"The Deliberate Destruction of Planets and Biospheres" To Be Published
Publication forthcoming in "Journal of the British Interplanetary Society"
The paper considers how space weapons could be used to destroy entire planets - without breaking the laws of physics. Instead of blowing planets up with beams from space stations, the study considers altering the temperature of a planet, until its oceans freeze or boil. An alternative strategy is to steer large asteroids onto a collision course with an alien world, to cause a devastating collision akin to the extinction of the dinosaurs.
For aliens not satisfied with causing a mere mass extinction, the paper also discusses how orbits may be changed to cause planets to smash into each other - or even be cast into a star, to be completely destroyed. Author Andrew Lockley said, "Of course, there's a little sci-fi to a study like this. However, there's currently no reason to think that these weapons are impossible. Looking out for this kind of interplanetary warfare could help us spot signs of alien life in the galaxy, as part of our society Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI)."
The paper even considers the risks for Earth of this kind of weapon. Surprisingly a defence against some simpler weapons would be possible for humanity to build in coming years. The author said, "Aliens could fire a weapon that's designed to fill Earth's atmosphere with gases to disrupt the climate. This could be defeated with similar technology that's currently being considered to deal with incoming asteroids."
In a few decades, it may even be possible for mankind to send weapons of mass destruction to our stellar neighbours. A simple probe, containing only bacteria from Earth, could be enough to destroy an entire alien biosphere - ultimately killing much of the native lifeforms on an alien planet, over time. Such weapons raise the possibility that humans first contact with alien worlds may be by trying to destroy them.
In responding to the publication of the paper, the Editor of the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, Kelvin F.Long said "as a society that has always been at the forefront of developments in astronautics, we continue to facilitate work on visionary thinking, even when it is highly speculative as in this case. The interesting thing about the paper by Andrew Lockley, is that some of the ideas he cites could be picked up by other authors and thereby instigate new fields of theoretical research. It also raises important ethical issues for the future. We are pleased to provide a platform for ideas and discussions along these lines".
Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, May-June 2015 issue, pages 150-152 (released on or after 5th November 2015).
Issue purchase at http://www.bis-space.com/eshop/products-page/publications
Paper to be released for purchase at http://www.jbis.org.uk/
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