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

"The point sticks in your head: physics rules. Virtue does not triumph unless the physics allows it."
- Larry Niven

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
LightSail Solar Sail Deploys
Suit Up! Fifty Years Of Spacewalks Video
Microbes To Terraform Mars?
Tyson Says Asteroid Miners Will Be First Trillionaires

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

Storing 1 Zettabyte In 10 Grams
'It is theoretically possible to have a matrix in which each individual molecule has a meaning...'

Laser-Powered Spacecraft To Explore The Solar System
'Whoever launched it fired a laser cannon... for about forty-five years, so the intruder would have a beam to travel on...'

Skin Chair For That 'Sitting On A Fat Guy' Feeling
'The semi-sentient artifact glided to a position behind McKie...'

Pneumatic Micro-Tentacles Kidnapping Ants
'Long, flexible, glittering tentacles...'

Bee Narcs To Perform Drug 'Stings'
'Time for a replacement of both Behren and his dipterous insect...'

3D Printed Spherical Flying Machine
'Gold dots against blue, basketball-sized, twelve feet up....'

Airbus E-Fan All-Electric Plane Now Ready
I couldn't believe it, either.

Robot Swarms Improve Culture By Forgetting
'My mind was filled to the splitting point...'

Melomics Avant Garde Computer Musician
'Rollo sat at the keyboard, prim, inhuman, rigid, twin lenses focused somewhere off into the shadows...'

This Robot Swordmaster: Yaskawa Bushido Project
'The instrument of prisms and target could not think, feel caution or remorse. And it carried a real blade.'

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.