Wonder in Beyond Earth
|Notes||Ranged, Air, and City Strike attacks are 25% stronger.|
"Solving problems with force is satisfying because one gets feedback right away." - Rejinaldo Leonardo Pedro Bolivar de Alencar-Araripe, Principles of Modern War
If one could extract a series of axiomatic statements about human behavior, one of the first of these would be that humans enjoy blowing things up. The desire, capacity, and propinquity for large scale enthusiastic demolition seem to be true of the species across cultures and time. A complete catalog of human explosive devices and their technological innovations would extend far beyond the scope of this article, and so we must sum up the entirety of human technological evolution since gunpowder to: Humans have always found a new way to blow things up.
After planetfall, propellant technology continued from developments at the time of Seeding, although industrial efforts were largely focused on recapturing the scale of production that were achieved at the apex of human civilizations prior to the Great Mistake. This enabled the local production of stable propellants, most notably for conventional munitions - first for defense, followed very quickly for offense. As material sciences improved, researchers discovered new stable high-energy compounds, including the first nanobaric compounds - explosives capable of incredibly precise targeted explosions that could shatter molecular bonds. There were also nanothermal compounds, capable of molecular excitation and efficient heat production. So it was not long before these two substances were combined to produce a class of powerful explosives generally called nanothermite.
But nanothermite was costly to produce and dangerous to use and thus their application was limited to laboratory uses or high-value clandestine operations. For some nano-thermites, the stabilizers were so toxic that they could only be handled remotely. And in one infamous case, saboteurs intent on destabilizing a geological fault near a firaxite mine (of strategic value during the War of Viewpoints) blew themselves up when their nanothermite charges underwent spontaneous catastrophic recombination. It is said the head of counter-intelligence, when presented with the forensic results of the disaster said: "It could just as easily have been our poor bastards with that [redacted]."
As with most explosives, the event that changed the situation was the capacity to produce this new explosive in high quantities at relatively low cost. The Strothmann technique for binding nanocompounds was found to work even for nano-thermite, and with that, the replicators hummed as they produced gram after gram. Nanothermite became the new standard for joyful detonation, from fireworks to firefights.
Cruise missiles which use nanothermite as the primary explosive are frequently called "planet busters".