Monday, July 27, 2015

Rocket Rider (1954)

Here is some fun children's fiction about U.S. rocket testing in the late 1940s and early 1950's.  It reminds me of "Curious George Gets a Medal" (1957) but features a cat.

Rocket rider.Evelyn MacLaren and pictures by Jan Ross Chicago: A. Whitman 1954.

Here is the story, such as it is. Pretty simple but I like the rocket base illustrations.


Monday, July 20, 2015

When I Go to the Moon (1961)

An incredibly beautiful children's book that celebrates the idea of what it would be like to stand on the Moon.  People first landed on the Moon July 20, 1969,  20:17:40 UTC, 46 years ago today.

I am haunted by my own dreams as a child of flying to the Moon and imagining what it would be like to stare back at the Earth. In fact I think that is one of the archetypal images in all these books I have shared with you, when the author/artist shows a child on the Moon looking back "home." We have a new perspective on where we stand in the Universe and can see where we live in total for the first time.

Lewis, Claudia. Illustrated by Weisgard, Leonard. When I Go to the Moon. New York: Macmillan Co. (28 p.) 26 cm. Cloth, DJ.
"When I go to the Moon, I'll let the scientists explore the craters."
"What I want to see is the earth. I want to look back--- No, not back, but up--- At that great lighted ball, This world, that will float there among the old stars, like a newly created moon."

"Imagine the size of it! Four times larger than the moon we know. And eighty times more bright, lighting the moonscape with white earthlight. A giant globe in the sky, slowly turning as a globe turns, with North and South America and Africa there before my eye. Why, the whole thing will seem like a mistake!"

"Imagine the colors! I'll see them if I look through telescopes and filters---Deserts dusty red, green fields and dark green patches that are forest trees. The North Pole white with ice and flash! the sunlight striking the seas. The earth will loook like a giant unimaginable Christmas tree ornament!"
"I'll know eyes are watching--back and forth we'll stare across the cosmic miles, The electric seas of space, where rockets are in flight---"

"Goodnight, Earth, I''ll say. Then I'll lie down in my spaceman's bed. the night will be as still as stone."

"The earth is near. Goodnight I'll say. All's well here, is all well there?"

Happy Moonday to you all! Keep dreaming of our potential and pass those dreams on to others.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Soaring to the Stars (1967)

Andreev, N. Illustrated by Arkadiy Lurie. Soaring to the stars. Moscow. 44 pp. Softcover. 1967

A children's book dedicated to the life and space flight of the Cosmonaut Andriyan Nikolayev, who was part of the Vostok 3-4 group mission. The first duel cosmonaut  mission.

From Wikipedia:

Vostok 3 (Russian: Восток-3, Orient 3 or East 3) was a spaceflight of the Soviet space program intended to determine the ability of the human body to function in conditions of weightlessness and test the endurance of the Vostok 3KA spacecraft over longer flights. It orbited the Earth 64 times over nearly four days in space, August 11–15, 1962, a feat which would not be matched by NASA until the Gemini program (1965–1966).

Vostok 3 and Vostok 4 were launched a day apart on trajectories that brought the spacecraft within approximately 6.5 km (4.0 mi) of one another. The cosmonauts aboard the two capsules also communicated with each other via radio, the first ship-to-ship communications in space. These missions marked the first time that more than one manned spacecraft was in orbit at the same time, giving Soviet mission controllers the opportunity to learn to manage this scenario.

The colorful paintings in this book make this more than a simple piece of propaganda. this is very similar to similar books that show the lives of the US astronauts, as simplified for children like this one from 1963:

This book celebrates Andriyan Nikolayev's life with showing how he grew up and how he became a Cosmonaut.

It goes on to not only show the launch of his Vostok 3 mission....

 But ends with how this was just the first step in many more Soviet missions to come.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Man to the Moon (1962) part 2.

A continuation of my blog post of contractor's drawings and illustrations of how the Moon might be explored.

Rush, Hanniford. Man to the Moon: The Wonderful World of Project Apollo. Chicago: Rand McNally and Co. (96 p.) 27 cm. Softcover. 1962.
This next set of illustrations shows what life on the Moon might be like. This is futurism at its finest. Moonbases and settlements in the future that didn't happen (yet?)

  A brilliant way to form underground spaces for your Moon house.
Of course once we have settle the Moon we will have to imagine what it would be like to live there for extended periods.

Finally it is assumed we will not stop at the Moon, so how we move beyond life on (and near) Earth?

Monday, June 29, 2015

Man to the Moon (1962) part 1

It is approaching the 48th anniversary of people's first landing on the Moon. So here is a treasury of contractor's drawings, models, and paintings on how exploration of the Moon might work.  Some of these will be very familiar to you but as a massive collection I highly recommend this vision of the future that was being predicted in 1962. I need to break this one into two parts to share as many of these images as I can.

Rush, Hanniford. Man to the Moon: The Wonderful World of Project Apollo. Chicago: Rand McNally and Co. (96 p.) 27 cm. Softcover. 1962

 With lots of photographs of contractor's space art of proposed Apollo designs the text covers the plan to go to the Moon, some of the plans for exploration, Moon colonies, what private life on the Moon might be like, and how we may explore the solar system.  Lots of amazing pictures of Moon domes, Moon vehicles, and civilians on the Moon.

Excellent space gadgets! I like how the author "harvested" illustrations from all over the place. There were so many proposals being considered at that time.

For example here is a great set of proposed mission illustrations.
This drawing isn't very accurate but it is dramatic.

Finally, Here is a handful of "Moon Buggies" to get you around.the Moon.  Part 2 soon!