Ancestors of Apollo
Ten bold astronomers, five centuries ago, performed feats of imagination that prepared for the advent of human space flight 50 years ago
This spring marks the 50th anniversary of the first space flight and the beginning of the race to land a man on the Moon less than a decade later. This feat was possible in large part because humankind was fully prepared to imagine such a mission, but it was not always so. It took centuries for thought about our world and universe to develop sufficiently to conceive of such a mission. The author identifies the philosophers (and fiction writers) and their ideas that expanded our horizons, starting even before Copernicus and Galileo. It turns out that space travel is as remarkable a mental accomplishment as it is a technical one.
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