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

"…we store information differently, reading a science fiction story, to make it make sense."
- Samuel R. Delany

Liquid Mirror Telescope on Mars  
  A large telescope using a spinning bowl of mercury as the mirror.  

Although Gallun did not invent the LMT, he makes good use of it as alien technology. Number 774, the Martian mentioned in the story, made great use of different exoskeletons to perform different tasks.

See if you can spot what appears to be an error in his use of the liquid mirror telescope in the quote below.

Enigmatic forms of weird apparatus crowded in bewildering complexity against the walls. Tipped at a steep angle at the center of the floor was a vast cylinder of webby girders. Piercing the dome, opposite the upper end of the cylinder, was a circular opening through which a portion of the starlit sky was visible; and at the base of the cylinder a great bowl rotated rapidly, like a huge wheel.


(Mercury Telescope from 'Old Faithful' by Raymond Z. Gallun)

The bowl contained mercury. As the container spun on its perfectly balanced axis, centrifugal force caused the mercury to spread in a thin, precisely distributed layer over the inside of the bowl, forming a concave surface that acted admirably as a mirror for Number 774's gigantic reflecting telescope. It's area, and its consequent light-gathering capacity, was many times greater than any rigid mirror that could have been constructed without flaws.

Technovelgy from Old Faithful, by Raymond Z. Gallun.
Published by Astounding in 1934
Additional resources -

He states that the cylinder was tipped at a steep angle; a real liquid mirror telescope has to remain fixed with the "bowl" perpendicular to gravity's pull.


('Old Faithful' by Raymond Z. Gallun)

In the story, Number 774 discovers people of the Earth using the telescope; he positions it to look at a particular part of the Earth during each observation session. Since an actual LMT cannot be "steered" (it can only look at the patch of sky directly above the instrument), the user cannot choose to focus directly on any object in the visible sky, as you can with a regular telescope.

Compare to the Photoelectric Telescope (Photoelectric Eyes) from The Cometeers (1936) by Jack Williamson, the electro-telescope from Blood of the Moon (1936) by Ray Cummings, the ultra-telescope ray from The Moon Weed (1931) by Harl Vincent, the hyperspace beacon from The Repairman (1959) by Harry Harrison, and the robot observatory from Space Rating (1939) by John Berryman.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 8 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Old Faithful
  More Ideas and Technology by Raymond Z. Gallun
  Tech news articles related to Old Faithful
  Tech news articles related to works by Raymond Z. Gallun

Liquid Mirror Telescope on Mars-related news articles:
  - Liquid Mirror Telescope For Moon Studied By NASA
  - Telescopes With Liquid Mirrors Go Mainstream

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.

<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

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.'

Let's Make Slaver Sunflowers! Engineering Plants To Reflect Light
'The mirror-blossom was a terrible weapon.'

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.