As far as nuclear, putting aside the fuel and waste storage requirements of nuclear, what happens when a solar panel 'breaks'? not exactly a lot. It simply doesn't function. When a reactor 'breaks', well you've pretty well made the local area uninhabitable. And when your entire sustaining environment is localized to the reactor, you've got a pretty big problem. Unless you're planning on running miles of power cable in addition to just building the base... Is a nuclear breach likely? probably not, but when you have zero backup capability you need to think hard about putting in things that can go spectacularly wrong.
You are aware that it is possible to design a nuclear reactor, which, according to the very laws of physics that govern its reaction, simply cannot go supercritical? In fact, the Chinese are planning on building several thousand of them because of that very fact. Look up the pebble bed reactor.
You just said MAD worked in the 1960s - who needs another deterrent against NK?
Nice try. I never said MAD worked in the 1960s -- MAD was never an official US State Department policy, so how could MAD ever have possibly worked?
My actual point was that we are still alive today, therefore we must have done at least something right as a species, regardless of how flawed political policies were. That doesn't mean we should use the 1960s as an example of good practice for the future. We need to learn from our mistakes, not repeat them endlessly. Then again, Congress is a great example of the latter...
Regardless, with North Korea, they seem to be so absolutely batshit insane over there that I would definitely not want to bet my life on the assumption that they would treat assured destruction as sufficient deterrent to not, say, launch a missile at Japan. By that reasoning, it is a sound policy to have some form of anti-missile defense in the region if just to protect NK's neighbors from this. Does it mean we should foot the entire bill? No, of course not -- but I'm sure that South Korea and Japan would have no issues paying their share to ensure their own security.
Let me guess, you're a fan of Stuart Slade's, aren't you?
What a nice ad hominem. If you have a problem with someone's arguments, provide a well-thought out, logical rebuttal and see what happens. On the other hand, if you don't have the decency to do that, you're just trolling and can kiss my ass.
If your idea of an anti-missile is a nuke, yeah it is effective - about as effective as horseshoes played with hand grenades.
http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/4925129/description.html is the patent for the transponder - enabled target missile.
The very idea that we should detonate nukes in the atmosphere is nuts. It is even more absurd as a defense to incoming weapons from enemies that don't exist any longer (China owns our debt; Russia has enough to deal with from the former client states) and Israel, N. Korea, India and Pakistan don't have ICBM delivery systems.
Regardless of the merits of nukes in anti-missile defense, the fact is that ICBMs were effectively obsolete in the 1960s. However, due to rampant idiocy and other political blunders, we forged ahead with them. Did it work out in the end? I suppose so. We're alive, aren't we? Does that mean the people in charge made the right decisions? I doubt it. We were left to foot a bill for a ridiculously overcomplicated, expensive system that has done absolutely nothing to help us in quality of life or scientific advancement.
For what it's worth, a high-altitude airburst releases less radiation into the atmosphere than your average coal plant spews out in thorium... yeah, that's a tragedy.
WHO are we developing this new system to defend against?
We're not. Nike Zeus was a strategic ABM defense system. It neatly countered the Russian threat of the 1960s. Would it be right to deploy an analogous system today? No -- as you said, where's the threat? The airborne laser, on the other hand, can be deployed to a small combat theatre, or any possible danger zone where some idiot with some secondhand IRBMs might be tempted to shoot them off. It's a technology testbed more than anything else -- a proof of concept, if you will. Base a few out of Japan, keep them on patrols, and you've effectively neutralized any chance North Korea had of shooting anything off at their neighbors. High energy lasers, frankly, make more sense in the modern battlefield than anti-missile missile defenses. Why shouldn't we be developing the technology?
It is potentially everone on the planet.
Yes it is.. including the old, disabled and those wiithout computers.
And don't forget the dearly departed.
Our anti-rocket defenses have been gross failures. This technology has a long way to go to be viable.
I'm glad that we have established that you just spout rhetoric made by idiots long before you. That line was first used by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara (may he burn in hell). Mind you, that was the same man who was responsible for the Edsel at Ford and practically every idiotic military idea during his tenure at the Pentagon.
The Nike Zeus system was consistently shown to be able to achieve missile kills in the 1960s using its standard nuclear warhead. I've also heard that there was a (classified) number of tests where the Zeus rockets made skin kills without said warhead. A modified variant was also capable of ASAT kills. The Zeus system, combined with a bomber such as the B-70 Valkyrie, would have rendered ICBMs obsolete. It was only the fact that we had a SecDef with a hard-on for ICBMs that ensured their survival.
And, by the way -- Zeus + B-70 would have saved the US a ton of money, relatively speaking, compared to all the money we spend on missiles. We were forced to build hundreds of massive, hardened missile silos to protect our ineffective ICBMs from counterattack. This is an incredible waste of money compared to the cost it would have taken to upgrade our Air Force bases to be able to support an active fleet of B-70s. Not to mention we already had Nike missile sites in place around most major cities; these could have been simply upgraded to Zeus missiles, as had been done with the upgrade from Ajax to Hercules.
Meanwhile, we spend vast sums on this technology when we really ought to be looking to get outside of Earth orbit. 40 years is 30 years too long. We ought to have manned Moon and Mars bases by now.
I believe the wording you're looking for is "Meanwhile, we have spent vast sums on ground wars and Space Shuttle technology when we really ought to be...". The amount of money spent on ABM technology is a drop in the bucket compared both of the above mentioned boondoggles.
I hear all-too-frequently in the business world that "if the rest of the world is going with Microsoft, why do anything different?"
Just for that attitude alone, it would be a huge wakeup call to the rest of the world if Microsoft died off. For starters, it would show all the MBAs out there just how little they really know about business, namely, the part about "don't put all your eggs in one basket."
When you make your mark in the world, watch out for guys with erasers. -- The Wall Street Journal