I found this image on Tumblr today.
The cover of a book written in 1956, by Albro Tilton Gaul, who as it turned out, wrote several books of this type. The book was targeted at young boys and girls and even suggested that the first astronaut was, at that time, already as old as ten. Here’s some more from the introduction of the book.
Space travel is already here. Flying saucers are probably indicative of space travel by a race other than ours. We are slowly solving the problems of man’s own survival in space. It is only a matter of a few years, and many, many dollars, before our first space pilot will launch himself into the last frontier of exploration, adventure, and commerce.
We read much about space stations, the small man-made satellites which will be designed to circle the earth at an altitude of several thousand miles. Actually, these space stations will be very useful, even if space travel never develops any further, and we should know about them too.
Although much has been written about space travel, much of this material deals with the mechanics of ship construction to get us into space.
It is the purpose of this book, on the other hand, to show that space travel is also a biological problem, even perhaps to a greater extent than it is an engineering problem. Moreover it is the purpose of this book to describe, to the best of present knowledge, what we expect to encounter when we get to space. This is important, because the success of man’s greatest adventure will depend upon being well prepared.
For me, this wasn’t my introduction to space travel and the wonders of the cosmos. Mine didn’t come around until the early 1980’s. You know, after I was done with dinosaurs (though, not really, because I read Jurassic Park, watched all three movies and still take in as much information as I can about said interest that comes along). No, this was the book that introduced me to space.
It came with a stellar map, and how you could see the stars in the sky at what time, what day, what month. There was also a small telescope that you could make (it was a kid’s telescope, made from cardboard, but for a ten year old it was awesome), and there was a record that had different sounds discovered from space.
Yes, I said a record. One of these things…
…that went on one of these things…
Seeing that cover of that old 1950’s book brought back a ton of memories from one that I was given when I was ten in 1980.