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Hypervelocity Rod Bundles
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The U.S. Air Force is planning ahead for space as a battle zone. They just issued something called the Transformation Flight Plan which details some of the areas they'd like to focus on in the coming decades.

I understand most of the recommendations--stuff like intelligence gathering from space, developing the capability to shoot down eney satellites, etc.

But one thing caught my eye in particular: Hypervelocity Rod Bundles.

Apparently the idea is to have launch platforms in orbit that hurl metal rods really fast at targets on the ground. Um.

On the surface, the idea sounds pretty stupid. I mean, the heavier things are, the harder and more expensive they are to get into space. Would we really want to use metal shafts as strike weapons? And looking around on the net a bit, I find that the idea has all sorts of other technical problems.

For one thing, stuff that is pulled down to earth through the atmosphere tends to get really, really hot. Even if a metal (or space-age substance) rod has a very low entry profile (and this is assuming that it doesn't tumble) it's going to get incredibly freaking hot...and you guessed it, melt.

All in all, this sounds like a really stupid-ass idea. Hey, while we're at it, why don't we bring the catapult back?

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