The White House may have declined a petition for the U.S. to build a Death Star, but that doesn’t mean there’s no hope left for Star Wars fans. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) officially finished working on aircraft-based lasers that closely resemble lasers on the spaceships seen in Star Wars or Star Trek.
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DARPA has been working on the lasers since 2008 through its High Eenergy Liquid Laser Area Defense System (HELLADS) program. The lasers will be light enough to be mounted onto planes and capable of shooting surface-to-air missiles out of the sky with high-energy beams.
The new technology is not meant to be used as an offensive weapon, but rather as a defensive system against missiles coming from the ground and to assault targets on the ground with high precision. The lasers will be able to swivel around as missiles are detected and overheat them to the point of system failure. An advantage the lasers will give aircrafts, besides extreme precision, is that it is impossible for targets to avoid laser hits because they travel at the speed of light.
DARPA’s goal is to start testing the new technology in 2014.
How cool is that?