Sea air thwarts Navy's laser cannons

Thursday - 6/2/2011, 7:40pm EDT

Its like something straight out of a sci-fi movie. The Navy is developing laser cannons that will attach to their shipdecks. But there's a problem. The sea air wreaks havoc on the laser beams. Wired Magazine reports, for lasers to work optimally a beam needs to pass in a straight line at a target. But the polluted sea air interferes with the straight line. So the Navy's asking businesses to help get rid of the air pollutants.

It's called the Atmospheric Aerosol Mitigation for High Energy Laser Propogation. And the Navy hopes that it will cut down on the resistance enough that a beam of light can travel through the salty air. And there's already been some success. Last month, the Maritime Laser Demonstrator - a solid state laser - on board a decommissioned destroyer disabled a small motorboat from a mile away.

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