The Phoenix

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Future of Weaponry and Space Travel: The Slingshot?

You know, sometimes I think scientists draw their ideas from childhood. Now I'm a big fan of the creative process, and I see nothing wrong with digging back into their memories for inspiration. But sometimes, an idea is just so incredibly stupid - you have to wonder if some scientists are maybe really crazy or perhaps just hooked on cartoons.

Take the Slingatron for example.

Dr. D.A. Tidman and his associates have been working on this novel new concept for many years. They believe it will be the best way to send payloads into space - payloads like weapons, satellites, and eventually astronauts.

It's basically a big-ass slingshot.

I think Dr. Tidman watched too many Wile E. Coyote/Roadrunner cartoons. I swear good 'ol Wile E. whipped out something like the Slingatron out of an Acme box.

Anyway, how does the Slingatron work?

This thing is shaped like an electric stove burner. It's a long kevlar coil. A smaller scale version is shaped like a giant hoola-hoop. The entire system is enclosed in a partial-vaccum, probably to reduce friction. Inside, many small rotary engines propel the projectile inside at a very fast speed. As it goes round and round, it accelerates tremendously and goes so fast, the projectile begins to levitate from the superconduction of forces.

Finally, the projectile reaches the end and is fired with incredible force up and away.

Dr. Tidman says his Slingatron will reduce the cost of sending stuff into space from $10,000 per pound down to a couple hundred bucks per pound. Imagine - instead of having to fire off an expensive rocket everytime we wanted to send up a satellite, we could slingshot the sucker into orbit.

Why am I getting flashbacks of Monty Python and an airborne Trojan bunny???

If saving money is not necessarily what floats your boat, and vanquishing your enemies is. The Slingatron would be capable of launching a bunch of bunker buster bombs, anti-aircraft projectiles, or if we're running low on high tech ammunition, I bet we could fire off large payloads of watermelons at our enemies.

There are lots of criticisms of Dr. Tidman's project. Namely, the thing requires major breakthroughs in material physics we haven't perfected yet. Also, the amount of force needed to keep a payload going through the coils so fast that it doesn't blow a huge gaping hole in the side of the coil seems impossible.

If Dr. Tidman's Slingatron doesn't pan out as the next wave of long range weaponry and space travel, look for him to set his sights on the next Cow Chip Throwing Championships held in Beaver, Oklahoma.


Blogger Karen said...

Wow! Am I first!?! So excited to be first, I didn't have a chance to read your post, bbl!

btw, Mike V. left a message for you over at my place, phoenix!!

5/11/2006 9:22 AM  
Blogger David Amulet said...

I can think of some people that rightly should be shot into speace via this method, regardless of whtether their "material structure" wouild allow it ...

-- david

5/11/2006 9:26 AM  
Blogger jay lassiter said...

it's my concern that this tehnology will be used for evil instead of good.
think about it, WHAT are they slingshotting into space anyway?

5/11/2006 9:40 AM  
Blogger Mojotek said...

I saw the article on this earlier this week. I wonder how much money they're actually spending on researching this...

5/11/2006 10:15 AM  
Blogger Kyahgirl said...

what will they think of next.
I rather those lazy bastards get working on a transporter like on Star Trek. Now that would be something useful!

(don't worry, after Bush gets through with the war and everything else, there won't be any money left for a space program)

5/11/2006 10:59 AM  
Blogger PDD said...

Now that's what I call Star Wars.

5/11/2006 11:15 AM  
Blogger Mimi said...

He had to steal the idea from Looney Toons. That idea is way out there, farther than his invention could go.

5/11/2006 11:21 AM  
Blogger Curare_Z said...

Ohh. How fun would that be? I wonder if any more Backstreet Boys will want to go into space if this comes to fruition...

5/11/2006 11:21 AM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

karen, come right back!

david, Yeah - there's plenty of morons we could launch via sling shot

jay, they want to launch satellites - but I think Bush plans on launching Democrats.

mojotek, it's part of a larger program called HARP that's been around for decades. I'd say billions are being spent.

kyahgirl, I would NOT sign up as a volunteer to test out some sort of transporter beam. No thank you. You'd reappear with you arm where you leg used to be or something like that.

PDD, May the force be with us.

5/11/2006 11:22 AM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

mimi, I remember him launching himself using Acme rockets and such. I'm thinking we'll probably get the same results.

curare, I say we launch Lance - since his check to the Russian Space Agency bounced!

5/11/2006 11:23 AM  
Blogger ObilonKenobi said...

This is the stupidest idea I've ever heard of, even if it works. I like Space Elevators better.

Thought I do wonder if the slingshot is good for skipping stones off the surface of Jupiter.

5/11/2006 11:24 AM  
Blogger KC said...

Sounds like lots of fun. Let's propel Bush first, OK?

5/11/2006 11:39 AM  
Blogger Perplexio said...

Man, they really do have contests for everything these days...

Cow chip throwing?

Oh and I thought the trojan bunny was projected over the castle wall using more of a catapult device... Is that the next high tech weapon? A big-assed catapault? Is that the next step in weapons evolution? Big Assed Slingshot begets Big Assed Catapult? What's next the Big Assed Bow & Arrow or Big Assed Crossbow?

And speaking of Big Asses, if we go the Big Ass weapons route, does that mean Lane Bryant will leave the clothing industry to focus on big assed weapons instead of clothing for gluteally overcompensated females?

5/11/2006 11:46 AM  
Blogger Kay said...

I have been to Beaver (OK) several times, although not by choice. However, the doctor would probably fit right in... what a weird-ass place.

5/11/2006 11:49 AM  
Blogger DaBich said...

I'd be more willing to bet on the cow chips contest lol.

5/11/2006 11:53 AM  
Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

I nominate Ted Kennedy as the first human to be catapulted into space by the Slingatron.

5/11/2006 11:55 AM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

obilon, Now THAT would be a cool stunt worth $7 billion. Let's see the Chinese beat that!

KC, we can make Bush into an actual weapon of mass destruction.

Perplexio, I think we should rename all of our weapons in that manner. Big-ass nuclear missile. Big-ass Tomahawk. Big-ass stealth bomber. It'll instill fear.

kay, I've heard that Beaver, OK is a strange place. I wonder if it's from all the locals handling cow dung.

dabich, we could hurl a cow chip onto Mars.

JD, they'd have to reconfigure the weight mass allowed by the coil.

5/11/2006 12:04 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

"The "Hula-hoop" motion of a metal torus accelerates a magnetic projectile placed inside the torus. Magnetic levitation minimizes the friction. To reduce resistivity, the torus is cooled with liquid nitrogen. Cargo is exposed to the extreme acceleration"...


'k, can't help it, am i the only one who sees this as, ah, er, ahem ... kinda *kinky* like maybe an x-rated movie!?!


i know, i know, get my head out of the gutter... can't help it... still...


okay, okay, already, i'm tryin' to quit laughing... stay tuned!! :)

5/11/2006 12:17 PM  
Blogger Etchen said...

Wait, so you're saying this idea won't work? Tee-hee. I read the other day ab. Japanses scientist linking dry v wet ear wax to a specific gene-it only was costing them ab 127,000 in US currency for this amazing research. Who needs to know ab. an ear wax gene?!

5/11/2006 12:39 PM  
Blogger grrrbear said...

Wouldn't the centrifugal force kill anyone who tried to ride this? Or am I just missing something?

Was there reference made to a "Violate Newton's Laws of Physics Pill" that I just missed? If so I apologize.

If you could reverse the direction, could this technology be used to manufacture toilets that flush so powerfully they never clog?

5/11/2006 12:40 PM  
Blogger Jon Cox said...

O wow!!!
Great blog! :o)

5/11/2006 2:36 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

karen, just make sure you keep your torus free of any foreign projectiles.

etchen, I read about that. I also have Asian blood in me, and I do NOT get ear wax. I don't think they needed to spend much money on that research.

grrrbear, centrifugal or centripetal forces would be eliminated if the projectile can reach certain speeds. The problem is reaching that speed. The projectile will probably just blast a hole in the side of the coil on it's second turn.

jon, thanks for visiting!

5/11/2006 3:16 PM  
Blogger Jon Cox said...

Thank you so much for your comment! I appreciate it so much!! :o) There is ALOT more to come, please keep checking back! Thank you!! :o)

5/11/2006 3:42 PM  
Anonymous Delmer said...

Slingatron? That sounds like a name my kids would come up with.

Granted ... they are brilliant ... but if the Slingatron is ever going to get serious funding it will need a better, sort of scary name.

"Slingatron" sounds like something you get out of a box of Captain Crunch.

5/11/2006 8:17 PM  
Blogger vani said...

i'm with KC- let's use old Bushey as the first experiment!

5/11/2006 9:30 PM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

I think that my sides are still hurting from the watermelon comment.

Yeah, this sounds like this guy drew this on his lunchbag with a crayon back in first grade and has kept pushing to make it his lifelong dream of seeing it get built. Although the other kids in first grade probably called him idiot then and now that he is an adult we can call him a big idiot.

5/11/2006 10:26 PM  
Blogger Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

I volunteer my mother-in-law to be the first test subject.

No she really does want to go....yes she does!!! Does too! DOES TOO!!!!

5/12/2006 7:07 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Hi Phoenix, thanks so much for stopping by my blog and your kind comments :o)
I've read through a number of your posts,just fantastic.
Like the phoenix, you certainly rise out of the ashes!!

5/12/2006 7:18 AM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

jon, I think your art projects are something kids could be doing in school. A great way to recycle and do art at the same time.

delmer, Slingatron sounds like a new Transformer, probably a Decepticon.

vani, we could shoot him over to France!

metal mark, you just reminded me of Doc from Back to the Future. He came up with the Flex Capacitor when he fell off the toilet and hit his head.

stacy, I've read enough about your MIL to know she's up to the challenge.

michelle, thanks for coming by here as well. I look forward to visiting your blog again.

5/12/2006 9:38 AM  
Blogger Yawn said...

So wait a second- does this thing operate off electromagnetic repulsion or pneumatics? Is it a Gauss rifle or an air rifle? Maybe I ought to actually read what's lurking behind the link.

5/12/2006 11:31 AM  
Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

First slingshots with the red eye of death scope and now the slingatron. Everything old is new again.

5/12/2006 12:43 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

yawn, judging from the scientific literature - this is really just a Red Ryder B B Gun.

Fuzz, I know you're an ace with a slingshot, taking down Chupas and such.

5/12/2006 12:46 PM  

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