Mark IX


Pneumatics out, spark gap in.


With the design up to Mark IX, we installed the final major component: A trigered spark gap, based on the trigatron design. This completes the most functional aspects: All that remains after this are some finishing details like quick-assembly connectors and a magic smoke extractor.

The first victim of the Mark IX design was a failed CFL. The test revealed a flaw in the design: The spark gap was narrow enough to arc prematurely, before full charge was reached. Even at this reduced energy, the CFL exploded in a most spectacular manner.

We had hoped to run a simulated accident. Many people have asked what would happen were one of us to accidentially touch the high-voltage lines, a possibility we have been calling the 'red mist scenario.' The obvious way to find out would be to connect a suitable analog for human flesh, such as a piece of pork with skin. This experiment was postponed due to equipment fault: The trigatron sparked too early a second time, this time at a higher energy sufficient to destroy the delicate diodes of the voltage doubler.