100 kilowatts of piercing light isn't something to sneeze at, even fired for just a few seconds, but Northrup Grumman's long-awaited weapons-grade laser recently ran for a full six hours. That milestone is the feather in the company's cap as it prepares to ship the hulking machine to the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, where it will presumably begin doing what it does best -- turning things into crispier, more exploded versions of themselves in no time flat. PR after the break.
Update: Though we originally read this to mean that the potent ray fired for six hours straight, Northrup Grumman has since informed us that's not quite the case. "The correct info is that the 100kw solid-state laser has operated for a total of 60 minutes over a period of months as we continued refining it and preparing it for relocation to White Sands Missile Range," said a company rep, who promised to explain the nuances of military-grade lasing on Monday. We'll let you know what we hear.
Update 2: Okay, we recently finished speaking to Northrup Grumman, and here's the final word: the longest period the laser ever ran without stopping was ten minutes straight. Six hours is the total amount of time the laser has operated at 100 kilowatts, period, since the first time the firm turned it on in March of last year, and "60 minutes" is the made-up amount of time that inadvertently skipped into Northrup Grumman's email to us when it was originally trying to correct our mistake.