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"I suspect that religion is a necessary evil in the childhood of our particular species. And that's one of the interesting things about contact with other intelligences: we could see what role, if any, religion plays in their development."
- Arthur C. Clarke

Gravitation Screen  
  Shields a spacecraft from the gravity of a planetary body.  

Very early use of this idea.

The great black hull of the Columbia, with her white-haired captain up forward at his post; and the pitiful unfortunates swarming her decks; the sudden obliteration of the scene as the shutters closed over it was indelibly imprinted on his imagination. There was a turning and grinding of the great motors at the rear of the cradle as they worked the gravitation screens under the vessel, one from the front and one from the rear; then, as the earth's attraction reluctantly gave up its grip on the mighty mass of iron and steel gouged from her own vitals, it slowly rose, level keeled, until its stern butted against the top girders of the cradle.
From On The Martian Way, by Harry Gore Bishop.
Published by The Broadway Magazine in 1907
Additional resources -

Compare to the more personal gravity web from Frank Herbert's 1969 novel Whipping Star, as well as cavorite from the 1901 novel The First Men in the Moon by H.G. Wells, the gravity-neutralizing disks from Edmond Hamilton's 1937 short story Fessenden's Worlds and the sleeping plates from Larry Niven's 1966 novella Neutron Star.

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  More Ideas and Technology from On The Martian Way
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