Nanotechnology promises more destructive weapons than nuclear
The elements for manufacturing will be available to any country or terrorist group in 20 years
Nanotechnology promises for the next 20 years arms the size of a molecule to be more destructive than nuclear, chemical and biological weapons today: a pen could destroy an entire city. Any country or terrorist group may dispose of them because the materials needed for manufacturing will be everywhere because of the multiple uses of nanotechnology. Although improved defensive capabilities of the pioneers, the nanoweapons change the rules of deterrence and the current global power structures. Experts warn of the need adopar legal measures and preventive policies.
By Yaiza Martinez.
A scene from Soldier of the future
Nanotechnology may lead to a new generation of weapons with a destructive capability and superior to deterrence of nuclear, chemical and biological, which will be available to any small country or terrorist group, says the magazine Signal, belonging to the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association.
Nanotechnology is the development and practical application of structures and systems at the nanometer scale: between 1 and 100 nanometers (a nanometer is a billionth of a meter). Nanotechnology is responsible for both the manufacture and control of machines and structures the size of molecules.
The most promising applications of this science, not yet fully developed, are energy, agriculture, water treatment, treatment of diseases, drug delivery, food processing, pollution, construction, health monitoring and detection and control of pests.
But nanotechnology also promises advances in another field not least, the arms industry, but experts disagree completely as to what possible evolutions of the technology can bring to smaller defense systems in the coming decades.
In the short term, nanotechnology will lead to lighter and stronger materials with different properties of the materials we know today, which will mean a major transformation of weapons systems.
The properties of these materials may be modified and controlled as desired: smart fibers which can change its color or shape, electronic features, super intelligent systems or materials, components made with atomic precision, which can lead to molecular structures with high electrical conductivity or power.
In the longer term, nanotechnology will be used to develop biological weapons intelligent, able to search and defenseless human harm. In one case could fit millions of such weapons, full of destructive power.
The nano-weapons may be addressed with much greater precision than current and cause uncertainty about the capabilities of the adversary. Also give less time to respond to an attack and improve the ability to direct the destruction of enemy resources.
Materials will also be able to reconfigure available to the military. Thanks to nanotechnology, these smart materials change shape as well as human muscles.
For example, in the battlefield a backpack could become a weapon quickly, then a tent, and then a gun again. These weapons will be invisible to satellites and to the human eye, so it will be out of control. Hence its main danger.
Communications and Sensors
Another military issues related to nanotechnology and communications concerns, highlights magazine Signal. In another article, the magazine has plans for the New Jersey Nanotechnology Consortium, founded three years ago by Lucent Technologies and Bell Labs, including nanotechnology important developments related to defense.
The aim is to increase communications with the accessibility between the satellites and ground stations using nanotechnology. Nanotechnology-based sensors is another objective of this research in progress. Would observe the land surface and sea bottom by lenses that work like the human eye.
It also works in the same capacity nanosensors smell than a dog, and in nanomicrophones that eliminate background noise of a battlefield, clearing communications.
The creation of a biological interface man machine, able to get a gun recognizes its owner and only acting under his orders (like a dog), is another area of research for military purposes, and the creation of nanoparticles generating for telecommunications light without laser.
The detection of weak magnetic fields, like a rifle or a submarine, capable of activating early defensive measures to neutralize an attack, is another field of military research in nanotechnology.
But nanotechnology will not only create new generations of weapons, but existing weapons can increase its destructive capacity to the limit.
For example, the guns will be more potent, and the bullets may be directed toward the desired target DNA even with readings. The materials for aviation will be lighter and more efficient and, being made with a minimum amount of metal will be much more difficult to detect by radar.
It is generally believed that weapons based on nanotechnology will have a capacity of mass destruction than that of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. The spread of these weapons is inevitable nanotechnology and nuclear deterrence (preventing an attack because it involves the destruction of the two warring countries) will no longer make sense because any country can defeat your enemy in a first strike without retaliation possible.
In this regard, one can think of nanorobots launched from an airplane over the enemy camp, capable of damaging the electronics adversary inflitrarse in the body of the soldiers sleep in their blood until they are activated by a signal … are some of the plausible scenarios designed by military planners.
The big difference with these conventional weapons, is that nanotech weapons are easily accessible to small countries and terrorist groups, as the materials needed for manufacturing will be everywhere due to the many civilian uses of nanotechnology.
From another perspective, nanotechnology can also bring great benefits such as improving the defensive capabilities of a country with plenty of time to detect a potential aggressor or disposing of weapons the size of a pen capable of destroying an entire city.
Current research in the United States aim to achieve mesh of radioactivity capable of protecting the soldiers and that could serve both to act as a compress to the wound. Other nanotechnology investigacioones intended to decrease the stress of soldiers and increase their mobility in the battlefield.
Another theoretical advantage is that nanotechnology can provide clean and safe weapons that cause less collateral damage than conventional, not to mention the experimental capabilities of nanorobots spies.
However, the first concern regarding the development of these arms is toxicity. Products not molecular levels are not toxic, allowed even by the ministries of health in food, could be highly toxic at the nanoscale.
According Signal, nanotechnology will be a great industrial revolution is not confined to America, still is ahead in this sector, but also give other countries the same time.
America is a country where more is developing nanotechnology, but China is particularly ambitious in this area. The number of engineers in this branch of technology in China is higher than in the U.S., representing a risk to Americans who can not face it in 20 or 30 years. India is also seriously investigating this sector.
To prevent possible problems arising from this development, each nation should be assessed the consequences of the development of this industry and legislative requirements. In the United States and several companies working in nanotechnology, so that the development of this sector could be faster than expected, and its consequences have not yet been measured by the relevant institutions.
In regard to the military field, the legislation should be implemented rapidly. The dangers of nanotechnology are unprecedented. According to American specialists, work on nanotechnology in Saudi Arabia, for example, could easily fall into the hands of al-Qaida or any terrorist group without scruples.
Any country could make improper use of this cutting edge technology, as harmful purposes that would be unprecedented. How could legislate a series of invisible weapons? How could control the damage that would be able to do?
They are therefore increasingly necessary policies monitoring nanotechnology, especially since the next 15 years, says the Foresight Institute in Palo Alto, California. The work of this institute is to help prepare society for dealing with the most advanced technologies, especially nanotechnology.
In this way, nanotech weapons could destabilize international relations, since the inability to monitor lead to enemy countries, increase the possibility of attack on people rather than places and also would increase the number of countries capable of global destruction . It could also end the control of the most powerful.
If confirmed nanotech scenarios provided in the military field, where the leadership race has begun, in a historical situation unprecedented alert about the dangers of which more and more clearly the experts who research in this field.