Never Mind Pilots, This Green Laser is So Powerful It Can Dazzle Astronauts - and It's on Sale

Lasers are all around us - in every CD and DVD player on Earth - but most are weedy little beams very far removed from science fiction's visions of terrible space weaponry. Wicked Laser's Spider 3 Krypton is another matter. It has a range of 85 miles, can set fire to paper from across a room, and is capable of pinpointing objects outside Earth's atmosphere.

The S3 Krypton from Wicked Lasers has a range of 85 miles

Looking directly into a Spider 3 Krypton - currently under review by the Guinness Book of Records as the brightest handheld laser on Earth - would be 8,000 times brighter than looking directly at the sun.

'Safety goggles are advised,' say the Krypton's American manufacturers. A pair of protective glasses is included in the laser's $299 (£185) price.

Green laser light is 20 times brighter than blue light to the human eye, hence the Krypton's enormous range. The lasers are also powerful enough to set fire to paper and matches - and have a built-in microprocessor that stops the laser itself overheating.

The light from the S3 Krypton laser is 8,000 times brighter than the sun

The manufacturer Wicked Lasers boasts of safety features, such as a code to prevent unwanted use of the device. They also warn against pointing the lasers at vehicles, pilots, animals, humans or satellites. It can, however, be placed in 'tactical hibernation' mode, which allows the laser to turn on instantly from cold.

Given that there is a distinct lack of anything non-man-made to point at 85 miles above the earth, barring the unlikely event of an alien invasion, one has to wonder what exactly the S3 Krypton is for.

'If the laser was held using a highly stabilized mount (which we do not sell) and precisely in line with a satellite, the astronaut should be able to see a faint green hue,' says Steve Liu, CEO of Wicked Lasers. 'This kind of experiment would require explicit permission from that government's space agency.'

'Most of our professional customers use it in military, industrial, and scientific research. Some of our consumer enthusiast customers use the product as a novelty and discover their own uses. As a company policy we do not prescribe specific uses and encourage only professional and responsible handling of our products.'

Site such as will import the dangerous devices to the UK. The Health Protection Agency warns against buying such powerful lasers, after incidents such as an accident in 2010 when a teenager suffered severe burns to his eyes from a green laser he had purchased from the internet.

More than a dozen people have also been jailed in the UK for firing powerful laser pointers at pilots, drivers and footballers.



By Rob Waugh7th September 2011