A Sound Of Thunder

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In addition to the Ray Bradbury time travel classic, this issue also contains some fascinating predictions about the future of space travel.

Man on the moon? That’s a big question. No one can say for certain when we shall go to the moon (or any other planet) or how it shall be accomplished. Yet it might be interesting to set down the opinions of leaders in the fields of science and science-fiction in these respects. A booklet compiled by Gerry de la Ree of 277 Howland Avenue, River Edge, N.J., has done just that, and we are pleased, with his permission, to give you some of his findings.

Mr. Ree polled a wide number of writers, editors and scientists. Among the latter group are Dr. Wernher von Braun, Chief U. S. Guided Missiles Development Division, Huntsville, Ala., and Dr. Fred L. Whipple, chairman of Harvard University Department of Astronomy, an expert on meteorites.

Herewith the results of the poll:
Do you believe that interplanetary travel will eventually be accomplished? YES: 98.4 per cent. No: 1.6 per cent.
If your answer to the above question was “yes,” in what year do you think the first unmanned missile will be successfully landed on the moon? Prior to 1975: 71.4 per cent; After 1975: 12.7 per cent; No opinion: 15.9 per cent.
In what year do you think the first manned flight to the moon or another planet will be attempted? Prior to 1990: 73.0 per cent; After 1990: 14.3 per cent; No opinion: 12.7 per cent.
What country, organization, or group do you think will sponsor the first interplanetary flight? United States: 54.7; U. S. or Russia: 14.3; International: 11.1; No opinion: 14.3; Others: 5.6.
Do you believe atomic power will be used to propel the first passenger carrying space craft? Yes: 42.9; No: 49.2; Partially: 6.3; No opinion: 1.6.
If not, what type of fuel do you think will be used? Some of the suggestions: Von Braun: Hydrazine-ammonia, plus nitric acid; Arthur C. Clarke: Chemical propellants and orbital refueling. Probably ozone and metallic hydride; Willy Ley: probably hydrazine plus nitric acid, could be alcohol plus liquid oxygen.

For those keeping track at home, the first man-made object to reach the surface of the Moon was the Soviet Union’s Luna 2 mission, on 13 September 1959. The United States’ Apollo 11 was the first manned mission to land on the Moon, on 20 July 1969. The Saturn V rocket used kerosene and liquid oxygen, but the Vostok 3KA that first took Yuri Gagarin into space ran on red fuming nitric acid.

This entire issue can be downloaded here


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