Back | Next


CAN it be that Jules Verne’s genial conception of a trip to the moon has passed out of the boundless realm of fantasy and stands at the threshold of actual accomplishment?

As a matter of fact, prominent researchers and scientists of many countries are experimenting with and improving a new means of transportation which will whisk us across the seas in a few hours and will, perhaps, carry us far· beyond the boundaries of our Mother Earth: namely, the rocket, whose motive power will be produced by the pressure of gas discharged rearward.

To travel to the moon with our present skyrocket is, of course, impossible, just as it is impossible for a cluster of toy balloons to cross the Atlantic Ocean. From the skyrocket to the spaceship of the future, however, is no farther than from the toy balloon to the transoceanic Zeppelin.

There are two methods of bringing about this development. The first is based on the theory of the German Professor Oberth, of the Association for Cosmic Research in Vienna. He contends that from an ordinary signal rocket, with an improved exhaust construction and operating mechanism, can be evolved a large apparatus capable of traversing the earth’s atmospheric mantle into empty space, from which return can be effected by means of parachutes. This space rocket will be provided with automatic measuring and recording instruments. Animals as passengers will first demonstrate the effects of such an extraordinary journey upon rocket occupants. In the event of a successful test, some intrepid soul will be found willing to risk his life as the first rocket passenger for the attractive prospect of being named in history as the Columbus of universal space.

The other solution of this problem has been suggested by Max Valier, aviator and astronomer, of Munich. He proposes to develop the spaceship of the future from the present-day airplane by gradually substituting rearward discharging rockets for the propeller. The intermediate development will be a machine with both propeller and a number of rockets, which will enable a perfectly safe and practicable testing of the rocket device. As the rocket proves itself feasible, exhaust pipes will be more extensively used in subsequent models, until finally the propeller will become superfluous. The result will be a rocket-driven machine, with airtight cabins, capable of traversing in a few hours the distance from. Berlin to New York.

That degree of progress once reached, it will not be a great step from the transoceanic rocket to the spaceship, or the moon rocket.

The great success of my cosmic novels, “The Flight into Eternity” and “The Stone From the Moon”, has caused me to use the same material in the form of a boys’ adventure story. May Hans Hardt’s trip “By Rocket to the Moon” serve to win youth over to the important technical problem involved in a “trip to the universe” and to caution them against the fruitless and often prematurely spoken word “impossible.” Even the bicycle has been considered impossible. Will the real Hans Hardt emerge from the ranks of present-day youth?

When a machine succeeds in overcoming a gravitational attraction of about seven and a half miles per second, it will then automatically proceed on a circular course about the earth without further motive power. It will require no wings, because prodigious speed in itself will direct it into a cosmic path of gravity leading into the infinite, as in the case of Professor Oberth’s rocket.

It will be some time before such a stage of development is reached. If that point is attained, however, the first rocket-propelled machine will soon follow. Even though that machine be limited to traveling over land, the attempt signifies, nevertheless, the first step in the realization of the age-old dream of the human race—a flight into planetary regions.

And so, the story of Hans Hardt’s trip “By Rocket to the Moon” is not merely Utopian. To be sure, Hans Hardt’s adventures may appear fantastic. They are, however, a logical consequence of initial accomplishments which can no longer be doubted, and are based on the results of the most recent experimentation in modern natural science.

If this book, besides entertaining the reader, also encourages a spirit of inquiry into the secrets of our sphere, then my fondest hope is realized.


Back | Next