Gamers and scifi enthusiasts are familiar with the much-vaunted railgun — an electrically powered projectile launcher capable of propelling objects at speeds reaching Mach 7. We've seen the Navy's railgun in action before — but we've never actually seen it destroy stuff. Until now.
Ubiquitous in science fiction, rail guns are a hot area of military research in real life too. But will we ever really get to use them the way people in science fiction do? And could rail guns be used for a non-violent reason — inexpensively launching payload into space?