How writers imagined the journey to the moon

How writers imagined the journey to the moon

Did neil armstrong steal his legendary moon quote from "tintin"?? 15 years before the apollo 11 mission, the belgian comic heroes were already on the move on the celestial body.

The famous nasa landing of 1969 is anticipated by herge in an almost visionary way. In front of a barren crater landscape, he makes his tim say: "for the first time, a man from earth takes steps on the moon!". Very close to armstrong’s "one small step for a man, but one giant leap for mankind."

But long before tim and his dog set foot and paw in the dust in the 1954 volume "footsteps on the moon," the journey into space was one of the most important themes in literature. Over the centuries, authors have sent their characters to the earth’s neighbors. Imaginatively they paint, how it may look there – and who actually lives there.

An ancient mockery makes the beginning: the satirist lucian. Some see him as the forefather of science fiction. In his "true stories" from the second century after christ – a burlesque full of lies – a sailing ship blows all the way to the moon. The crew gets into a real war of the stars. In lucian’s all, the armies of the moon king and the sun ruler fight each other to colonize the dreary morning star. The bizarre battle is teeming with grotesque creatures: mounted vultures, giant ants and fleas as coarse as twelve elephants. Lucian’s parody is a violent side blow to the roman historians of his time and their pseudo-experiential accounts of supposedly peculiar peoples.

From the middle ages onward, the moon is preferably used as a setting for an alternative to the supposedly brutalized earth society. The italian renaissance poet ariost, for example, makes the planet – at the beginning of the 16. At the beginning of the 21st century, the moon is still considered to be such – to an optimal world: all that has already been lost on earth is stored there. Among them: the wise mind.

The german astronomer johannes kepler, in turn, in his "somnium" ("dream"), published in 1634, ridicules the geocentric view of the world that had been consolidated over centuries, with the earth at the center of the universe: its lunar inhabitants, for their part, regard their own home as the center of the universe – around which the earth revolves. Everything upside down.

Robinson crusoe" victim daniel defoe does something similar: in his rather unknown but for its technical finesse praised fantasy novel "the consolidator" from 1705, he takes his british homeland to task and spins the idea of the lonely island further – he simply moves it up into space.

Not to forget: jules verne. The french adventure classic sends its explorers into space in "from the earth to the moon" (1865) and its sequel "voyage around the moon" (1870). In it, the traveling party, along with six chickens and two dogs, is shot toward the moon in a giant cannonball that resembles an outfitted railroad car on the inside. However, the travel group misses its destination and returns to earth after an elliptical lap – where it receives a frenetic welcome.

The apollo astronauts were at least as enthusiastically welcomed back to earth in 1969, even if they first had to stay in quarantine. Armstrong’s "small step" made the moon finally tangible for the inhabitants of earth – and brought it out of the realm of fantasy in literature and into the real world.

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