Image from Eurekalert
This photo shows the massive damage caused by a 10.64 MJ (megajoules) firing of an electromagnetic rail gun, a gun consisting of two electrically charged rails, which propel a conductive projectile at massive speeds. The projectile had a muzzle velocity of a 2,520 meters per second (5682 mph). This photo was taken in January of 2008, nearly 3 years ago. On Friday, the Navy will be firing a 32 MJ rail gun (over three times as much energy). The Navy hopes to have a 64 MJ rail gun operating on a ship by 2025. Unfortunately, rail guns consume colossal amounts of energy and the shots are so powerful that they often damage the gun after only a few repetitions. These are problems that prevent existing rail guns from seeing action today but future technologies may make rail guns in the military a reality.