Friday, July 15, 2005

To Boldly Go (Again)

Phasers and force fields may not be as far-fetched as one might suppose. Lightning strikes because it follows a conduit from sky to ground that is prepared by an ionizing plasma precursor. That's why lightning bolts are jagged. As the precursor forms it is blown about by air currents and doesn't form a straight line. Some folks have found a way to form plasma precursors with low-power pulsed lasers. The taser weapon already in use requires wired needles to be physically propelled into the target. Now imagine being able to set up a similar circuit wirelessly. You could either deliver a killing jolt or just enough juice to incapacitate.

Another outgrowth of this research is the creation of a small, microscopically thin, but highly energetic plasma field that is capable of standing up to atmospheric pressure. You could have a vacuum on one side and normal air on the other. AND you could pass things through it without destroying the vacuum. Interesting.

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