CineSavant Column

Tuesday January 11, 2022



Thanks to correspondent Gregory Laxer for this one — it’s hard to believe that it’s real. A thermal ray gun called ‘Swifty’ is said to blast tunnels through the hardest terrestrial rock — circular tunnels between 18 and 62 inches in diameter.

That’s awfully close to a similar Martian ‘heat ray’ proposed 69 years ago in a certain fanciful science-fiction movie. In that show, green Martian giants carried an object resembling an oversized clarinet, with a glowing round barrel that bores giant tunnels through earth and rock. A ten-year old boy can operate it.

The company ‘Petra’ touts their invention, with photos showing a rather large setup that reportedly bored a 24″ hole through 20 feet of very hard rock (‘Sioux quartzite’) at a rate of one inch per minute. Young David MacLean’s borrowed Martian ray can zap a 12-foot tunnel through 50 feet of earth in about ten seconds, and with nifty sound effects to boot. But we’ll take what we can get.

The site suggests that the initial application would be tunnels for pipes and cables. Petra’s page has photos and a video demonstration that gives a rather strange impression — it’s presumably time-lapse and looks more like rock is being ‘erased.’ ¬†Actually, it almost looks like a flimsy special effect! ¬†Whatever is happening, this is definitely a ‘Colonel Fielding’- approved device: Remarkable Thermal Bore Cuts Through Undrillable Rock.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson