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

"I'm very taken by mythology. I read it at a very early age and kept on reading it. Before I discovered science fiction I was reading mythology."
- Roger Zelazny

Hyperspace Beacon  
  Located in real space, these devices provide reference points in hyperspace to make navigation possible.  

How can you find your way through hyperspace, that featureless void outside of real space? You need beacons to show the way.

The first ships to enter hyperspace had no place to go - and no way to tell if they had even moved. The beacons solved that problem and opened up the entire universe. They are built on planets and generate tremendous amounts of power. This power is turned into radiation that is punched through into hyperspace. Every beacon has a code signal as part of its radiation and represents a measurable point in hyperspace. Triangulation and quadrature works for navigation - only it follows its own rules.

For a hyperspace jump, you need at least four beacons for an accurate fix. For long jumps, navigators use up to seven or eight. So every beacon is important and every one has to keep operating. That is where I and the other troubleshooters come in.

From The Repairman, by Harry Harrison.
Published by Galaxy Science Fiction in 1959
Additional resources -

What happens when one of them breaks down? You can't get to it directly through hyperspace; you can get close and then travel for months through real space.

The old ones break down more often. Like the Mark III -

I looked at the blueprints he gave me and felt my eyes glaze with horror. "It's a monstrosity! It looks more like a distillery than a beacon - must be a few hundred meters high...

This is an early description of the hyperspace beacon concept. The same idea and term were used in the television show Babylon 5; without beacons, ships would drift endlessly through featureless hyperspace, unable to discern their location relative to real space.

You'll find an earlier example in Troubled Star, a 1952 novel by George O. Smith: see space beacon. You'll find another version (not quite the same idea) in The Cosmic Blinker (1953) by Eando Binder; see Artificially Pulsating Star.

Compare to the Photoelectric Telescope (Photoelectric Eyes) from The Cometeers (1936) by Jack Williamson, the Liquid Mirror Telescope from Old Faithful (1934) by Raymond Z. Gallun, the electro-telescope from Blood of the Moon (1936) by Ray Cummings, the ultra-telescope ray from The Moon Weed (1931) by Harl Vincent, and the robot observatory from Space Rating (1939) by John Berryman.

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

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Repairman
  More Ideas and Technology by Harry Harrison
  Tech news articles related to The Repairman
  Tech news articles related to works by Harry Harrison

Hyperspace Beacon-related news articles:
  - Is 'The Pulsar Positioning System' Evidence For SETI?
  - NASA SEXTANT First With X-Ray Nav In Space
  - Fast Radio Bursts And Space Beacons For Interstellar Navigation

Articles related to Space Tech
Star Trek Voyager Replica Tricorder And Galaxy Quest
Chang'e-5 Lunar Lander Seeks Water
Apollo 8 Astronauts Pass The Equigravisphere
China Treating Helium-3 On The Moon Seriously

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

Star Trek Voyager Replica Tricorder And Galaxy Quest
'They designed those controls after watching you...take her out!'

Rolls Royce Electric Airplane Breaks Records
'A white electric plane approached at great speed...'

Chang'e-5 Lunar Lander Seeks Water
'... get out the solar power apparatus and send it down to us from the air-lock by the crane.'

I Really Want A Folding Computer
'...A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled.'

A Kill Switch For Your Car?
'The car faltered as the external command came to brake...'

Scientifiction, Searchlight of Science
'And science goes on, with scientifiction as its searchlight.'

Wearable Biomedical Sensors Printed Directly On Your Skin
'The dragon is a skin computer... People put it on their arms and exchange personal data.'

Artificial, Implantable Kidney Prototype
'George Walt's corporate existence proved the workability of wholly mechanical organs...'

Ultra-short Pulse Laser Kills Bacteria In Vivo
'...coherent beams at precise wave-lengths passing through her flesh to zap foreign molecules within her body.'

Bioprint Prototype Handheld Bioprinter
'He turned the little art-derm nozzle...'

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.