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February 17, 2002

In regards to the Covenant "Plasma" technology, David Marsh sends this in.

David Marsh ( writes:

It's very hard to store plasma by itself, because of the tremendous power levels it takes to create a magnetic bottle so that it doesn't come into contact with any of the gun, thereby vaporizing it. Therefore, it wouldn't be practical for the guns to work by storing plasma and releasing it when needed.

I was pondering this, and when I saw the front of a plasma gun yesterday, it all came together. There are two colored metal plates on the two prongs of both guns, blue for the rifle and green for the pistol. They reminded me very much of electrodes, and I thought that it would be much more efficient to have a battery in the gun rather than plasma. For any uninformed readers, plasma is ionized gas; that is, gas that has had many electrons knocked out of the atoms within it, at least one electron per atom. Heat is a measure of kinetic energy, or of the movement of particles, mass of particles and number of particles combined. When you rip electrons from an atom, you create at least twice the number of particles, so the temperature increases dramatically, which is why plasma is so deadly. One of the easiest ways to make plasma is to run a large current of electricity through a gas, and use the surrounding gas as ammunition. Maybe the guns run a large amount of electricity through the air and turn it to plasma, then shoot it forward via a magnet behind the electrodes. If the plasma guns that the covenant use do in fact run electricity between the electrodes, it would explain much of the gun's behaviors, such as overheating. If the gun stored plasma and released it, it would not heat up the gun, but maybe actually cool it down. However, a current of electricity between two electrodes makes the electrodes very hot. Therefore, it seems that the plasma guns actually run off of electricity, not plasma.

Much discussion of this type took place back in the early Marathon days, remember? Like from an old dream? ;-)

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