'Glassing' is a common term used to describe extremely heavy orbital bombardment of a target, often to the point of complete annihilation. The term extends to a range of targets, from a single colony to an entire planet. The word itself refers to the idea that the sheer force and heat involved in such a bombardment would turn the ground itself to glass. While no such thing actually occurs during a glassing, the term has none the less remained part of modern lexicon.

Glassing and the Galactic Community

Glassing, particularly on a planetary scale, is generally viewed as a reprehensible act in the galactic community, and in some cases may be treated as a war crime. While some races do not share this moral outlook, the vast majority do, and glassing is therefore met with a fair degree of scorn from the galactic community. Some factions may go so far as to impose trade embargoes with nations found to engage in glassing. In extreme cases, the ethical contention of the issue may spark direct military conflict.

Beyond the obvious offence of killing sentient beings, glassing is also seen as a reprehensible act for the destruction of habitable land. While the ground may not physically be turned to glass post-glassing, it is rarely habitable due to the obvious physical damage and potentially high levels of radiation. Considering the economic value of naturally habitable or terraformed worlds, their destruction is seen as a serious offence.

Finally, certain environmental and scientific groups feel strongly about glassing because of the inherent damage it causes to biodiversity throughout the galaxy. During planetary glassings, enormous numbers of non-sentient species are completely wiped out, some of which may never have been documented. Understandably, extinction on this scale is not something these groups take lightly.