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 bottom line in the Dune trilogy is: beware of heroes. Much better to rely on your own judgment, and your own mistakes."
- Frank Herbert

Beetle  
  A hard-shelled dirigible.  

Airships had a great advantage over heavier-than-air planes; a quiet flight.

Lenore rode the gondola of a Beetle - a hard-shelled dirigible: silent, roomy, all picture window, and no faster than a galloping horse. Lenore could see more of the tossing sea than she really liked. She didn't like flying, never had and probably never would...

The Beetle touched down like a feather.

From Saturn's Race, by Larry Niven (w/S. Barnes).
Published by Tor in 2000
Additional resources -

What ever happened to dirigibles, anyway? The word "dirigible" just means "you can steer it" - a big advance on balloons that just floated around. For a long time, the Graf Zeppelin held the record for around-the-world flight (21 days). Yes, the Hindenburg disaster showed the problems of using hydrogen; but helium is a noble gas and won't catch fire. So, what happened to dirigibles?

Well, the United States Government is partly responsible. Helium is common in the universe; about 23% of the detectable mass of the universe is helium. On Earth, however, helium is rare; most of the free helium is in the exosphere, where extracting it is difficult. However, there are natural gas wells in Texas with a relatively high concentration of helium.

In the 1940's, the government became concerned about Germans attacking with non-flammable dirigible war planes. How to stop this threat? Cut off their supply of helium! So the Federal Helium Reserve was established in Amarillo, Texas in a natural underground formation with room for roughly one billion cubic feet of helium.

The Federal Helium Reserve still exists today. And although the threat of foreign lighter-than-air warship attacks never materialized, the debate over what to do with this helium reserve is hotly debated. Once it is gone, it will be very difficult to get more economically. Concerned about helium? Read more here.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 2 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Saturn's Race
  More Ideas and Technology by Larry Niven (w/S. Barnes)
  Tech news articles related to Saturn's Race
  Tech news articles related to works by Larry Niven (w/S. Barnes)

Beetle-related news articles:
  - StratoSail & Altair: Mars Robot Balloons

Articles related to Transportation
Griff 300 Octocopter Carries You And Friend
British Airways To Offer An Ingestible Sensor To Passengers
Vahana, The Airbus Flying Taxi
Hi-Yo Modobag! Away!

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.