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In order to send a spacecraft to another star in an amount of time that would strike the average person as reasonable — like a generation — we're going to need new ways of propelling the aforementioned spacecraft that would strike the average person as nuts, like using solar-powered lasers to coax antimatter fuel out of the quantum vacuum of space.
This, people, is the Army's shiny new laser plasma lightning cannon. It shoots lightning bolts down plasma channels created by laser beams to disable electronics and blow sh*t up. It's a laser plasma lightning cannon. A laser plasma lightning cannon!
We ran across this image randomly poking around on Reddit (which is what passes for work around here), and we absolutely had to figure out what it was. Turns out, Audi has been working on a way to augment fog lights with laser beams in the name of safety, and this is what it's come up with.
Do you eat enough fruits and vegetables? Of course you don't. And to punish you for this lack of nutritional awareness, Yale researchers have developed a laser system that can measure your intake (or lack thereof) of healthy foods right through your skin.
There's absolutely no reason to do something peacefully and by hand when you could do it violently, with lasers, instead. Germany agrees, and scientists there are developing a system that replaces the task of pulling weeds with a system of plant-pulverizing semi-autonomous laser cannons.
Ionization is when an an atom loses or gains an electron. This happens to lots of atoms, but it happens so fast that nobody has ever caught ionization in the act. Now, scientists at the Vienna University of Technology have used an attosecond laser pulse to watch as a single electron packs its bags and takes off on its own.
Wicked Lasers sure has been getting a lot of attention lately. As if it didn't already win the Internet with a real shark mounted with a real laser, it announces the LaserSaber (on Star Wars Day no less) — a tube mount that contains a Spyder III laser beam — like a lightsaber.
Last year, Northrop Grumman demonstrated a laser system that could disable small boats by setting their motors on fire from a distance. In a press release yesterday, it showed some images highlighting entirely new levels of destruction wrought by its latest laser system, Firestrike.
No, it's not the plot of some ridiculous new low-budget action movie: the House Armed Services Committee's Strategic Forces panel has asked the Missile Defense Agency to figure out how much it'll cost to unscrap the Airborne Laser Testbed and put it into action against the North Korean ballistic missile threat.