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"If you don't care about science enough to be interested in it on its own, you shouldn't try to write hard science fiction."
- Frederik Pohl

Finely Divided Dust Propellant  
  Reaction mass to drive spacecraft.  

...for all the problems it presented him, Man could not do without the Moon. It had been his first bridgehead in space, and was still the key to the planets. The liners that plied from world to world obtained all their propellant mass here, filling their great tanks with the finely divided dust which the ionic rockets would spit out in electrified jets. By obtaining that dust from the Moon and not having to lift it through the enormous gravity field of Earth, it had been possible to reduce the cost of space-travel more than ten-fold. Indeed, without the Moon as a refueling base, economical space-flight could never have been achieved.
From Earthlight, by Arthur C. Clarke.
Published by Del Rey in 1955
Additional resources -

Compare to positive ray propulsion from The Prince of Space (1931) by Jack Williamson, the ion drive from Equalizer (1947) by Jack Williamson, the Sun-Powered Ionic Drive Motor from The Planet Strappers (1961) by Raymond Z. Gallun and ion cannon from Star Wars (1976) by George Lucas.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Earthlight
  More Ideas and Technology by Arthur C. Clarke
  Tech news articles related to Earthlight
  Tech news articles related to works by Arthur C. Clarke

Finely Divided Dust Propellant-related news articles:
  - Powdered Regolith Propulsion

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