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SloppyMeathole t1_j56pawp wrote

They also had something similar to this in the book an Anathem by Neil Stephenson. But instead, the concept was used by an invading force who could just grab random things and chuck at things at Earth to destroy targets. With tons of kinetic energy, you don't need anything sophisticated to deal a shit ton of damage. Really good book, btw.


couchmaster518 t1_j56qkwq wrote

Yup, lots of fun ideas is that book. Not the easiest book to recommend unless you really know the person’s tastes


SloppyMeathole t1_j57lv2n wrote

I totally agree. I actually quit on another book by that author because I couldn't get into it. Anathem is really slow for the first couple hundred pages and I can see a lot of people dropping out. But fortunately the payoff is really good and worth it in the end. I actually picked up the paperback version the other day and just read 20 random pages from near the end of the book. It is truly an excellent novel.


thisisredlitre t1_j5880rz wrote

Is there a good audio ver you might know of? I'm someone with severe dyslexia so ~200 pages of buildup is very taxing for me, but this sounds like a book I'd be into if I could consume it.


Vorpishly t1_j57ukr2 wrote

The plot of expanse was similar, but they coated meteors in stealth material.


CassandraVindicated t1_j58vuhe wrote

Let's not forget Starship Troopers.


hamachee t1_j5galc7 wrote

Heinlein covered this in the 1950’s with moon is a harsh mistress and starship troopers


cosgd t1_j587x4k wrote

Similarly, they dropped asteroids and space colonies in various Gundam series.


pbmm1 t1_j590tpu wrote

Also in the Moon is A Harsh Mistress


MrDStroyer t1_j56m76h wrote

Also the premise of GI Joe 2 (terrible). It sounds like a good idea, at first, but getting that much tungsten into orbit in the first place is no small task.


GeorgeOlduvai t1_j56oh27 wrote

That's what asteroid mining is for.


cote112 t1_j57vh4w wrote

And then you watch 'The Expanse' and that's the ultimate weapon of mass destruction.


noshore4me t1_j575cis wrote

Which is why Cobra Commander is an underappreciated genius


MrDStroyer t1_j57879d wrote

But he sounds just like my aunt who smokes too much.


NOVAbuddy t1_j594vxs wrote

How well do you know your aunt? She have any chrome faced friends with a temper?


thehazer t1_j578obz wrote

Serpentor just wouldn’t listen. Cobra Commander had been to Cobrala, really should have been consulted. Also never let anyone be in charge who has a body guard named Nemesis Enforcer, best character in the series though.


kelldricked t1_j578l5m wrote

I mean yeah but the benefits are also pretty big. Its not nuclear, its nearly impossible to deflect, hard to detect and have a striking range of the whole world.

Normal missles could be shot down, hacked or you could maybe fuck with the payload.

For fiction, its a really good concept. Because its basic as fuck. Yeah it cost a lot of effort to get it into space but its easily possible. And there is very little understanding needed to know its OP.


aupri t1_j57rxip wrote

There’s a recent Veritasium video about this where he talks about feasibility and the issue is that you’d need a ton of these in orbit to be able to strike anywhere in a reasonable amount of time. If you have one satellite in orbit loaded with these and it just passed the target zone you have to wait for it to come around the earth again, and it would only cover targets on a thin slice of the globe. You’d need a web of satellites, something like Starlink, but each loaded with really heavy rods, which gets pretty expensive


Nuffsaid98 t1_j5ae6p0 wrote

I think you're ignoring orbital mechanics here.

If a satellite is orbiting the Earth at a given speed then anything dropped from it would continue at that speed. You would need to retro thrust to scrub off that speed or factor it in.

In other words, anything dropped from orbit has to fall in a curved path.

Avoiding burnup in the atmosphere dictates the angle of entry.

The payload would be dropped when the satellite is over a completely different part of the Earth, not the target.

If you are firing the weapon at high speed instead of using the gravity well to do the work, you still need to allow for the spin. Also recoil will throw your satellite around.

Not as simple as you might think.


f16f4 t1_j57w2d3 wrote

I mean I doubt you’d really need to be able to strike anywhere, just sit the satellites over the countries you’re worried about.


Darrel-Yurychuk t1_j585po3 wrote

The only satellites that "sit" over a fixed spot on earth are geostationary satellites are directly over the equator but orbit from such a large height from where nothing can be "dropped" back to earth. So you'd need a constellation of satellites to cover any given spot in the world which may be impractical depending on how much they can be steered.


byllz t1_j598pfp wrote

Tungsten would be ideal, but iron nickel alloy from asteroids would do in a pinch.


SeanG909 t1_j578cta wrote

Yeah but the same is true for refining weapons grade uranium


karl2025 t1_j5aygi0 wrote

The United States is upgrading its nuclear arsenal at about $20 million a warhead. In order to get an impactor with, let's say, 100kt of kinetic energy (decent medium sized yield) you'd need somewhere around 160,000 kg of material smacking into the Earth at reentry speeds. That's three launches of a Falcon Heavy to get the material into LEO at a price tag of almost $300mil.

Nukes are way easier.


AgnosticAsian t1_j58goor wrote

It's not that hard to enrich uranium.

If North Korea, an impoverished hellhole, can do it, you can only imagine how easy it is for a country with a real economy.


HPmoni t1_j5kwv4o wrote

It wasn't Shakespeare.

But they blew up London and no one talked about it.


thirdeyefish t1_j56i1p3 wrote

That's also where submarines and automatic doors came from. Not that guy, but both were inventions of science fiction authors.


AudibleNod t1_j56lhqy wrote

MP3s can trace it's lineage to Star Trek TNG when Data is asking the computer to play music.


Xszit t1_j56mg2s wrote

Interesting you'd go with the example of digital music when there's other more glaringly obvious things like the original series communicators inspiring flip phones, or those data pads they use instead of paper for reports inspiring tablets and e-readers, or even the replicator inspiring 3d printing.


AudibleNod t1_j56nzs6 wrote

Yeah. I saw an interview with Karlheinz Brandenburg, inventor of the MP3 format, explicitly say Data calling up music as inspiration.


Xszit t1_j56peqd wrote

Thats even more interesting because mp3 wasn't the first digital music, it just had better file compression than previous formats so it made portable digital music players and sharing files over the internet more feasible.

I would have thought the creator was inspired by previous portable music inventions like radios, cassette players, cd players, etc...

weird that he would say the idea came from watching star trek and not from just looking around at the already existing technologies of digital music and portable music and saying "these could go together if I could just make the file sizes smaller"


Jaksmack t1_j57fu1h wrote

Arthur C. Clarke and satellites.. William Gibson and Cyberspace & Steampunk..


Mitthrawnuruo t1_j57q4n1 wrote

Dr Pournelle, the hand held computer. Among other things.


Mitthrawnuruo t1_j57pzkd wrote

He had a number of inventions and was instrumental in the policy which lead to the collapse of the USSR.


azaghal1988 t1_j59fwe7 wrote

They thought about the concept, but didn't Invent them.

The "Rods from God" were actually developed by Pournelle, and after the project was cancelled he went on to write a novel were he used them.


wwarnout t1_j56i3oq wrote

While it sounds interesting, it is not very practical. If the rods have no maneuvering capability, aiming them from orbit is incredibly difficult.


Dawnawaken92 t1_j56iq7p wrote

They have a directional jet booster with wings at the tail end to guide it


[deleted] t1_j56y42f wrote



Mitthrawnuruo t1_j57pvez wrote

So you don’t do low orbit.

The effectiveness is quite good. We used similar devices dropped from jets to good effect.


[deleted] t1_j57qlhu wrote



Mitthrawnuruo t1_j57sf1l wrote

True, but is also makes them less effective due to the far lower impact speed.

Cluster bombs, are generally ground in and banned by most countries.

A tool for every job.


moschles t1_j58krio wrote

Can't get rods into position in any reasonable time. Impossible to aim them at targets. Etc.


Key-Article6622 t1_j56r720 wrote

One of my favorite sci fi writers, along with Larry Niven and Robert Heinlien.


locustt t1_j587xxy wrote

Heinlein did the space rock attack thing in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.


Sm0ahk t1_j5atc5w wrote

Wait... Larry Niven from Nevinyyrals Disk, Larry Niven?!


Key-Article6622 t1_j5b7qsn wrote

I've read pretty much everything he wrote, but I don't remember that. Ringworld Larry Niven. The Man Kzin Wars, The Smoke Ring,


hamachee t1_j5gazdh wrote

Me too - this makes me want to reread legacy of heorot!


th3saurus t1_j56z6zj wrote

This was the main character's ultimate move in a moderately generic sword and sorcery isekai, pretty sure the author and protagonist both read that book


ShiningSparky t1_j58ghey wrote

Yeah, though the opening to that aristocrat assassin anime is pretty fuckin' banger to be honest.


RbrCanty t1_j58x0d0 wrote

Pournelle and David Niven wrote Footfall where aliens chunk asteroids at the Earth to devastating effect. Good book. Kind of a classic alien invasion story.


MrSpindles t1_j59me3z wrote

One of my all time favourite novels. I re-read it last week. So much great stuff in that book, I still think it could be updated into the modern era and work as a 10 episode series.


RbrCanty t1_j5a41cr wrote

I read it when it first came out, but it's one of those books that the concepts and plot points have stuck with me over the years. Glad you enjoyed it as much.


danmanx t1_j59veqz wrote

Kinetic based weapons? Scary as fuck still. No fallout but still a big boom.


OpenlyDefective t1_j588q0l wrote

They did this in a sci-fi book where Earth was at war with a plant of cat people. Anyone remember the name of that book? They would use small round objects instead of rods, but same idea.


DazzlerPlus t1_j58luw3 wrote

Earth at war with cat people sounds like the man kzin wars by Niven. Never read it tho


gelftheelf t1_j58lhnt wrote

Veritasium did a thing on this a few weeks ago:


OneOverTwoEqualsZero t1_j598w8r wrote

It was absolutely the worst Veritasium video I’ve ever seen. He did hardly any research, and the research he did do he completely ignored in the test. How in earth did he think dropping something from 500m was comparable to dropping from orbit?


HeippodeiPeippo t1_j5acabg wrote

It is wonderful idea. The only slight problem is to get enough of them to the orbit in the first place, then keeping them in orbit, then trying to guide them while they are fully enveloped in a plasma. Other than that, it is an amazing idea.


f0gax t1_j5csvqk wrote

Marco Inaros sends his regards.


Tw_izted t1_j58nek4 wrote

there's a common misconception that it was meant to be a missile that was supposed to be fired in space to save time

the majority of r/NonCredibleDefense users don't really know this and thought it was just "space missiles"


[deleted] t1_j584n15 wrote



MrSpindles t1_j59mgil wrote

The book is Footfall, and it is a great read (I re-read it last week).


dirtydovedreams t1_j59ck2x wrote

The American faction of that Tom Clancy mic controlled RTS I can’t recall the name of had this as a special ability. That game was alright.

Edit: it’s Endwar.


Substantial_Wind4762 t1_j5ctv7m wrote

The Mote in God’s Eye by Pournelle still one of my favorites.


prjindigo t1_j57sia8 wrote

and is literally impossible to make function


[deleted] t1_j56h3sz wrote

Another book recommended by Elon


Yrcrazypa t1_j56whgs wrote

The book was famous before Elon ever heard about it. Elon can go take a long walk off a short pier, but just because he likes something doesn't mean everyone has to start hating it now.