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

"Money to me is freedom, and freedom is essential. Money allows me to say that I will now devote my life to being me, rather than putting on my shoes and tie, and going to an office every day."
- Robert Silverberg

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
Arizona Luddites Attack Self-Driving Vehicles
Volvo's Self-Driving Mining Trucks
Musk Declares Tesla Supercharger Capacity Will Double By Next Year
Ford's Autonomous Cabs 'Transportation As A Service'

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

'Metallic Wood' Strong Like Titanium, Floats In Water
'A metal... light as cork and stronger than steel...'

Seabreacher, H.G. Winter's 1939 Torpoon
'Ken lay full-length in the padded body compartment, his feet resting on the controlling bars of the directional planes, hands on the torpoon's engine levers.'

Abundant Robotics Autonomous Apple Harvester Robot
'... little machines, that went from plant to plant... cutting off the ripe fruit.'

Charging An Electric Car In 2019 (Video), 1912 (Photo) And 1894 (Fiction)
'Recharge the batteries... in almost every town and village...'

Japan Uses Explosives On Asteroid
'...a tiny, rocket-powered projectile, drove towards the mysterious bulk. It hit, exploding into a cloud of incandescent vapour.'

Get Your Speeder Flying Motorcycle From Jetpack Aviation
'The flycycles were miracles of compact design.'

FLIR Black Hornet 3 Palm-sized Drone
These drones can provide situational awareness beyond visual line-of-sight capability.

Dockworkers Protest Driverless Trucks
'It resembled conventional human-operated transportation vehicles, but with one exception -- there was no driver's cabin.'

Flying Car Concept By Kash Sirinanda
'Each one consists of a hub with many tiny spokes... On the end is a squat foot, rubber tread on the bottom...'

Unfurl The Future! Huawei Mate X versus Galaxy Fold
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled silently from the top of the unit and immediately grew rigid.'

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.