The moon was a mystery to everyone but Jules Verne.
September 26, 2017
What great mysery lies hidden in J Gerald Crawford’s image of a strawberry moon?
Jules Verne stared into the night skies and marveled at the greatest mystery of them all.
He could not remove his eyes from the moon.
A strawberry moon.
So far away.
Could man ever reach the moon?
It was a question he could not forget.
Would man ever leave his footprints on the moon?
He thought it possible.
Everyone else thought he might be one of those strange quacks who lived at the far end of the road.
Jules Verne sat down in 1865 and wrote a novel he called From the Earth to the Moon. He became known as the father of Science Fiction.
For a century, it staggered the imagination of mankind.
It tempted the wanderlust inside us all.
Verne was only writing a book.
He was telling a story.
No one realized just how eerily accurate his predictions would really be.
Verne’s spacecraft carried three men.
So did Apollo 8 and Apollo 11.
Verne’s spacecraft was shot from a cannon named Columbiad.
NASA’s command module was named Columbia.
Verne’s spacecraft was made of aluminum, which was virtually unknown in 1865.
The Columbia was made almost entirely from aluminum.
Verne’s space exploration cost $12 billion in 1969 currency.
The Apollo program cost $14 billion.
Verne’s spacecraft weighed 19,250 pounds.
Apollo 8 weighed 26,275 pounds.
To slow its speed, Verne’s spacecraft used retro-rockets, which had not yet been invented.
Apollo 8 and Apollo 11 used retro-rockets, which were invented a hundred and six years later.
The space pioneers in Verne’s novel considered seven sites in both Texas and Florida for a launch site before settling on Stone Hill, just south of Tampa.
NASA considered seven sites in both Texas and Florida for a launch site before settling on Cape Canaveral, just west of Tampa.
Verne’s spacecraft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean.
So did Apollo 8.
A U. S. Navy vessel picked up crew members from both space shots.
Verne’s was named The Susquehanna.
Apollo’s was named The Hornet.
And the question remains.
How did Verne know so much so many years ago?
He had a scientific mind and was intrigued with the impossible.
He taught us how it was done.
Verne never made it to the moon.
We found some dirt.
We brought back a few rocks.
That’s about all.
But there it sits in the sky and glares back at us night after night.
Sometimes the size of a fingernail.
Mostly the moon is the color of alabaster.
But it can be orange.
And often gold.
The moon is as mysterious today as it was when man first saw it, when Verne first wrote about going there, when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked among its craters.
We didn’t learn much.
At least we weren’t told much.
The moon keeps its secrets.
And it talks only to lovers at night, to poets who wander among the stars, and to writers who envision other worlds on the far side of a land where only our imaginations dare to tread.
Please click HERE to find my newest novel, Back Side of a Blue Moon on Amzaon. It’s not science fiction. It’s part romance, has a touch of mystery, and is all historical fiction.