Turns out those flying saucers weren't the only sci-fi weapons the Nazis were hoping would help them take over the world. German scientists were also planning to launch a giant orbiting mirror that could have used the sun's rays to wage war.
According to an article in the July 23, 1945, issue of LIFE magazine:
In Germany last month, U.S. Army technical experts came up with the astonishing fact that German scientists had seriously planned to build a "sun gun," a big mirror in space which would focus the sun's rays to a scorching point at the earth's surface. The Germans, the Army reported, hoped to use such a mirror to burn an enemy city to ashes or to boil part of an ocean. ...
Plausible schemes to build a station in space were engineered on paper long before the war. European rocket enthusiasts, including Dr. Hermann Oberth, who may have been the designer of the V-2, had planned to use the space station not as a weapon but as a refueling point for rockets starting off on journeys into space. ... The only major obstacle: constructing a rocket powerful enough to reach a point where a space station could be built. If the modern German scientists had been able to make such a rocket, they might have ben able to set up their sun gun. Whether the sun gun would have accomplished what they expected, however, is another matter."
So the next time we start complaining we don't have our promised jetpacks yet, we'll remind ourselves that there are some sci-fi devices we're better off without!
(via Weird Universe)