The Babylon Project

A Mass driver is a device that accelerates payloads to high velocity using a linear electromagnetic coil.[1]


Since a mass driver is essentially a means of propulsion like rocketry, it can be put to several different uses both benign and destructive, the latter perhaps being the more notorious.

Weapon of Mass Destruction[]

The use of mass drivers in warfare - accelerating asteroids to bombard a planet from space - has been outlawed by every civilized planet. In 2259 at the conclusion of the Narn-Centauri War the Centauri Republic used mass drivers mounted on Primus class battlecruisers to decimate the surface of Narn for four days, in defiance of protests from the Minbari Federation, the Earth Alliance and the Vorlon Empire.[2]

The resulting destruction destroyed entire cities, causing hundreds of thousands of casualties and utterly destroying the infrastructure for power, water, medical treatment and transportation over most of the planetary surface and causing the planetary economy to collapse.[2]

The long term consequences made Narn, a planet already practically strip mined some 100 years earlier, even less habitable by throwing up massive amounts of particulate matter into the upper atmosphere, radically altering Narn's climate and weather pattern. Even a full year after the initial bombardment, the planet was still plagued by a ceaseless wind and a partial nuclear winter effect that drastically lowered the surface temperature both during the day and at night.[3]

Though by 2269, the use of Minbari Atmosphere purifiers had managed to clear most of the dust particles, enough remained they could give the setting sun a distinctive tinge of purple, rose and peach.[4]

Non-Destructive Application[]

Mass drivers can also be used as ground based launch platforms, to catapult payloads out of a gravity well, without the need for rockets that require large amounts of fuel. One such example is the mass driver at the Von Braun Shipyard on Luna. In 2116 it was used to launch the Heimdal probe - with the addition of a second stage rocket - intended to update the DeepProbe network in a renewed effort lead by Earth Alliance Senator Lee Crawford to search for non-human intelligence by monitoring tachyon emissions.[5]