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The greatest inspiration to inventors to creators, to scientists
is often based in fiction.
Classic works by authors like H.G.Wells and Jules Verne
set a generation of minds upon the path of scientific discovery.
Those inspired by these works went on to inspire others themselves.
This cycle has affected mankind in grand ways
in humanity’s most outlandish achievements,
the Apollo program, Sputnik,
and the entire space race are no exception.
So we’ll start here,
not with the Nazis, not with Galileo,
but with a book –
“From the Earth to the Moon” by Jules Verne.
In the story,
weapon crafters from Baltimore decide to make their largest creation yet
a cannon that sends them to the moon.
As crazy as this sounds,
the novel contains detailed scientific insight and propositions.
By the end of the story,
the cannon which meansures 900-feet long,
fires three men into space.
Never to be heard from again.
Today it seems downright insane.
How could anybody believe this would be feasible?
Well, the story is from 1865,
over a hundred years before Apollo 11.
And well before the first airplanes,
it gave hope to aspiring scientists
that maybe someday,
man could reach the moon.
One man inspired by this was Konstantin Tsiolkovsky,
a Russian scientist.
In 1903, he published
exploration of outer space by means of rocket devices,
using a rocket equation he created earlier.
So Tsiolkovsky showed the speed and fuel required to get a rocket into space.
At the same time, his concept for a rocket would split into several parts,
同时 他创造了概念 将火箭分成几个部分
allowing different parts to hold fuel and passengers.
At first response was dismissive.
But he was not deterred.
He added on to his ideas in further detail,
including how much energy was needed to conquer gravity.
Over time, he gained recognition,
and his ideas were taken far more seriously.
But the 1920s, he explained potential systems to protect against reentry
1920年 他解释了一种可能系统 在重返大气层时如何自我保护
and a composition of rocket fuel.
However, he himself saw his ideas as ahead of its time,
and never took his concepts into practice
instead it was Robert H Goddard who took things further, and an American,
He was fascinated by the H.G.Wells’ story,
“The War of the Worlds”.
He only grew more entranced by space
and studied physics throughout college,
writing papers detailing his ideas and theories.
He soon fell upon his most important contribution to space travel –
Walsall Kowski described rockets in a similar fashion,
Goddard took the science and created the first liquid-fueled rocket In 1926s
he continued his work
improving the rockets over decades.
This would be the man and the ideas that would be the most influential to landing a man on the moon.
Over in Germany,
Hermann Oberth as student Verner Von Braun,
were testing similar ideas to Goddard.
Based on his experiments,
they two saw great potential in liquid-fueled rockets,
but soon their work became transformed into weapons of war.
In the 1930s, Germany had a culture of rocket enthusiasts
trying to experiment with liquid fuel.
Obert and Von Braun were among the prominent VFR group
who made their own rockets and launch them periodically.
As Hitler’s regime rose however,
the potential for government funding was impossible if it was not to help the Nazi cause.
This would cause many members such as Von Braun
to join their ranks to continue receiving funding.
As it turns out,
these enthusiasts would soon become far more important to the Nazis,
using concepts they had learned including those from Goddard,
Von Braun created the V-2 rocket.
While his interest was still in space,
the rockets were obviously not used for that
and resulted in the deaths of thousands.
As the war came to a close,
the Soviets and the Americans had great interest in the German rocket program.
With this, they scrambled to recruit leading scientists
with Von Braun going to the Americans.
He would help them develop concepts and technologies
over the following years but without the drive of war funding,
this didn’t allow many concept to become practical.
This included concepts like traveling to Mars,
artificial gravity stations,
and a space station capable of orbit to ground missiles.
In the name of national security,
the Soviets were not completely in the dark on rockets either though.
One of the most knowledgeable was Sergei Korolev,
younger than the others on this list,
his inspirations lied in the growing culture of airplanes and gliders.
As he studied these,
he soon imagined the capabilities of a rocket-powered airplane.
He studied further and developed flight stabilisation methods
before being sent to the Gulag.
Likely being framed by a potentially jealous co-worker.
He was later sent to a labor camp
for other scientists to work on the Soviet projects.
Here he showed his potential in rocketry,
leading to his eventual release.
So again with World War Ⅱ ending,
the Soviets found V-2 rocket plans.
In the spawned a new area of discovery improving the concepts,
Korolev who joined the Communists to request more funding
created the world’s first ICBM
or intercontinental ballistic missile.
This was able to carry a nuke over 4,000 miles.
As his work was implemented for war by the Soviets,
he still found himself geared towards space travel.
He convinced Stalin to allow him to attach a small satellite
to one of the R-7 rockets used for ICBM tests
which would be Sputnik Ⅰ,
the catalyst for the start of the space race.
It’s here where we see the most substantial advancements in space travel,
culminating in the greatest competition the world has ever seen.
The origins of this race wasn’t simply born from immediate political rivalries,
but from decades of inspiration,
born from the works of Verne, the test of Ghanard.
Scientists with not simply alliances,
but also caught up in the greater events of their time.
This video was inspired by a lecture
which was featured in the video service.
“The Great Courses Plus”,
那就是The Great Courses Plus
“1969 Walking On the Moon”
taught by Professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius.
由Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius教授讲授
Here he detailed the history and journey
of getting to the moon.
You can access this in many numerous courses through The Great Courses Plus.
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Topics like science, history, math
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Courses are sometimes even hosted by National Geographic and the Smithsonian.
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