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"We [science fiction writers] always wanted to believe in "private sector" space -- hucksters make better characters than a government does."
- Larry Niven

Ship Hull Thermobatteries  
  Solar activated and charged batteries built into the hull of a spacecraft.  

I thought this was a pretty clever "wake up call" for when you've been drifting in space between solar systems for a few thousand years.

"Do you realize," he demanded savagely, "that if the crew of that ship is in suspended animation, and if their coffins or containers open only from the inside - do you realize that they expect to open them themselves?

"Yes, sir," said Freddy wearily. "Of course. Why not?"

"Do you realize that cables from those containers lead to thermobatteries i the ship's outer plating? The monsters knew that they couldn't survive without power, but they knew that in any other solar system they could get it! So they made sure they'd pass close to our sun with what power they dared use, and went into suspended animation with a reserve of power to land on and thermobatteries that would waken them when it was time to set to work?

From The Ethical Equations, by Murray Leinster.
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1945
Additional resources -

Leinster didn't originate the idea of thermobatteries. In 1897, American inventor Harry Reagan was granted a patent for an application of solar heat to thermo batteries. His invention was a means of collecting, storing, and distributing solar heat as needed.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Ethical Equations
  More Ideas and Technology by Murray Leinster
  Tech news articles related to The Ethical Equations
  Tech news articles related to works by Murray Leinster

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