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HerbaciousTea t1_iyx692p wrote

The whole "rods from god" idea is pretty silly and impractical.

The force of the rod is purely gravitational potential.

But to put the rod in orbit, you expended far more energy fighting gravity, then you get back from dropping the rod.

So why not just use the rocket that delivered the rods as the weapon instead of the rods? It's got more kinetic energy and can be guided, and it doesn't have the drawbacks of being strapped to a highly visible satellite that every hobbyist with a telescope can track at all times.

Not to mention it can carry things, like, y'know, a warhead, which will deliver much more force to a target for less weight, meaning you can dedicate that freed-up weight to making a more maneuverable, longer range, precision guided weapon to deliver that force even more accurately.

Which is exactly what we already do today. That's a missile.


OozeNAahz t1_iyxk8bo wrote

It isn’t meant to provide the same capability as a missile. They have, as you say, missiles for that. The benefit of the rods from god are basically that they offer the advantages of a ballistic missile without a boost stage that can be intercepted. So you have a kinetic energy weapon that can’t really be stopped. Unless you stop them from being launched or take out the satellites before someone goes to use them.

Just different use cases.


HerbaciousTea t1_iyy7aks wrote

When the US Air Force examined the concept in 2003, they concluded that conventional bombs and missiles of a similar weight were more effective, cost efficient, and practical solutions in basically all circumstances.


OozeNAahz t1_iyy9zey wrote

And every one of them has a different use case. A bomber has to fly over a target and that can be really obvious. A satellite can hang out and short of shooting it down countries can’t do much about it. There are things rods from god can do that the others can’t do exactly the same way. Doesn’t mean they are better or worse. Every tool has its task.


jerricco t1_iyyi1am wrote

True as this may be, the USAF is generally pretty forward thinking. The fact its not been outright stated as a dumb idea and had to be compared in feasibility to missiles is telling. More telling is that the single biggest barrier is getting materials up into space.

Thats a problem we could at some point very likely solve and the Air Force knows it. The first to these gates secures their domination of the planet for the next century or so. The rods are still in god's back pocket.


theolderyouget t1_iyxqkb4 wrote

Well… once they are up there, they are just up there. Orbiting. Lingering. Ready. And you don’t get a warning when they are put into play, not really. Just…



creativemind11 t1_iyxe4ca wrote

The only real benefit of a rod would IMO be that it can potentially penetrate very deep in the ground or hardened structures without the need of a nuclear explosion. Besides that maybe a slightly faster deployment time.

But in the event you'd use a weapon like this itd mean nukes are probably on table already.


fail-deadly- t1_iyyn2fm wrote

I think if it ever happened, they would be in highly eccentric orbits with the perigee close to likely targets.


Makhnos_Tachanka t1_iyz55hb wrote

Great now we just need to wait several days for the target to align itself with the orbit at the right time and ah fuck they shot it down


Dont____Panic t1_iyxv5fv wrote

Rods can’t as easily be detected and stopped. That’s all.


cuddlefucker t1_iyyy9sb wrote

Inherently everyone would know that rods exist on orbit and would destroy them before they reach an orbital position to deploy.

Unlike aiming conventional munitions, on-orbit maneuvering is extremely difficult and would be pretty easy to counter. Every nation that we would need that kind of yield from would be able to shoot the bus carrying the rod which would almost certainly disable the ability to accurately de-orbit it.

Basically, they are easily detectable and way easier to stop than any other weapon of mass destruction.


ergzay t1_iyzjj1v wrote

The real reason for the rods from god idea was because it would bypass the outer space treaty about no nuclear weapons in orbit while still providing significant damaging energy potential. That's why it was brainstormed in the first place. Meanwhile it would be hard to detect it incoming and there would be less warning than an incoming missile.


LLuerker t1_iz0wdup wrote

Imagine once they can be harvested and manufactured in space tho