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 -
Railguns For Surface Ships
'It was simply a long solenoid that threw little steel bullets...' - John W. Campbell, 1933.
DIY Armed UAV (Toy)
'Each a television eye and a sonic stunner...' - Larry Niven, 1972.
Taser Drones Now Legal In North Dakota
'I sent my eyes on their rounds and tended my gallery of one hundred-thirty changing pictures...' - Roger Zelazny, 1966.
HEL MD Laser Weapons Will Sound Like Star Wars, Star Trek
Considering how important the film's sound track is, the sounds of Star Wars weapons are not described in the original novel.
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.
Once A Jolly Swagbot Camped By A Billabong
Under the shade of a coolibah tree...
Juno Gets Close To Jupiter, Fiction Gets Closer!
Amazing Juno spacecraft cozies up to the biggest planet in our solar system.
NASA Submarine For Titan
'Straight away from the shore it swam, seeing nothing but flecks of paraffin...'
Sketching Robots May Displace Starving Artists
Jeez, robots, leave us with something.
Three Clues To Limb Regeneration
'Forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to regrow his lost fingers...'
Soft Caterpillar Robot Powered By Light
'the spread-out "puddle" shape she used for soaking up sun...'
Converting Low Temp Waste Heat To Electricity
'Our civilisation was dying in its own waste heat.'
Flex Robot Surgeon - Let's Hope You're Sedated
There are other insertion points, right, Neo?
Liquid Metal Terminator Development Hums Right Along
More research is needed - check!
Kiwi Dominos Drone Pizza Delivery
If you can deliver diapers, you can deliver pizzas.
MIT Robot Helps Out In Delivery Room
Oooee nooomaa oooee. And you thought today's doctors were hard to understand.
Self-Healing Textiles! Say Goodbye To Torn Jeans
'The constant renewal of the fibers, repairing any faults...'
Fleets Of Ford Autonomous Cars In 5 Years
'He urgently addressed the vehicle's AI."Can't we go any faster?'
Electric Head Patch Helps PTSD Patients
'Don't confuse this with the little ten amp neurosis models.'
MEDi Robot Calms The Nervous Patient
'Specially programmed stabilizing surrogate devices.'
NASA's Interplanetary Internet DTN
'This was the center of Interplanetary Communications.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories