Incredible as it may seem, one of the greatest scientific minds of the time, Dr John Wilkins, a founder of the Royal Society, was planning his own lunar mission four centuries ago around the time of the English Civil War.
It wasn’t hot air either. Inspired by the great voyages of discovery around the globe by Columbus, Drake and Magellan, Dr Wilkins imagined that it would just be another small step to reach the Moon.
Wilkins, who was a brother-in-law of Oliver Cromwell, explored the possibilities in two books. Records show he began exploring prototypes for spaceships, or flying chariots as he called them, to carry the astronauts.
The Jacobean space programme, as Oxford science historian Dr Allan Chapman calls it, flourished because this was a golden period for science. Huge discoveries had been made in geography, astronomy and anatomy. Seventeenth century scientists were riding a wave.
13 October 2010
17th Century Oxford Space Programme
I mentioned in an earlier post my fascination with 17th Century England, especially the Civil War era. This fascinating article describes the views of one Dr John Wilkins, a 17th Century Oxonian scientist, on a possible lunar mission. Here is a short excerpt:
I wonder if the thoughts of Dr Wilkins on space travel form the basis for the forthcoming 'Quintessence' Clockwork & Chivalry adventure module? Below is the cover for that module (from here).
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