The first plans to land a man on the moon appeared in the 17th century

The first plans to land a man on the moon appeared in the 17th century
The first plans to land a man on the moon appeared in the 17th century

Dr. John Wilkins (1614-1672) is a renowned natural philosopher, or natural scientist, and rector of Wadham College in downtown Oxford. Although Wilkins was a well-educated intellectual and had the opportunity to engage in any scientific research in any direction, he was simply fixated on the fact that people should go to the moon and meet its inhabitants, whose existence the scientist had no doubt about.

As a clergyman and theologian, Wilkins believed that such a spacious and Earth-like planet was undoubtedly created by God for living beings. And he was determined to make contact with brothers in mind, however, as it is now clear, this dreamer was ahead of his time by three centuries.

In the seventeenth century, scientific knowledge of the laws of gravity and outer space was, to put it mildly, rather limited. Wilkins, like many other scientists of that era, believed that there was no difference between the Earth's atmosphere and outer space, and explained the attraction of our planet by magnetism. From his point of view, it was quite logical that if the winged chariot can develop sufficient speed, it will rise to such a height where it will free itself from the magnetic attraction of the Earth and reach the Moon.

Having solved this simple problem on a theoretical level, Wilkins moved on to more pressing questions: how will travelers eat during a long journey? He suggested that the main reason for hunger is the very act of fighting gravity, so getting to the moon is quite possible if a way is found to overcome this obstacle. Reflecting on this problem, he came up with the idea of hibernation, or, more simply, hibernation. “If animals are able to go into hibernation and have nothing to eat for months, why shouldn't a person do it? He asked. "After all, the ancient Greek seer Epimenides is said to have slept for 75 years."

At that time, people already knew something that the higher from the surface of the Earth, the more rarefied and colder the air becomes. However, Wilkins came up with a solution for this problem: "sponges moistened with water will help against sparseness."

Of course, he never managed to come close to fulfilling his dream. However, while studying the mechanics of bird flight, which proved to be the forerunner of the research that would lead to airplanes and space rockets centuries later, Wilkins put his theory to the test with the help of his colleague, Robert Hooke. None of them recorded their experiences. They just experimented, and today it is safe to say that they did not succeed. Hooke himself may have been the reason Wilkins gave up hope after they discovered that outer space is not breathable and is actually a vacuum devoid of oxygen.

Of course, it is easy today to ridicule Wilkins' plans as the ignorant ramblings of an overconfident "veteran." But his ideas were revolutionary, if only because he may have been the first to whom they came to mind. As Oxford researcher Allan Chapman writes, "an inquisitive young man like John Wilkins in 1640 found himself at the very center of the 'scientific revolution' as outdated dogmas were overthrown and the possibilities of the new era seemed exciting and almost limitless." How can you accuse him of dreamed of too much, even if at times his fantasies were far from reality?