Mon Dieu!! Now all I can think about is that scene from Star Wars when Princess Leia watches an unsuspecting peaceful planet be blasted into bits by a long-distance laser weapon.
Even scarier – France doesn’t seem to be the only one interested in turning their satellites into directed energy weapons.
Space lasers are all the rage in the tech industry over the last couple of years. China wants to use orbital lasers to destroy space junk, and Facebook wants to use lasers to boost satellite communications. All of those use cases are fairly benign, but France wants to use space lasers for slightly more militaristic purposes moving forward.
French news site Le Point recently reported that the country intends to “reallocate” a whopping €700 million from its full military budget to its “Space Force” in the near future. This money will be used to fund satellite-mounted defense systems, including lasers, submachine guns, and other forms of defensive tech.
Despite the offensive capabilities this weaponry would give France, the country says it has no intention of using it to harm other countries’ satellites — it’s for self-defence only. France wants to be able to protect its satellites in the event that a hostile country tries to attack or otherwise sabotage them.
France isn’t the only country that is looking at space with renewed interest. The US is increasing its investment in the field, too, and hopes to establish a Space Force of its own in the future.
Earlier this year, Scientific American warned there is too much space junk already and it’s creating a dangerous situation in space as well as on Earth. Rocket fuel necessary to launch anything up there is also highly polluting.