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

Artificial Intelligence
Data Storage
Input Devices
Living Space
Space Tech
Virtual Person

"Fuzzy logic tries to get machines to think like people do, with inexact fuzzy terms."
- Bart Kosko

Cyclotronic Ore-Hurler  
  Using the magnetic properties of an asteroid to send ore hurling across space!  

Early in the story, the natural magnetism of the metal in Asteroid 60 is referred to in a reversal of the idea of electromagnetic boots clinging to the side of a metal spaceship:

...he commenced the downward passage, his iron-shod boots clinging to the vertical wall of metallic rock, and as he advanced this magnetic attraction became ever more intense.

What if you cut a vast cylinder out of this planetoid?

"...Echo is just a gob of metal — mostly magnetite, except for these granules of rhodium — forty miles in diameter, but far from round. Then there’s that chasm, a mammoth crack that’s gaped open, cutting the planetoid almost in half. The whole thing is magnetic — like a terrestrial lodestone — and there’s a mighty potent field of force across that gap in the chasm. The walls are really poles of a bigger magnet than was ever built by Martians or human being. And of what does a big magnet remind you?”

After a moment of thought, Bormon replied, “Cyclotronic action.”

('Exit From Asteroid 60" by DL James)

There was a short silence, then Calbur resumed. “These Marts shoot the ore across space to the south magnetic pole of Mars. A ground crew gathers it up and transports it to their underground laboratories. As a prisoner explained it, it was simple; those old-time cyclotrons used to build up the velocity of particles, ions mostly, by whirling them in spiral orbits in a vacuum-enclosed magnetic field. Well, there’s a vacuum all around Echo, and clear to Mars. By giving these lumps of ore a static charge, they act just like ions. When the stream of ore comes out of the machine, it passes through a magnetic lens which focuses it like a beam of light on Mars’ south pole. And there you have it. Maybe you saw what looked like a streak of light shooting off through the chasm. That’s the ore stream. It comes out on the day side of Echo, and so on to Mars. They aim it by turning the whole planetoid.”

Technovelgy from Exit From Asteroid 60, by D.L. James.
Published by Planet Stories in 1940
Additional resources -

Compare to the mass-driver catapult from Robert Heinlein's 1966 novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and the hybrid mass-driver from Robert Heinlein's 1950 novel The Man Who Sold The Moon. Finally, take a look at a weaponized version of this idea, the stiletto beam from Arthur C. Clarke's 1955 novel Earthlight.

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

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Exit From Asteroid 60
  More Ideas and Technology by D.L. James
  Tech news articles related to Exit From Asteroid 60
  Tech news articles related to works by D.L. James

Articles related to Space Tech
First Ever Proof Of Water On Asteroids
Gigantic Space Sunshade Would Fight Global Warming
Untethered Spacewalk's 50th Anniversary
ESA Designs Huge Inflatable Moonbase

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.





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
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Science Fiction in the News

Ulm Sleep Pods For The Homeless
'The lid lifted and she crawled inside...'

Prophetic Offers Lucid Dreaming Halo With Morpheus-1 AI
''Leads trail away from insertion points on her face and wrist... to a lucid dreamer...'

More Like A Tumblebug Than A Motorcycle
'It is about the size and shape of a kitchen stool, gyro-stabilized on a single wheel...'

Tesla Camera-Only Vision Predicted In 1930's SF
'By its means, the machine can see.'

First Ever Proof Of Water On Asteroids
'Yes, strangely enough there was still sufficient water beneath the surface of Vesta.'

Aptera Solar EV More Stylish Than Heinlein Steel Tortoise
'When confronted by hills, or rough terrain, it did not stop, but simply slowed until the task demanded equaled its steady power output.'

Gigantic Space Sunshade Would Fight Global Warming
'...the light of the sun had been polarized by two crossed fields so that no radiation could pass.'

Untethered Spacewalk's 50th Anniversary
'But that space walk of mine wasn't so very amazing.'

ESA Designs Huge Inflatable Moonbase
'It was like being inside a balloon; indeed, that was exactly where he was.'

AlphaGarden Robot Cares For Gardens Better Than Humans
'...a simple clock-set servok with pipe and hose arms.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

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

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.