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"One can see the free software movement as a precusor for a "free hardware" or "free wetware" movement--one that will provide free libraries of designs for biological or nanotechnological products that replicators can be programmed to churn out."
- Charles Stross

Meteor Blasters  
  Energy beams that would destroy space debris or rocks that lay in the path of a spacecraft.  

How to deal with space debris, with those rocks in space that popped up out of nowhere?

"...Thank God for the blasters!"

The blasters are those beams of ravening destruction which take care of recalcitrant meteorites in a ship's course when the deflectors can't handle them. They are not designed as weapons, but they can serve as pretty good ones. They can go into action at five thousand miles, and draw on the entire power output of a whole ship. With automatic aim and a traverse of five degrees, a ship like the Llanvabon can come very close to blasting a whole through a small-sized asteroid which gets in the way.

From First Contact, by Murray Leinster.
Published by Street and Smith Co. in 1945
Additional resources -

If you're wondering who had the idea of meteor-spotting radar, follow the link.

Heinlein uses the same word in his 1940 novella Coventry:

He checked over the list again. Enough concentrated and desiccated food and vitamin concentrate to last six months. That would give him time enough to build hothouses for hydroponics, and get his seeds started. Medical supplies- he did not expect to need those, but foresight was always best. Reference books of all sorts. A light sporting rifle- vintage: last century. His face clouded a little at this. The War Department had positively refused to sell him a portable blaster. When he had claimed the right of common social heritage, they had grudgingly provided him with the plans and specifications, and told him to build his own. Well, he would, the first spare time he got.

Compare to the blaster from When the Green Star Waned (1925) by Nictzin Dyalhis, the stationary automatic blaster from Red Planet (1949) by Robert Heinlein and the neutron disruption blaster from The Complete Paratime (1951) by H. Beam Piper.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from First Contact
  More Ideas and Technology by Murray Leinster
  Tech news articles related to First Contact
  Tech news articles related to works by Murray Leinster

Meteor Blasters-related news articles:
  - Space Station Gets Shielding, Not Blasters

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