The terrifying space weapons of the future – explosive ‘rods from God’ meteorites, molten metal cannons and weaponised asteroids

But these bizarre weapons may soon become a reality as space becomes the final frontier for superpower warfare. We take a look at what is currently being developed.

 

The Rods from God

This strange but utterly terrifying weapon has been dubbed "rods from the God" and is based on the concept of creating man-made meteorites that can be guided towards the enemy.

But instead of using rocks rods the size of telephone poles are used.

They are made out of tungsten — a rare metal that can stand the intense heat generated by entering Earth's atmosphere.

One satellite fires the rods towards the Earth's atmosphere while the other steers them to a target on the ground.

Reaching speeds of 7000mph they hit thee ground with the force of a small nuclear weapon — but crucially creating no radiation fall out.

As bizarre as it sounds, a US Congressional report reveals the military has been pushing ahead with the kinetic space weapons.

Weapons expert Amy F. Woolf said: "One warhead would be designed to destroy or disable area targets like airfields or buildings, using a reentry vehicle loaded with tungsten rods — known as flechettes — that would rain down on the target and destroy everything within an area of up to 3,000 square feet.

"The other might be able to destroy hardened targets, like underground bunkers or reinforced structures, if it were accurate enough to strike very close to the target."

Molten metal cannons

This intriguing idea is being developed by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

It is called the Magneto Hydrodynamic Explosive Munition or MAHEM.

This game changing rail gun can fire a jet of molten metal, hurled through space at several hundred miles per second by the most powerful electromagnets ever built.

The molten metal can then morph into an aerodynamic slug during flight and pierce through another spacecraft or satellite and a munition explodes inside. 

It is thought the weapon will have greater efficiency, control, and precision and it is touted for use in space.

The unique things about the projectile is that it can be morph into the best shape to travel in space or penetrate its target.

Currently it is being developed for handheld guns but it is expected to be adapted in the future.

Weaponizing asteroids

This sounds like a far fetched idea but soon it may come technically possible for a major space power to deflect an asteroid on its enemy.

Already NASA experts have developed a technology called HAMMER that they hope could nudge rocks before they smash into Earth.

This would be done by strategically smashing nuclear missiles into the rocks until it knocks them off course.

But experts point out there is nothing to stop a power steering an asteroid towards its enemy.

There are over 18,000 asteroids whose orbit occasionally brings them close to Earth.

Space war command and control

The US is currently developing a war room for space conflict called the Hallmark programme.

Lt Col Jeremy Raley said it has two goals.

He said: “The first one is to create a more effective human decision maker in respect to space battle management command and control.

"In other words to to get information into a human being head so they can make a decision about a military situation that has escalated in space.”

While militarisation of space is much criticised, many experts believe it is inevitable.

Michael Krepon, a space security expert and co-founder of the Stimson Center think tank in Washington DC, said a treaty banning the weaponisation of our orbit is not going to stop it happening.  

He told Sun Online: “One country could assert that another is putting weapons in space, while another could deny it.

“And what then? How do you deal with a deployed technology that can be put to good use like cleaning up space junk as well as bad use – disabling a satellite?

“A laser can be used for orbital course corrections as well as for burning up the innards of a satellite.

“Would you ban all lasers?”

Dr Krepon compared the space arms arms to the balance of power between nuclear armed states during the Cold War.

Moon bases

China, which is already emerging as major spacefaring power, has announced it wants to build a base on the Moon and then use to Mars which it also intends to colonise.

Russia announced it is planning to establish a facility which will be built by an army of humanoid robots.

Meanwhile NASA's has planned moon-orbiting Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway which can house troops of the newly formed United States Space Force.

All three competing powers have recently established military space forces and are sure to base legions of troops to protect their interests.

For well as being a platform to project power across Earth's orbit, there is a huge mining potential on the Moon, especially helium-3 production for an energy-hungry Earth.

Just as back at home, competition between colonial powers and over resources may spark conflict between competing nations, just as it has done back home since time.

Big brother in the sky

While it is keen to create a space force, the US also wants to consolidate its power in space and view any part of Earth where it wants, whenever it wants.

DARPA is currently forging ahead with its SeeMe satellites which involve two dozen satellites grouping together to allow detailed imagery from space.

The high quality live top down footage can be used by troops on the ground via their tablets.

Space force ships 

Already the United States is powering head with its spacecraft, although China is busy developing one of their own.

The top secret American XS-1 under development by the US military's high-tech agency, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

It can travel ten times the speed of sound and launch missiles.

Meanwhile an unmanned craft is currently being developed in the China Aerodynamics Research and Development Centre in Mianyang, Sichuan province, which is also known as Base 29.

Rogue satellites 

What worries Pentagon chiefs is that Russia and China continue to launch “experimental” satellites.

These conduct sophisticated on-orbit activities, at least some of which are intended to advance their space war capabilities.

Some technologies with peaceful applications — such as satellite inspection, refuelling, and repair — can also be used against adversary spacecraft, a report stated.

Ground-to-space attacks

Lasers and high-powered microwave gun systems could be fitted to spacecraft or satellite because they have the range.

 is running a laser gun programme called Excalibur.

It uses electricity to emit lasers which can concentrate devastating energy rays on their targets.

President Vladimir Putin’s already has a new James Bond-like laser system his forces claim is capable of zapping satellites.

According to the Russian MoD, the Peresvet laser cannon – which the US called "disturbing" back in August – was put into service on December 1.

The deadly laser cannon is now being used by the Russian armed forces.

Moscow has also been testing anti-satellite missiles.

Military experts say the interceptor missiles can use kinetic energy to blast out of Earth's atmosphere and obliterate large objects

In the last several years China has carried out numerous ballistic missile tests with targets in space.

In February of this year it managed to destroy its own satellite.

A US intelligence report read: "Russian and Chinese destructive ASAT (antisatellite) weapons probably will reach initial operational capability in the next few years."




 

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