“A JOURNEY TO MARS” by Arthur C. Clarke – March 1953

Here’s what it will be like to travel through space, in the words of an expert on interplanetary travel

IN the fall of 1942 two events occurred which set Man’s feet firmly on the road to the stars. The first V-2 climbed to the limit of the at­mosphere, ushering in the age of rocket propulsion—and beneath a squash court in the University of Chicago, atomic energy crept secretly into a world totally unprepared for it.

During the next fifty years, building on this foundation, we will acquire the knowledge and techniques necessary to take us beyond the atmosphere—the know-how of space flight. Chemical fuels are already available which can establish the “artificial satellite,” our first stepping stone into space. They may even be sufficient for scientific reconnaissances of the Moon and nearer planets, though at enormous expense. Truly practical space flight, however, must await the harness­ing of the atom to rocket propulsion. Already at least two ways of achieving this are known, in theory; and when a thing can be done in theory, it is only a matter of time before it becomes reality.

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