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Physics Students Devise Concept For Star Wars-Style Deflector Shields

samzenpus posted about 3 months ago | from the stay-on-target dept.

Star Wars Prequels 179

mpicpp (3454017) writes in with good news for everyone worrying about the strength of their shields. "If you have often imagined yourself piloting your X-Wing fighter on an attack run on the Death Star, you'll be reassured that University of Leicester students have demonstrated that your shields could take whatever the Imperial fleet can throw at you. The only drawback is that you won't be able to see a thing outside of your starfighter. In anticipation of Star Wars Day on 4 May, three fourth-year Physics students at the University have proven that shields, such as those seen protecting spaceships in the Star Wars film series, would not only be scientifically feasible, they have also shown that the science behind the principle is already used here on Earth."

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You mean Star Trek? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46896175)

The concept of shields was first introduced in Star Trek: Voyager.

Re:You mean Star Trek? (5, Interesting)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 3 months ago | (#46896249)

lol, obvious troll is obvious.

"forcefields" have been a staple of pulp scifi and space opera since space opera was first born. Try something like flash gordon, AC.

Personally though, I suspect that getting a magnetic feild itself to behave as a metamaterial would be very effective in blocking coherent light beams, and probably with less power. It is important to note that magnetic field lines are themselves propagated using the same force carrier as the coherent light beam, since both are manifestations of electromagnetic energy.

You dont need to block the incoming light beam, you just need to alter the beam frequency spread so that it stops being coherent and thus disperse it before it can come into contact with the outer surface of the ship. if the shield is projected far enough out away from the craft, this would result in a radical power reduction to square centimeter of ship surface, negating the ability of the laser to in any way damage the hull of said ship. Abusing magnetic fields into acting like metamaterials has been the subject of many interesting papers already.

It would also solve the issue of being unable to see out of the cockpit.

Re:You mean Star Trek? (1)

fazig (2909523) | about 3 months ago | (#46896447)

Yes, metamaterials. The problem is that the bandwidth is quite narrow as far as I know, covering a broad spectrum of frequency is far from trivial. Here the rule of thumb is that the structures in meta materials have to be smaller than the wavelength, they're supposed to affect. Photonic crystals also have to be created with a very specific bandgap.

Another problem is that metamaterials are matter, a magnetic field by itself isn't matter and can only change the polarity of electromagnetic waves, which won't do much. Now you could say that you manipulate the matter around with with said magnetic field, make the former "energy field" into an "energy-matter-field", which raises a problem in space, since space isn't known for its high density of matter. Then you'd have to emit matter and keep it in place around your ship. Thank god Star Trek also invented replicators, eh?

Re:You mean Star Trek? (2)

TemporalBeing (803363) | about 3 months ago | (#46896717)

Yes, metamaterials. The problem is that the bandwidth is quite narrow as far as I know, covering a broad spectrum of frequency is far from trivial. Here the rule of thumb is that the structures in meta materials have to be smaller than the wavelength, they're supposed to affect. Photonic crystals also have to be created with a very specific bandgap. Another problem is that metamaterials are matter, a magnetic field by itself isn't matter and can only change the polarity of electromagnetic waves, which won't do much. Now you could say that you manipulate the matter around with with said magnetic field, make the former "energy field" into an "energy-matter-field", which raises a problem in space, since space isn't known for its high density of matter. Then you'd have to emit matter and keep it in place around your ship. Thank god Star Trek also invented replicators, eh?

Which is why frequency matters (no pun intended).

The basics of it is that all matter can be repelled using the correct frequency. So by varying the frequency of the magnetic field you can repel various kinds of matter; which of course means that the magnetic shields are not full proof - somethings will be able to get through them if they don't resonate significantly enough with respect to any of the frequencies employed.

Re:You mean Star Trek? (1)

fazig (2909523) | about 3 months ago | (#46896941)

For matter it's true, especially matter that isn't electrically neutral (ions, leptons like electrons) is 'easy' to deflect and to repel and we've done it for a long time like in cathode ray tubes. We even manipulate molecular dipoles every day in our microwave ovens, but electromagnetic radiation is a lot more difficult.
For EM radiation you basically have 3 methods:
  1. Absorption, which can be simply imagined as some kind of armor
  2. Deflection/refraction, like with meta materials, you could also bend space but let's not talk about that
  3. Reducing or canceling the waves out with interference from other electromagnetic radiation. The latter would be the "energy shield" where you have to perfectly match amplitude, wave vector, frequency and phase. This is extremely difficult to achieve and would require a lot of energy to work as an effective, impenetrable "shield", which would act much like extremely strong white noise generator.

I think a combination of the first two could be feasible, but effective energy shields alone probably will remain science fiction for the next few decades..
Then again if you think about the difficulty of creating efficient weaponized lasers, you probably won't have to worry about that anyway.

Re:You mean Star Trek? (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 months ago | (#46897467)

This is extremely difficult to achieve and would require a lot of energy to work as an effective, impenetrable "shield", which would act much like extremely strong white noise generator.

This would explain why getting the enemy's shield frequency is technically valid. (The shield frequency had to be nonrandom, because otherwise you couldn't fire or transport through it.) A lot of problems go away if you wave some magical energy source wand over them.

Re:You mean Star Trek? (1)

fazig (2909523) | about 3 months ago | (#46897793)

Star Trek used a lot of magic wands during its various series and movies, it's more of a Science Fantasy than Science Fiction. And some of us probably spent too much time thinking about logical consistencies, unless they're writers themselves.
Assuming that there is some magical energy source that can provide enough power and that Star Trek technology works like described in the TV series and movies:

Getting the shield frequency (gap) would be technically valid, against EM radiation weapons with a very narrow spectrum of frequencies, like lasers. In that case you could 'rotate the frequency' forcing your enemy to find the algorithm used for the rotation, if they wanted to continue exploiting your frequency gap.

However besides of Photon Torpedos, EM radiation weapons aren't that common the Star Trek universe. Phasers are particle beams, they fire "nadion particles" or are classified as plasma weapons. Disruptors use sound vibrations, plasma, particles like Nadions, antiprotons, hadrons and generally 'ions'. An energy shield would certainly work against these weapons. The only problem would be that you can't fire with these weapons, unless you take the shields down. Here you could disable the shields at a set frequency for a set pulse width and use this window to fire your weapons.

Re:You mean Star Trek? (1)

dinfinity (2300094) | about 3 months ago | (#46897781)

Just modify the phase variance, man!

Re:You mean Star Trek? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46896589)

it's the first of the month! unless you really have a fucking emergency need to do it STAY AWAY FROM ALL GROCERY AND CONVENIENCE STORES! they will be flooded by ghetto knee growz. the favorite food of ghetto knee growz is crab legs. i dont know what it is. maybe they taste like CRACK ROCK. but knee growz just fucking love crab legs. maybe they think eating aquatic INSECTS is some kind of luxury food? marginally better than chitterlings anyway amirite?

you might think welfare recipients would be grateful that they get welfare instead of STARVING. they are not! they hate you for not also being on welfare. even though you pay for their welfare.

just in theory now. fictional opinion. if every ghetto was carpetbombed it could only be A GOOD THING!

Re:You mean Star Trek? (-1, Offtopic)

Hamsterdan (815291) | about 3 months ago | (#46896977)

Check your family tree ( I assume you know you have one). Pick any race you hate, I'm pretty sure one of your ancestors is one, making you the very thing you hate...

Re:You mean Star Trek? (1)

delt0r (999393) | about 3 months ago | (#46897391)

Photons don't interact with each other. So no amount of magnetic field will repel a later or heat from the sun. Also not that some magnetars have magnetic fields so strong that they have energy mass equivalent density of lead.

Re:You mean Star Trek? (1)

delt0r (999393) | about 3 months ago | (#46897393)

later should be laser.

Re:You mean Star Trek? (1)

InvalidError (771317) | about 3 months ago | (#46897763)

It would also solve the issue of being unable to see out of the cockpit.

If you radically diffuse incoming light, that would also radically diffuse other incoming light as well somewhat like trying to see through a thick cloud. This still leaves you effectively blind unless your shield has a known transfer function that can be reversed by a camera and signal processing... but then your opponent may be able to deduct your shield's transfer function and re-focus their energy beams accordingly.

Another problem is what happens to your plasma shield when it gets hit by a high-power laser or other energy beam: unless your plasma shield is at temperatures and pressures approaching those required for nuclear fusion (what happens if external energy causes the shield's plasma to actually reach critical? I imagine it would cause some severe local disruption), a powerful enough laser would be able to locally super-heat the plasma (thin it and knock some material out of the field) and punch through it faster than flow rate can cool the hot-spot down - if you can afford pumping gigawatts into your shields and other systems, your opponents probably have the technology to pump gigawatts in their lasers.

Plasma shields sound nice in theory but in practice, they might not be practical much beyond protection from space junk and relatively crude/low-energy weapons.

Re:You mean Star Trek? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46896263)

The concept of shields was first introduced in Star Trek: Voyager.

The concept of shields was idealized permanently into mainstream SF culture in "Star Trek: The Original Series".

Sorry but (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46896179)

this is bullshit

Re:Sorry but (2)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | about 3 months ago | (#46897143)

Not quite: plasma windows [wikipedia.org] exist.
And any protection against lasers is going to be opaque or reflective at the laser frequency, or it isn't going to be very effective.
If you want it to be effective against all frequencies of a Free Electron Laser [wikipedia.org] you need it to be completely opaque or reflective, so you wouldn't be able to see out of it.

Re:Sorry but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46897203)

All these aren't really major discoveries -- umbrellas and light-colored clothing were known to humanity long before elementary physics became mandatory in school.

Re:Sorry but (4, Interesting)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 3 months ago | (#46897289)

I've been looking into making one myself as a hobby project, to go with my can-crusher/disc-launcher. So far it's gotten as far as generating a very strong magnetic field (Solonoid, and it draws 500A at 12V - I'm powering it off an ultracap bank). Progress stopped there, because the next part of my design requires a supply of at least fifty kilovolts, DC, and that doesn't rectify easily. It'd need specialised, very expensive parts.

The end goal is to flick marbles at it and watch them bounce off.

Re:Sorry but (4, Informative)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 3 months ago | (#46897317)

Lasers? What lasers?

Those things on SW aren't lasers. One, they travel too slow (you can actually see the gaps in the pulses) and, following on from that, you can see them when they're not travelling right towards your remaining eye.

Also, lasers don't go "pyew pyew!" and even if they did you wouldn't be able to hear them through a vacuum.

Finally, parsecs.

Re:Sorry but (1)

l0n3s0m3phr34k (2613107) | about 3 months ago | (#46897615)

Your right, they do not use lasers. They are actually particle guns, and fire "bolts" of plasma. That's why you can see them, and why the lightsaber (which is also magnetically shaped plasma) can deflect them. They would cause far more damage than a laser, since the bolts have mass and are still moving at a high percentage of light-speed. The real noise they would make would probably be akin to a sonic boom, since you are accelerating matter far beyond the sound barrier (only applicable inside an atmosphere though) As to the sound "problem"...this has always bothered me too. Scenes from "space" (ie, outside of a ship) should be completely silent. I can't even think of a movie (other than Gravity) that did this correctly. Anything outside an atmosphere would be silent...and on another planet things would sound differently due to the different make-up and density of their atmosphere!

Re:Sorry but (2)

ColaMan (37550) | about 3 months ago | (#46897653)

I can't even think of a movie (other than Gravity) that did this correctly.

'2001' did. When HAL went and cut Frank Poole's airline during his EVA, his death was shown completely silently and I think it had a far greater impact as a result.

Re:Sorry but (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | about 3 months ago | (#46897211)

if it can't block a simple kinetic projectile, it's not a "shield".

Good to know (4, Informative)

AG the other (1169501) | about 3 months ago | (#46896193)

Larry Niven will be glad to know that since he used opaque shields in "The Mote in God's Eye"

Re:Good to know (5, Informative)

JBird (31996) | about 3 months ago | (#46896245)

E.E. Doc Smith had a similar concept as well in his Skylark series published back in the 1930s. Known as a "Zone of Force". If you turned it on you were basically invulnerable but you couldn't see aything until you dropped it.

Re:Good to know (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46896299)

"The Langston Field is a fictional device featured in the CoDominium series of science-fiction novels, initiated by SF writer Jerry Pournelle."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langston_Field

Re:Good to know (2)

CRCulver (715279) | about 3 months ago | (#46896337)

Larry Niven will be glad to know that since he used opaque shields in "The Mote in God's Eye"

Even before that Niven had proposed a different opaque shielding device. The Slaver stasis field, introduced in World of Ptaavs in 1962, is a forcefield inside of which time doesn't move and which completely reflects all light shone on it (so any object encased in it looks like a mirror). Later, in Ringworld, the Slaver stasis field is automatically triggered to protect the passengers on a starship when under fire.

Re:Good to know (-1, Troll)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#46896509)

I just want to jump in here and make sure everyone knows Larry Niven is a terrible author. If you like furry sex, then by all means read the ringworld series. But if you're not into scifi vampires creating furry orgies between giants and tiger people using their pheromones you'll likely just feel uncomfortable while reading them and wonder what asshole gave this guy a pen.

Re:Good to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46896625)

I don't recall any furry orgies in Ringworld or The Integral Trees, and they were decent enough, and the short story about the alien "Prophet" race with the RNA memory pills was cool. Guess I stopped before I hit the yiffing. Thank god.

Re:Good to know (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46896839)

There was quite a bit of furry sex in The Ringworld Engineers... it was called rishathra [wikipedia.org] and I was tired of it by the end. I guess there was at least one more Ringworld book after that one and thus more rishathra.

Oddly, Larry Niven flipped out a bit over a bit of fan fiction by Elf Sternberg (who posts on Slashdot from time to time). I actually thought it worked pretty well as an "idea" story... given (a) that Kzinti are have a "warrior" culture and (b) Kzinti females are non-sentient, for some (many?) Kzin males, sex is not a very interesting proposition. No honor in shooting fish in a barrel, and no honor in the "conquest" of a non-sentient female. Some male Kzinti found a solution that made sex interesting again... and Larry Niven disapproved of the story.

Elf Sternberg has put it back up on the Internet, now claiming that it is not a fan fiction but a work of parody and thus protected by legal precedent that parodies are allowed even when the principals don't like them.

http://pendorwright.com/other/The_Only_Fair_Game.html [pendorwright.com]

In a Slashdot Q&A Larry Niven was asked about this.
http://interviews.slashdot.org/story/03/03/10/167206/ladies-and-gentlemen-dr-larry-niven [slashdot.org]

Re:Good to know (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 3 months ago | (#46897291)

There is no furry sex in the Ringworld series.
  - A genuine furry. Note the username.

Re:Good to know (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 3 months ago | (#46897451)

I'd say ravens are more feathery.

Re:Good to know (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 3 months ago | (#46896979)

Minor technical quibble: it wasn't what was inside the field that shone like a mirror, it was the field itself.

But here's the other thing that got me when I read the stories: it's all great that a stasis field would protect its contents from virtually anything... but there is no possible way to turn the field off from inside, since time does not pass.

Re:Good to know (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 months ago | (#46897445)

Well, in one of the stories, you couldn't turn off the field from the inside. And in others, there was some sort of automatic mechanism. ISTR the field was powered by whatever it was protecting the occupants from.

Re:Good to know (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 3 months ago | (#46897461)

there is no possible way to turn the field off from inside, since time does not pass.

Which is just as well. Because breathing and pooping.

Eventually the batteries will run out. Or something.

Plasma Shield? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46896255)

Forget that, I want a Wookie... Most of the fights you get into are close combat and wookies rule in that range.

Anyway, you speak of the wrong fictional universe, I speak for all Anonymous Cowards when I say that the Star Trek universe is far more interesting... Who wants to deal with the Empire (aka your average over-bloated government) when you could be like beam me up Scottie and shit like that in a commie world of tomorrow, with replicators and off world exploration for fun... I mean, which one is more realistic given our trajectory if we ever get past the lame phase of 3D printers?

AC Ruler #2

Re:Plasma Shield? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46896405)

which one is more realistic given our trajectory if we ever get past the lame phase of 3D printers?

Evil empire? Check.
Religious fundamentalist terrorists fighting the technologically superior empire, which also happens to be controlled by someone who holds strong religious beliefs? Check.
Ridiculously expensive and often ineffective military hardware only used to fight a handful of Sand People? Check.

The future doesn't look much Star Trekky to me.

Re:Plasma Shield? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46896607)

Too true... Damn, I really hate that view of the truth but it's dead on... We need a better way to reform our government so that idiots aren't elected anymore, or is it that we want a good fight and want the dumbest of dumb people in the government???

Re:Plasma Shield? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46896663)

I think the problem is we settle for what "they" offer... where "they" refers to the people currently in power.

"They" are organized.

We are not.

What its going to take is enough of us get pissed off enough that we do not vote for either of the choices "they" give us, and instead vote for one of "us".

It is still possible to do this at the polls.

However, at the rate things seem to be going, it will not be long until a peaceful way of resetting the system will not be in the menu.

Re:Plasma Shield? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46896835)

That is true, tech people tend to be individualistic so this is harder than you can imagine and it doesn't help that the masses are voting based on how handsome/pretty the person is on TV.

What we need is a damn "rallying cry project" ... Take something like abundant energy, we need massive cheap energy in a low cost "toy" project... but even solar is challenging the "coal" money enough for the Koch brothers to be pushing lots of money into state lobbying campaigns to allow utility companies to charge solar energy "providers" different rates instead of keeping it as incentives for putting capital into clean energy production.

What if we had clean energy reactor that was damn cheap, do you think people would organize around unlimited cheap energy instead of the system we have today that concentrates power in the hands of the few? Or is it just the way humans are, there's always a few greedy bastards, and if I remember right from the evolutionary models of social group dynamics that it works better for clans to have one greedy asshole... Not good to have two, etc. The problem is we have entire sectors full of greedy bastards, namely banking, oil/energy, hedge funds, military industrial complex, and politics.

The problem is that once a new energy source is found, the uses for it that include oppression are also suddenly available to those who would use it to do so.

It's not too late. It's just getting more dangerous the longer we wait for the reset button to be pressed.

What's the verdict? Should we give the world the chance to see how far it can go forward? Or just press the button and push it back to the stone age?

Re:Plasma Shield? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46897221)

The Star Trek society, at least judging by the bits about social order that make it into the movies, is a Communist utopia, very similar to the cliche societies that the great Soviet (and Eastern European) Sci-Fi authors used in their books. Except that in the Soviet books, these were typically used as a scathing commentary on this or that malady of the regime (or the humanity in general), while in Star Trek they are mostly pieces of bad writing that have slipped through.

Journalists collectively give up, embrace insanity (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46896259)

Journalists have long imagined themselves piloting X-wing fighters to free the Universe of the Evil Empire. Today, journalists have collectively decided to just fucking give up altogether. Journalists have agreed to basically denounce, forsake, and abandon every last thin thread of reality that they may or may not have been holding onto in order to retain some sort of reason, professionalism, or sanity.

Re:Journalists collectively give up, embrace insan (3, Insightful)

Livius (318358) | about 3 months ago | (#46896295)

in order to retain some sort of reason, professionalism, or sanity.

They aren't trying as hard as you think they are.

Lore (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46896279)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I didn't think X-Wings had individual deflector shields, just the bigger ships. Definitely this is more of a Star Trek thing.

JJ prolly paid them to do the research as publicity for the new movie :-)

Re:Lore (4, Informative)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 3 months ago | (#46896313)

No, "deflectors" are definately mentioned in A New Hope.

"red leader" specifically-- "bring your rear deflectors on; double front"

source:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

Re:Lore (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46896433)

Isn't it "Stabilize your rear deflectors"?

Battle of Yavin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46896315)

Switch all power to front deflector screens...

Re: Battle of Yavin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46896469)

You've gotta put in the pause:
Switch all power to front deflector screens...

Re: Battle of Yavin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46896487)

amp.damn.html.anyways.semicolon
Switch all power to front [pause] deflector screens ...

Re:Lore (5, Interesting)

cbhacking (979169) | about 3 months ago | (#46896657)

X-Wings (all rebel fighters, actually) had deflectors. There are any number of scenes that mention them. They weren't generally intended to stand up to capital ship batteries, but rather as protection against enemy fighters.
TIE-Fighters (and bombers) did not have deflectors. They were mass-produced, cheap, crappy ships that didn't even possess hyperdrives (unlike the rebel fighters). However, your typical Star Destroyer could carry and man a *lot* of TIE fighters.

In a way, it's actually kind of funny how X-wings were so weapon-heavy when their primary opposition could probably be one-shot-killed by a single reasonably large infantry weapon. On the other hand, TIE fighters were primarily anti-starfighter, wherein "quantity has a quality all its own" makes a fair bit of sense because they could win a war of attrition with cheap fighters. The job of taking out rebel capital ships was usually left up to the (typically much larger) imperial capitals.

X-wings, Y-wings, and B-wings were designed to be effective against heavy targets (A-wings, which traded some firepower for greater agility, were the preferred rebel anti-fighter fighter), and while each one was individually superior to a TIE-fighter, the empire had a lot more TIEs than the rebellion had fighters of any kind. However, rebel fighters could effectively destroy Star Destroyers, and were also far more survivable in combat.

Re:Lore (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46896727)

Does something similar apply to Stromtroopers and their weapons as well? After all, all they ever hit with those blasters was Luke's aunt and uncle.

Re:Lore (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46896777)

Watch the opening scene of the first movie. The stormtroopers boarding Princess Leia's ships are murderously effective. C3P0 wanders across the firefight, and like professional marksmen, the stormtroopers ignore the bumbling droid and shoot around him, targetting the Princess' bodyguards.
  Most of the "stormtroopers can't hit" comes from the scenes where they're shooting at Luke, who's got latent force powers stacked on top of regular plot armor.

Re:Lore (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46896849)

It's a combination of force powers, plot armor -AND- orders to capture him alive for questioning.

Re:Lore (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46897069)

I always thought that they were effective because Vader was there to guide their aiming.

Re:Lore (1, Funny)

siddesu (698447) | about 3 months ago | (#46897259)

Most of the 'stormtroopers can't hit shit' hate comes from the insignificant number of Ewoks that they killed. And I understand that hate.

Re:Lore (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46897265)

Wait, they couldn't hit the ewoks? I can never tell because of all the fast forwarding I'm doing.

Re:Lore (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46897275)

Watch the burial scene. Only one body.

Re:Lore (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 3 months ago | (#46897491)

Those are long-service regulars. Later on in the movie they've had to resort to conscription.

Shit, I can't believe I'm trying to make sense out of star Wars.

Re:Lore (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | about 3 months ago | (#46897807)

They're all clones of Jango Fett, but clones degrate over the years and the later generation clones lose the aiming gene.

Re:Lore (3, Informative)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about 3 months ago | (#46897031)

Considering Obi Wan gives props to the precision of Stormtrooper marksmanship, one has to assume they actually had damn good aim.

Re:Lore (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46897331)

IIRC he said that it couldn't have been sand people because of the precision. Which doesn't necessarily mean that Stormtroopers have good marksmanship, it only means that sand people are much worse.

Re:Lore (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46897373)

In all fairness, he states this while looking at scorch marks pocking everywhere across something the size of a large building. Old man was probably sarcastic.

Re:Lore (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46897307)

It makes sense, considering the Empire troops / pilots are all clones with all the skills they need to fly or shoot or follow orders already "build in", whereas the rebels need to be trained and will be alot more costly (and time intensive) to replace.

Re:Lore (1)

kamapuaa (555446) | about 3 months ago | (#46897463)

What the hell are you talking about? That certainly didn't get mentioned in the original trilogy, which is all that counts.

Re:Lore (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46897337)

TIEs did have a few advantages. They were spectacularly maneuverable and, unlike rebel vessels, the pilot wore a full, armored spacesuit.

The Empire had the resources and production capacity to just replace small ships in droves, avoiding costly, space and time intensive maintenance and rebuilding (rebel ships are consistently patched up, Y-Wings have that skeletal appearance because the engine covers were too much of a hassle to consistently remove and reinstall).

Actually if we're to believe the TIE Fighter game, TIEs are a big crumple zone with two lasers on them, designed to leave the poor shmuck floating about after exploding all around him for any friendly vessels to just pick up after the battle.

Re:Lore (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46897377)

This may just be a game thing, but shields did make you a marginally larger target. More importantly (something you'll quickly notice taking on Defenders), hits that downed shields bleed through into hull damage, which stuff like A-Wings really couldn't handle. A competent Interceptor pilot could dance in between volleys like nothing else.

Re:Lore (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 3 months ago | (#46897507)

X-wings, Y-wings, and B-wings were designed to be effective against heavy targets

I though all the [:alpha:]-Wings were designed to increase merchandising revenue for Lucas.

Re:Lore (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 3 months ago | (#46896793)

well, yeah you're wrong.

besides, go play x wing and tie fighter again you noob. the thing is, not all the fighters/bombers in the mythos have the shields.

(though now they just pissed the whole franchise away anyways so everything has everything if it saves jar jar.)

Pulse the shield on/off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46896297)

The shield should be able to pulse on and off to allow sensors/eyes to see what's coming and turn on before predicted contact.

Re:Pulse the shield on/off (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | about 3 months ago | (#46897501)

Unfortunately that wouldn't work against lasers. By the time you see a laser it's already too late.

Re:Pulse the shield on/off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46897709)

Only if all energy is delivered instantaneously and straight into the shield hole you use for observations.

They had deflector shields in Star Wars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46896301)

You wouldn't know it from how often ships would suffer a direct hit. I think Star Trek: The Next Generation was the first time a deflector shield was seen to actually be doing anything.

Re:They had deflector shields in Star Wars? (1)

freeze128 (544774) | about 3 months ago | (#46896353)

You don't really see the shields in Star Wars like you do in Star Trek. In fact, the only evidence of shields is when a laser blast impacts just above the surface of a ship. This could be attributed to shields or mis-alignment in post production.

Re:They had deflector shields in Star Wars? (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 3 months ago | (#46896579)

You wouldn't know it from how often ships would suffer a direct hit.

Well, TIE fighters didn't. And remember in A New Hope, the X-wings had all power diverted to front shields and were shot from behind. But in most cases when smaller ships got hit, it was often by capital ships like Star Destroyers. It is reasonable to assume that small, one-man fighters wouldn't be able to power shields strong enough to stop fire from a much larger ship. But even in cases where fighters shot down other fighters, they were never one-hit explosions. Generally they only exploded after being hit repeatedly, so it would indicate that the shields were simply worn down.

Re:They had deflector shields in Star Wars? (1)

cbhacking (979169) | about 3 months ago | (#46896667)

TIE fighters had no deflectors; a single shot usually killed them. The quad rapid-fire weapons of an X-wing were serious overkill for them. A volley of shots like the one that leaked a hit through to damage R2-D2 would have destroyed most imperial fighters outright.

Re:They had deflector shields in Star Wars? (1)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | about 3 months ago | (#46896735)

Conversely R2-D2 was damaged regardless, which tends to imply that the deflectors weren't really enough to save you when someone got you in their sights - TIE fighters could put enough rounds downrange to overwhelm the shields in any situation where the fighter was genuinely bested.

If you assume that the TIE was more manoeuverable, then the logic of mass producing them the way they were makes a good deal of sense.

Re:They had deflector shields in Star Wars? (1)

cbhacking (979169) | about 3 months ago | (#46897131)

True, but at least Luke (and even R2, once he got to a technician) survived *despite* having somebody get a lock on them. The rebels had smaller numbers of pilots; they needed each individual fighter to be as effective and survivable as possible. It also took a second or so of continuous fire for a TIE fighter to kill an X-wing; that doesn't sound like much, but it's that much more time to break lock, have your wingman kill him, etc,

TIEs were cheap in other ways too: no hyperdrive, no heavy weaponry (except the bombers, which were rather un-agile). They were strictly anti-fighter craft. With that said, if you were willing to absorb the losses of putting ships like that up against X-wings and A-wings, they *were* effective.

R2-D2 says "Star Wars Prequels" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46896319)

R2-D2 says "Star Wars Prequels". Not really applicable.

Deflector Shields! (1)

freeze128 (544774) | about 3 months ago | (#46896327)

I look forward to angling them while you make the calculations for the jump to light speed.

Re:Deflector Shields! (1)

Guy From V (1453391) | about 3 months ago | (#46896769)

Why don't you just go strap yourself in...

Ignore me ... (0)

daremonai (859175) | about 3 months ago | (#46896339)

Posting to undo weird mismoderation.

Re:Ignore me ... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 3 months ago | (#46897025)

This isn't the first time I've seen someone write that, but I don't understand. What happened, and how does posting correct it?

Re:Ignore me ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46897177)

[TrollingForHostFiles here, posting AC and announcing the fact (a) because I'm too lazy to do this as a Burma Shave troll and (b) to annoy the crap out of you-know-who:]

1. You click on the wrong moderation thingamajig and don't realise this until you've awarded a +1, Insightful to an obvious troll.

2. You can't moderate and post in the same discussion.

3. If you post in a discussion after having moderated one or more posts in that discussion, any mods you awarded are undone.

4. You don't get back any mod points you expended prior to posting.

5. ... PROFIT!!!

Re:Ignore me ... (0)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | about 3 months ago | (#46897187)

Quoting from the moderation rules [slashdot.org]

You can't moderate and post in the same discussion.

Once you post the moderation buttons are removed.
If you moderate first and post later the moderation is removed. The mod point is NOT returned to your "supply".

Since the mod drop-down menu isn't magically immune to misclicks people make accidental mods. Some choose to fix it.
Having said that, Noscript can prevent moderations from being applied until you click "moderate" on the bottom. Thus a misclick in the mod-drop down menu is easily corrected. However this also means one can forget to click the "moderate" button and thus do nothing.

I don't have the official reason and I am not the deity who decides them. I am just repeating what I remember someone saying the reason was.
If this rule wasn't there a conflict of interest might arise. Discussions sometimes tend to get people angry. If the angry posters can moderate the problems are just to big.

Re:Ignore me ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46897241)

We're drifting into offtopic, but it is really necessary to announce these 'corrections'? Wouldn't any other comment have the same effect?

Re:Ignore me ... (1)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | about 3 months ago | (#46897787)

Yes, any other comment has the same effect.
However there are many /.ers and there is such a thing as writers block. Once I decide I must post while having no content ready I can't think of content. Usually I post once I have something to say.
And half of the time I decide to delete it instead of post it, but that's a different beast.

Ionisphere F1 and F2 (1)

Gim Tom (716904) | about 3 months ago | (#46896361)

Ah, yes. The Ionisphere. Been using some of the layers for decades. Also, you might want to check out what Maximum Useable Frequency or MUF means.

Re:Ionisphere F1 and F2 (1)

Dantoo (176555) | about 3 months ago | (#46896385)

Yes but every time the sun blasts us with extra rays of energy my mufs get depressed. Never a happy time. :)

Hardly New (2)

Dereck1701 (1922824) | about 3 months ago | (#46896365)

This is hardly new, scientists have been playing around with plasma windows & fields for quite some time. They're currently only a few inches in size but could be scaled up to larger dimensions, the problem is power and the pretty powerful magnetic & electrical fields needed to create them.

Sheldon and Leonard... (1)

NormHome (99305) | about 3 months ago | (#46896407)

Have been talking about this for years, I understand they're working with Howard on a prototype but it's a secret so don't tell anyone.

Like Star Wars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46896443)

So the Disney hype has already started, uh?

Re:Like Star Wars (2)

Kittenman (971447) | about 3 months ago | (#46896491)

So the Disney hype has already started, uh?

Yep: any 'Star Wars' reference is guaranteed to get a few hits, and will likely be planted by a Disney marketing drone, somewhere in the evil empire (formally known as Disneyland).

Re:Like Star Wars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46896779)

Yes and boy is it already dumbing down the internet

"The only drawback"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46896569)

Why not just use them in a proximity configuration? That would solve the "can't see shit" situation and reduce the power to run them to a minimum.

Too much work, here is why (3)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about 3 months ago | (#46896645)

Would be easier just to "polarize the hull plating"

Re:Too much work, here is why (3, Informative)

Y.A.A.P. (1252040) | about 3 months ago | (#46896865)

Sadly, considering where that originates from, it's true.

Channeling a magnetic field through a ferromagnetic metallic "skin" (hull plating) will deflect or scatter charged particle weapons or hazards.

Similarly, one could "paint" one of the various forms of materials whose optical properties can be altered by passing electrical current through it. It could be made to be 100% optically absorbent (the same as using two polarized optical filters set at a 90 degree rotation with respect to each other) in order to prevent you being spotted when you're in space. If someone sees you (since you just passed in-between a light source and them), and they shoot lasers at you, you change the polarization to make the material 100% optically reflective, thereby bouncing the laser off your ship.

Any laser much higher or lower in frequency than the visible spectrum (as in beyond IR and UV, which could also be affected by a very small subset of the materials which handles the visible light frequencies) is fairly difficult and inefficient to produce, therefore making it extraordinarily unlikely to be used as a weapon.

Re:Too much work, here is why (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46897075)

Any laser much higher or lower in frequency than the visible spectrum (as in beyond IR and UV, which could also be affected by a very small subset of the materials which handles the visible light frequencies) is fairly difficult and inefficient to produce, therefore making it extraordinarily unlikely to be used as a weapon.

Not true for far IR lasers: CO2 lasers are the most powerful laser sources produced nowadays.

Re:Too much work, here is why (1)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | about 3 months ago | (#46897199)

Polarized hull plating could be effective against anything with a charge, like electron beams, positron beams or black holes that are charged so they can be electrically accelerated (this is the realm of science fiction).
However, cannonballs do not have charge. Lasers do not have charge. They ignore the hull polarization.

4 may? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46896665)

I know that's international format (I still use it from my time in the military), but it doesn't work in this case. 4 the may with you? Why celebrate star wars on 4 May? The line doesn't work that way unless it's coupled with talk like Yoda day.

Renegade Legion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46896745)

Pnp game that had flickering shields if I'm not mistaken.

Shields necessary for protection from space dust (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46897149)

For any long distance space trip, some sort of shield like this will be necessary for larger spaceships just to protect them from dust that is flying through space at 40,000 km/h. The kind of stuff that embeds itself into the windows and tiles of the space station and space shuttle.

And they're just the little things.

Sure, space is really empty and the chances are low that you'll get hit by something but you wouldn't want to meet Murphy when you're in orbit around Titan!

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