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Re: Crowbars & Planetbusters

From: aebrain@d...
Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000 05:51:51 GMT
Subject: Re: Crowbars & Planetbusters

There are many easy ways to sterilise a planet. But most of them take up
time, and reduce property values.

Regarding the "How come race X doesn't just drop some relativistic mass
on a
planet", I would prefer this to be technically difficult rather than
rely upon
a moral imperative.

* FTL travel gets buggered up by gravity wells.
* It gets REALLY buggered up by rapidly rotating or moving masses

So you want to exit in an area of space that is relatively flat. And you
really want to be exiting with a low relative velocity to nearby masses,
they had better not be spinning too fast if they're near, even if
they're small.

Try to exit FTL at a relativistic speed within 10e6 AU of a sun, and one
the following is guaranteed to happen:
* nothing. You softly and silently vanish away and are never heard from

* you emerge somewhere in the vicinity of your target position, but with
a direction
that's non-deterministic. Bits of you do, anyway.
* You bounce back to your original position, direction as above.
* FTL doesn't occur at all.
* something even weirder.

Pickets consisting of rapidly spinning black holes or neutronium
asteroids could
prevent FTL emergence (or departure?)quite a long way out. 

You need this, or some Bunt is going to dump a few kilotonnes of Lithium
your star's photosphere, causing its permeability to change locally and
you a really nasty Solar Flare. Not enough to damage a planet, but
enough to
EMP out satellites, cause wild weather, and make anywhere in the
vicinity of
the Star a very unhealthy place radition-wise. (See Fred Hoyle's
"Rockets in
Ursa Major" on how to use this effect to drive off a besieging fleet).
What this means is that with a bit of PSB, a fleet has to actually gain
Superiority over a planet in order to sterilise it. In which case, said
will surrender if incapable of offering resistance, and surrender is an
So Planetbusting is not worthwhile.

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