Eerily accurate predictions, signed by six moonwalkersJules Verne: From the Earth to the Moon Book Signed by Nine Apollo Astronauts. Direct in Ninety-Seven Hours and Twenty Minutes: and A Trip Round It (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1918), a later edition of the novel originally published in 1865, 323 pages, red cloth with color cover, illustrated, octavo. A handsome early twentieth-century edition of this popular early science fiction novel, signed on the half-title and preceding page by nine astronauts, seven of whom actually made the amazing journey described in the book at least once, as follows: "Buzz Aldrin/ Apollo XI", "Alan Bean/ Apollo XII LMP", "Edgar Mitchell/ Apollo 14 LMP", "Dave Scott/ Apollo 15 CDR." "Charlie Duke/ Apollo 16 LMP", "James Lovell/ Apollo 8, 13 CDR", "Jim McDivitt/ Apollo 9 CDR", "Gene Cernan/ Apollo XVII - CDR/ -Last Man on the Moon-", and "Walt Cunningham/ Apollo 7/ First Apollo Mission". At least one member of each Apollo crew is represented as are six moonwalkers. The signatures are all clear, bold, and neat; the addition of their mission numbers and positions is very desirable. An extremely important and very displayable addition to any collection. General wear, good.
What makes this book so fascinating to space historians is the amazing number of similarities between the flight in the book and the eventual moon flights more than a century later. Let's take a look at just some of these:
(1) The first manned launch to the moon would be accomplished by the United States.
(2) Three astronauts in the Verne spacecraft just like the Apollo missions.
(3) A December launch from Florida with a splashdown in the Pacific by parachute, just like Apollo 8.
(4) A controversy between Texas and Florida as to which would be the launch site with Brownsville being one of the finalists both in the book and in NASA's list.
(5) Apollo 11's Command Module was named Columbia, very similar to the Columbiad of the book.
(6) The Verne spacecraft used retro-rockets as did the Apollo vessels.
(7) Verne predicted weightlessness, though he was wrong in that his crew only experienced it at the mid-point of the flight.
(8) The crew names on Verne's spacecraft were Ardan, Barbicane, and Nicholl, sounding a lot like the Apollo 8 crew of Anders, Borman, and Lovell.
(9) The size, weight, material, and design of the two spacecrafts are quite similar.
(10) When adjusted for inflation, Verne's mission cost $12 billion. The Apollo program, through Apollo 8, cost $14 billion.
Finally, this science fiction classic was actually mentioned by Neil Armstrong during a television broadcast back to earth from Apollo 11 on July 23, 1969, the day before splashdown: "A hundred years ago, Jules Verne wrote a book about a voyage to the Moon. His spaceship, Columbia [sic], took off from Florida and landed in the Pacific Ocean after completing a trip to the Moon. It seems appropriate to us to share with you some of the reflections of the crew as the modern-day Columbia completes its rendezvous with the planet Earth and the same Pacific Ocean tomorrow."
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