After 41 Years Living in the Future, We Finally Get a Laser Gun

Geek Culture

Laser pistolLaser pistol

Image © Lucasfilm, Ltd.

On July 20, 1969, hundreds of millions of people around the Earth watched as Neil Armstrong became the first human being to set foot on another celestial object. It still seems somewhat extraordinary today that then, a mere ten years after the invention of the integrated circuit, NASA geeks were able to build computers sophisticated (and light) enough to put men on the moon and bring them back alive. For many people, the Apollo 11 moon landing — seeming as it did lifted straight out of science fiction stories — is when we started living in the future.

The marvels of the future we live in have lived up to science fiction in many ways — I mean, I have a device that fits comfortably in my pants pocket, yet is so vastly superior to the computers I grew up with in every way that the comparison is laughable. But where are the flying cars and the ray guns? Well, flying cars are probably not going to happen anytime soon, which considering the way some people drive the ground-bound ones is probably not a bad thing. But the ray guns have finally arrived.

Yes, Raytheon Corporation and the United States Navy have announced that an antiaircraft laser gun was successfully tested in May against drones. The gun was even able to shoot down one drone traveling faster than 300mph. Of course, being real laser devices, the guns don’t shoot a visible stream of light or make cool noises when they fire.

At least we can take some comfort in the fact that these guns are (nearly) the converse of the weapons in Real Genius, though this advance does lead one to wonder just how far off the military is from being able to kill people on the ground with aircraft-mounted lasers. One thing is certain: science fiction stories are one big step closer to being real.

Check out the (poor quality, but clear enough) video below to see a demo that’s been released.

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