Is that a gun in your spacesuit?
April 2, 2016 9:29 AM   Subscribe


 
Everything is a weapon if you use it as such.
Otherwise it's a tool. Most of these I would not consider weapons.
posted by FallowKing at 9:37 AM on April 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Often listicles make me weary, when it turns out that I already know the Ten Things You Never Knew About Ghostbusters or whatever. Going into this, I admit I was a little skeptical; "yeah, Swiss Army knives, yeah, Alan Shepard's golf club... 1970s Soviet laser pistols?!? Now we're talking!"
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:39 AM on April 2, 2016 [7 favorites]


(And it is a bonus that they look like Ken Adam might well have designed them for Moonraker.)
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:40 AM on April 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


If you define tools as something that extends your abilities, then weapons are a sub-set of tools, likewise, a tool that increases your ability to damage can be a weapon.

I am disappointed that the machete gun does not actually shoot machetes (slingshot channel has it covered though).
posted by 445supermag at 9:45 AM on April 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


Is that a gun in your spacesuit?

It is a gun, and I am also happy to see you!
posted by otherchaz at 9:52 AM on April 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


TP-82 is like an awesome Mad Max gun.

I'm not completely sure I believe in the "laser pistols" - probably doesn't help that one is a dead ringer for a prop from Alien.
posted by Artw at 9:54 AM on April 2, 2016 [2 favorites]




Disappointed to not see Chris Hadfield's acoustic guitar from the "Space Oddity" video included. If it's good enough for El Kabong, it's good enough for space combat.
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:06 AM on April 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


My favorite part of the space cannon story is the cosmonauts were afraid to be on board when they test fired it - leading to the question, if things went wrong, where were they going to go?
posted by Artw at 10:09 AM on April 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Fortunately, so far they didn't need a serious weapon, otherwise...
posted by korpe4r at 10:12 AM on April 2, 2016


I recall seeing on MetaFilter a few years ago (this ago mean 2008, lol) a more in-depth article about a secret orbiting Russian battle station. It had a much larger gun (kinetic) that could take out satellites, or could defend itself against American satellite killers. Haven't come across it again.
posted by My Dad at 10:13 AM on April 2, 2016


As usual the Russians went all-out.

Well, it's no Rod from God (a 6.1 m × 0.3 m tungsten cylinder impacting at Mach 10 with a kinetic energy equivalent to approximately 11.5 tons of TNT), but it'll do. Incidentally, dropping a series of tungsten rods about the size of a telephone pole from orbit is not prohibited under current treaties, but considering the rods weigh 9 tons each and would only be effective on a non-moving target, they're not exactly practical.
posted by chambers at 10:18 AM on April 2, 2016


Honestly, if you're going to include "weapons" that could also potentially kill the wielder, you might as well include every spacecraft that could be deorbited to land on a city.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:19 AM on April 2, 2016


You could do some real damage with a metal box, choke someone with a nylon strap, suffocate someone with a glove, kick a person in the groin with a spacesuit boot, or stab someone in the eye with a pen. Why'd they leave these out?
posted by univac at 10:20 AM on April 2, 2016


My favorite part of the space cannon story is the cosmonauts were afraid to be on board when they test fired it - leading to the question, if things went wrong, where were they going to go?

Everywhere at once, pretty rapidly?
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:23 AM on April 2, 2016 [8 favorites]


his hands are registered as deadly weapons with NASA...
posted by thelonius at 10:33 AM on April 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


MacGyver always taught me that the mind is the ultimate weapon.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 10:47 AM on April 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


That "laser" pistol is bonkers. I was wondering if it was a hoax given the proximity to Internet Jackass Day, but if it's a fake it is an old one, and well documented. The Wikipedia article is thin but has links to other resources (in Russian, which I don't read). This image turned up on Reddit a few years ago and appears to be from a museum display mounting with supporting material. And here's some discussion from 2012, on a gun nut site.
posted by Nelson at 11:02 AM on April 2, 2016 [5 favorites]


Well, everywhere at once rapidly if they stayed on board, obviously, but if they floated off to a safe distance in spacesuits before it went everywhere at once then they'd just be stuck up there.
posted by Artw at 11:05 AM on April 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Interesting to see a Camillus knife at the top of the list. Camillus Cutlery was a small local business near Syracuse, New York that went OB a few years back but they made great knives.

Couldn't the whole doggone rocket itself be seen as a weapon?

Fascinating list! Thanks for posting.
posted by kinnakeet at 11:05 AM on April 2, 2016


Disappointed to not see Chris Hadfield's acoustic guitar from the "Space Oddity" video included.

"This machine kills starship troopers"
posted by howfar at 11:07 AM on April 2, 2016 [11 favorites]




Totally unnecessary, there are no bears in space. Delicious astronauts are completely safe and do not need to carry any weapons, though steak sauce would be a bonus.

Yours

Definitely Not a Bear
posted by fallingbadgers at 11:29 AM on April 2, 2016 [9 favorites]


Totally unnecessary, there are no bears in space.

I can think of at least two.
posted by BWA at 11:46 AM on April 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


The rockets are completely different and seperare from the superficially identical ICBM rockets and should be considered entirely selerate technologies.
posted by Artw at 11:55 AM on April 2, 2016


I have also read that Buzz Aldrin carried his two fists on every mission.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:09 PM on April 2, 2016 [14 favorites]


Awesome
posted by Ironmouth at 12:17 PM on April 2, 2016


ricochet biscuit: "1970s Soviet laser pistols?!? Now we're talking!""

The fact I hadn't heard about these before makes me suspicious. Though it's amazing how much it resembles the Firefly laser pistol. I guess all guns look similar though.

chambers: "Incidentally, dropping a series of tungsten rods about the size of a telephone pole from orbit is not prohibited under current treaties, but considering the rods weigh 9 tons each and would only be effective on a non-moving target, they're not exactly practical."

There is no reason control surfaces and/or positioning jets couldn't be incorporated into the rods to give them some maneuvering capability and the ability to track a moving target.
posted by Mitheral at 1:03 PM on April 2, 2016




No mention of the Almaz cannon, which is precisely the first thing that came to my mind when talking about weapons in space.
posted by cgs06 at 1:21 PM on April 2, 2016


The firefly laser pistol is a pretty recognizable prop.
posted by Artw at 1:22 PM on April 2, 2016


There is no reason control surfaces and/or positioning jets couldn't be incorporated into the rods to give them some maneuvering capability and the ability to track a moving target.

The problem seems to lie in the heat and plasma generated during re-entry. From the wiki article:
"One drawback of the system is that the weapon's sensors would almost certainly be blind during atmospheric reentry due to the plasma sheath that would develop ahead of it, so a mobile target could be difficult to hit if it performed an unexpected maneuver. The system would also have to cope with atmospheric heating from re-entry, which could melt non-tungsten components of the weapon."
IANA rocket scientist, but ICBM warheads don't need to track a moving target upon re-entry, as the explosion will cover pretty much any variation in the target's position during those last 5-8 minutes as the warhead is entering the atmosphere. Even if you attempted to cool the sensor package for mid-flight course correction just enough for it to not melt, the surrounding plasma would still be there blocking your view. Such a system was used for the ground-based interceptor missiles for the old SDI program by spraying liquid nitrogen over the sensor package to solve the 'heat blindness' issue, but I think it's safe to assume the temperatures and environment that a tungsten rod would endure on re-entry are far greater than what a supersonic ground-based missile would have to deal with.

However, these things weren't designed for moving targets anyways - it's for underground, reinforced targets. There are far more effective and far less expensive tools for big, moving targets like naval fleets and huge mechanized armor columns.

In any case, those things are pretty damn terrifying even without a complex guidance system. Even if SDI had never been cancelled and was given 20x the budget over the last 30 years and a fully developed anti-ballistic missile system existed, it's very doubtful it could detect, track, launch, and intercept it in time. Even worse, if the thing miraculously managed to hit it, all you've achieved is to turn a bullet into a bunch of buckshot before it hits you.
posted by chambers at 2:16 PM on April 2, 2016


Interesting to see a Camillus knife at the top of the list. Camillus Cutlery was a small local business near Syracuse, New York that went OB a few years back but they made great knives.

I actually have that exact knife lying around somewhere, probably in a box of things. How strange to see a picture of it in this context!
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:28 PM on April 2, 2016


Here's the Alien prop I was thinking of, it looks pretty different too.
posted by Artw at 2:29 PM on April 2, 2016


Your link's not working, Artw.
posted by merelyglib at 2:39 PM on April 2, 2016


SOVIET

LASER

PISTOL

posted by indubitable at 2:45 PM on April 2, 2016


I'm not sure I believe in it. If I believe in it, I certainly don't believe it's a laser.
posted by Artw at 2:53 PM on April 2, 2016


Alien prop
posted by Artw at 2:54 PM on April 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


There is no reason control surfaces and/or positioning jets couldn't be incorporated into the rods to give them some maneuvering capability and the ability to track a moving target.

At that point, why not just use an artillery shell or a missile? Almost certainly cheaper.

(In general, if you want to talk about military uses of space it's worth checking James Nicoll's blog first. And lo, here's a comment there talking about precisely this problem.)
posted by asterix at 2:57 PM on April 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


"Man... what're you doin' with a gun in space?"

At least on the ISS, you have the benefit of a great deal of the ship designed to survive a hit by a small, high-velocity projectile penetrating the hull (other than the windows, or stuff like O2 tanks, of course), albeit from the opposite side, since the outside hull is covered in thick Kevlar.

However, if you're wondering what might be the worst weapon to fire inside a spacecraft (aside from a rocket launcher), I think pulling the trigger on this Thermite Launcher wins the "Worst Possible Idea Ever" prize.
posted by chambers at 3:14 PM on April 2, 2016


Artw: "The firefly laser pistol is a pretty recognizable prop."

I was thinking of the Silk trigger active return bolt laser pistol seen in Heart of Gold.
posted by Mitheral at 3:17 PM on April 2, 2016


So many space machetes, Machete is going to have so many options in that next movie.
posted by threecheesetrees at 3:29 PM on April 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Transcript:

.....exercising my 2nd Amendment rights on the ISS...
.....Hey be careful with that thing...
.....Don't worry it's not....oops...
.....undetermined...
.....oh shit...
.....undetermened


Signal lost / no response.
posted by mule98J at 8:36 AM on April 3, 2016


Interesting to see a Camillus knife at the top of the list. Camillus Cutlery was a small local business near Syracuse, New York that went OB a few years back but they made great knives.

I actually have that exact knife lying around somewhere, probably in a box of things. How strange to see a picture of it in this context!


Many years ago I had one too! Don't remember how I got it or what happened to it (may be in one of my many junk drawers to this day), but if I had any idea of its connection to the space program I would have kept better track of it!
posted by TedW at 8:41 AM on April 3, 2016


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