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"Looking back through history, I see no evidence for humanity making the best of things, and I think it's a pretty safe bet that's an on-going trend."
- Richard Morgan
||Foam Station Sprayer
||A device that stills the stormy Great Red Spot on Jupiter.
An ingenious method for pouring oil upon the waters to calm them.
|THE little space cruiser floated serenely in sluggishly moving currents. The circle of serenity was two hundred feet in diameter. In its gleaming center the immense shining bulk of the Foam Station towered beneath red, ragged clouds. From the continuously revolving sprayer at the station’s summit a pale, silvery vapor descended.
(Foam Station Sprayer from 'Red Storm on Jupiter' by Frank Belknap Long, Jr.)
Falling on the emulsive surface it spread out in swiftly widening circles. The circles stilled the little waves that were constantly arising within the area of quiescence. Harden knew that if the sprayer mechanism jammed for a single instant, or if the raging storm above carried away the summit of the station the little waves would increase in height and bulk, would swiftly grow to giant dimensions. Only the descending silvery vapor stilled the waves as they sought communion in a seething maelstrom.
Potentially the maelstrom was there, crouching like an irate, bottled jinni under the turgid surface of the gale-encircled sanctuary.
As the sprayed fluid spread, the long, furious tongues of the gale licked in vain at the protected surface. The wind could get no grip on the liquid. From the spreading silver circles it was repulsed with a long-drawn, soughing sigh that was the only reassuring sound in all that red inferno.
The mechanical principles underlying that continuous repulsion were as effective as they were simple. The upper surface of the sprayed fluid was formed of the inert ends of long-chain molecules. As it spread over the unstable Jovian “crust” it presented a surface as polished as a mirror. When the gaseous tongues of the gale whipped across that surface they recoiled as the fierce winds of Earth recoil from oil film on water. The Foam Station Sprayer stilled the Jovian currents and repulsed the air that sought to whip them into huge waves.
The Foam Sprayers were mining innovations. All the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the outpost engineers had been marshaled by the Jupiter Radium Mining Syndicate to assist in the erection and distribution of the great towers over ten thousand miles of the Jovian Jeel.
|From Red Storm on Jupiter,
by Frank Belknap Long, Jr..
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1936
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