Rocket Balls - Pentagon's Kinetic Fireball Incendiaries
Rocket Balls are the latest Pentagon secret weapon to be splashed over the Internet. The idea is that you take a hollow sphere with a hole in it, made of rubberized rocket fuel. When lit, the rocket balls get very hot inside, and eject a high temperature exhaust through the hole. Then, they propel themselves every which way, bouncing off hardened walls and breaking through doors into whatever they can get into.
The key element is that they are not intended as explosives; it's the "rocket exhaust" that matters. The burning gas that propels the rocket balls will quickly heat the interior of a building or a bunker to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, destroying the contents.
The inventor, Kevin Mahaffy, worked as an engineer at Air Force Research Laboratory's Rocket Propulsion Division, and then spent three years as the Chief of the Motor Branch overseeing solid and hybrid rocket propulsion.
(Gas molecules in a chamber like rocket balls)
The random nature of the motion makes rocket balls ideal for destroying the interior of a structure. This might be your preference when taking out a chemical or biological warfare facility. Rather than blowing it up, and spreading deadly agents over the countryside, the building interior could be destroyed.
A similar idea - called a cracker - was used in Philip E. High's 1968 novel The Time Mercenaries:
The "bumblebees" are alien soldiers chasing the troops. The men retreated down the tunnel in good order, strewing pill-mines and the new human-Revain "crackers" as they went. Before they had gone a hundred yards, there was a livid flash and a brittle explosion. He caught a glimpse of three bumblebees being flung backward in gruesome pieces; behind them, however, the tunnel was packed with the things. A cracker started up, bouncing from roof to floor with each detonation and leaving wide gaps in the black, tightly packed ranks.
From Secret Rocket Balls Target WMD Bunkers; thanks to Winchell Chung for the tip and the sf reference for this article.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/14/2008)
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 ( 5 )
Related News Stories -
XM82 Personal Flamethrower Now In Development
'Skeletons in tatters. Burned by a flesh gun'- Alfred Bester, 1974.
Squad X Core Technologies For Infantry
'You can flip through your several types of radar displays quicker than you can change channels to avoid a commercial...'- Robert Heinlein, 1959.
EXACTO Bullets Change Course In Mid-Air
'This little weapon ejects a rather ingenious missile...'- Philip E. High, 1966.
US Navy Laser Ready For Use
Fifty years from cartoon to reality. Thanks to a lot of engineers and visionaries.
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.
eMotionButterfly Ultralight Robot From Festo
'Artificial butterflies darted along invisible beams...'
Graphene Cytobot - Cyborg Bacterial Spores May Help Astronauts
'[It] had not yet objected to being made over into a portion of an electronic system... '
XM82 Personal Flamethrower Now In Development
'Skeletons in tatters. Burned by a flesh gun'
Delightful Plen2 Mirror Robot - The Anti-Terminator
Time for fun, Will Robinson!
LiquiGlide Will Be Everywhere
'They poured the remnants of eggs out of their frictionless cups...'
US Customs Now Doing Facial Recognition At DC Airport
Are you who you say you are?
How Many Systems In That Galactic Empire Now?
'An Empire to twenty million stellar systems...'
Petman Robot Pushes Itself To The Limit
'There was the butler robot, hard at work, his copper face expressionless...'
Coleus LED 'Skylight' Dispenses Natural Sunlight Indoors
'How do they work it so that the sky is visible at every level of the city?'
UR3 Robot At Work On Copies Of Itself
'I don't mean that you should construct this ultra-microrobot with your own fingers, of course...'
3D Printing 'Terminator T-1000-Style'
Not quite 'a mimetic polyalloy...'
Norlin Shoe Drone Robot UAV In-Store Delivery Thing
'Robot-salesmen were everywhere, gesturing, pleading, shrilling.'
Bridge-MINDER Repair Robot
'The repair robots had started out on their rounds...'
Super Ball Bot Tensegrity Robot For Solar System Exploration
'Each leg in turn acted as a pivot around which the creature whirled its body...'
iSkin On-Body Touch Sensors
'Three rows of four colored dots appeared on the heel of my left hand.'
Britain To Build Spaceport, First In Europe
'The space-ports at the three great cities...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories