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"A good science fiction story should be able to predict not the automobile but the traffic jam."
- Frederik Pohl

Telespectroscope  
  Device for searching for habitable (Earth-like) planets.  

In his search for a suitable Earth-like planet, Ran Argal used specialized instruments to find a habitable planet.

And each mechanical eye, when it found planetary systems in its field, automatically shifted upon them a higher powered telespectroscope which recorded on permanent film the size, mean temperature and atmospheric conditions of these worlds.


(The telespectroscope recorded the conditions of these other worlds)

From Cosmic Quest, by Edmond Hamilton.
Published by Thrilling Wonder Stories in 1936
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