Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Neutrino Comms With Submarines?

Here's an article about an idea that won't come to fruition for several hundred years: using neutrinos to communicate with submarines.

When you consider that any such communications would have to be encrypted (since they'd be sent worldwide), I really don't see any way this would be feasible with the low data rates they're talking about as anything but a bell-ringer, which we already have with ELF.


Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...

I'm no scientist but I've heard the story where two neutrons from the same atom are separated by great distances. One neutron is forced to spin one way, yet instantaneously the other neutron spins in the opposite direction as the first one.

So, the theory of using neutrons for not only submarine communications might actually apply here - but also in space as well.

Yet they still don't know what medium of communication is being engaged between the two subatomic particles. Whatever it is, it works.

10/07/2009 3:36 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

Is the neutrino comms concept lacking in nuclear physics 101 common sense? Consider the penetratability of neutrinos and internal interference factors...hmmm!

Like anthropomorphic climate change, this is a nonstarter that, nevertheless, guarantees funding to

10/07/2009 3:36 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

We would have better luck using quantum entanglement. Look up the topics of "spooky action at a distance" and "Bell's inequality."

And check out the cover of the latest Navy times!

10/07/2009 4:55 PM

Blogger midwatchcowboy said...

Maintenance and treehuggers killed ELF years ago.

10/07/2009 6:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since the women will initially be put on Tridents according to Navy Times...will that make them "mixed gender" crews as they say, or "trans-gender" as the fast attack guys say?

Inquiring minds want to know.

10/07/2009 7:44 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joel: They may make use of quantum cryptography.

Or they may not.

I'd personally be more concerned about "next generation" muon detectors getting sufficiently sensitive to detect neutrinos from nuclear reactors.

That could prove to be...problematic...for a 100% nuclear submarine Navy.

10/07/2009 7:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems to me that if we (humans that is) can start communicating using neutrinos then would we even need submarines?

I wasn't aware of any particular difficulties in communicating...last time I did a BGS op all we did was talk, talk, talk...I always thought submarines did best with mission type orders...since when did we require our submarines to receive constant orders and thus communications.

Sounds like a Professor looking to score a federal grant to me...


10/07/2009 9:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before we think about it too hard, this is the magazine that brought us:

1)Ten Questions For Our Future Robot Overlords
2)Flying the Coal-Fired Skies
3)Weaponizing MP3s
4)Building the Real Iron Man

5) Another Round, Jeeves:
The military is designing a robotic “butler” that will provide cover fire, ammo, food and peace of mind during combat

6)Semper Fly: Marines in Space
A proposed suborbital space transport will put boots on the ground anywhere in the world in two hours or less.

I'm sure their is a grain of truth in all of these examples, but mostly they serve to enliven the conversation at the Dungeon and Dragon parties of adolecent soon-to-be Nukes.

10/08/2009 7:15 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that this seems dumb - quantum entanglement seems like a much much better approach, as srvd_ssn_co said. Maybe we'll see guys on the boat with rates like Quantum Entangler Second Class ;)

10/08/2009 9:23 AM

Blogger Joel Croteau said...

In response to Steve Harkonnen and Srvd_SSN_CO, it is unfortunately not possible to use quantum entanglement for communication. The problem with it is that while two entangled particles will produce correlated results when measured, the individual results are random. That is to say that you have no way of actually observing this correlation without seeing the measurements of both particles, which rather defeats the purpose of using them for communication. In fact, it can be shown mathematically that no actual information is transmitted by the "spooky action at a distance" of quantum entanglement.

10/08/2009 10:34 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would probably be more cost effective/reliable to develop UAV carrier pigeons than to try this dumbass idea from a starving physics professor.

10/08/2009 12:11 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ten Questions For Our Future Robot Overlords

Hahahahah awesome!

10/08/2009 12:55 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said... idea that won't come to fruition for several hundred years:

Are we even going to have submarines in several hundred years?

10/08/2009 1:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great quote on Wikipedia right now regarding women on submarines:

"These senior officials -- Mabus, Mullen, and Roughead -- are all former or current Surface Warfare Officers, but none have served on an operational U.S. submarine nor qualified in submarines. Similarly, none of these officials have attended nor completed the Navy's Nuclear Power School training pipeline, which is overseen by Naval Reactors, a joint U.S. Navy and U.S. Department of Energy entity. As such, none have ever been qualified to directly supervise the operation of Naval nuclear reactors for either surface vessels or submarines."

In other words: Stupid is as stupid does. Putting young men and women in a metal tube for _months_ at at time -- something no other nation on earth does (perhaps for common sensical reasons) is just let's tell it like it is.

10/08/2009 2:01 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

While it is true that no information can be transmitted via quantum entanglement, Bell's theorem proves that the two particles are connected regardless of distance. If that -could- be harnessed, good stuff.

A neutrino detector is BS for finding things. Trillions of them move through you each second. Their existence was confirmed when something like 10 were detected after a nearby supernova. Since submarines don't generate 'trillions' it should be amusing to see someone try and
1) detect them directionally
2) know they have detected a minority source that is less than ppt.

Don't come to me for funding.

(and the answer is trans-gender)

10/08/2009 4:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


How do we generate one on command, and how do we make it carry information in the direction that we think our submarine is waiting.

I have to think of everything, harumph.


10/09/2009 4:11 AM

Anonymous Sean Peters said...

@anonymous: I fail to see what nuclear qualification or lack of the same has to do with one's standing to comment on the issue of women in submarines. And as for this:

In other words: Stupid is as stupid does. Putting young men and women in a metal tube for _months_ at at time -- something no other nation on earth does (perhaps for common sensical reasons) is just let's tell it like it is.

Ok, first of all, practically no other nation on earth even sends men in metal tubes for months at a time - with the possible exception of the Brits, French, and Russians, everyone does really short duration submarine missions. So you're drawing from a pretty small sample size to start with. Second, you're begging the question here. "It's just dumb" is not an argument - you're just restating your opinion. What's dumb about it? We're already doing the exact same thing on surface ships, and while there have been problems, they've been rather easily overcome.

It's really hard to see this as anything other than the Navy version of the He-Man Women Haters' Club.

10/09/2009 9:54 AM

Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...

Is the neutrino comms concept lacking in nuclear physics 101 common sense? Consider the penetratability of neutrinos and internal interference factors...hmmm!

I am sure it will be a very very long time before this happens.

10/09/2009 11:53 AM

Blogger T said...

RE: Women on Subs.

Sorry to hijack this thread, but all other conversations on this blog regarding women on submarines seem to be long dormant, and well, there's not exactly a lot of places with significant number of people who care about this issue.

I've read through a lot of the postings about women on submarines, and I really think that the Space/privacy/pooping/sexing/wives issue is a huge red herring. I think for the most part, our submariners are professional enough to accomodate women on their crews and the changes needed. Similarly, the selection process will be altered to ensure that women who have served all SSBN tours still can advance (i.e. affirmative action).

No one seems to be asking what the addition of women to submarines will do to the future and current manning of the nation's submarines. Consider this, Currently, the 15% or so of women in the navy currently stay in past their initial sea tours at a rate about of about 15% whereas men continue on at a rate of around 30%, presumably this is because women generally have more reasons to leave the navy due to family and societal pressures.

So, I ask you this, what does submarine force retention look like when 15% of the sailors are half as likely to stay in as they are currently. What do bonuses look like to keep retention high enough to maintain manning? How does it affect CO Selection quality? How many more JO's and nukes do you need to keep people manned up? Even in the worst recession in 20 years, the sub community only barely retains enough JO's to fill its DH billets. If 15% of those JO's were women, you'd be faced with a continuous shortfall. Oh, and a return to served XO => CO select.

It seems stupid of the Navy, in my opinion, to knowingly increase personnel costs while the Navy is trying to slash it's budget, all for no particular benefit. There is no large amount of women beating on the door of the sub force, realistically, it seems obvious that most of the sub vols would just be cannabilized from the women who would otherwise vol for SWO nuke. Does anyone REALLY think that there are women out there in any significant number that would join the Navy to serve on subs, but would otherwise not serve at all?

I get that we CAN do it, but at a considerable cost, and negligible benefit to the submarine force as a whole. No one seems to be able to point any real benefit to women on subs, other than a political statement. IMO, we should be positioning our sub force for successful war fighting, not using it to prove a political point.

11/01/2009 11:34 PM


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