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

"The whole problem of energy sources is going to be solved by little solutions, not by some big new piece of technology that does everything. We got into this crisis by believing that we had one big piece of technology that would do everything (oil)."
- Gregory Benford

Mass-Driver Catapult  
  An escape-speed induction catapult to launch material into orbit.  

Tired of paying high prices at the Authority catapult for goods shipped back to Earth, the hard-working Loonies decide to build one for themselves.

Operation could not be secret. You can't buy or build a hydrogen-fusion power plant for such and not have it noticed. (Sunpower was rejected for obvious reasons.)... Can't build a stator for a kilometers-long induction field without having it noticed, either. But most important you cannot do major construction hiring many people and not have it show. Sure, catapults are mostly vacuum; stator rings aren't even close together at ejection end. But Authority's 3-g catapult was almost one hundred kilometers long. It was not only an astrogation landmark, on every Luna-jump chart, but was so big it could be photographed or seen by eye from Terra with not-large telescope. It showed up beautifully on a radar screen.

We were building a shorter catapult, a 10-g job, but even that was thirty kilometers long, too big to hide... We hid it in literal sense, too; this catapult had to be underground, so that it would not show to eye or radar. But had to be hidden in more subtle sense; selenographic location had to be secret.

Location of that catapult is still most closely guarded secret in Luna. Can't be seen from space, by eye or radar. Is underground save for ejection and that is a big black shapeless hole like ten thousand others and high up an uninviting mountain with no place for a jump rocket to put down.

From The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by GP Putnam in 1966
Additional resources -

It turns out that hurling multi-ton cargo containers down to Earth has an alternative use during conflicts.

Prototype mass-drivers were first constructed in 1976. Mass Driver 1 was an early prototype mass driver. It consisted of a series of coils through which a small bucket would travel, pushed by the magnetic field of each coil as it was energized. It was created by Gerard K. O'Neill, Henry Kolm, and a variety of students at MIT. It was able to achieve accelerations of around 30Gs.

Compare to the earliest reference to the idea, the electric gun from Munro's 1897 novel A Trip to Venus.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 1 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Heinlein
  Tech news articles related to The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Heinlein

Mass-Driver Catapult-related news articles:
  - Launch Ring Magnetic Launch System By LaunchPoint

Articles related to Space Tech
Pent-Up NASA Scientists Simulate Life On Mars
Dust Movement On The Moon, Saturn's Rings Solved
Axiom - The World's First Private Space Station?
Moon's Huge Lava Tubes Perfect For Heinlein's Bat Wings

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 Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

More News

Auto-Focus Smart Glasses Have Liquid Lenses
'Hufhuf oil held in static tension by an enclosing force field within a viewing tube...'

Robotic Physician Assistant Has Steady 'Hands'
'You turned the screws below and the prongs moved... with caliper slowness, minuteness and precision.'

Roboy 3DPrinted Humanoid Robot
'A robot child that would be reared within the bosom of a human family...'

Robird Flapping Wing Drones Keep Airports Safe
'Mitch heard a rasping, flacketing buzz, like a big insect...'

3D Printed Fashion - Plastirobes And Transdresses
'... dial a new fashion every day!'

Robotic Lawn Mower Powered By Sun, Arduino
'The mower reached the edge of the lawn, clucked to itself like a contented hen...'

Google Perfects 'Blade Runner-style' Photo Details
'Pull back... stop... enhance 57-19...'

Pokerbot Libratus Learns To Lie (Bluff)
'Lying's a vital part of your psychological defense system - you're naked without it!'

Otto Autonomous Robot Trucks Run Into... Legal Snag
'They were automatic trucks such as are used for making deliveries...'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

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

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.