The metaldad rocket

Paid Online Writing Jobs

Get Paid to Write at Home

Get Instant Access

The invention that "saved" the rocket in the 18th century once again emerged from the East - this time from India. Around the mid-1700s, Hyder Ali, Sultan of Mysore, ordered the construction of rockets sheathed in iron, not card or paper. Because the

ADVANCEO ROCKETRY

This illustration shows armourers constructing a rocket to the plans of Casimirus Siemienowicz. In his time, the study of ballistics, allowing flight paths and targets to be calculated, was advancing rapidly.

WEIGHTLESS BLUNDER

Jules Verne's travellers experienced weightlessness only as they crossed the region where the Earth and Moon's gravitational pull were balanced. In reality, though, since they and their ship were travelling at constant speed, they would have been weightless immediately after launch.

Space visionaries

Writers have fantasized about journeys beyond Earth since classical times, but the industrial revolution of the 19th century, coupled with advances in scientific knowledge, gave rise to a wave of speculative fiction that would inspire later generations to make space travel a reality.

EARLY EDITIONS

From the Earth to the Moon (left) and its sequel, Around the Moon, were the bestsellers of their age, published in many languages and rarely out of print.

WEIGHTLESS BLUNDER

Jules Verne's travellers experienced weightlessness only as they crossed the region where the Earth and Moon's gravitational pull were balanced. In reality, though, since they and their ship were travelling at constant speed, they would have been weightless immediately after launch.

The Roman poet and satirist Lucian of Samosata is widely acknowledged as the world's first science-fiction writer. His True History, written around ad 150, is a tale of travellers carried into space and eventually to the Moon on a giant water spout. Lucian, however, was principally writing a fantasy, at a time when the rigours of space travel were purely matters of guesswork. Later literature throws up similar tales, such as the proposal by the 17th-century English bishop Francis Godwin for a lunar expedition in a carriage pulled by geese; a more thoughtful fantasy comes from no less an authority than Johannes Kepler, the astronomer who finally worked out the laws of planetary orbital motion and clinched the case for a Sun-centred Solar System. In his Somnium (Dream) of 1634, Kepler tells the tale of an expedition to the Moon, recognizing that it would involve a traumatic launch and travel beyond Earth's atmosphere and that conditions in space were dangerous, with fierce radiation from the Sun.

BULLET TO THE MOON

Although this illustration for From the Earth to the Moon implies some kind of engine driving the moonship, Verne never wrote of such a device.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment