Not sure if GQ is the right place for this one, but wanted to ask some questions about some old favorite Sci-Fi type weapons, what exactly they are, and what, if any, reality underlies them.
The first weapons I see a lot of is a plasma rifle/cannon. What exactly is it? I understand what plasma is, but how would you go about using it as a projectile type weapon, i.e. how would you ‘fire’ plasma at a target? What would it take to create a man portable plasma weapon? What would it (theoretically) use as fuel (I’ve seen hydrogen used in books)? What would its (theoretical) energy requirements be?
The next weapon is the rail gun. I remember in my college physics class talking about rail guns WRT then president Reagans Star Wars program (my physics prof was involve in some research program related to SW). But how practical is such a weapon? What would it take to make a rail gun that was man portable? What kind of ammo could or would (theoretically) be used? What would its energy requirements (again, theoretically) be?
The old standby…the laser rifle/cannon. Would this be a practical military weapon? What would it take to make a man portable version? What would its energy requirements be?
From Honor Harrington, what exactly is a grazer…and how would it theoretically work? What does it fire, and what kind of power requirements would it have? Also from HH, how practical and how would an X-Ray (bomb pumped) laser work?
How about the old fashion light sabre. How could such a weapon work (how would it repel another light blade for instance)? Would it be a plasma, a laser…something else? Again, I realize its Sci-Fi but is there anything in science that could underpin the concept?
Mods, if this would work better in IMHO or another forum (because there are no factual answers I suppose) feel free to move it there.