a reply to: BASSPLYR
About those Dugway photos:
Multiple photos show pretty consistent phenomena testifying to a high power release—I would estimate in excess of a Megawatt. The energy release is
not isotropic; it is aligned along the up-down axis. It is a directed energy device of some sort. The energy release in the air that is causing a
column of air to glow is correlated with an energy release on the ground (lighting up the clouds from below). They are likely both part of the same
It is not a laser or other purely electromagnetic beam. If it were, light would be both absorbed and scattered by its passage through the atmosphere.
A laser would appear as a continuous beam, but the photos show that it is not. There is an interval between the ground and the altitude where the
visible column of light starts to form. This interval needs to be explained. There also seems to be structure within the column; in some photos the
column looks more like an exclamation point!
Since it’s a directed energy beam and it’s not photons, it’s a particle beam of some kind.
Multiple witnesses on the same night and on different nights indicate that the phenomenon forms in the sky over the same geographical location (ground
zero), time after time. So, the beam could be originating from a fixed facility on the ground (most likely), or from a mobile platform fixed somewhere
in the air or space above, and firing downward. The beam was reported by witnesses as running continuously for a few minutes, shutting off for a
while, and then restarting multiple times during the night, separated by intervals of perhaps 15 minutes. This eliminates orbital basing, since low
Earth orbits do not retrace the same ground track within 15 minutes. What about a heavier-than-air or lighter-than-air craft? No motion of the beam
relative to the ground was reported, meaning that if the beam source originated from a conventional HTA or LTA craft, that craft would have had to
have been hovering for an unrealistically long time. Finally, I note that the photos show the lighted column to be more intense at the top than at
the bottom and to be slightly divergent, moving from bottom top.
I believe all the characteristics that the witnesses described and photographed are the signature of a specific type of particle beam, originating
from the ground, which I will now discuss. Negative Pi Mesons (- π) have a half life around 26 nanoseconds. They are produced by colliding a Proton
beam with a metal foil target (typically, Beryllium). Because they carry a negative charge, they can be separated from the residual Protons,
collimated, and accelerated away from their point of production (i.e., made into a beam). Because they are about 270 times more massive than an
Electron but carry the same charge, they have a much better ability to penetrate farther through matter and stay collimated better than Electrons.
But the main point is that when they get to their half life, they all start decaying spontaneously, regardless of where they are and they all release
their energy in one spot, mostly in the form of gamma rays. This characteristic is used to treat cancer; a Pion beam causes relatively little damage
to healthy tissue on the way in, but then dumps a large dose of radiation in one spot where the tumor is. I think what we’re seeing is a Pion beam
being generated on the ground and projected up to the point in the air where the Pions spontaneously give up their energy as gamma rays.
The process of producing the Pions via Proton collisions produces a lot of radiation at the site of the production. (I’m not an expert on this,
but I would expect to see more radiation at the production site than there is at the target site.) The witnesses to the Dugway beam reported seeing
phenomena at the base of the beam consistent with a very high level of radiation.
So how would this be used in practice? As I mentioned above, the air itself does not have much effect on attenuating the beam. An experiment at CERN
showed that Pions can transit through a column of 15 grams of material and still release their gammas at the point of disintegration. The column
density of the Earth’s atmosphere is only about 10 grams at its thinnest point (top to bottom), so you could shoot one of these beams vertically
through the atmosphere, with range to spare.
The problem is that Pions have a fixed half life, in their own rest frame. So if you want to create the gamma burst 1 meter away from where you are
producing them, you have to shoot them out with a speed of 1 meter per 26 nanoseconds, or about 38 million meters per second. That’s about 1.5% the
speed of light. If you want to create the gamma burst further away, you have to keep increasing the speed of the Pions accordingly. It’s hard to
tell exactly from the photos, but it looks to me like the energy release is occurring about 10,000 ft (about 3 kilometers) above the desert floor (it
appears to be above the lowest cloud deck, anyway). If they travelled 3 km in 26 nanoseconds, they were going 38 times the speed of light!
Just kidding. Actually, they would have been travelling very close to the speed of light, but they would have been experiencing relativistic time
dilation. If my calculations are somewhat near correct, that would require about a 10 Gev particle accelerator. For reference, the first generation
Bevatron at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab achieved 6.5 Gev, back in the 1960s. So the design challenge here would be to produce a 10 Gev-class particle
accelerator in a package small enough and light enough to transport in, say, a C-5.
The point here is that if the beam consists of Pions, as I think it does, it is already a highly relativistic beam and it would be difficult to make
it project much further out. I could see a range of 10 km, but I would doubt 100 km. If that conjecture is approximately correct, then this is
fundamentally a short range weapon, as far as strategic applications are concerned; it probably won’t be shooting down entire fleets of incoming
ICBMs and it would be useless to base them in space. However, you might want one or two of these around to take care of “loose nukes” from rogue
states like North Korea or nation states that would be happy to give one or two nuclear devices to our adversaries who wouldn’t be shy about using
them. In that case, the beam generator would have to be able to relocate on the time scale of hours or a day and you would probably be zapping a
target that is on the surface or flying at subsonic velocities. Putting one of these in a C-5/747 (like the ABL) or equivalent would probably
suffice. Of course, the 747 would have to be unpiloted because of the intense near radiation field. And you would have to have achieved air
superiority before sending the 747 in. Further up the scale would be suppression of regional scale nuclear exchanges—basically a way of keeping a
tactical exchange from going strategic. In that case, you would need a small fleet of these things on HALE platforms able to maintain a persistent
presence in a region. This scenario would have to assume that you would be operating in an airspace contested by at least a near peer.