March 1953

Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - Time Machine / It Made Perfect Sense At The Time -

Right at the be­gin­ning of the Space Race, the US mil­i­tary was try­ing to find out what sort of cos­mic mat­ter we’d be ex­posed to up there. There were two meth­ods for com­pil­ing data. One was from a bal­loon “train” that con­sisted of equip­ment lo­cated at in­ter­vals along a 260-me­tre cable ex­posed to the el­e­ments 64 kilo­me­tres above the Earth. The other was from a rocket hooked to a bal­loon that would launch by tim­ing mech­a­nism once at high al­ti­tude.


By the time the sig­nif­i­cance of Tesla’s work was fully recog­nised, the pop­u­lar units of mea­sure­ment had been al­ready named for Volta, Am­pere, Fara­day and the rest. Given his con­tri­bu­tions to the modern al­ter­nat­ing cur­rent elec­tric­ity sup­ply in par­tic­u­lar, it seems a shame that all the noted Ser­bian-born fu­tur­ist got was the unit of mag­netic flux. Per­haps loom­ing larger in the pub­lic mind for the showy na­ture of his weird ex­per­i­ments than for his un­doubted vi­sion in elec­tri­cal cur­rent and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion, the enig­matic Tesla went out of fash­ion for a while. Then along came Elon Musk…

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