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Hypochondriac
June 22nd, 2007, 09:10 AM
How do nukes aboard earth ships work in space don't they loose effectiveness in a vacuum? I always assumed all you would get in space was a radiation burst and thats it.

On earth isn't the majority of the damage caused by a compressive wave? In space won't you just get radiation, and a minimal shock wave?

Akai
June 22nd, 2007, 09:19 AM
There is no shock wave in space. The thermal pulse and shock wave from a nuclear explosion are created by the radiation and blast heating and producing pressure waves in a fluid (air). In space there is no air (well technically not none, even space isn't a perfect vacuum, but there isn't enough to have an effect). The bomb would blow itself apart, and you'd get a HUGE burst of radiation, and that's about it. There wouldn't really be a physical "blast" because there is no medium in space to transmit such a blast. It might look like a small sun for a brief instant (a lot of the radiation emitted is visible light). However, if one was beamed into a ship (say a Wraith hive ship)...there's air inside the ship so you would get the traditional effects in there. The shock wave produced by the exploding Asgard ship in "Small Victories" was probably a Hollywood creation as well, though with the Asgard tech maybe it was an energy wave or something.

Mister Oragahn
June 22nd, 2007, 09:36 AM
Detonate nukes very close to the hull of a ship and you'll heat up the hull. Nuclear levels will make the hull explode anyway, and will heat up the air inside.
Thus there would be a fireball that originates from the inside of the ship, and reaches outside more or less like a rocket.

VSHARMA
June 22nd, 2007, 10:43 AM
Possibly why a BattleStar can take so many Nukes in space

s09119
June 22nd, 2007, 11:19 AM
Possibly why a BattleStar can take so many Nukes in space

I was just gonna say that...

Semmer
June 23rd, 2007, 12:12 AM
The kinetic energy of the radiation particles from the nuke is huge, and is able to cause significant damage.

Hypochondriac
June 23rd, 2007, 08:39 AM
The kinetic energy of the radiation particles from the nuke is huge, and is able to cause significant damage.


But it doesn't come anywhere near the damage that would be caused within an atmosphere right?

Semmer
June 23rd, 2007, 12:48 PM
But it doesn't come anywhere near the damage that would be caused within an atmosphere right?Right, because there's no substances to deliver a shockwave.

Buba uognarf
June 23rd, 2007, 01:13 PM
Right, because there's no substances to deliver a shockwave.

Presumably in an asteroid field or a nebula there would be a shockwave though.

Platschu
June 23rd, 2007, 01:26 PM
Maybe a stupid question, but can a nuke explode in space? :o I think the NASA never made such tests, so we can imagine only or begin a computer simulation. ;)

PG15
June 23rd, 2007, 07:46 PM
Nukes have been exploded pretty close to space:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_testing#Types_of_nuclear_testing

Even though asteroid fields and nebulas are denser than the Intersteller Medium, they are still very VERY diffused when compared to the air on Earth; it really wouldn't make that much of a difference, I think.

Buba uognarf
June 24th, 2007, 02:53 AM
Nukes have been exploded pretty close to space:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_testing#Types_of_nuclear_testing

Even though asteroid fields and nebulas are denser than the Intersteller Medium, they are still very VERY diffused when compared to the air on Earth; it really wouldn't make that much of a difference, I think.

I know it wouldn't be the same but surely the detontation would send asteroid chunks flying and propel the gas in the nebula in a sort of shockwave.

Arania
June 24th, 2007, 02:54 PM
Although they may create a shockwave when detonated in a nebula, its unlikely that it would contribute AT ALL to the overall destructive power of the weapon. If anything, it would lower the energy output by absorbing some of the thermal radiation.

Of course, a nuke in space would just look like a flashbulb going off. Albeit a VERY bright flashbulb. The nuke would detonate, there would be a singular pulse of Gamma, X-Ray, Visual and Thermal radiation, along with a small cloud of plasma from the vaporised weapon casing. No shockwave, no fireball, just one big-ass flash.

Of course, range would be limited, as without the shockwave, you are limited to direct radiation interaction, and, as you are in a vacuum, the radiation would spread omnidirectionally, meaning that radiation intensity is inversely proportional to the cube of the distance from the detonation. Not to mention that you'd only get 1/2 absorbtion AT MOST if it was detonated outside the ship.

HAL
June 24th, 2007, 04:55 PM
Then should nukes work at all against ships with shields?



Since dont shields block radiation :I

Mister Oragahn
June 24th, 2007, 05:04 PM
An interesting point is that nukes see their power limited and delayed in atmosphere, as the former blast create an opaque shell, after an interaction with the ozone, that within a fraction of a second, which the energy released from intense X-rays can't burst through until the shell becomes more transparent.
These times stretch as the yield increases.
That "smog" wouldn't exist in space, so a target would be immediately hit with every form of rays, including the particularily powerful hard X-rays.

First
June 24th, 2007, 06:18 PM
This is a very good thread. One that most people, including movie producers, have never thought of.


Then should nukes work at all against ships with shields?
Since dont shields block radiation :I

A nuke in space would be of limited use against a shielded ship. In many sci-fi shows, shields block radiation. SG1 in "Enemies" hid their Hatak near a sun, their shields providing significant reduction to the radiation entering the ship.

blendergalactica
June 25th, 2007, 03:23 PM
The termo effects would be limited. As with the pressure over/under wave, which is about 95% of a nuke's destructive power, heat requires a medium in which to heat. Space is a void for all pratical matters.

So you get the increase in Xrays and Gamma-Rays, the neutron flux, and that's about it. The deal is, any spaceship would have to have substantial shielding against just normal background radiation and cosmic rays, so there is a real question of just how effective it maybe.

Now there is the EMP also associated with a blast. That could be the mose effective effect of a nukedet in space.

As previous posters said, if you beam one in the middle of a ship and detonate it, well it would burst the ship. Take a 2 litre soda bottle, fill it with water, and then shove an M-60 (the ones with the water proof fuses), and screw on the top, what happens? Heck just with air inside what happens?

jds1982
June 26th, 2007, 05:07 AM
The termo effects would be limited. As with the pressure over/under wave, which is about 95% of a nuke's destructive power, heat requires a medium in which to heat. Space is a void for all pratical matters.

So you get the increase in Xrays and Gamma-Rays, the neutron flux, and that's about it. The deal is, any spaceship would have to have substantial shielding against just normal background radiation and cosmic rays, so there is a real question of just how effective it maybe.

Now there is the EMP also associated with a blast. That could be the mose effective effect of a nukedet in space.


Nuclear weapons do NOT produce an EMP in space, they need an atmosphere and a magnetic field to do so. (http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/rocket3x.html#nuke)

Mister Oragahn
June 26th, 2007, 08:44 AM
This is a very good thread. One that most people, including movie producers, have never thought of.

A nuke in space would be of limited use against a shielded ship. In many sci-fi shows, shields block radiation. SG1 in "Enemies" hid their Hatak near a sun, their shields providing significant reduction to the radiation entering the ship.

Yes, but this amount of radiation was high, and the shields could only hold 10 hours like that - while the bare hull could withstand the radiation shower for one hour (still a good feat).
This is actually the event used to prove shielding ability sitting in the medium to high gigaton range.

But we're also talking about levels of radiation which in an atmosphere ignite materials to such temperatures that concrete is flash vaporized.

The advantage in space is that nukes won't auto-limit themselves either, because of no interaction of ozone, so in fact, absolutely all the radiations will be near 100% efficient and will be stopped by obstacles which are totally independant of the nuke.

Plus the tau'ri ships have focused nukes (those used in Project Pegasus), so this will make them much more efficient.
Eventually, if those nukes could trigger streams of fast neutrons, this would provide a devastating kinetic energy imho.

And that's not even picturing naqahdah enhancements.

jpf190279
June 27th, 2007, 04:22 AM
Quote "A nuclear explosion in space would be significantly "larger" than within an atmosphere, given nuclear devices of the same yield. As would a conventional explosion - conventional explosives are independent of atmospheric oxygen (an oxidizin' agent is part-and-parcel of an explosive composition; thats why the stuff explodes). No atmospheric or gravitational effects would inhibit expansion of the burst. The explosion of a star - a Nova - precisely is a nuclear explosion of massive scale, accompanied by gas clouds and shockwaves which extend for light-years and shape galactic features."

- timberlandko from http://www.able2know.com/forums/about50064.html

Also it is worth considering that it isn't the explosion you need to be worried about but its interaction with shields and hulls. A massive directed gamma/xray/infrared radiation burst at a single point on a shield is going to be pretty intense to withstand.

Shields that block radiation do so by redirecting it away from the shield via magnetic field lines, this weakened the intensity of the radiation on the shields, the problem is that this only works with low density radiation and with sufficient distance between the radiation producer and the shields. A nuke detonates at point blank range to the shields delivering the entire yield of the device to the shields.

Plus there is more top a nuke than just the kinetic energy.

jenks
June 27th, 2007, 05:23 AM
Right, because there's no substances to deliver a shockwave.

Surely if a nuke explodes on impact it would create a shockwave through the ship itself, wouldn't it?

mizzoueng
June 27th, 2007, 06:22 AM
As stated before, if the nukes dets say directly on the hull, the massive heat burst would affect the air inside the ship.

Now looking at what happens in BSG when a nuke hits the Galacitca, the ship lurches when hit. This is probably due to the fact that you have the det right on the hull and usually on a far side of the ship. This det will impart a downward force on the corner/side of the ship which results in the lurch you see.

Someone stated before that an EMP would be another result of the det. WHile it is true that if a nuke was det in space, no EMP would be present, if it were det on the hull or shield of a SG or BSG ship, and EMP wave would be present. THis would be due to the fact that all SG and BSG ships have AG fields which rely on mangetic fields to hold everyone down.

Now the radiation from the nuke would only effect the immediete region around the object it impacts. If Uranium were placed in space, the raditaion would no go anywhere (assuming the chunk is motionless), but add in the det of the bomb and the radiation would travel in a spherical direction. This should be remembered because a nuke in atmosphere is effectively destructive because of the spherical blast, but in space its useless as 50% of the yeild is directed away from the target and probably back at the sender.

jds1982
June 27th, 2007, 06:25 AM
Surely if a nuke explodes on impact it would create a shockwave through the ship itself, wouldn't it?

I don't know if I'd call it a shockwave, but I'm sure if it were close enough it would cause shearing damage (not sure if that's the correct term) because the nuclear explosion would push the craft in the opposite direction, most likely unevenly, sort of like a *******ized Project Orion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Orion_%28nuclear_propulsion%29). The real dangers I think would be from hull deformation due to flash heating, and secondary explosions.

Mister Oragahn
June 27th, 2007, 08:00 AM
I don't know if I'd call it a shockwave, but I'm sure if it were close enough it would cause shearing damage (not sure if that's the correct term) because the nuclear explosion would push the craft in the opposite direction, most likely unevenly, sort of like a *******ized Project Orion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Orion_%28nuclear_propulsion%29). The real dangers I think would be from hull deformation due to flash heating, and secondary explosions.

Wasn't the Orion's nukes specifically designed to come with enough matter to be turned into palsma by the nuke itself, to create a powerful "wall" of high velocity particles?

There can be, I suppose, three sources of kinetic energy with nukes.

- The particles released by the nuke itself.
- The superheated casing, if made to provide enough mass to vaporize, melt and push.
- The targeted material's own expansion (hull, air inside the ship, etc.).

The last one is, in the case of "normal" nukes with an ordinary casing, is likely going to be the largest source of kinetic energy, certainly dwarfing the other sources that makes them totally negligible, and could be associated to a shockwave ripple going through the whole ship.

IcyNeko
June 27th, 2007, 08:06 AM
Well, that's assuming the hull won't dampen the shockwave by absorbing the excess energy, no? Must hulls should do that, or else they'd risk rupture upon impact with any material.

I assumed the rocking was more due to the extreme velocity of the missile in question, especially since it has a rocket to keep adding it's momentum prior to impact against ship's hull.

Mister Oragahn
June 27th, 2007, 12:22 PM
I don't know about the missile's velocity, but there is the risk that if the missile comes in too fast, actually, it would be destroyed at impact before the chain reaction kicks in fully. All that very fast, of course, but a nuclear device is still something quite fragile.
I think they are ought to explode on proximity, with a very low threshold.

As for the shockwave due to the explosion of inner materials, I think that a multikiloton explosion occuring inside a ship is goign to rock it anyway. I think that after the nuke attack, the BSG lost a whole hull plating section and was eaten by flames.

jds1982
June 28th, 2007, 06:33 AM
Wasn't the Orion's nukes specifically designed to come with enough matter to be turned into palsma by the nuke itself, to create a powerful "wall" of high velocity particles?


Reaction mass for Orion would have been built into the bombs or dropped between 'pulses' to provide thrust. Polyethylene masses, garbage and sewage were all considered for use as reaction mass.

It seems kind of a shame we never went through with Orion, we could have colonized parts of the solar system by now, and possibly explored other star systems.