Monday, April 16, 2012

Fly Me to the Moon

Today was the final meeting of my intellectually stimulating group, The Monday Afternoon Club. Thirty-five women (give or take a few) meet each week between October and April and listen to a 30-minute presentation of a research paper. I have written about this club before here.  

Today's paper was entitled "Fly Me to the Moon" and took a look at the various ways writers have taken humans to the moon and what was found there. In 150, Lucian wrote of a waterspout that lifted a ship to the surface of the moon. Characters have been carried to the moon in ships drawn by birds, in a huge bullet shot out of a cannon, and a chariot propelled by firecrackers.

Daniel Defoe wrote The Consolidator in 1705 describing a lunar adventure. In 1835, Edgar Allan Poe published a short story "The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall" in which Mr. Phaall journeys to the moon in a balloon. It was intended to be a hoax but was upstaged by another moon hoax that ran in the New York Sun newspaper a few months later. H.G. Wells, in 1901, wrote The First Men on the Moon where insect-like creatures and gold are discovered.

But, as far as we know, the first person to actually walk on the moon's surface was Neil Armstrong in July 1969. Can you remember where you were when you heard that news?

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