A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
MAHEM Metal Jets Like Clarke's Stiletto Beam
The MAHEM (Magneto Hydrodynamic Explosive Munition) program is a new DARPA project, but to science fiction fans, it is an old, familiar idea. Arthur C. Clarke described the idea in his 1955 novel Earthlight.
DARPA is initiating the MAHEM program to try to create compressed magnetic flux generator (CMFG)-driven magneto hydrodynamically formed metal jets and self-forging penetrators (SFP).
Self-forging penetrators, as they are currently used, result from a conventional chemical explosion directed against a specially-shaped metal liner. When the device is set off, the blast causes the metal liner to achieve a new shape, suitable for penetrating deep into even moderately armored vehicles, and driven forward at a high velocity. The technology dates back to WWII.
This kind of weapon can be highly effective (it is currently being used against troops in Iraq). The drawbacks of this kind of weapon are that they are one-time-use weapons, and cannot efficiently form multiple SFPs from a single charge.
If it is possible to use a powerful electromagnet to accelerate a molten jet of metal, it could overcome the drawbacks mentioned above, and even achieve higher velocities and better targeting. DARPA hopes that it could provide the following capabilities:
This could provide the warfighter with a means to address stressing missions such as: lightweight active self-protection for vehicles (potential defeat mechanism for a kinetic energy round), counter armor (passive, reactive, and active), mine countermeasures, and anti-ship cruise missile final layer of defense.
Science fiction readers have known about this idea for more than a half-century. In his excellent 1955 novel Earthlight, Arthur C. Clarke makes use of exactly this idea in a battle between a stationary facility on the Moon and several attacking space ships.
Wheeler saw it strike upward, a solid bar of light stabbing at the stars... He did not have time to reflect on the staggering violation of the laws of optics which this phenomenon implied, for he was staring at the ruined ship above his head. The beam had gone through Lethe as if she did not exist; the fortress had speared her as an entomologist pierces a butterfly with a pin.
(Read more about the stiletto beam)
The "beam" was a molten jet of metal hurled into space by enormous electromagnets.
MAgneto Hydrodynamic Explosive Munition (MAHEM); thanks to MrX_TLO and Winchell Chung for the tip on the story and references.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/23/2008)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 3 )
Related News Stories -
Anduril Lattice Anvil Counter Drone System
'These drones are autonomous-programmed to find and kill their victim, and then to self-destruct.' - Daniel Suarez, 2012
SPECTER Electroshock Round Fireable From Shotgun
'...the balls sent by this gun are not ordinary balls, but little
cases of glass.' - Jules Verne, 1875.
Electric Lasso Gives Police Options
'The blast of silver threads enveloped her...' Nolan and Johnson, 1967.
R9X Hellfire Missile With Long Blades Kills Queda Leader
'He was still roaring when the knife missile flicked past him...' - Iain M. Banks, 1990.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Solar-Powered Remote-Control Cockroaches!
'A cable, here, from the controller to the interface plug... wires from that to the brain.'
SolarBotanic Tree For Solar Energy - Would You Need A Forest, Or Just One?
'The slender stalks of a sunshade-photocell collector...'
Metaverse Hardware - Run And Flail Like A Maniac, Or Lie Quietly?
'Holodeck 4 was waiting to be programmed...'
Robot Food Delivery Coming To Campus Near You
'... he rewired the delivery robot so that it would serve him midnight snacks.'
Are Craiyon Images Puddinged, ala Philip K. Dick?
'I stood in line for half an hour for this, and it's just a blob!'
Hip'Safe Airbag For Seniors, From Helite
'Other airbags go off around her torso and pelvis...'
Soulaje Self-Administered Euthanasia Wearable Prototype
'A young man... advanced with nervous strides along the gravel path which leads to the bronze doors of the Lethal Chamber.'
Midjourney AI Creates 'Théâtre D'opéra Spatial', Wins Art Fair First Prize
'... we'll give him in his brain what he needs for creation.'
Mobot Robot Tests Smartphone Apps With Its Finger
'Rapidly, purposefully, the metallic fingers moved over the key-boards...'
Space-Based Solar Power A Priority - European Space Agency
'...vast man-made disk of metal set spinning about the sun to supply the Earth with power.'
Goldilocks Zones Found On The Moon
Hopefully, there are no Mynocks in shadowed lunar craters, chewing on the power cables of spacecraft...
Robotic Surgeons Outperform Human Surgeons
'...the objects moving about so gently and putting their instruments away were not living beings, but robots.'
In Your Orchard, Do You Want Buzzing Suction Drones, OR Dick's Claw Hand Drones?
'Something that gleamed, shiny metal, gleamed and clicked as it turned toward her.'
Microbial Protein Production More Efficient Than Crops
'It's the food situation I'm worried about...'
The Sample Transfer Arm (STA), A Unique Mars Robot
'...a cranelike arm reached out. Grasping steel fingers fished around...'
CyberOne Robot By Xiaomi vs. Optimus Robot By Tesla
'I shall introduce myself... I am a robot.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories