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Missile launched from Aegis cruiser

If you have an inkling on the best method to intercept enemy missiles that could potentially threaten the U.S., then Uncle Sam wants you.

The Pentagon is looking for rocket scientists or inventor-wannabes as part of its effort to build a state-of-the-art shield for America’s defense.

According to the Ottawa Citizen, more than 200 responses have already been submitted from people including academics and science students.

“It would seem kind of funny they would open it up to any backyard tinker who could come up with an idea,” Steven Staples, a defense analyst with the Polaris Institute told the paper.

But American officials say it would be foolish to shoot down concepts from the public arena.

“We get a lot of people with ideas so we at least evaluate what they’re saying,” Rick Lehner, a spokesman for the Missile Defense Agency told the Citizen. “Nothing has yet [come of it] but it’s a resource that you shouldn’t ignore.”

He also rejects the notion the military’s own arsenal of ideas is out of ammunition.

“There is a very detailed plan on how [missile defense] is going to go,” Lehner said. “Everything is in place and on schedule to have a rudimentary system by the end of next year.”

The Citizen reports suggestions thus far include:

  • The use of X-rays to zap incoming missiles,

  • a laser-equipped stealth plane carrying a team of commandos to sneak behind enemy lines for a pre-emptive attack,

  • and interceptor missiles hitched to balloons patrolling over North America.

The agency’s website features a game to demonstrate how a missile shield should work. It includes two parties tossing tennis balls, with one representing the target missile and the other, the interceptor.

“After this experiment, you will see that missile defense is very difficult to accomplish,” the game’s instructions conclude.

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