ALEXANDER TSIARAS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY. ALEXANDER TSIARAS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY.
Star Wars research: the red glow from a neutral particle beam accelerator burns a hole in a piece of aluminium during tests on the neutral particle beam "White Horse" project at Los Alamos National Laboratory, California. Particle beams can supposedly destroy electronic circuits at great distances & with less energy than a laser needs to penetrate a target's exterior shielding. Neutral beams (unlike charged particles) are unaffected by Earth's magnetic field, & might be directed in straight lines at distant targets. Hence, space- based accelerator weapons form a major component of U.S. government's vision of the Strategic Defense Initiative (the Star Wars program).
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