How to Win an Interstellar War

How to Win an Interstellar War

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Could aliens destroy us from light years away? Another day at Kurzgesagt Labs, where we answer the most important questions with science.
Today: how might civilizations wage war across light years? What kind of devastating weapons could they use and what would they look like?


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45 Responses

  1. Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell says:

    ✨ Join the Galactic Club: your cozy corner in the vast universe ✨
    Get everything you need to fit right in with our brand new Limited Drop – available worldwide, and ONLY on the kurzgesagt shop! Stocks are highly limited, so don’t delay!

  2. Pau Buigues says:

    Thank you Kurzgesagt, I was planning to wage an interstellar war soon, this will surely be helpful

  3. GhostDragon says:

    For anyone interested, the bookseries of “Trisolaris” briefly, and “The Forever War” more intensely deal with the concepts of interstellar warfare.

    • gomshom67 says:

      You mean “remembrance of Earth’s past?”

    • GhostDragon says:

      @gomshom67 You’re right! Trisolaris seems to be the name for it where I’m from, but not the actual name of the series.

    • Alt For Auditions says:

      Charles Pellegrino’s “The Killing Star” is also worth a read. Several of the ideas in the Remembrance of Earth’s Past series came from that novel.

    • Pirojf Mifhghek says:

      Alternatively, the Dune series… if you want the really weird, perverted answer. The answer is not in “the Spice.” It’s in the theoretical “Golden Path” which is essentially “spread far across the universe, mutate, evolve, and get so weird that even humanity as it exists can’t predict what you might do.”

    • Black Smurf Cat says:

      I want to do a skibid toilet episode

  4. rthomp03 says:

    An interesting idea from the Bobiverse series of books: If you shoot a nuclear missile at relativistic speeds, after detonation the resulting EM waves get red-shifted into even more damaging gamma radiation. It still doesn’t have a planetary area of effect (for that you’d need to scale up to more warheads), but it allows a single warhead to be directional and much more fatal to all life. The advantage here is that you only need to accelerate a relatively small payload, so you don’t need a skyscraper-sized missile.

    • Adrien Foulon says:

      The waves would not be shifted, they are the result of the collision and do not travel at the speed of the object. But if you sent an emitting body, then yes that could happen and would multiply the energy of the emitted particle

    • exscape says:

      @Adrien Foulon There would be no collision. The missile detonates before reaching its target.

    • Damian Waluszko says:

      Maybe I missed something but in the video we also have small payload, just 300kg. Rest is huge fuel tank so our missile get enough speed

    • HenceTheBeetroot says:

      @Damian Waluszko The relativistic missile is a purely physical weapon, simply having an insane momentum due to its ridiculous speed and thus a devastating impact. This idea is more like the ultra-relativistic electron beam in that the “killer” is high-energy particles that break down DNA.

    • antipoti says:

      You mean blue-shifted?

  5. Jaso11111 says:

    An interesting follow up video would be how a more advanced humanity might defend against such existential weapons.

  6. LitGe123 / Litulus says:

    The quallity of the animation has increased a lot! I love this! And the way Kurzgesagt explain things to us!

  7. fep_ ptcp says:

    I’ve always thought that there’s nothing to fear about hostile more advanced aliens. If they strike we won’t even see them coming

  8. Apredox Someting says:

    I love how instead of deciding to help humanity build the weapon, kurzgesagt instead decided to help the aliens

  9. Neonop says:

    Fun fact: The background’s audio of Kurzgesat’s videos can tell you the whole story by itself! So much quality!

  10. Parasmunt says:

    The most interesting of the three was the ultra relativistic electrons. If you could get a spaceship to a speed like that, humans could settle on other galaxy groups.

    • Adrien Foulon says:

      Don’t forget about acceleration and deceleration, you don’t want to turn into a puddle.. But you might not need the deceleration part if you settle next to a black hole, the acceleration part though is not optional, and so it would still take you years to reach a speed of “just” 99.99% the speed of light, remember the unit of acceleration is m per second per second (yes second squared) and the faster you go, the slower time (or the smaller the meters, you chose the reference frame) and thus the less effect your acceleration has towards the speed of light while still having the same effect on your body

    • Vince says:

      I seriously doubt any vessel that could carry human beings and the necessary equipment could ever get that close to LS.
      Our only true hope is warping and whilst that is physically possible, it is practically absurd.

    • voyager says:

      In the book series Remembrance of Earth’s Past, humans develop an ultra relativistic spaceship to travel to the heat death of the universe for science in a single lifetime. It was acknowledged to be suicide but was done out of curiosity

    • Derek McGowan says:

      Along with a massive boatload of other technology

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