Railgun Systems

I have thought over an idea I have had for some years now.  I first was able to come up with the general concept of a rail gun.  From that I have been thinking about the different uses of this technology.  The obvious application would be to use this technology as a weapon, both as a gun to large satellite delivery systems.  Finally, I think railguns could be use as propulsion systems for entire aircraft, bringing us even closer to the desired speed of light.  So, what is this railgun idea that I am speaking of?  It is quite simple actually.

There are two elongated and parallel electromagnets (the rail).  They are configured so the electromagnets have opposing magnetic fields.  There is a large capacitor system under the magnets that can be refilled with charge and provide the fuel to power these magnets.  Finally there is a projectile.  When the system is powered on, current from the capacitors would be pumped through the electromagnets.  When the projectile is introduced to these magnets and their magnetic fields, this will cause a current to flow through the projectile thus creating a magnetic field on the projectile itself.  The magnetic field on the projectile becomes on of the two magnetic fields being produced by the electromagnets.  This creates two things.  First, the repulsion and attraction between these two magnetic fields causes the projectile to spin.  Finally, with inertia from the initial introduction of the projectile and the repulsion of one of the electromagnetic fields shoots the projectile through the rail at insane speeds.  Four factors come to mind when influencing the speed of the projectile.  The first and obvious one would be the initial velocity of the projectile, the second the mass of the projectile, the third would be the length of the rails themselves, and the fourth would be the strength of the magnetic currents.

The obvious application of this would be to use this with handheld weapons.  Have a magazine of bullets hammered into the rail, which is powered by a capacitor system.  When the capacitors run low, design the gun so the capacitors could easily be replaced by another set.  Whenever the trigger is pulled, the bullet speeds through the rail with automatic riffling because of how the system works.  It would be insanely accurate and insanely powerful.  The capacitor systems could be recharged directly by the sun or indirectly by the sun through the grid.

A more powerful version is what makes me truly scared of this idea.  By creating a satellite that is a large rail.  People in power could fire projectiles of various masses at various targets around the globe.  Solar panels would charge the capacitors whereby once fired would unload charge into the rail.  Different masses of the projectile followed by different current flow from the capacitor systems would alter the energy output of the projectile.  People in power would be able to take out individual targets like tanks, to whole buildings, to whole blocks, to a certain square area, to an entire city.  The customization would be endless.  This system would have access to the entire globe.  And this is why I haven’t really talked about this idea openly with anybody.  There is no doubt in my mind that rail systems would be used as a weapon to kill people.

But while looking at history itself, I cannot help but look at nuclear technology.  We can make devastating weapons that threaten the very existence of the planet itself.  At the same time, it has been able to provide somewhat clean power to millions across the globe.  There is even uses of nuclear propulsion systems in space.  Which is where my true hope of this technology lies.

Imagine a very large railgun in space.  A insane capacitor system is designed to produce an insane amount of current through those electromagnets.  With power of the sun, this capacitor system could be recharged in a certain period of time.  The projectile:  a spaceship.  The spaceship would have to be spherical in shape.  The spin and current induced by the electromagnets accomplishes two important things.  First the spin could be used to simulate gravity in the space ship.  Second, the current created by these rails could not only help sustain the spacecraft but would also create an electromagnetic field.  This field sustained could be used to protect the ship from debris, which is extremely important when dealing with really high speeds.  Finally, if by examining this technology we can predict the behavior of the system, by building large enough rails, large enough capacitor systems, and a spacecraft that can withstand the stresses of launch through the railgun as well as entering the railgun at high speeds, I am inclined to think that maybe the speed of light is possible.  Unfortunately I don’t know enough math right now to crunch the numbers.  But if in my life time I can crunch them, I maybe able to predict or theorize if this method can take us to the speed of light or not.  That is the first step.  The second step, would be working out how to brake the projectile from those speeds.  Traveling the speed of light indefinitely is not sustainable.

So why did I share this idea of mine?

History has shown us that it is how humanity uses the technology and not the technology itself that is responsible for the slaughter of millions.

It is true that I do not want this technology to be developed to kill people.  There is so much power from the sun; this is just another manifestation of it.  But I feel that one day this would be discovered if it already hasn’t been.  And just as I have dread and hesitations about the weaponization of railgun technology, I have high hopes about the space exploration implications.  There is no doubt that humanity has to one day venture outside of our solar system.  With current technologies we might be able to leave or solar system, but the vastness of space would eventually kill any people remaining.  If we could harness technology from the sun to power our propulsion to other realms of space, and stop at targeted locations, we could colonize other planets and start our expedition of the stars.  With the ideas of a resource based economy, resources would be divided to all aspects of survivability and sustainability, including space exploration.  Humanity could have a fresh start.  Humanity could strive for a period where conflict is greatly minimized, and atrocities extinguished.

I guess I am a futurist.  After all, it is one of the few things I have to continue on.  I want an existence for fellow humans to be better than mine.  Better yet, I want the essence of what I have gone through to not ever be experienced again; to not even be possible.  Through innovations of human psychology, philosophy, and technology we could create a human domain that flourished both throughout the universe as well as emotionally and spiritually.  I read a summary of a study; it stated that people that generally witness nature are more empathetic, and are more prone to love and happiness compared to counterparts that live in cities.  The closer we put ourselves in concordance to the universe, the closer we will reach The Essence of Man, the essence of who we are.  If we alienate ourselves from that quest we are essentially removing ourselves from the quest of who we are, thus decreasing our quality of life.

I pray that one day humanity wouldn’t need to weaponize railgun delivery systems.  But I think it is an inevitable step as history has shown in introducing this technology for space exploration.  The true purpose of this concept:  to explore the cosmos beyond of what we dreamed.  By harnesses the power of the stars and therefore the universe, we guarantee the sustainability of the human race for eons to come.

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