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"If I had to get a new Ph.D. now, I'd get it in polymer engineering - the manipulation of matter."
- Bart Kosko

Durite  
  Super-strong material used to counter reaction-blasts.  

How to move an asteroid to another orbit? Dig pits, line them with something very tough, and then set off blasts that are carefully timed to slow (or speed up) the orbiting asteroid, thereby changing its distance from the sun.

Eighty-eight swung some millions of miles further around the sun. The pock-marks on her face grew deeper, and were lined with durite, that strange close-packed laboratory product which (usually) would confine even atomic disintegration.
From Misfit, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1939
Additional resources -

Consider also Gundarium from Mobile Suit Gundam (1979), by Yoshiyuki Tomino.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Misfit
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Heinlein
  Tech news articles related to Misfit
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Heinlein

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