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Entries in astronauts (6)


First Men to the Moon (1960)

The 1960 book First Men to the Moon by Wernher von Braun tells the story of John Mason, a fictional astronaut of the future bound for the moon. The dedication page reads, "To Iris and Margrit [von Braun's daughters] who will live in a world in which flights to the moon will be commonplace."

In the book we read of the training and technical expertise necessary for a journey into space, accompanied by amazing illustrations and diagrams by Fred Freeman. As one of my favorite pre-Apollo books of space retro-futurism I can't recommend this book highly enough. With hard to find retrofuture books like these I sometimes wonder if there might be a market for them if a publisher were to reissue them.

Below I've included a couple of illustrations from the book which show what the fashionable spaceman of the future will be wearing. Look for more from this retro-futuristic classic coming soon (on this blog at least).




Previously on Paleo-Future:


Lunar Colonies of the Future (1969)

The May, 1969 issue of Science Journal features an article by Dr. Rodney Wendell Johnson about lunar colonies of the future. Dr. Johnson was the Advanced Planner for NASA's Advanced Manned Mission Program Office. The illustrations by Roy G. Scarfo that accompany the article are pretty amazing.

(Please excuse the semi-blurred scans. The magazine is too big to fit comfortably on my scanner and frankly I'm too lazy to scan it in pieces for you. Listen, you complain any more and I'll turn this rocket ship right around! I swear!)

[The illustration above] shows a semi-permanent base, a six man shelter landed by a direct flight from Earth and coupled to an expandable laboratory in the foreground.

Early lunar bases would grow from Apollo hardware. The picture [above], depicts Apollo lunar modules; that in the background carries a shelter and the other has landed a one man roving vehicle with a range of 8 km. This system would permit 14 day scientific missions in 1971-72, including geological drilling to about 35 m.


[UPDATE: Thanks to Winchell Chung for tracking down the illustrator of these great pieces as Roy G. Scarfo, who also illustrated the book Beyond Tomorrow: The Next 50 Years in Space.]

Previously on Paleo-Future:



Rocket Ship (1956)

This cross section of a rocket ship appeared in the 1956 book The Complete Book of Space Travel. The space suit we looked at back in December can be seen hanging up at the rear of the ship.

See also:
The Complete Book of Space Travel (1956)
Wernher von Braun's Space Shuttle (1950s)
Space Suit (1956)
Challenge of Outer Space (circa 1950s)
Closer Than We Think! Space Coveralls (1960)


The Complete Book of Space Travel (1956)

The classic 1956 book The Complete Book of Space Travel contains some amazing imagery. The book was targeted at young boys and had that unique blend of sincerity, wonder and confidence we so often see in 1950s futurism. As early as 1956 the question was not if we'd explore the moon and other planets in our solar system, but when we would make this a reality. Chapter 22 is even titled, "If We Are Visited First."

Below is the introduction to the book as well as an illustration from the title page. Stay tuned as we look deeper into this paleo-futuristic classic in the coming weeks.

The first space pilot has already been born. He is probably between ten and sixteen years of age at this moment. Without doubt both he and his parents listen to radio and television programs dealing with much space adventure but with few accurate facts. This book is designed to outline the facts of space travel, and the conditions we expect to find in space and among the planets and stars. These facts alone are sufficiently exciting, since they are factors in man's greatest single adventure - the exploration of the universe.

This book has not been written for the space pilot alone. It is written for his engineer, his astrogator, the vast grounds crews who will design the ship, and the many people whose taxes and investments will make it vital to understand the problems and progress of space travel.

Space travel is already here. Flying saucers are probably indicative of space travel by a race other than ours. We are slowly solving the problems of man's own survival in space. It is only a matter of a few years, and many, many dollars, before our first space pilot will launch himself into the last frontier of exploration, adventure, and commerce.

We read much about space stations, the small man-made satellites which will be designed to circle the earth at an altitude of several thousand miles. Actually, these space stations will be very useful, even if space travel never develops any further, and we should know about them too.

Although much has been written about space travel, much of this material deals with the mechanics of ship construction to get us into space.

It is the purpose of this book, on the other hand, to show that space travel is also a biological problem, even perhaps to a greater extent than it is an engineering problem. Moreover it is the purpose of this book to describe, to the best of present knowledge, what we expect to encounter when we get to space. This is important, because the success of man's greatest adventure will depend upon being well prepared.

Today, space travel is one of the ultimate goals of scientific and military research. The familiar cry, "Who rules the moon controls the earth!" reflects our readiness to exploit space. Our military might is ready for space; our economic strength is ready for space; soon our ships will be ready for space.

Let's find out what space travel is all about.

See also:
Man and the Moon (1955)
Mars and Beyond (1957)
Challenge of Outer Space (circa 1950s)
Animal Life on Mars (1957)
Plant Life on Mars (1957)


Man-Amplifier (1966)

The 1966 book Bionics: Nature's Ways for Man's Machines by Robert Wells has some great pictures of the "Man-Amplifier." Even after reading about it I'm still confused as to how this contraption helps lend greater strength to one's muscles.

This Man-Amplifier helps the pilot or astronaut encumbered by a clumsy and tiring space suit. Strapped to the man, it is a metal skeleton with electrical motors at important joints. These motors follow the man's body movements, operating when he moves, stopping when he stops - thereby lending greater strength to his muscles.

See also:
Journey Into Space (TIME Magazine, 1952)


Animal Life on Mars (1957)

In the 1957 Disneyland TV program and subsequent theatrical release of the film, Mars and Beyond speculated what astronauts would eventually find on the red planet. There were some interesting predictions of what animals future humans could find.

You can view a clip of the program here and you can find this program on the DVD set Walt Disney Treasures - Tomorrowland: Disney in Space and Beyond.

 See also:

Plant Life on Mars (1957) 
Mars and Beyond (1957)