The Moon, Lasers, and the Ultimate James Bond Torture Device

By Robert Sorokanich on at

This week, we learned that NASA can beam data to the moon — at a frankly astounding 622Mbps — using a high powered laser. Sounds like cutting edge modern tech? Perhaps. But it also sounds like the best weapon from the best scene of the best James Bond movie ever made: Goldfinger.

Auric Goldfinger is the gold-obsessed megalomaniac with a plan to take the world's precious metals market hostage. James Bond gets in the way, so Goldfinger puts him in the way of his newest destruction device:

You are looking at an industrial laser which emits an extraordinary light, not to be found in nature. It can project a spot on the moon — or at closer range, cut through solid metal. I will show you.

I don't need to tell you what happens next. You've memorised it, and the first half-dozen or so times you saw it, it made you squirm in your chair.

To me, this is the pinnacle of Bond bad guy moments. Goldfinger isn't making a tangential threat, a promise to harm England or the world or the only woman James Bond ever loved. This is pure visceral terror. And while this high tech torture device comes with all the right space-age buzzwords (lasers! the moon!), it's not so far outside the realm of reality. Given the audacious endeavours of later Bond villains, a rich businessman procuring an industrial laser to fillet his enemies seems downright plausible.

Tonight, fix yourself a drink and settle in for a night of dashing and debonair world-saving. And hope nobody at NASA hatches an evil plan involving that laser. [Amazon]