It's odd to think that the time between this imagining and the actual moon landing spans just fifty years, but that's 20th-century progress for you. Here, esteemed science writer and future museum director Waldemar Kaempffert contemplated the logistics of space travel. How would a rocket overcome the Earth's gravity? What kind of motor would propel us to the proper altitude? If we shot ourselves out of a giant cannon in the North Pole at a speed of 26,000 feet per second, as some had suggested, we'd end up being mere satellites. No, Kaempffert said, to ensure that we ended up on the moon and not floating aimlessly in space, we'd need a sophisticated "sky-rocket" -- that is, a rocket with enough backward "kick" to shoot itself to the moon. With 25 minutes of motive force, the sky-rocket would hit an altitude of 3,600 miles. After that, it would travel on its own momentum. This wouldn't be easy, of course. Kaempffert estimated the trip's required amount of horsepower to be at least 414,000. No explosive, save for a few pounds of radium, could provide that much energy.
Read the full story in "Hurling a Man to the Moon"