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

"[Science fiction] is the one literary medium left in which we have a free hand. We can do any damn thing we please."
- Alfred Bester

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
Musk Tunnels Wisely Restrict Drivers
Amazing Tesla Autopilot Video
Mercedes-Benz Autonomous Taxi Fleet In 3 Years
President Trump's Wall As Otra Nation Hyperloop

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

Bat Bot Robotic Flapping-Wing Drone
'The dark birdforms dotted the mountaintops like statues of prehistoric beasts, wings outspread...'

NASA's Astronaut Rescue Ball
'Ball and closely-prisoned man plummeted downward..'

ARM Wants To Build Brain Chips
'Slivers of microsoft, angular fragments of colored silicon...'

Sky Fence - A Drone-Proof Shield Created Over Prison
'There’s still a protective field over the whole thing. It volatilizes anything that tries to get through.'

Geoengineering The Atmosphere For Climate Change
'...a uniform temperature for each degree of latitude the year round.'

Archinaut Orbiting Robotic Factory
'mass-produced only in the orbiting factories...'

Cryonic Preservation - The Last Perk You'll Ever Need
'Is there not also a law providing for voluntary suspension of animation?'

Computers Understand Humans By Watching And Modeling Them
Soon, your computer will be watching you... and judging you.

NASA Asks For Moon To Earth Delivery Ideas
'Authority's 3-g catapult was almost one hundred kilometers long...'

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.