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"Evolutionary success ... is going to absolutely require mobility on, at a minimum, an interplanetary scale. We either go or we die out."
- Richard Morgan

Beta Beam Satellite  
   

The Beta Beam satellite had never been used in war; but when I was seven years old, the Pentagon had arranged a demonstration. They'd turned it loose on a Perseid meteor shower. Lines of light had filled the sky one summer night, a glorious display, the first time I'd ever been allowed up past midnight. The Beta Beam had shot down over a thousand rocks.
From Limits, by Larry Niven.
Published by Del Rey in 1985
Additional resources -

This is from the short story Folk Tale - one of the Draco Tavern stories by Niven.

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