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When Popular Science published these dazzling visions of the future in May 1947, science seemed to be propelling humanity faster and faster into a strange new world: engineers and pilots were making the first flights to graze the edges of space; physicists had already unleashed the horrifying power of the atom bomb; and governments were funding audacious ideas like weather control.
In the cover story “Science Never Stops,” writer Harland Manchester described science as a “blank check”: “The world has made vast strides in the last 75 years; even greater triumphs lie ahead if mankind has the courage to go on with the job,” he wrote.
While some of the ideas in this article didn’t quite come to pass (we haven’t yet established a global communications system using moon microwaves) others were more prescient: many major cities now have beltways, and humans have indeed traveled to the moon and back—and we may be on our way to Mars. See the gallery for a look at what the big dreamers of 1947 thought the future would be like.
Beltways Around Cities