Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

" I try to sit down at the typewriter four times a day, even if it's only five minutes, and write three sentences. And if I feel like going on, or if something turns me on I'll just keep writing till I'm written out."
- Roger Zelazny

Astrogation (to Astrogate)  
  To navigate in space.  

Lazarus Long and Andy Libby are conning the New Frontiers, the enormous spaceship they had just stolen, on a collision course with the sun.

"New Frontiers!" a forceful voice sounded. "Maneuver to orbit and lay to! This is an official traffic control order."

Lazarus shut it off. "Anyhow," he said cheerfully, "if they try to catch us, they won't like chasing us down into the Sun! Andy, it's a clear road now and time we corrected, maybe; You want to compute it? Or will you feed me the data?"

"I'll compute it," Libby answered. He had already discovered that the ship's characteristics pertinent to astrogation, including her "black body" behavior, were available at both piloting stations. Armed with this and with the running data from instruments he set out to calculate the hyperboloid by which he intended to pass the Sun. He made a half-hearted attempt to use the ship's ballistic calculator but it baffled him; it was a design he was not used to, having no moving parts of any sort, even in the exterior controls. So he gave it up as a waste of time and fell back on the strange talent for figures lodged in his brain. His brain had no moving parts, either, but he was used to it.

From Methuselah's Children, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by Astounding Science-Fiction in 1941
Additional resources -

The term "astrogate" is also used:

"...I can't visualize what the conditions would be if we did pass the speed of light, but it seems to me that we would be cut off entirely from the electromagnetic spectrum insofar as other bodies are concerned. How could we see to astrogate?"

If you think about it, this is a term that sounds better than it actually is if you look at the root words. The word "astrogate" is modeled on "navigate" - navigate literally means navi+gate or ship+drive (or lead). So a navigator is a driver of a ship. "Astrogate", on the other hand, is astro+gate or star+driver - I don't think they piloted any stars in this book.

It might make more sense from an Earth-bound perspective; as Methuselah's Children mentions, the space vessel New Frontiers looks like a star from the surface of the Earth. "Odd," commented Lazarus, "Orion seems to have added a fourth star to his belt."

As far as dates are concerned, there is a slight problem, which is that two versions of this story were published. The earlier, shorter version was published in 1941; since I've been using the 1958 version I've given the date you see above. This term probably appears in the earlier version, but I have no way to check. Anyone? The first use of the basic word "astrogation" was probably Lasser's Conquest of Space, from 1931.

Thanks to an anonymous reader who wrote in asking for clarification.

See also automatic navigator in A Matter of Size (1934) by Harry Bates, the chart cabinet in One Against the Legion (1939) by Jack Williamson, the pilot-robot in Collision Orbit (1941) also by Williamson, the 3D tank display in Triplanetary (1930) by 'Doc' Smith, and the telechart in Crashing Suns (1928) by Edmond Hamilton.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Methuselah's Children
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Heinlein
  Tech news articles related to Methuselah's Children
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Heinlein

Articles related to Space Tech
Powdered Regolith Propulsion
Tether Asteroids To Save Us All
Perhaps You Might Be Interested In Habitable Exoplanet Moon Real Estate
SpaceX Will Build Floating Spaceports!

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

More News

TytoCare Offers Futuristic Home Care
'Immediately an enormous apparatus fell on to her out of the ceiling...'

Powdered Regolith Propulsion
'... filling their great tanks with the finely divided dust which the ionic rockets would spit out in electrified jets.'

Ford's SafeCap, Opposite Of Niven and Barnes' Napcap
'In the napcap a client became an instant yoga master...'

Would You Get 'Chipped'? Michigan May Ban Employers
'Employees above a certain level were implanted with advanced microprocessors...'

Tesla Autopilot: What Does An Autonomous Car See When It Looks At The Road?
'Jeremiah is a sports-model to begin with and that kind is awfully hot-tempered.'

DNA Controls Swarms Of Molecular Robots
'They exist in loose swarms...'

Tether Asteroids To Save Us All
'If anything can glue the asteroids back into the planet they once were, magnology will do it.'

Blaux Your Personal Commuter Cooling Unit
A cooling unit had to be strapped to every commuter's back, by law.

3D Printed Damascus Steel Now Possible
'...lined with durite, that strange close-packed laboratory product.'

R9X Hellfire Missile With Long Blades Kills Queda Leader
'He was still roaring when the knife missile flicked past him...'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.