Gigglebit: Theories of space travel in 1918

15 Dec 2014

Gigglebit is Siliconrepublic’s daily dose of the funny and fantastic in science and tech, to help start your day on a lighter note.

As ‘the war to end all wars’ petered out to its bloody conclusion, not everyone was thinking of the awful events that were unfolding down here on Earth in 1918.

That year, a children’s encyclopaedia called Our Wonder World was released that featured an altogether other worldly concept, the future of space travel.

Despite Yuri Gagarin’s trip into space being 43 years away, scientists and philosophers alike were questioning the hows and whens of space travel.

In a beautiful illustration looking at the concept, the author, equally as beautifully, summed up Earth’s place in the universe before we had even exited our own atmosphere, “Standing on his own tiny planet, an infinitesimal atom in a boundless universe, he can with cunningly contrived pieces of glass bring many thousands of worlds to him, and make them tell him their story.”

At the ‘terrific’ speed of two miles per minute, the writer uses this estimate to judge that it would take us 2,571 years to reach Neptune.

Less than 100 years later and we have landed on a comet. Mankind, eh?

Click the image below for the full, amazing illustration.

Retro space image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic