voyages to the Moon

Moon voyager

Domingo Gonsales heads skyward in Cyrano de Bergerac's A Comical History of the States and Empires of the Sun and the Moon.

Almost 1500 years separated Lucian's first imaginary lunar excursions from those of Ariosto (1532), Kepler (1634), bishops Godwin (1638) and Wilkins (1640), and de Bergerac (1656). All these tales involved the discovery of intelligent lunar beings (see Moon, life on) and assumed that air extends from the Earth to the Moon.


Following the invention of the balloon, in 1783, it became clear that humans could not survive unprotected at high altitude and speculation focused for a while on terrestrial, atmospheric travel. By the second half of the 19th century, however, space sojourns were once again on the fictional agenda, with Verne, Griffith, Wells, and others offering varied glimpses of a world that would not be reached in reality until the 1960s.1, 2



1. Miller, Ron. "Astronauts by Gaslight," Ad Astra, 42 (September-October 1994).
2. Nicolson, Marjorie Hope. Voyages to the Moon. New York: Macmillan (1948).