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"You have to budget the number of fuzzy rules you use to control a system. It turns out, you can state the optimality principle in three words: 'patch the bumps.'"
- Bart Kosko

Reaction Pistol  
  A hand-held device for maneuvering in zero gravity in a space suit.  

Before venturing out of your space ship to rendezvous with a planetoid a few dozen feet away, you'll want a way to maneuver in zero gravity. Perhaps help lies in Newton's third law of motion - for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

He... shuffled toward the lock. In another minute he had passed out of Welton's sight, to reappear a moment later from the side port. Little spurts of red-orange flame from the reaction pistol marked his companion's trail to the planetoid thirty feet away.
From Diamond Planetoid, by Gordon A. Giles.
Published by Astounding Science-Fiction in 1937
Additional resources -

Compare this method of moving between objects in space with the spring-loaded broomstick from Arthur C. Clarke's 1952 story Islands in the Sky, Personal Jet Thrust from Robert Heinlein's 1948 novel Space Cadet and Electrical Tether from Garrett P. Serviss' 1898 story Edison's Conquest of Mars.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Diamond Planetoid
  More Ideas and Technology by Gordon A. Giles
  Tech news articles related to Diamond Planetoid
  Tech news articles related to works by Gordon A. Giles

Reaction Pistol-related news articles:
  - The Manned Maneuvering Unit Story

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Manned Maneuvering Unit From 1984
Astronaut Gets Younger In Space

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