Skip to comments.Mini-nukes and mosquito-like robot weapons being primed for future warfare
Posted on 03/18/2017 8:00:11 PM PDT by BenLurkin
Nanotechnology opens up the possibility to manufacture mini-nuke components so small that they are difficult to screen and detect. Furthermore, the weapon (capable of an explosion equivalent to about 100 tons of TNT) could be compact enough to fit into a pocket or purse and weigh about 5 pounds and destroy large buildings or be combined to do greater damage to an area.
"When we talk about making conventional nuclear weapons, they are difficult to make," he said. "Making a mini-nuke would be difficult but in some respects not as difficult as a full-blown nuclear weapon."
Del Monte explained that the mini-nuke weapon is activated when the nanoscale laser triggers a small thermonuclear fusion bomb using a tritium-deuterium fuel. Their size makes them difficult to screen, detect and also there's "essentially no fallout" associated with them.
Still, while the mini-nukes are powerful in and of themselves, he expects they are unlikely to wipe out humanity. He said a larger concern is the threat of the nanoscale robots, or nanobots because they are "the technological equivalent of biological weapons."
The author said controlling these "smart nanobots" could become an issue since if lost, there could be potentially millions of these deadly nanobots on the loose killing people indiscriminately.
(Excerpt) Read more at cnbc.com ...
Reminds me of every episode of EUREKA.
Some processes cannot be miniaturized. This is one of them.
They can make a dirty bomb small, but a fission or fusion device is still going to be petty large.
I am open to your argument. Do you specialize in any form of physics or are a physics junkie :)
I love reading about Quantum physics.
Self replicating robots? I am pretty sure the horrors won’t be so simple, but why try to develop them when there are plenty of lethal bacteria and viruses than can dissolve human flesh? If someone weapon owed pfisteria, which literally eats your skin and can poison you severely, isn’t that bad?
Which isotope has a critical mass under 5 lbs?
The future could include anarchist nano scale technology. I hope the USA will look into these new technologies because for sure the Russians, Chinese, and Saudies will be.
I believe it is mostly about producing the right ratio of materials to either compress to create the explosion or to build a shotgun type device. The actual physical parts are probably beyond for a few years, but building a 5-8 pound nuclear device is probably possible.
No, I am not a nuclear physicist, just a guy who reads a lot of stuff. Most of it way beyond me...lol
Laser ignition of deuterium/tritium mixture for a fusion explosion rather than a critical mass fission explosion.
And Wikipedia (yes, I know the warnings) lists Californium-252 as having critical mass of 2.73 kg (6.02 lbs) with a diameter of 6.9 cm.
Here is an example of how far they got with a weapon that was actually deployed by NATO in Europe 50 years ago. If the total warhead was 53 pounds, the nuclear material was probably some fraction of that. A lot of weight would have been used to keep the nuclear materials apart and allow the device to withstand the shock of being fired.
I am interested in the Astor Torpedo also. This was a nuclear torpedo carried by our submarines which had a yield about equal to Hiroshima. They said it was safe to fire, because the submarine would have its capability degraded by only 5%. My question was always for the submarine hundreds of feet underwater, and depending upon a host of mechanical devices functioning properly, which 5% was going to be degraded?
Davy Crockett (nuclear device)
Two words, Starship Troopers...
Actually many and you would not even need a radioactive isotope. All you would need is a collapsing star before it goes super nova. Helium and Iron etcetra will do most nicely. However it is a bit difficult to carry a supernova millions of time the weight of the earth in your back pack.
This article is total Bull Sh-t!
It’s not the critical mass as such that does it, but the mass of high explosive arranged to give a spherically symmetric shock front to compress the fissile material. So if one uses another means — I thought the article mentioned lasers, though I’ve never heard of lasers reliable enough to ignite/sustain a fusion *explosion*...much of the weight requirements go away.
Too tired; need to explain. Right now fusion weapons are triggered by the temperatures achieved during a fission explosion first. So you need the uranium/plutonium to have a fission reaction; the liberation of neutrons + the temperature, kick off the fusion reaction of the H-bomb.
There are limits for a fission device. The smallest you can do with plutonium (hottest) is about a 4” ball. With a fusion device, set off with lasers rather than a fission trigger..... interesting.
Very tiny H-bomb, almost no radiation to deal with.
No. Not happening. With all we have done in the field, we still haven’t succeeded with fusion, and that’s projects the size of a shopping mall. As for fission, that’s been done at about 50 pounds, but almost none of that weight is miniaturizable electronics - it’s fissile material, explosives, and scaffolding to maintain the geometry.
Shiva used lasers the size of buildings (okay, that was mostly the capacitors to store the charge for firing the lasers, but the lasers themselves were huge and had to be huge to deliver that much power). Nova was even more powerful and even larger.
National Ignition Facility is also gigantic, with enough concrete to cover a football field to a depth of more than 30 yards, plus enough steel to build a large warship. You need that much structure for stability. The hydrogen isotope targets hit by the laser are small, but you cannot deliver power above a certain threshold from a small laser - the air ionizes and no longer transmits power to a single point. Alternately, if you try to do it in a vacuum, there is a limit to how much power can be transmitted within the laser cavities before you run into the same issues. Put the lasers outside the vacuum, and you cannot transmit power through the windows into the vacuum. Put the lasers inside the vacuum, and your vacuum chamber has to be heavy (and huge).
Whether you use solid lasers (neodymium or similar) or gas (CO2) lasers, random variation in molecular motion places limits on power transmission. Do the math on laser fusion project, and you run into these limits. I’ve seen the facilities, which are by necessity large. Fusion cannot be miniaturized to anywhere near the level discussed.
As for fission, yes, there are isotopes with relatively small critical masses. There are complex designs that can take advantage of those isotopes. However, miniaturizing the explosives for fusion to get something “compact enough to fit into a pocket or purse and weigh about 5 pounds” is absurd. Even if your delivery system is a suicide bomber, you cannot beat the mass ratios imposed by physics. You need a certain amount of explosive relative to your critical mass, and you need a certain amount of support structure relative to your amount of explosives. Even with the electronics miniaturized, the rest of the device mass is limited by physics to several times the size mentioned.
I left out some details for obvious reasons, but the bottom lime is simple: Not happening.
Reminds me of some of Michael Crichton’s last books.
Indeed, good explanation.
Most drivels about “nanotech”, a trendy, all-purposes but meaningless word are fake news. “Nanotech” always triggers my BS alarm.
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