Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"it slowly dawned on me that the landscape of science is maybe what interests people a great deal in science fiction."
- Gregory Benford

Hyperspace Beacon  
  Located in real space, these devices provide reference points in hyperspace to make navigation possible.  

How can you find your way through hyperspace, that featureless void outside of real space? You need beacons to show the way.

The first ships to enter hyperspace had no place to go - and no way to tell if they had even moved. The beacons solved that problem and opened up the entire universe. They are built on planets and generate tremendous amounts of power. This power is turned into radiation that is punched through into hyperspace. Every beacon has a code signal as part of its radiation and represents a measurable point in hyperspace. Triangulation and quadrature works for navigation - only it follows its own rules.

For a hyperspace jump, you need at least four beacons for an accurate fix. For long jumps, navigators use up to seven or eight. So every beacon is important and every one has to keep operating. That is where I and the other troubleshooters come in.

From The Repairman, by Harry Harrison.
Published by Galaxy Science Fiction in 1959
Additional resources -

What happens when one of them breaks down? You can't get to it directly through hyperspace; you can get close and then travel for months through real space.

The old ones break down more often. Like the Mark III -

I looked at the blueprints he gave me and felt my eyes glaze with horror. "It's a monstrosity! It looks more like a distillery than a beacon - must be a few hundred meters high...

This is an early description of the hyperspace beacon concept. The same idea and term were used in the television show Babylon 5; without beacons, ships would drift endlessly through featureless hyperspace, unable to discern their location relative to real space.

You'll find an earlier example in Troubled Star, a 1952 novel by George O. Smith: see space beacon. You'll find another version (not quite the same idea) in The Cosmic Blinker (1953) by Eando Binder; see Artificially Pulsating Star.

Compare to the Photoelectric Telescope (Photoelectric Eyes) from The Cometeers (1936) by Jack Williamson, the Liquid Mirror Telescope from Old Faithful (1934) by Raymond Z. Gallun, the electro-telescope from Blood of the Moon (1936) by Ray Cummings, the ultra-telescope ray from The Moon Weed (1931) by Harl Vincent, and the robot observatory from Space Rating (1939) by John Berryman.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Repairman
  More Ideas and Technology by Harry Harrison
  Tech news articles related to The Repairman
  Tech news articles related to works by Harry Harrison

Hyperspace Beacon-related news articles:
  - Is 'The Pulsar Positioning System' Evidence For SETI?
  - NASA SEXTANT First With X-Ray Nav In Space
  - Fast Radio Bursts And Space Beacons For Interstellar Navigation

Articles related to Space Tech
Sierra Space Inflatable LIFE Habitat Burst Pressure Test
Space-Based Solar Power A Priority - European Space Agency
Goldilocks Zones Found On The Moon
Spaceships Should Last So Long

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Science Fiction Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Science Fiction in the News

LoadRunner Robot Works Alone, Or In A Group
'They marched in unison, seven of them...'

Sierra Space Inflatable LIFE Habitat Burst Pressure Test
'It was like being inside a balloon...'

Longest Immersed Tunnel Will Connect Denmark and Germany
'... iron tubes... the ends of the tubes were joined to each other...to preserve it from the action of the seawater.'

Alcohol-Sensing Cars - NTSB Catches Up With Philip K. Dick (1963)
'Mr. Garden, you are in no condition to drive....'

Solar-Powered Remote-Control Cockroaches!
'A cable, here, from the controller to the interface plug... wires from that to the brain.'

SolarBotanic Tree For Solar Energy - Would You Need A Forest, Or Just One?
'The slender stalks of a sunshade-photocell collector...'

Metaverse Hardware - Run And Flail Like A Maniac, Or Lie Quietly?
'Holodeck 4 was waiting to be programmed...'

Robot Food Delivery Coming To Campus Near You
'... he rewired the delivery robot so that it would serve him midnight snacks.'

Are Craiyon Images Puddinged, ala Philip K. Dick?
'I stood in line for half an hour for this, and it's just a blob!'

Hip'Safe Airbag For Seniors, From Helite
'Other airbags go off around her torso and pelvis...'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Science Fiction Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.