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

"Building one space station for everyone was and is insane: we should have built a dozen."
- Larry Niven

Airmakers  
  Machine to create breathable air from the constituent materials on an alien planet.  

You'll need some heavy equipment to terraform Venus. Like an airmaker.

The first airmaker on their tour was... a dark, crouching bulk on a stony ridge, its intake funnel like the rearing neck of some archaic monster. They pulled up beside it, slapped down their helmets and went one by one through the airlock...

The airmaker was one of the most complicated machines in existence. A thing meant to transform the atmosphere of a planet had to be.

The intake scooped up the wind and drove it, with the help of wind-powered compressors, through a series of chambers; some of them held catalysts, some electric arcs or heating coils, maintaining temperature - the continuous storm ran a good-sized generator - and some led back into to others in a maze of interconnections. The actual chemistry was simple enough. Paraformaldehyde was broken down and yielded its binding water molecules; the formaldehyde , together with that taken directly from the air, reacted with ammonia and methane - or with itself - to produce a whole series of hydrocarbons, carbohydrates and more complex compounds for food, fuel and fertilizer.

Huge as the unit loomed, it seemed pathetically small when you thought of the fantastic tonnage which was the total planetary atmosphere. But more of tis kind were being build every day and scattered around the surface of the world; over a million already existed, seven million was the goal, and that number should theoretically be able to do the job in another twenty Earth years.

From The Big Rain, by Poul Anderson.
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1954
Additional resources -

See also the first instance of the word terraform in Jack Williamson's 1941 story Collision Orbit.

I can't resist mentioning that the first time I ever heard of "making air" was in Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea:

How did the commander of this aquatic residence go about it? Did he obtain air using chemical methods, releasing the oxygen contained in potassium chlorate by heating it, meanwhile absorbing the carbon dioxide with potassium hydroxide?

Thanks to Winchell Chung of Project Rho for pointing this item out.

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

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Big Rain
  More Ideas and Technology by Poul Anderson
  Tech news articles related to The Big Rain
  Tech news articles related to works by Poul Anderson

Airmakers-related news articles:
  - Who First Suggested Terraforming Venus First?

Articles related to Space Tech
Should SETI Talk To Molecular Cloud Barnard 68?
Stellar Navigation Based On Network Analysis
Students! NASA Wants To 3D Print Your Tool Design In Space!
Flock Of Minisats Will Image The Earth

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

Smart Window Tints, Powers Itself
'The polawindow, which he tuned to clear transmission.'

A Basic Income TED Talk
'They de-emphasized what lack of work would do to Mr. Everyman'

What Can Magic Leap Expect From New 'Chief Futurist' Neal Stephenson?
'The goggles throw a light, smoky haze across his eyes...'

Should SETI Talk To Molecular Cloud Barnard 68?
'I myself am building basic chemicals at about 10,000,000,000 times the rate at which building is occurring on the whole ... surface of your planet.'

LikeAGlove Smart Garment Knows Your Size
'The tailor set moving a mechanism...'

EXACTO Bullets Change Course In Mid-Air
'This little weapon ejects a rather ingenious missile...'

Button-Pushing Robots Have Taken Our Jobs, Thankfully
'The ten forked ends of each arm commenced a rattling pressing of the buttons.'

Puls 'Smart Watch' Replaces Your Cell Phone
Even before Dick Tracy, there were Ideas about this.

Small Molecule Walker Takes First Steps
'The bits were in motion.'

US Navy Laser Ready For Use
Fifty years from cartoon to reality.

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.