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April 16 , 2011

From the Earth to the Moon


From the Earth to the Moon is a humorous science fantasy novel by Jules Verne and is one of the earliest entries in that genre. It tells the story of the president of a post-American Civil War gun club in Baltimore, his rival, a Philadelphia maker of armor, and a Frenchman, who build an enormous sky-facing Columbiad space gun and launch themselves in a projectile/spaceship from it to a Moon landing. The story is also notable in that Verne attempted to do some rough calculations as to the requirements for the cannon and, considering the comparative lack of any data on the subject at the time, some of his figures are surprisingly close to reality. It's been some time since the end of the American Civil War. The Gun Club, a society based in Baltimore and dedicated to the design of weapons of all kinds (especially cannons), meets when Impey Barbicane, its president, calls them to support his idea: according to his calculations, a cannon can shoot a projectile so that it reaches the moon.

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