Let’s say that you had infinite money and/or resources, all kinds of them, what material would you use to build tanks, so that they are pretty much unbeatable?
Diamonds for example come to mind, but they shatter easily, so they wouldn’t work, so what could be used instead? I suppose there’s at least something better than steel that we aren’t using due to extreme costs, but in this scenario that wouldn’t be an issue.
Infinite money would mean infinite inflation, so I think things will go badly. The only opposition for our tanks will be what people can come up with in a post-apocalyptic barter economy. We can make unbeatable tanks out of papier-mâché.
Though I haven’t seen that mentioned elsewhere so take it for what its worth.
Edit in case someone doesn’t want to click on the link “The Orion scheme for Nuclear Pulse Propulsion was first proposed by Stanislaw Ulam and Cornelius Everett in a classified 1955 paper. According to popular lore, Ulam was inspired by an experiment that involved suspending two graphite-covered steel spheres about thirty feet from ground zero of an atomic explosion. The spheres were later found fully intact miles away, with only a thin layer of graphite vaporized away by the explosion.”
My tank has armor approximately 250 miles thick. The whole tank is therefore a hemisphere a bit more than 500 miles in diameter. Of course it can’t move, but the OP didn’t require that, merely that it must be “unbeatable”.
“Not the reaction i expected but okay” , it’s a hypothetical scenario, no need to think about inflation and effect of one person having all money on the agriculture in Zambia, simply if you could afford any alternative to steel to use as a material, what would it be?
No matter what you build your tank out of and no matter how large or small, I can find a rock floating between Mars and Jupiter that can be redirected to obliterate any weapon or the continent it is sitting on. The core sucking ship the aliens used in the second Independence Day movie would be a toughie.
The temperature in the center of a nuclear explosion reaches one hundred million degrees cite. That kind of temperature blows the electrons right out of atoms cite. I have a hard time believing a graphite and steel sphere emerged unscathed. At the very least, I want a cite that’s better than “according to popular lore”.
The combined wisdom of SDMB brings you the ultimate unbeatable tank:
Armor it with angled layers of Diamene 250 miles thick; bribe the enemy not to shoot tactical nukes at you; train puppies and kittens as crew; hire Will Smith to ensure air superiority if aliens arrive. Oh, and I almost forgot - don’t park on top of a manhole cover.
When it comes to weapons systems, there’s no such thing as an unbeatable anything; just a perpetual arms race that (temporarily) puts one type of weapon system in ascendancy over another…for a while. Then new technology comes along and the “balance” swings another direction.
Even the BOLOs, quite possibly the most awesome mega-tanks science fiction has conceived, were not invulnerable; just so damned tough that, for their adversaries, it typically wasn’t worth the effort to engage them. Victories over BOLOs tended to be Pyrrhic.
Well, in the spirit of the OP, I think the civilization that builds the mega-tank also has an accompanying fleet of space Battleships (and Battle Cruisers, Heavy Cruisers, Light Cruisers, Destroyers, etc.) and Battle Stars, that would spot your celestial shenanigans, and dispatch appropriate forces to counter it.
Although, the capability to make an effective Space Navy might well render conventional ground forces mostly obsolete.
Actually, to give a real-life example of the previously mentioned arms-race: post-Vietnam, the Main Battle Tank was essentially considered an obsolete weapons system, due to the evolving nature (and lethality) of man-portable anti-tank rockets and missiles.
Then along comes Chobham armor, giving the newer generation MBTs (Abrams, Challenger, etc.) sufficient protection in their primary threat zones to make MBTs once again viable weapons systems. Along with advances in design philosophy, modern MBTs are unbelievably tough. But still, not invulnerable.