Thursday, January 25, 2007

They Should Have Code Named It Ronald

Marvin the Martian was looking for this ...The US government has gone and created an honest to goodness ray gun. Our soldiers are now (or will soon be) equipped with a directional energy-based weapon. Science fiction has become science fact, and the world somehow seems a scarier place to me.

Actually, I heard about this technology back in late 2005, but it was only in development. Word of it had actually leaked out in error to some activist group trying to obtain documents about biological testing via the Freedom of Information Act. Apparently it had been in development since sometime in 2001 (or earlier).

The technical name for the ray gun is the "Active Denial System", or ADS. It works by firing out millimeter waves, very similar to microwaves, at around 95 GHz range. These energy waves are invisible (to the naked eye) and can penetrate human skin no more than 1/64 of an inch. This is 0.015624 inches, or 0.04 cm (just under half a millimeter). The millimeter waves then excite the water molecules in the skin to around 130 degrees Fahrenheit (around 55 C).

So, is this really a Heat Ray?

Those who have experienced it has stated it feels like a light bulb was pressed against their skin. I know from experience that hot light bulbs burn like the dickens. I've left flesh on more than one incandescent glass hell bulb. When I was little, I even cooked with them in my Easy Bake Oven! (Ok, ok ... I also had one of those mad monster bug creator things that used light bulbs, too).

So, maybe this is really a Pain Ray?

Anyhow, no actual damage is caused by the ADS. Or, so they say. Non-lethal deterrent is the term they use. I bet you could cook a hot dog with it, though.

"Hey, Private! Break out the Ballparks. We're gonna have us a weenie roast!"

"But, Sarge, we can't light no fires or the enemy will spot us."

"That's okay, Private. Just go stand over there and hold them franks out a bit. This may smart a little."

Actually, the range on the ADS is around 500 yards, or about a half kilometer. This is well under the range of most small arms fire, thus allowing deterrent with minimal to no risk to the ADS operators or nearby troops. And, it'll penetrate thick clothing to get to the tender flesh underneath. It won't go through walls, though. The waves are too short. I've also not seen anything on the size of the beam, only that it is a beam. Could be pin-point, could be the size of a watermelon. Could be bigger. I would imagine a variable setting from single targets to a wide array beam is feasible. (Like I know anything about energy weapon technology. hah!)

Humvee Mounted ADS - Hot time in the ol' town tonight!For now, the ray gun (I mean ADS) will be mounted on Humvees to make them mobile and stable. It is expected to start seeing these used in Iraq and other hotspots in the very near future since a fully operational and mounted ADS was demonstrated at Moody Air Force Base (Ga.) on January 24th, 2007. The image to the left is an actual ADS mounted on a Humvee. The dish kinda looks like a parquet table we had in our rec room back in the '70s.

Raytheon, a defense contractor, and a very appropriately named one I might add, converted the larger scale ADS to something portable called the Silent Guardian. Soon you might feel the flash-burn sensation of a heat ray on your own skin if you manage to be some place police don't want you be. Like a riot. Or maybe just camping out in a tent under an overpass.

Until local law enforcement gets portable ADS, they can still use their handy TASERs, mace, and collapsible teflon-steel rods. And box cutters. Can't forget those useful box cutters.

There is some controversy surrounding the ADS, as one can well imagine. Critics of the technology are worried it might be used as more than a non-lethal deterrent. Fears are the technology may be turned to use as a torture device. You know someone will do it, at some point, just because they can. If it isn't us, it'll be someone else who gets the technology.

The future is here, my friends.

Which side of the ray gun are you on?

(PS - A Limited Edition, Platinum No-Prize to the first person who gets the title. hehe)

(PSS - blogger would not link my picture of the ADS equipped humvee whan the image name was ads_raygun. I had to change it to zapouch before it would show. Very, very odd.)


Bruiser said...

Is this the infamous Ronald Raygun that I've heard so much about?

Raivynn said...

You sir, are correct.

Here is your Limited Edition, platinum no-Prize! Enjoy it in health. ^.^