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"You have to budget the number of fuzzy rules you use to control a system. It turns out, you can state the optimality principle in three words: 'patch the bumps.'"
- Bart Kosko

Planetary Propulsion-Blasts  
  Devices capable of moving and steering planets to new orbits or new stars.  

Ah, they had the grand concepts back in those days. The sun was growing dim; the planets were freezing solid. How to solve this problem?

The scientists who run the nine planets resolve to move their worlds to another sun using enormous atom-blasts.

Every world had to be fitted with the huge atom-blasts that would propel it in space, and also had to be made ready so that its people could live during the voyage throught the sunless void. The greatest labor had been the fitting of the atom-blasts. This was a task so titanic that only by devoting almost all the energies of our planets' peoples to it were we able to complete it in so short a time.

Huge pits miles across and many miles deep were sunk in each planet at three points around its equator. These pits were metal-lined and thus were in fact stupendous tubes sunk in the planet. At the bottom of them was the apparatus for exploding the matter there, blowing its atoms into streams of electrons and protons that shot out of the huge tubes with inconceivable force. This tremendous force would be enough to propel the planet in the opposite direction. By using the suitable one of the three huge blasts, the world could be propelled in any desired course.

From Thundering Worlds, by Edmond Hamilton.
Published by Weird Tales in 1934
Additional resources -

One slight problem with his plan - the three atom-blasts placed equally around the equator would only ensure motion in the plane of the planet's current orbit.

The earliest example of the idea of moving a planet is in E.E. 'Doc' Smith's Triplanetary, serialized in January through April of 1934. Moving worlds appeared in the January installment; this Hamilton story was published in March.

Robert Heinlein used a similar idea to move an asteroid into position as a space station in his 1940 story Misfit:

This company of the C.C.C. started on its bigger job; to pock-mark Eighty-eight with rocket tubes so that Captain Doyle could push this hundred-mile marble out of her orbit and herd her in to a new orbit between Earth and Mars, to be used as a space station -- a refuge for ships in distress, a haven for life boats, a fueling stop, a naval outpost.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Thundering Worlds
  More Ideas and Technology by Edmond Hamilton
  Tech news articles related to Thundering Worlds
  Tech news articles related to works by Edmond Hamilton

Planetary Propulsion-Blasts-related news articles:
  - Proposal To Move An Asteroid

Articles related to Space Tech
Is 'The Pulsar Positioning System' Evidence For SETI?
Are Observed Radio Bursts An Alien Propulsion Technology?
Caltech's ET Laboratory Looks For New Earths
Shh! USAF's Secret X-37B Space Plane Breaks Record

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