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"We are all repositories for genetically-encoded information that we're all spreading back and forth amongst each other, all the time. We're just lousy with information."
- Neal Stephenson

Meteor-Spotting Radar  
  A device to warn spacecraft of oncoming meteors.  

This is an early reference to a necessary device for space travel.

The sweep of ... meteor-spotting equipment would pass a spot in micro-microseconds at a hundred miles...

Spacecraft were protected from meteors by means of radar that was coupled to the steering panels of the ships; when a meteor threatened, the ship merely turned aside by that fraction of a degree that gave it safety.

From Recoil, by George O. Smith.
Published by Street and Smith in 1943
Additional resources -

Not that spacecraft range the solar system without concern for orbiting rocks:

Like all long-range cruises, the Empress of Kolain will hoist herself slightly above the plane of the ecliptic to avoid the swarm of meteors that follow about the Sun in the same plane as the planets...

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Recoil
  More Ideas and Technology by George O. Smith
  Tech news articles related to Recoil
  Tech news articles related to works by George O. Smith

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