Posts Tagged ‘hopping machine’

1915 – The Radium Destroyer – Hugo Gernsback (American)


November, 1915
Front cover -"THE RADIUM DESTROYER" from a painting by Thomas H. Wrenn. (typo- actually Thomas N. Wrenn)
Warfare of the Future
The Radium Destroyer
THE European War has clearly demonstrated what a tremendous part modern science plays in the offense as well as in the defense of the contending armies. It has often been said during the past twelve months that this is not a war so much of men as of machines. Nothing could be truer. In fact, it might be said that this is a war of infernal machines against more diabolical machines.
It has been stated editorially in this journal that there will be war always, or at least till we arrive at a period when some scientific genius (or shall be call him devil?) invents a machine which at one stroke is capable of annihilating one or several army corps. When that time arrives, soldiers, no matter how courageous, will think a long time before they will offer themselves to be slaughtered by the hundred thousand.
In the meantime, probably for many generations to come, the war death-dance will go on without any doubt whatsoever. Humanity simply has not advanced to such a state where disarmament is possible. Our real civilization only dates back less than 100 years, and as human progress is extremely slow, it may take a thousand years and more before humans will learn how to trust each other implicitly. As long as we require policemen and jails to keep us out of mischief, we are not able to take care of ourselves and we cannot call ourselves emancipated—we are still held in bondage by the brute in ourselves, which threatens to break out at any opportune moment, as is witnessed in the present war.
Therefore, the pacificists, particularly those in our country who think that this is the "last war" and who go around shouting peace at any price, are not only a sorry lot, but they are cheerfully oblivious of the teachings of history as well as of human evolution.
These good people would shout murder if you dared suggest to them to dismiss at once all policemen and patrolmen of their home town, but they would trust a strange nation implicitly from making war on this country, simply because that nation pledged itself on a piece of paper not to make war
If the present war is ghastly with its poison shells, its deadly chlorine gas, its bomb-throwing aeroplanes, its fire-spraying guns, its murderous machine guns, etc., what can we expect of the wars of the future?
What will happen when the scientists of a hundred years hence begin making war on each other?
Suppose that by that time our scientists have solved the puzzle of the atom and have succeeded in liberating its prodigous forces. Imagine that at that time one atom can be disintegrated at will, instantly into another, what will happen? The results will simply be overwhelmingly astounding and almost incomprehensible to our present minds.
It has been calculated that if we could liberate the latent energy at present locked up in a copper one cent piece we would be enabled to propel a train with 50 freight cars over a distance of 600 miles!
Now, then, bearing this in mind, let us imagine that 100 years hence some scientist invents a means to unlock atomic forces, and how to control them. We can see him stepping to the throne of his future War Lord (if such still exist then), addressing him in this fashion: "My Lord, with the means of my invention the world is yours; will you make yourself the first Master of this Planet?"
The War Lord promptly asks for a secret demonstration of the new "Atomic Gun," and what he sees intoxicates his imagination to such a degree that he decides to make war on the entire world as soon as his generals have assured him that enough atomic guns have been manufactured to make success certain. And one beautiful spring morning our War Lord finds a perfectly logical pretext to make war on a few nations, and the latest war dance is on.
Within a few hours the first atomic gun. popularly known as the "Radium Destroyer, has crossed the enemy's frontier.
The Radium Destroyer is mounted on fast moving auto trucks and is controlled entirely by Radio energy. No man is within a mile of the Destroyer—it is too dangerous to be near it when in action. A young lieutenant with phones clapped over his head and who follows the Destroyer in the "Control Auto," and who gets his own orders from the General Staff by Wireless, guides each and every motion of the distant Radium Destroyer simply by moving certain keys and switches in front of him.
Soon his Destroyer has arrived in front of the enemy's first line of concreted steel trenches, protecting the land behind them. In front of the trenches the ground has been purposely cut up to impede the progress of ordinary vehicles. The General Staff, of course, knew this, and built the Destroyer accordingly. Our friend the lieutenant stops the Destroyer's truck and moves a lever. Immediately the Destroyer hops from the truck and begins to jump with amazing speed over the cutup ground, in grasshopper fashion. A few hundred feet from the well-concealed concrete trenches the Destroyer is made to halt. Our lieutenant moves a few switches, turns a knob and presses a key—then lot the inferno begins.
A solid green "Radium-K" emanation ray bursts from the top of the Destroyer and hits the concreted steel trench. Our front cover gives but a faint idea of what happens. The Radium-K emanation has the property of setting off spontaneously the dormant energy of the Atom of any element it encounters except lead. So when the ray hits the trench it went up in dust, concrete, steel, men and guns behind it, everything. After spraying the trench lengthwise for a few minutes it is gone completely. Only a dense cloud of vapor hanging in the air remains.
The fleet of Radium Destroyers now enters through the gap, destroying everything in their path. No gun can hit the Radium Destroyer for ere the gun can get the proper range, the Radium-K Ray has hit the gun or the ground below it and has sent it up in vapor, including the men behind it. As a demonstration, the Commanding General asks that the first town encountered, a city of 300,000 souls, be vacated within three hours. The terrorized inhabitants are forced to comply with the request, whereupon a dozen Destroyers line up on the hills and spray the unlucky city with their fearful rays. Within five minutes the entire city, houses, churches, bridges, parks and everything else have gone up in a titanic Vapor cloud; only a vast crater in the ground where the thriving city one stood remains.
After this demonstration the enemy sues for peace; resistance would be folly. The country is conquered. Within a fort night the War Lord has conquered the entire world and has proclaimed himself as the First Planet Emperor.
What happens afterwards when the secret of the Radium Destroyer is discovered by the War Lord's enemies is another chapter, so we will desist !
The above may read very fantastical and extremely fanciful. It is, however, not only very possible but highly probable. Modern Science knows not the word Impossible.

See other early Hopping and Walking Machines here.

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1983-7 – PrOP-F Phobos Hopper – (Soviet)

The vehicle ПрОП-Ф (PrOP-F), designed by the Russian Mobile Vehicle Engineering Institute, was sent in a space mission to Phobos in 1989 (Kemurdjian et al., 1995). This 45 kg robot was able to move using hops, perform scientific experiments and transmit the collected data and the experiments results to the Earth through a radio communication channel.

"PROP-F" mobile (jumping) apparatus (1983-1987)


It was a part of the "Phobos-2" space station.
Purpose: delivery of scientific equipment set onto Phobos' surface including its transportation over a surface.
"PROP-F" apparatus is an automatic space station containing: the power source, radio-telemetric system, program unit, blocks of on-board automatic equipment, electromechanical jumping propulsive device, orientation system and scientific equipment set.

"PROP-F" mobile apparatus
Scientific equipment composition:

-automatic X-ray fluorescent spectrometer ("GEOHI" RAS)
-magnetometer ("IZMIR" RAS)
-gravimeter (SRI RAS)
-temperature-sensitive element (SRI RAS)
-unit for measurement of acceleration ("Biophispribor SKTB")
-soil electric resistance indicator (VNIITRANSMASH)
-dynamic penetrometer with a unit for soil sampling (VNIITRANSMASH)

Mass…………………………………………….45 kg
Amount of parameters transmitted……………..18
Resource…………………………………………3 hours
Customer: Lavochkin Association.

PrOP-F showing probes.

See earlier PrOP-M here.

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1967 – “Lunar Leaper” – Dr. Howard S. Seifert et al (American)

Taking 400-foot 15-second hops, lunar "pogo sticks" could most forward at about 20 miles an hour—much faster than the four to five miles an hour 
of vehicles now being considered for moon exploration. The moon leaper was devised by Dr. Howard S. Seifert, scientist at the United Technology Center at Sunnyvale, Calif. This artist's concept shows lunar Ieapers in action, with the twin cabins in various positions for takeoff, flight and landing. 
—AP Newsfeatures Photo.

Source: Reading Eagle 29 Jan 1967

Lunar Leaper Is Designed By Scientist
Sunnyvale, Calif. (AP)—The best vehicle for exploring the moon, once man was landed, may be a kind of pogo stick making 400-foot hops among the craters.
Dr. Howard S. Seifert, United Technology Center scientist subs also teaches at Stanford University, has worked out concepts for such a vehicle. He's serious.
Dr. Seifert has talked with others in the field and with various government agencies. including NASA. and says he has found a high degree of interest in the novel idea.
The monopod, moon hopper or lunar leaper—you name it—would consist of a 40-foot hollow pole between two cabins. The cabins—one carrying a pilot and a passenger, the other containing power plant, flight control equipment and a life support system — would ride up and down the pole on a cushion of compressed gas.
'Hop' Explained
As Seifert envisions it, a moon hop would start with the cabin structure resting rear the bottom of the pole. Pressure of gas against a piston would force the structure 30 feet up the pole, where it would lock in place, carrying the pole on upward with it on a ballistic trajectory.
The pole would be leaning forward at 45 degrees to the lunar surface at the start of the 400-foot, 15-second hop. Midway in flight, the lower end would swing forward in preparation for landing, when a big traction foot would contact the surface and the cabins would slide downward. compressing the gas again for the next leap.
The traction foot, the point of contact of the pole with the lunar surface, would be light, flexible. cleated and probably at least four feet across. It would be designed, Dr. Seifert said. to reduce bearing loads to acceptable values for the lunar soil.
Short Hops
The pole's momentum would swing it to position for the nest take-off during the one to two seconds between hops.
The craft would move forward at about 20 miles per hour, Seifert said.
This compares with a limit of four to five miles an hour for walking or wheeled vehicles now being considered for moon transport.
Seifert pointed to nature's hoppers—the kangaroo, rabbit, grasshopper and flea, among others.
"It would seem reasonable that matters and energy could be combined by man to create an efficient hopping transportation system on the moon," he said.
"Successful use of this system depends upon a lunar surface sufficiently free of large rocks and strong enough to support the vehicle."
Moon information accumulated thus far, mainly through photographs, indicates much of the terrain would be suitable for hopper travel, he said.
Paired gyroscopes would keep the cabins level and the pole correctly angled even if the foot skidded while landing on a sloping surface, Seifert said. Around the 200-foot-high apex of one jump, the pilot would select his landing point, using a computer and bomb-sight type device to pick a suitable bouncing spot.
Seifert said power would be supplied by a relatively small gas generator enabling the craft to move forward eight or nine miles on a gallon of standard fuel—"tremendously better than a rocket in that respect."
To Regain Energy
Once started. the hopper would regain about 80 per cent of its expanded energy in each gas compressing bounce-down, he explained. The bouncing mode of travel—with about 10 seconds of each hop bring spent above 100 feet—would aid observation and exploration, Seifert believes.
The scientist is a past president of the American Rocket Society and has served as vice president of the International Astronautical Federation and director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He is the author of more than 30 papers on liquid, solid and nuclear rocket motor development and guided missile systems.
His moon hopper concept could be tested on earth, Seifert said, and colleagues at Stanford have expressed great interest in working out the system.
"Friends have said they'd like to test hop such a vehicle around a football field," Seifert said.

Artists Concert Illustration

Source: Popular Science, March 1969

Officially called "The Lunar Hopping Transporter", although attributed to Seifert, there were quite a few people involved in the research project for NASA for the Apollo Moon Mission program.

All is revealed in this 1971 Final Report to NASA

Computer simulation of the Lunar Leaper.

The Demonstration model in 'flight'.

Seifert's concept for an Unmanned Hopper.

Note: The Hermann Oberth "Moon Car" of 1956 is incorrectly attributed to Seifert's Lunar Leaper.