The year 1918 doesn't seem all that far away, all things considered. And yet, futurists of the time thought some day we'd be traveling through space at the "terrific" speed of two miles a minute. That's 120 mph. To the moon in 83 days? Preposterous!
That was the pronouncement of children's learning tome Our Wonder World, circa 1918. The book's authors also thought it would take just 88 1/3 years to get to the sun. That means, if a ship left in 1918, it would have arrived at the sun the same year Limp Bizkit released Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water. They were only off by a factor of infinity. Still, it's kind of a strange prediction, considering by then Victor Hémery had already broken the 120 mph barrier in a Darracq V8 Special — in 1906!
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If man should invade space—A Race for sun, moon, and planets at the terrific speed of two miles a minute
Man has invaded space—not in airplanes which would fall to pieces with age before Earth's near neighbors were visited, but with thoughts which travel faster and work more miracles even than the light of the sun. Standing on his own tiny planet, an infinitesimal atom in a boundless universe, he can with cunningly contrived pieces of glass bring many thousands of other worlds to him, and make them tell him their story.
By measuring the speed of light, he can tell their distance; by splitting up their faint rays of light, he can judge of what they are made. Though they be a million times as big as he, yet standing on his little spot of earth, he can weigh them as he would weigh a pound of sugar. Keeping track of their movements, he can tell where they will be hundreds of years in the future.