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"In 1970 I found little difficulty staying 30 years ahead of the man in the street, and now I find it difficult to stay 18 months ahead of the man on the street."
- Vernor Vinge

Gravity Detector  
  A device capable of detecting the gravitational field of a distant mass.  

How could you be sure that an object was coming toward you in space if you could not see it and if it did not occult light sources?

"...there was nothing we could see with the tele-periscopes, but the gravity detectors betrayed an invisible object of fifty thousand tons, approaching behind us - as if it had followed us from Neptune."
From The Cometeers, by Jack Williamson.
Published by Street and Smith in 1936
Additional resources -

The gravity detector turns out to be a useful device for ordinary journeys through the solar system as well:

"An asteroid?" Jay Kalam inquired. "You're certain?"

"I am," Bob Star said, too busy to turn. "The gravity detector shows a mass dead ahead. Millions of tons. The deflector fields wouldn't swing it an inch.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Cometeers
  More Ideas and Technology by Jack Williamson
  Tech news articles related to The Cometeers
  Tech news articles related to works by Jack Williamson

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