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Old December 27th 06, 14:15   #31
Joseph DeMartino
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Re: B5 - Thirdspace

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And if you watch that ep where they bombed the Narn homeworld, it seemed as if they kept the rocks coming fast and furious, like they had hundreds of them. Makes one wonder how they were able to pluck so many of them and transport them to Narn.

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The Centauri probably just grabbed chunks of asteroid debris (some of it created by slicing up bigger rocks) in the Narn system and hauled it to their accelerators by more conventional means, towed behind smaller ships or carried with the hulls of larger cargo ships. (Emphasis added)


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Old December 28th 06, 06:51   #32
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Re: B5 - Thirdspace

I always wondered about the whole nuclear bomb thing.Why was Earth not a mindfield of them when the Minbari attacked?

Why were they not launched from Star Furies or any other warship when it came time to kick arse in space?

Why is this lethal weapon basicly forgotten about in B5 apart from the obvious uses?

A near hit is enough for a nuke,why were they not fired en mass towards either the Vorlons or Shadows?

Then again,if I wanted to I could pick apart any Sci Fi series on the so called power of their weapons.If you can't beat a nuke then why stop carrying them.

Laser shit looks better

I liked Thirdspace because I've read none of the books and I at least know what I'm on about ish

As for taking it to the Heart of the beast,I'm sure a breach in the shields would allow a shit load of nukes in so why the hero effort if not neededed?

Garibaldi was right you know
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Old December 28th 06, 11:19   #33
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Re: B5 - Thirdspace

It's a bit dodgy firing nuclear weapons at ships you can't lock on to, having missiles flying around loosely in space would be a bad thing methinks.

The trouble with having a minefield in the solar system is that it's very big. It's not practical to mine further out because you have too much area to cover. If you plant minefields around Earth, it becomes a navigational hazard for your own ships and peaceful traders who have no knowledge of the minefield locations.
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Old December 28th 06, 12:01   #34
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Re: B5 - Thirdspace

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Originally Posted by crazyhorse
I always wondered about the whole nuclear bomb thing.Why was Earth not a mindfield of them when the Minbari attacked?
I can answer this one. Because nuclear mines don't defend a planet.

To destroy structures on a planet's surface (or to destroy the entire surface) you don't land... you bomb. Possibly with nuclear bombs, antimatter if you can produce enough, asteroids if you're a miser.

You can launch all of these from distance, from outside any feasible mine field, clearing your path through a minefield if you need to.

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Why were they not launched from Star Furies or any other warship when it came time to kick arse in space?
This is a tricky one. You'll need one artistic and one technical reason. One alone won't explain B5.

Artistic explanation: most likely because CGI people raised mutiny, organized a strike, set fire to keyboards, threw hard drives at riot police, and flat out refused the possibility of work occurring, if they wouldn't get to animate fighter combat near big ships. Because it was a challenge to them, a new technology, and visually very thrilling.

Technical exlanation: now, having addressed likely reasons for incorrect scale, let's assume fighters can't get close enough to directly touch hostile ships, and let's assume the same for most missiles, except the very expensive and unconventional.

Now, having assumed that, a nuclear bomb exploding in empty space should be pretty harmless against a big ship with decent armor. Especially a ship with no exposed engines (Minbari, Centauri, Brakiri, etc). It ain't nothing but a little Sun, coming into existence for a moment and emitting a burst of very intense radiation, which fades quickly as distance grows. A nuclear bomb's radiation doesn't hurt a serious hull, unless it's close enough for the radiation pressure differences to bend the ship, or heat to melt armor.

If a planet's magnetic field isn't around, EMP effects would be much reduced, and while some sensors would be inevitably blinded (not First One sensors, probably) even a conventional vessel could switch them off and expose new, undamaged sensors.

Only fighter pilots (if fighters do have windows for maneuvering purposes, since windows sure aren't useful for actual combat) would be susceptible to this aspect of the bomb.

An air blast, typical of nuclear bombs in atmosphere, simply doesn't occur in space. There is no air to heat and rush outward, collapsing houses and accelerating loose debris to destructive speed.

Also, if ships can move fast, missiles with nuclear warheads would have to move equally fast. If a fission bomb is still required to detonate a fusion bomb, and plutonium is still the material of choice, you're speaking of enough engine to accelerate at least 100 kilos, so being fast enough and poorly detectable may be a problem. Plasma can move a lot faster, heavy particles too, and photons, well those move at light speed.

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A near hit is enough for a nuke,why were they not fired en mass towards either the Vorlons or Shadows?
Not in space. A near hit isn't enough. A direct hit touching the surface is strongly recommended, and with Shadow/Vorlon materials, who knows if a ship could survive that too. Might be easily the case if a Shadow ship has already dropped halfway to hyperspace.

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As for taking it to the Heart of the beast,I'm sure a breach in the shields would allow a shit load of nukes in so why the hero effort if not neededed?

Garibaldi was right you know
Indeed, the breach which formed would let a direct hit happen, and even from outside (inside would naturally be more effective) it would probably take a nice chunk out of the structure.

But... unless you had autonomous missiles small enough to go unseen, launching a missile from that position might require a ship. A ship might be noticed, and responded to. A lone cosmonaut seeming to do graffiti, might be just the right thing to go unseen.

But I totally agree about heroics. Better whack someone with an asteroid, than practise unreliable business like heroics. Also better to have a crowd of anonymous little missiles slip through a breach, than a slow cosmonaut who needs to get back out again.

The only problem is the general ineffectiveness of nuclear bombs in space. A single bomb inside may be worth ten bombs outside, and if a missile isn't smart enough to find its way inside, you'll benefit from a subversive cosmonaut taking it there.

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Old December 28th 06, 13:48   #35
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Re: B5 - Thirdspace

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Not in space. A near hit isn't enough.
Exactly. The only reason Sheridan's little gambit against the Black Star worked is that he buried the nukes in asteroids and detonated them when they were nearly touching the hull of the Minbari cruiser. That gave the weapons reaction mass to work with - something to accelerate and hurl against the ship. Otherwise you would need a direct hit which you'd be unlikely to get given a) Minbari stealth technology and b) Minbari anti-missle technology.

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Old December 28th 06, 15:24   #36
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Re: B5 - Thirdspace

So what of the nuclear mines that G'Kar brought in? How were they supposed to work?
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Old December 28th 06, 16:03   #37
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Re: B5 - Thirdspace

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So what of the nuclear mines that G'Kar brought in? How were they supposed to work?
I recall to have read somewhere that they were a Gaim specialty, entire 500 megatons in power. That's 10 times bigger than anything ever built on planet Earth until now.

Despite their impressive power, they wouldn't have made a difference in most battles. Not in open space.

I bet G'Kar bargained a steep discount for them, and brought them only because the Narn were experiencing a shortage of ships. I think he wanted to bring something, but had nothing. So he brought those bombs.

If current technology could put a strongly engineered ship in space with 50 cm of light metal armor in the fore, with a limited cross-section, a hull capable of some flex without decompressing, and this ship pointed itself to face a 500 megaton blast occurring 20 kilometers away, I suspect the crew would live. Sensors would go blind, computers would fail, people would experience radiation sickness, but I'd bet they would live.

But 500 megatons is really pushing the boundaries of feasible nuclear weapons. It would have to be a very special design.

It's much, much easier to build them "small" (a couple of megatons maximum) and those blasts a "reference ship" described above could probably take from a distance of five to ten kilometers. A ship of future materials, from a lesser distance.

In fact, if you look up Project Orion at Wikipedia, you'll find interesting background info for a proposed/abandoned ship design, which was supposed to be propelled by nuclear explosions.

If you check out the effects of nuclear weapons, again from Wikipedia, you'll find that deadly neutron and gamma radiation from a 20 MT bomb only extends some 5 kilometers out from the point of explosion. In space, that's pretty much the only thing you have to contend with. Heavy shielding could easily cut that down to a tenth.

Yet in atmosphere, each of those blasts could destroy a city. And the 500-megaton Gaim bomb must have destroyed a Shadow city too. Especially if it exploded underground, in a closed space.

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Old December 28th 06, 16:30   #38
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Re: B5 - Thirdspace

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So what of the nuclear mines that G'Kar brought in? How were they supposed to work?
The Gaim devices aren't mines per se. They're just bombs. Ivanova says she intends to use the virtually undetectable devices as mines to destory Shadow vessels as they come out of hyperspace.

The thing about nuclear mines, as opposed to nuclear missles, is that they are contact devices. Sheridan had to hide the ones he used on asteroids because they were just standard issue nuclear missle warheads that he had removed from their propulsion systems. They were not stealth devices and would have been useless against the Minbari otherwise, because they would have been detected and avoided or destroyed. The asteroids both hid them so the Minbari came close to them and provided reaction mass to hurl against their hulls.

The Gaim bombs would have been seeded in the space around B5 along the paths most likely to be used by an attacking force (where the fire from the defense grid would have been weakest.) Ivanova could have increased her chances of a hit by strategically placing her deployed fighter squadrons in a way that would "funnel" the Shadow ships to where she wanted them to go. (Shadows aren't stupid, powerful as they are it would still make sense for them to approach along the path of least resistance rather than expose their ships to fire unecessarily.) Then she'd wait for the Shadow ships to blunder into her nukes. Any mines hit would go off in contact with Shadow vessels. Any mines unit would just sit there inert and invisible - and maybe catch a Shadow ship on its way out.

Anyway, the evidence of both ItB and "Z'ha'dum" suggests that they did indeed use nuclear weapons in some instances in space battles, but that their characteristics made them better suited to attacks on ground targets for all the reasons given above.

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Old December 28th 06, 20:51   #39
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Re: B5 - Thirdspace

If nukes were next to useless in space then why would ships carry them?Sheridan even asks how many they have left in ITB so they were obviously used although we never saw it.They would still be more powerful than the useless lasers that EA used against the Minbari and if you were to set off 20-30 at once in a localised area then you would have one hell of a bang.You could also mine an area and then attempt to lure the enemy to that area.Get a few ships where you want them and then set of the fireworks.
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Old December 28th 06, 21:13   #40
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Re: B5 - Thirdspace

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If nukes were next to useless in space then why would ships carry them? ...if you were to set off 20-30 at once in a localised area then you would have one hell of a bang. You could also mine an area and then attempt to lure the enemy to that area.Get a few ships where you want them and then set of the fireworks.
Have you read any of the posts in this thread? Most of your questions have already been answered. Some several times.

1. Sheridan's ship carried nukes. Who says they were used in space? They could have been used against ground targets.

2. 20 to 30 Nukes "all together" - a) you could never simultaneously detonate that many separate devices with the degree of precision required. Some would go off a few miliseconds before the others and just blow them to pieces. You have a lot of nuclear material floating around because most of it would never have reached critical mass and detonated. b) Even if this worked, you'd get a big burst of radiation, but not a hell of a lot more. Again, nuclear "blast" is an atmospheric phenomenon. What makes a nuclear blast so destructive to structures and other physical objecst is the shockwave - and a shockwave needs a medium to propagate through: air, water, palsma, something. Vacuum is not a medium. There's nothing to impart thermal and kinetic energy to, nothing to push out from the core of the explosion except a lot of highly energetic particles and the neglibile mass of the bomb itself. Nukes on Earth destroy things in much the same way that hurricanes and tornadoes do, but with the addition of incredible heat and on a much larger scale.

3. As explained above mines work because they can't be detected - landmines because they're buried, sea mines becaue they're under water. A mine that can be detected (or a missle that can be picked up on radar or detected by its heat signature against the cold of space) can be taken out by antimissle lasers, missles or high speed slug throwers well beyond the range where it could offer any threat to a ship. (And since it is actually hard to create fission - which is needed for both simple atom bombs and to trigger fussion reactions - nukes tend to be fragile beasties. If you damage one chances are it won't go off. Blow one apart with a good sized charge of conventional explosive and your only worry is the hazmat clean-up, which is much less of an issue in space than on a planet.)

4. The kind of nukes Sheridan had access to during the Minbari war clearly couldn't be used as mines on their own, and you don't always have a strategically placed asteroid field to use. (Especially one that young and densely packed. Sheridan's ploy would have never worked in Sol's asteroid belt where thousands of miles separate all the sizable chunks of rock.) It was only the Gaim devices he acquired at the end of S3 that had that potential. And we never saw them put to the test - who can say they worked as advertised?

Regards,

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