built canisters of fuel or water, or other insensitive cargoes.

And don't overestimate the sensitivity of some electronics packages -- gun-fired projectiles with electronic fuses are a decades-old technology.

Re:nothing new here (5, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713783)

> Cargo it seems would have a better chance but any sensitive equipment (like
> 99% of anything used in space) or explosive materials (fuel) wouldn't be able
> to be shot up in a gun.

Nonsense. Guns have been firing projectiles filled with explosives for centuries. The US Army has had shells filled not only with explosives but optics, electronics, and actuators for terminal guidance for dacades. In WWII they had anti-aircraft guns that fired shells with vacuum tube proximity detonators in them. In WWI they used shells with self-winding mechanical timers. Fuel would be easy.

doomed before it starts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29713553)

by their own admission it will damage equipment being launched - so their target market is "cheap ways to transport fuel into space" - not sure how happy I am about rocket fuel being launched out of a gun on my doorstep. So my investors vote is ticking doomed before it starts.

If this was useless, it would already be funded (3, Interesting)

ChrisKnight (16039) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713561)

$500 million is what BART wants to spend to build a 3.2 mile stretch of elevated rail to connect the Oakland Coliseum to the Oakland Airport, and this boondoggle of a project is already funded. Imagine the progress we would make towards space travel if we spent the same amount of money on technology that will move cargo into space as opposed to moving people too lazy to take the already existing BART Shuttle to the airport?

Re:If this was useless, it would already be funded (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713823)

Imagine the progress we would make towards space travel if we spent the same amount of money on technology that will move cargo into space as opposed to moving people too lazy to take the already existing BART Shuttle to the airport?

"Cargo" is a very broad term.
You're pretty much limited to solids, liquids, or solids immersed in liquid. Anything with air inside it will crumple in an instant and even solid state electronics probably won't be able to take the insane acceleration.

Re:If this was useless, it would already be funded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29713873)

Don't have a cow, man.

Re:If this was useless, it would already be funded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29713963)

Or walk. Or just don't go to Oakland in the first place.

G force. (4, Interesting)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713573)

I may be wrong in this calculation but running the numbers I get a weird result.
The gun is 1.1K long with a final velocity of 3km/s.
So the payload would be in the gun for 1.1/(3/2) = 0.73 seconds.
In that 0.73 seconds the payload would accelerate to 3 kms/sec The continuous acceleration would be 3000/9.8/0.73= 417 Gs. That is sure a lot of Gs. Much more than the 3.2 the shuttle produces.

Re:G force. (5, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713815)

The acceleration is an artillery piece runs to the thousands of Gs. Artillery shells are full of explosives, electronics, and machinery. This gun should be able to handle pretty much all of the consumables and many of the parts and materials needed by the space station.

this has real potential...for certain things (1)

eobanb (823187) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713595)

I think this could have real potential for getting raw material into orbit. Delicate electronics aboard satellites would obviously not fare too well with such high acceleration, but if we ever wish to build large space colonies in the Earth-moon area, this would be the way to do it. We'd probably need to spend a few billion to launch the machines necessary to process raw material, but apart from that, the rest could be made from raw material. The ISS masses about 400 tonnes. A small space colony that supports, say, 100 residents, would probably need to mass around 50 times that of the ISS, I would think, so that's around 20,000 tonnes, which would require about 50 launches with this gun.

Re:this has real potential...for certain things (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713721)

Delicate electronics aboard satellites would obviously not fare too well with such high acceleration

How delicate - are we talking about vacuum tubes, with their little feathery grids and filaments? I think the term "delicate" doesn't really apply to electronics any more, or rather doesn't have to. You couldn't use modular circuit boards, of course - you'd snap the connectors off. Or any sort of what we'd consider normal PC electronics, such as pluggable cables or rotating components such as disks or fans. They're built to be easy to build, and to modify.

But custom electronics, single-board stuff and SSD's, that can be made pretty robust. I'd think you could build them for 3-digit accelerations.

Re:this has real potential...for certain things (1)

crispin_bollocks (1144567) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713829)

Just pot it all! Can't put my fingers on the facts, but non-operating hard drives are now close to triple-digit G ratings I believe, and SSDs should be pretty robust.

Re:this has real potential...for certain things (4, Informative)

AJWM (19027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713943)

With discrete component electronics you just pot the whole thing in epoxy. I don't know how well that works with integrated circuits -- the point of failure is likely to be the fine wires that connect the chip to the package leads, although those may be light enough that the real concern is vibration rather than steady G force. Even vacuum tubes can be built tough, if they're built small.

But ~400 Gs (per calculations by a poster above) is nothing. The radio proximity fuzes in WW II antiaircraft projectiles didn't use transistors, and had to withstand ~20,000 Gs when fired and ~5,000 Gs of shell spin.

Oblig air gun comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29713599)

You'll shoot your eye out.

1670 g (3, Interesting)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713605)

All you need is a booster rocket (and a cargo) which can stand 1670 g of acceleration (possibly higher, if the gun does not provide uniform acceleration.)

v^2 = u^2 + 2*a*S
u=0, v=6000, S=1100 => a=16,364 m/s^2 = 1670g

Re:1670 g (5, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713837)

Which, given that artillery shells exceed 2000g and are full of explosives, electronics, and machinery, should be easy.

Re:1670 g (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29713945)

What machinery exists inside an artillery shell?

Re:1670 g (1)

name_already_taken (540581) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713995)

What machinery exists inside an artillery shell?

All kinds of gadgets, for example a timing mechanism so that the shell's explosive charge doesn't go off inside the gun.

Re:1670 g (1)

Duhavid (677874) | more than 4 years ago | (#29714069)

Fusing to ignite the main explosive charge, whatever linkages were needed to make the various settings. Early naval shells had some time delay, so that the explosion happened after the shell had had time to penetrate the armour of the other ship. WWII anti air craft shells had some combination of mechanical and electric/electronic control to detect the proximity of an aircraft, and explode near the aircraft, rather than the older time delay fusing ( which itself would have required some mechanical method of setting the delay either just before loading, or after ).
IIRC, some land artillery of the WWII era had an "airburst" option, where it was set off up in the air, causing more damage.

What I always wondered was if the aircraft carrier had not come along, would we have seen some terminal guidance systems for naval and land artillery?

Re:1670 g (2, Interesting)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#29714133)

> What I always wondered was if the aircraft carrier had not come along, would
> we have seen some terminal guidance systems for naval and land artillery?

We did. The US Army had artillery shells with terminal guidance in the 1970s.

Re:1670 g (1)

Duhavid (677874) | more than 4 years ago | (#29714161)

"We did. The US Army had artillery shells with terminal guidance in the 1970s."

I never heard of it. What did it home on? ( or can you say? )

Re:1670 g (3, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#29714241)

The one I read about in the seventies had optics in it but there were no specifics about what it homed in on. Later I heard about one that homed on a laser target designator but I don't know if it was the same device. I would expect them to be using GPS now.

What is interesting is that the electronics were not potted. They simply used thick boards supported all the way around the edge and made sure all the parts were installed in contact with the board (i.e., not standing up on their leads). This was the seventies so the parts were DIPs, discrete transistors, quarter watt resistors, etc. Modern surface mount parts should be more robust yet.

I see no major problem shipping most stuff that the station needs via this gun. Some equipment might need to be more robust than usual, but so what? The reason for making such things as light as possible is to save on launch costs. If this thing is 1/10 the cost of conventional rockets you can double the weight of your experiment to make it tough enough to survive the gun and still come out way ahead.

Launch loop (2, Interesting)

S1ngularity (1635987) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713733)

I like the launch loop idea (and of course the space elevator). Sounds like getting the gun built would be a decent first step for all the truly wacky space access methods on peoples' radar.

baloons? (1)

fireball84513 (1632561) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713821)

so basically, were just using the classic Wile E. Coyote physics where you can take an object and make it travel anywhere as long as you have a cannon and a LOT of gunpowder

Blast It From Orbit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29713845)

It's The Only Way To Be Sure...

A helping hand? (1)

BigBadBus (653823) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713891)

Get the guy who built the Iraqi "supergun" to help out...or the people who wanted to build the Nazi V3 cannon!

Re:A helping hand? (1)

Kartoffel (30238) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713975)

Operation Paperclip got the Nazis, and it helped get Americans to the moon.
The Mossad, uhh, "got" the guy who built the Iraqi super gun.

Gravity (1)

zakeria (1031430) | more than 4 years ago | (#29713937)

do you not need to be going at 11.2 kilometers per second to escape Earth's gravity? 3 kilometers per seconds does not seem anywhere enough to save on rocket fuel?

Re:Gravity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29714019)

Escape velocity is the speed you need to reach to never fall back to earth. To reach orbit you just need to be traveling fast enough to fall around the planet instead of into it.

Re:Gravity (3, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#29714053)

It saves a great deal of fuel by getting the rocket needed to achieve the remaining velocity going 3km/sec and above the atmosphere.

I like my eggs over easy.... (1)

Tangential (266113) | more than 4 years ago | (#29714187)

I guess that won't be an option for space dwellers getting their supplies this way. There will probably be a lot of powdered or hard boiled eggs for their breakfasts.

Why gas? (1)

Seth Kriticos (1227934) | more than 4 years ago | (#29714201)

Wouldn't a rail acceleration ramp (railgun) be better suited for this purpose? At least I can imagine that it would distribute the starting acceleration a lot better. With this thing you'll have difficulties keeping the stuff together you want to catapult up.

That's booking it (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 4 years ago | (#29714237)

fire projectiles weighing a few kilograms at speeds of up to 3 kilometers per second.

That's in the neighborhood of 9,480 feet per second. About twice the speed of a high velocity bullet. A projectile weighing kilograms going twice the speed of a bullet.

Who besides me wants to forget the space thing and launch those projectiles against ground targets?

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