Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

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

"At its best, SF is the medium in which our miserable certainty that tomorrow will be different from today in ways we can't predict, can be transmuted to a sense of excitement and anticipation, occasionally evolving into awe."
- John Brunner

Liquid Mirror Telescope on Mars  
  A large telescope using a spinning bowl of mercury as the mirror.  

Although Gallun did not invent the LMT, he makes good use of it as alien technology. Number 774, the Martian mentioned in the story, made great use of different exoskeletons to perform different tasks.

See if you can spot what appears to be an error in his use of the liquid mirror telescope in the quote below.

Enigmatic forms of weird apparatus crowded in bewildering complexity against the walls. Tipped at a steep angle at the center of the floor was a vast cylinder of webby girders. Piercing the dome, opposite the upper end of the cylinder, was a circular opening through which a portion of the starlit sky was visible; and at the base of the cylinder a great bowl rotated rapidly, like a huge wheel.


(Mercury Telescope from 'Old Faithful' by Raymond Z. Gallun)

The bowl contained mercury. As the container spun on its perfectly balanced axis, centrifugal force caused the mercury to spread in a thin, precisely distributed layer over the inside of the bowl, forming a concave surface that acted admirably as a mirror for Number 774's gigantic reflecting telescope. It's area, and its consequent light-gathering capacity, was many times greater than any rigid mirror that could have been constructed without flaws.

Technovelgy from Old Faithful, by Raymond Z. Gallun.
Published by Astounding in 1934
Additional resources -

He states that the cylinder was tipped at a steep angle; a real liquid mirror telescope has to remain fixed with the "bowl" perpendicular to gravity's pull.


('Old Faithful' by Raymond Z. Gallun)

In the story, Number 774 discovers people of the Earth using the telescope; he positions it to look at a particular part of the Earth during each observation session. Since an actual LMT cannot be "steered" (it can only look at the patch of sky directly above the instrument), the user cannot choose to focus directly on any object in the visible sky, as you can with a regular telescope.

Compare to the Photoelectric Telescope (Photoelectric Eyes) from The Cometeers (1936) by Jack Williamson, the electro-telescope from Blood of the Moon (1936) by Ray Cummings, the ultra-telescope ray from The Moon Weed (1931) by Harl Vincent, the hyperspace beacon from The Repairman (1959) by Harry Harrison, and the robot observatory from Space Rating (1939) by John Berryman.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 8 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Old Faithful
  More Ideas and Technology by Raymond Z. Gallun
  Tech news articles related to Old Faithful
  Tech news articles related to works by Raymond Z. Gallun

Liquid Mirror Telescope on Mars-related news articles:
  - Liquid Mirror Telescope For Moon Studied By NASA
  - Telescopes With Liquid Mirrors Go Mainstream
  - The FLUTE Project - A Huge Liquid Mirror In Space

Articles related to Space Tech
FLOAT Levitating Train On The Moon ala Clarke
SpaceX Intros Extravehicular Activity Suit
SpaceX Wants A Moonbase Alpha
NASA Wants Self-Driving Or Remote-Controlled Vehicles For Lunar Astronauts

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 Science Fiction Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Science Fiction in the News

LORIS Passive-Gripper Climbing Robot
'At the end of each appendage's eight fingers there are tinier appendages...'

Drug To Regenerate Teeth In Humans
'We want to do something to help those who are suffering from tooth loss or absence,' said lead researcher Katsu Takahashi.

Coin-Sized Nuclear Battery Good For 100 Years
'...power pack the size of a pea.'

Live Stream With Meta-Ban Multimodal Smart Glasses
'...the bug-eyed, opaque gape of her True-Vu lenses.'

'Autonomous' Waymo Improves Driving With Remote Human Operators
'...some bored drone pusher in a remote driving centre has got your life... in his hands.'

Will Whales Be Our First Contact?
'He had piloted the Adastra to its first contact with the civilization of another solar system.'

SliceIt! Why Not Teach Robots To Use Knives?
'One building now gushed forth smoke and another stench that was unmistakable.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Science Fiction Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.