Science fiction inspires science, which inspires more fiction. But in today’s day and age, you’d be shocked how quick the cycle spins, churning out all sorts of amazing wonders.
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And really, science fiction is all about the weapons. I mean, who watches Star Wars for the irrigation farms? That’s what I thought.
No, it’s all about lightsabers, jet packs, and blaster rifles (Han shot first).
Here are just a handful of amazing weapons that come straight out of science fiction, but are very, very real.
If it seems like we’ve been hearing about ray guns and lasers for nearly a century, it’s because we have.
But now, they are a reality, having recently advanced to the point of being deployed on several Navy ships.
In 2014, the U.S. laser weapon system(LaWS) was deployed aboard the U.S.S. Ponce in the Persian Gulf. Operating at an estimated power of 50-100 killowats, the LaWS is able to shoot down drones and devastate patrol boats.
Engineers hope to scale this up to a megawatt’s worth of power, capable of burning through 20 feet of steel in a second.
4. Submarine Aircraft Carrier
Conceived by Admiral Yamamoto after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the initial goal was for the ship to launch attacks on American coastal cities and shut down the Panama Canal.
The result was the Sentoku I-400, a submarine larger than the biggest American submarines and capable of carrying three Aichi M6A Seiran dive bombers. While several were constructed, Japan surrendered before they ever saw combat.
3. Heat Ray
The weapon of choice among Martian invaders, the heat ray has final been invented by us earthlings. The U.S. Army’s Active Denial System(ADS) is a non-lethal pain ray, designed to create an intense burning sensation across the target’s skin.
This effect is caused by a high-powered beam of high-frequency electromagnetic waves at 95 GHz that heats up water and fat molecules right beneath the skin.
Designed as a crowd control weapon, the ADS can be fired up to a kilometer away. While it was deployed in Afghanistan in 2010, it was recalled due to concerns over long term effects and potential usage as a torture device.
2. Almaz Space Cannon
Developed by the Soviets during the space race of the 1960s, the Almaz program resulted in launch of three military reconnaissance stations disguised as civilian Salyut modules between 1971 and 1974.
The second station Salyut 3, was armed with a 23mm machine gun mounted to the outside for “defense against US space-based interceptors.”
Due to concerns about extreme vibrations and the trick of rotating the entire station for targeting, the gun was only tested when the station was unmanned. It did successfully destroy one defunct satellite.
1. X-37B fully automated space vehicle
The source of countless conspiracy theories, the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle is a fully robotic, fully reusable space plane launched atop an Atlas 5 rocket and mired in secrecy.
How secret is the X-37B? This is what a refueling looks like.
Developed and designed by NASA starting in 1999, the project was turned over to the Department of Defense in 2004 and remains highly classified.
Often in orbit for more than a year at a time, the DoD has not released any information about the role of or the missions completed by the X-37B.
The level of secrecy surrounding the vehicle has lead to conspiracy theories ranging from it serving simply as a highly mobile satellite all the way to it being a secret space superweapon. What do you think it does?