The Photon Torpedo Is a Lie [Video]

If you’re a science geek and you aren’t watching Dr. Kaku’s Universe, prepare to spend a few hours catching up.

Over on Big Think,┬átheoretical physicist at C.U.N.Y. and popular radio host and television personality Michio Kaku answers reader questions about physics and futuristic science. This week he tackles Star Trek’s “photon torpedo” and talks about improving efficiency in space travel with the microwave rocket.

You mean I can’t annihilate the enemy with my flashlight? But… that was my back-up plan. Damn you, Star Trek!

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9 Responses to The Photon Torpedo Is a Lie [Video]

  1. Fail. The photon torpedo is a fancy name for a torpedo that has an impulse engine on it with a matter antimatter warhead. Quantum torpedoes are another matter but function under the same basic principle. Pretty sure Gene invented the word, because, as was stated in the video, it just sounds cool.
    Ref: http://memory-alpha.org/wiki/Photon_torpedo

  2. One thing I never got about the Anti-matter warhead on the photon torpedo, why did they include a purpose-specific amount of matter for the anti-mater? Wouldn't it make more sense to just use the matter of the torpedo itself (or the matter of the target) to fuel to matter annihilation?

    • Put on my Trek weapons hat here:

      Matched matter and anti-matter charges are part of the warhead due to explosion geometry.
      Without specifically matched and guided charges the energy released in the initial explosion will eject some of the anti-matter which will escape interaction with matter briefly.
      To insure maximum yield from your matter/anti-matter warhead you must ensure that there is 100% conversion of all anti-matter to energy in as brief a time as possible, Planck time if achievable.

      For more geekery see the memory alpha entry on pho-torps; Technical Manuals towards the end.

  3. Umm, the reason they called them "Photon" was due to the mistaken belief in the 1960's that an antimatter reaction would result in a burst of pure gamma ray photons… So yeah, despite the name not matching up with current science it was/is still meant to be an antimatter weapon. research FAIL.

  4. how would using ground based lasers be an effective means of space travel? sure maybe between 2 fixed points with another laser base on the other side.. couldnt use that to explose space soon as u leave its line of sight you will just be stranded. and asuming the laster is pointing a 1 fixed point. the ship would be screwed if it got knocked off course.. it mite work but its pointless