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"If I had to get a new Ph.D. now, I'd get it in polymer engineering - the manipulation of matter."
- Bart Kosko

Spacecraft Landing Wings  
  A means of cutting speed from orbit, then landing.  

It appeared to all observers like a small, dark ball enveloped by a solid, though semi-transparent halo, Saturnlike. In diameter it measured more than one hundred miles across and covered the entire moon from our view long before it landed. As it neared the earth this outer, diaphanous circle could be seen revolving swiftly around its tiny center nucleus. It soon covered almost the entire sky, blotting out almost a world of stars. Then as it hourly drew nearer and nearer to us, the tiny central core seemed to absorb the outer halo. An hour before it fell to earth it had dwindled to a few hundred feet in diameter, a revolving wing-like structure that seemed to be the propelling force of the earth-bound missile. As the wings of this lunar messenger diminished, so too did its speed. By the time it had hit our atmospheric envelope, about forty miles above the surface of the earth, what little did remain of the wings fell backwards like an umbrella inverted by a strong wind and revealed behind it a blunt-nosed torpedo about five hundred yards long.

(Landing Wings from 'Vandals from the Moon' by Marius)

Outlined against the moonlit sky, with three fiery points on its forehead and its huge wings slowly gyrating around the black body, it appeared to us below like some horrible gargoyle-faced monster out of antediluvial times. Its speed had diminished to a mere hundred miles, so that as it traversed our atmosphere, it left no trail of fire in its wake as do the earth-bound meteorites when they enter our terrestrial realms out of space. It landed very gently, at first on its nose and then as the remainder of its wings withdrew into the torpedo shaped body, it slowly lay down flat, and looked to us like a short, blunt cigar. For a couple of hours it lay motionless and quiet.

Technovelgy from Vandals from the Moon, by - Marius.
Published by Amazing Stories in 1928
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