Number One Rocket Man
A Silhouette of the Shy Massachusetts Physicist Who Pioneered in Rocket Research . . . Much to His Distress He Broke into the Noisier Newspapers
By G. EDWARD PENDRAY
Past President, the American Rocket Society
Editor of Astronautics
ON a flat, dry plain, 18 miles north of Roswell, New Mexico, rises a 60-foot tower of steel that has roused more curiosity, and has probably had a greater influence on the future of the world, than any other feature of all New Mexico’s arresting landscape.
From this tower, at irregular intervals, a Massachusetts physicist and his assistants send roaring into the skies certain gleaming, cigar-shaped projectiles of metal, powered by gasoline and liquid oxygen, and landed by parachutes.
Your Moon Room’s Waiting
IF YOU’RE considering joining the ranks of early Moon residents, you’ll be glad to know a prototype apartment already has been prepared for you.
Dr. I. M. Levitt, director of Fels Planetarium at the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, suggests your rockets, after they’ve gotten you to the Moon, should be sliced into 7-ft. sections. Standing on their ends, the sections will provide individual rooms.
Because of the surface temperature range — nearly hot enough in the sunlight to boil water, yet several hundred degrees colder in the shade—Dr. Levitt believes man’s living on the Moon will have to begin in giant under-surface caves. He suggests lining a cave with a giant balloon, inflated with an Earth-like atmosphere. Astronauts, he says, will venture out in space suits to retrieve the rocket sections and build individual Moon room quarters.
Beating the Celestial Strip-Tease
by Bill Williams
THE Eskimos call them “the dancing souls of the dead.” The ancient Norsemen said they were Valkyries carrying warriors to Valhalla. Modem scientists call them a “celestial strip-tease.” But communication engineers call the Northern Lights a plain pain in the neck.
The Northern Lights—the Aurora Borealis —have been the subject of superstition and folk-lore for ages. There have been tales as fabulous as the eerie lights themselves—of immense radium mines in the Arctic that glow at night, of frigid goddesses of the glacial ice, of vast fires that bum beyond the rim of the earth.
So long as the ghostly Gay White Way of the Heavens did nothing more to disturb us than frighten a few superstitious people, scientists paid no particular attention to them.
The Next Frontier?
Shape of things to come? Even as Apollo and orbiting Skylab recede into history, American scientists consider a more awesome enterprise—a permanent colony in space.
By ISAAC ASIMOV Paintings by PIERRE MION
I DID NOT REALLY UNDERSTAND what L-5 was like, on this July day in A.D. 2026, until I no longer saw it from my vantage point in space.
On the shuttle flight I had observed by telescope the torus that we all recognize, much like a bicycle wheel, gleaming in the direct light of the sun and in the light reflected from the large mirror floating free above. The six spokes and the central hub were visible too, of course.
Our Earth as a Satellite Sees It
By W. G. STROUD
Head, Meteorology Branch Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA
The scientist who directed the development and launching of Tiros I, AMS/l’s historic weather satellite, tells of its exciting discoveries and its successors’ promising future THE WORLD has had its picture taken. For the first time in the millions of centuries that our planet has been whirling around the sun, we can see our home as it looks from a tiny companion in space. A man-made satellite, circling some 450 miles overhead, has photographed us not once but thousands of times.
“Seriously, though, the establishment of information grids, connected by relay satellite, has already been proposed. Some authorities think that in less than 10 years a student will be able to dial a local computer on his home telephone and program problems into it.”
That was actually a pretty good guess.
COMSAT: Communication in the Space Age
Not experimental, but commercial, instant worldwide information transmission by satellite
By RAY D. THROWER
In the 17th century, it took about 4 months for news of the New World to reach Europe. Now, with satellite communication, news whips around the globe in seconds. In less than 3 years, instant global communication will be a reality. Advanced communications equipment and the space-age vehicle, the Communications Satellite Corp. and its international partner, Intelsat, are all together responsible for that.
Given that the current consensus is that the universe is around 13.75 billion years old that was a pretty good guess. Although with the exception of the Big Rip, most scenarios for the ultimate fate of the universe give us trillions of years at a minimum.
We’re Living in Exploded Universe
THAT the universe can never burst because it has burst already, perhaps ten or twenty billion years ago, and is now in the midst of the most gigantic explosion ever conceived by man, is the suggestion of Sir Arthur Eddington, distinguished English astronomer. What the universe was like before it exploded no one knows. The entire origin and history not merely of man but of the earth have happened during the explosion and probably billions of more years will be available for further evolution before the explosion is over.
AN EYE ON SPACE
By Dr. Dan Q. Posin
PROFESSOR OF PHYSICS, DE PAUL UNIVERSITY SCIENTIFIC CONSULTANT AND ADVISOR, COLUMBIA BROADCASTING SYSTEM
EARTHLINGS ARE PREPARING many kinds of fuels to propel themselves out of this world.
1. Gasoline is inexpensive, and its flow is easy to control. It is, however, hard to store and manipulate. It is not too reliable, as the rocket using it has to be intricate and there are many chances for breakdown. Thrust is moderate to low, amounting to about 270 pounds from one pound of fuel burning per second. Kerosene’s kick also is fairly low.
What the Sputniks Said
Russian scientists disclose how radio waves travel from their satellites to earth
By A. J. Steiger
Radio LISTENERS who tracked the earth-circling travels of Sputnik I have reported new discoveries in short-wave propagation, including a round-the-world echo, according to preliminary findings published in a recent issue of Radio, a Russian popular electronics journal.
What the Sputniks discovered about prospects for using solar power to operate space vehicle instruments is also discussed in the Moscow journal. These reports on Russia’s pioneer space vehicles’ discoveries, the first to be published, are translated here.
How a New Star Looks
WHEN Nova Herculis was announced in the papers, a few days before last Christmas, many people went out to look for it. As a matter of fact, it was a little disappointing as a naked-eye spectacle; it never came up to first magnitude (the smaller the magnitude, the brighter the star. The two brightest stars are below zero in magnitude.) But it was extremely interesting. Astronomers are still watching it through telescopes and spectroscopes.