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

"If I can make you see the world the way I see it, then you will automatically think the way I think."
- Philip K. Dick

Beetle  
  A hard-shelled dirigible.  

Airships had a great advantage over heavier-than-air planes; a quiet flight.

Lenore rode the gondola of a Beetle - a hard-shelled dirigible: silent, roomy, all picture window, and no faster than a galloping horse. Lenore could see more of the tossing sea than she really liked. She didn't like flying, never had and probably never would...

The Beetle touched down like a feather.

From Saturn's Race, by Larry Niven (w/S. Barnes).
Published by Tor in 2000
Additional resources -

What ever happened to dirigibles, anyway? The word "dirigible" just means "you can steer it" - a big advance on balloons that just floated around. For a long time, the Graf Zeppelin held the record for around-the-world flight (21 days). Yes, the Hindenburg disaster showed the problems of using hydrogen; but helium is a noble gas and won't catch fire. So, what happened to dirigibles?

Well, the United States Government is partly responsible. Helium is common in the universe; about 23% of the detectable mass of the universe is helium. On Earth, however, helium is rare; most of the free helium is in the exosphere, where extracting it is difficult. However, there are natural gas wells in Texas with a relatively high concentration of helium.

In the 1940's, the government became concerned about Germans attacking with non-flammable dirigible war planes. How to stop this threat? Cut off their supply of helium! So the Federal Helium Reserve was established in Amarillo, Texas in a natural underground formation with room for roughly one billion cubic feet of helium.

The Federal Helium Reserve still exists today. And although the threat of foreign lighter-than-air warship attacks never materialized, the debate over what to do with this helium reserve is hotly debated. Once it is gone, it will be very difficult to get more economically. Concerned about helium? Read more here.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 2 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Saturn's Race
  More Ideas and Technology by Larry Niven (w/S. Barnes)
  Tech news articles related to Saturn's Race
  Tech news articles related to works by Larry Niven (w/S. Barnes)

Beetle-related news articles:
  - StratoSail & Altair: Mars Robot Balloons

Articles related to Transportation
Eviation Alice Electric Plane First Flight
Robotaxi By Cruise Premieres in Austin, Texas
Aéroplume Blimp For One Reflects 150 Years
Shift Moonwalkers Help You Walk Faster? How About Tractor Treads!

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

'Courier Commons' By Tomorrow Lab, From Karl Schroeder (and Bruce Sterling?)
'The pokkecon rang again. *The coffee’s for him?* Tsuyoshi said.'

Terrifying Robotic Apple Harvester
'... little machines, that went from plant to plant.'

Mechanical Horse Sculpture Gallops In Place
'Rod placed the brain inside the panel... the horse raised its head, wiggled its ears, blinked twice, gave a tentative whinny.'

'Make Sunsets' Tweaks Climate By Atmospheric Alteration
'Pina2bo would have to operate full blast for many years to put as much SO2 into the stratosphere as its namesake had done in a few minutes.'

Eviation Alice Electric Plane First Flight
'A white electric plane approached at great speed...'

Hotels Turn To Robots As Human Workers Regroup
'Chain of hotels that specialized in non-human service.'

Changesite Mineral To Be Mined On Moon By China
'But then... not every bulldozer operator works on the Moon.'

Tongue-Controlled Tong Wearable Mouth Computer
'Griff found the white and pink map distracting and switched it off using his tongue mouse.'

Is It Better To Be Short?
'He was one of the smaller, energy-saving new breed...'

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.