Aarhus University Seal

Student colloquium - René Czepluch Thomsen: Kinetic Orbital bombardment

Info about event


Wednesday 29 April 2020,  at 09:15 - 10:00
[Translate to English:] Satellite carrying multiple kinetic rods
[Translate to English:] Satellite carrying multiple kinetic rods

Supervisor: Steen Brøndsted Nielsen


Kinetic orbital bombardment is an idea developed in the cold war. The idea is simple: drop a telephone-size tungsten rod from space on your enemies. This rod doesn’t carry any explosives - the only destructive power is from the velocity and mass from the object.

This technology was never developed, but the concept still lives on in science fiction games, movies and books. Kinetic orbital bombardment is often portrayed as a weapon of mass destruction in these sources - but is it that powerful? And what kind of destruction can we expect from a telephone-sized object colliding with many times the speed of sound? 

In this talk, I will simulate an impact, find the destructive power and compare the destruction with similar energies of earthquakes and asteroid impacts. Lastly i’ll discuss why the technology was never developed.