4

In the influential H. G. Wells story, The War of the Worlds, the Martian fighting machine has a heat ray capable of projecting intense heat against anything it is turned on. I think the most impressive feat we see it perform is melting a hole in the ironclad Thunderchild. You'd think the water would provide an effective heat-sink, making the ship harder to melt.

About how much power output did it take to perform this feat in the (presumably) few seconds it took?

The book doesn't say explicitly, but can we work it out from the information available? (I'm not counting the films because they have completely different plots to the book and don't share any authorship.)

9
  • 2
    The problem is that you're looking for a real-world scientific explanation for something that happens in a fictional work. We could (theoretically) work it out using real-world science, but that's off-topic here. – Valorum Jul 21 '15 at 22:22
  • 4
    @Richard I find it a bit odd that the canned reason you chose has a specific exception for questions that "relate directly to a cited work of fiction". Perhaps you didn't read the reason before choosing it? – Dan Hulme Jul 21 '15 at 23:11
  • 2
    This question belongs on physics.stackexchange.com, see physics.stackexchange.com/questions/56633/… – Cees Timmerman Jan 19 '16 at 10:40
  • 2
    @Randal'Thor - I think you've misunderstood the policy. That question was given as an exemplar of the sort of question that we don't want on the site. – Valorum Feb 15 '17 at 23:55
  • 3
    Meta question - Why has this science-based question been reopened?. – Valorum Feb 15 '17 at 23:55