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

"Cyberpunk worked when the Internet was in its hand-wound crystal radio phase, when you had to be a sort of hobbyist to do e-mail, and it all had a very steep learning curve. Those days are over."
- William Gibson

Sweep Field  
  Pulls in interplanetary matter for space ship propulsion.  

This is taken from the novel as published in Astounding, and is a very early description of this concept.

The New Frontiers had no fuel tanks; she “lived off the country,” gathering up any mass that lay in her path with a sweep field — meteors, cosmic dust, stray atoms. If the “country” was “poor” in stray matter, any mass from within the ship was fuel for her hungry converter — furniture, clothing, food, even dead bodies. The converter accepted them all — mass was energy; energy, mass. Each tortured gram, in dying, gave up nine hundred million trillion ergs.
From Methuselah's Children, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by Astounding Science-Fiction in 1941
Additional resources -

The end result was a ship that looked somewhat more streamlined - not that it matters in space.


(The New Frontiers from 'Methuselah's Children' by Robert Heinlein)

The New Frontiers was approximately cylindrical in shape. When not under acceleration, she spun about her longitudinal axis, giving a feeling of pseudo-weight to passengers near the outer skin of the ship. The outer shell or “lower” level of compartments had been intended, therefore, as living compartments; the inner, or “upper,” levels for storage, et cetera. The main drive and the main converter were located along the axis at the highest level of no-weight. Since the design is roughly that of the larger free-flight ships in use today, it seems unnecessary to go into more detail, as long as one bears in mind the enormous size of the ship. She had been designed to provide ample living space for a colony of twenty thousand, which would allow the original complement to double their numbers en route to Proxima Centauri. The hundred thousand and more members of the Families found themselves overcrowded five-fold.

The "sweep field" idea also goes by the name Bussard ramjet, used in Larry Niven's A World Out of Time (1976). The Bussard ramjet is a theoretical method of spacecraft propulsion proposed in 1960 by the physicist Robert W. Bussard.

However, as we can see here, Robert Heinlein proposed exactly the same idea in 1941.

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

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Methuselah's Children
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Heinlein
  Tech news articles related to Methuselah's Children
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Heinlein

Articles related to Space Tech
Changesite Mineral To Be Mined On Moon By China
Taikonaut Tai Chi Foot Loops
Space Billboards Would Ruin Our View Of The Cosmos
Orion's 'Skip-to-M'Lou' Entry

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.