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New Concepts For Cloaking War Machines


By James Donahue

May 2005


As long as there has been warfare, humans have known the advantages of being “invisible” to the enemy.


In the old days, warriors became clever in the arts of camouflage and hiding behind rocks, trees and other natural objects as the enemy approached. Then as war machines were developed, the trick was to choose colors so machines and soldiers blended into the environment. Ships at sea were painted in random blotches of gray and blue, making them hard to spot against the natural colors of the water. Land vehicles were painted in blotches of green and brown.


The infamous “Philadelphia Experiment” was said to have been an effort by the Navy to use Tesla technology to make a ship invisible. Legend claims the experiment worked, but killed and maimed the crew members of the ship. The truth of the story is being debated to this day.


In the Iraq conflict the U. S. Air Force emerged with its new Stealth bomber, designed to be “invisible” to enemy radar. While it fooled the radar, the bomber can still be seen by the naked eye.


The Star Trek stories as portrayed in books, film and television shows pictures a future world where space craft use “cloaking” devices to make themselves invisible to one another. This has been fictional “wishful thinking” to military experts until recently.


Now a new idea has emerged that may make the cloaking of military ships, planes and tanks very possible.


Electronic engineers at University of Pennsylvania have developed a way of preventing light from bouncing off the surface of an object. Since we see objects from the light that strikes them, finding a way to absorb the light might cause the object to disappear, they reason.


The concept was reported in the Web site The report notes that the cloaking would not require peripheral attachments and would reduce visibility no matter what angle the object is viewed at.


The technique uses something called a “plasmonic cover” that mimics the same frequency as the light striking the object. The trick is getting the device to compensate for different wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation. If it can be done, the device, at least in theory, would make the object it cloaks vanish.


The way it works is that when the material in the cover matches the frequency of the light striking it, the two frequencies cancel each other out. Thus there is nothing to be seen of it.


Experiments have shown the technique appears to work. Engineers have managed to make certain metallic objects almost completely invisible, although faint forms can still be seen.


The experimentation continues. The day may come when cloaking for an attack will be as common as it appears on Star Trek.

Now about those wormholes….

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