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

"In WWII, they had a saying that there are no atheists in foxholes. I think the modern equivalent of that is that there are no jaded, bored people in the high-tech industry, in the land of really good hardcore geeks."
- Neal Stephenson

Impactor Determines Composition  
  The use of an impactor to smash into a small celestial body; watching the impact can determine the composition of the small body.  

Explorers from a Martian colony encounter what appears to be a small asteroid. How can you tell what it is made of without actually landing and taking samples?

"There it is. Can you get a spectro?"

"No heat." Wendis shook his head. "I'll have to warm it up with a tracer."

Fire streaked in a thin line from the muzzle of a cannon-like tube mounted beneath the viewing instruments and a tiny, rocket-powered projectile, drove towards the mysterious bulk. It hit, exploding into a cloud of incandescent vapour, and Wendis stared thoughtfully at the brilliant lines on the spectroscope screen.

"... the spectro shows traces of iron, some copper, a little tungsten and a lot of beryllium. Looks unnatural somehow, too much like an alloy."

From The Mechanical Monarch, by E.C. Tubb.
Published by Ace Books in 1958
Additional resources -

As it turns out, it's not an asteroid at all.

The recent Deep Impact program, in which a comet's composition is investigated with the aid of an 850 pound impactor, now seems like a modern incarnation of an old idea.

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

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Mechanical Monarch
  More Ideas and Technology by E.C. Tubb
  Tech news articles related to The Mechanical Monarch
  Tech news articles related to works by E.C. Tubb

Impactor Determines Composition-related news articles:
  - MoonLITE 'Mole' Penetrators For Lunar Exploration
  - Hayabusa-2 Asteroid Cannon Strategy From 1950's SF Novel

Articles related to Space Tech
Self-Healing Materials For Spacecraft
Canada's Inflatable Space Elevator Tower
Artificial Gravity? Why Not?
NASA Misses $5Trillion Funding Boost

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 Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

More News

Ecocapsule - Simak's Dream Of A Prefab House
'They are heated and air conditioned by a solar plant that tops anything... that we have today.'

New Super Slippery Surface Better Than Nature's
'The water flowed off those walls without binding tension.'

Killer Robot COTSBot Stalks Starfish
'X-120's long jointed arms swung swiftly. The tiny animal lay crushed...'

Heart-In-A-Box Saves Organ For Later
'Storage in the hospital's organ banks...'

MultiFab 10-Material 3D Printer
'On the concrete platform, in front of the dying Biltong, lay a heap of originals to be duplicated.'

Chaac Ha Dew Collector ala Dune
'The surface condenses moisture out of the air. That moisture trickles down...'

Digital Immortality For Your Personality
'You've got remote storage. How regular is the update?'

Robots Take Our Jobs By Reading Our Instructions
'The Talk Between Robots radio...'

Surgery In Space
' It was a ... coffin, form-fitted to Nessus himself...'

Flimmer Navy Drone Flies And Swims
Launch the Flying Sub!

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.