Here HARRY HARPER gives a pen-picture of the first landing on the Moon, an event that will mark an epoch in man's conquest of the Universe.
Picture to yourself that thrilling moment when, after voyaging a quarter of a million miles across space, the first man-carrying rocket to reach the Moon is just about to come down on the lunar surface.
It makes its approach slowly.
The shock-absorbing legs of its landing chassis have been lowered.
The crew are peering down through their port-hole windows to pick out some spot that looks safe and level for a landing, and they are reducing their speed steadily by a braking or slowing-up use of their rocket power-tubes.
What they will be looking out for, most likely, is some valley lying below the mountains of the Moon.
Here, in one of these valleys, with grim mountain-peaks towering above, the space-ship may come to rest, standing firmly on its metal "legs."
Directly it is safely down, its crew will get into their space-suits. Then they will pass through an air-lock on side of their control-room. Unfastening an outside metal door, they will put down a telescopic metal ladder, which will allow them to climb down on to the surface of the Moon.
What a moment that will be!
There they will stand, the first men from this Earth ever to set foot on the Moon!
They will have to be careful, in their excitement, not to jump down too hastily from their ladder, or to make any too rapid steps in any direction. It they do so, they may find themselves "bouncing" up in the air in the most queer fashion, and then floating down on to their feet again. This will be due to the gravity force holding them down on the Moon's surface being so much less than that of the Earth. This low gravity of the Moon - about one-sixth that of the Earth - will have all sorts of odd effects. A quick stride might take one several feet into the air. It has been reckoned that anyone who threw a cricket ball 100 yards on the Earth could make it go something like 600 yards it he threw it while he was up on the Moon.
One good thing about the low gravity on the Moon is that if one of the explorers should slip and fall while climbing over rocks, or up a mountain-side, he would fall so slowly that he might drop for quite a distance without any fear of hurting himself much.
A strange world indeed these space-travellers will feel they have landed on.
Some of my expert friends who have made special studies of the Moon tell me that everything there will seem very odd indeed to those who stand looking round after coming out of their space-ship. Some of the lighting effects on the Moon, these experts tell me, will be very queer indeed. When the space-travellers gaze up from the Moon into the sky, it will look so dark as to be almost black, with the stars standing out as extraordinarily bright pin-points of light. The Sun will show up with startlingly intense brilliance against this dark background, and will shed a vivid, glaring light on everything within sight.
When we look around us here on Earth we have a lot of different colours to rest our eyes on. But the Moon knows nothing of anything like that. It is a world of bleak, grim blacks and whites. All round the space-voyagers the scenery will stand out bare and harsh in the airless void. Rocks and more rocks will lie piled up on every side.
Great gaunt mountains, some of them many thousands of feet high, will loom up here and there in the distance. The explorers will move up long, desolate valleys, and will find themselves nearing some of those huge craters on the Moon's surface which can be seen so clearly by telescope from this Earth.
Different theories have been put forward to account for these craters, and perhaps our first Moon-explorers, when they come back to us, will be able to tell us something definite about them.
One idea is that they are due to the Moon's having been hit by a number of meteorites at a time when its surface was softer than it is now. Another theory is that each of these craters is a sort of "bubble", which rose up on the Moon's surface while it was still soft, or plastic, and which hardened or "froze" into cup-like carters with sharply marked rims.
Then there are a number of odd markings, which can be seen stretching away from some of the Moon's craters.
Nobody seems to have any clear idea what these are, but I expect our space-voyagers, when they come back, will be able to solve this mystery for us, and also answer a lot of other questions which scientists will want to ask them.
Every now and then, I imagine, while they are busy with their surveys on the Moon, and are collecting specimens of all kinds to bring back with them, our first lunar explorers will pause to glance away across space towards our own Earth.
Very strange it will seem to them.
They will be the first men ever to stand on another body out in space and look at their own world, there in the sky far away.
To those men on the Moon our Earth will seem very large indeed. We ourselves know how big the Moon can look to us on a clear night when it is full and bright. But the Moon is, of course, very much smaller than our Earth. Therefore our globe, when those space-men look over towards it from the Moon, will appear far bigger than the Moon ever does to us.
Actually the diameter of the Moon is only a trifle over 2,000 miles as against our Earth's diameter of just on 8,000 miles. so to the eyes of those explorers, standing, say, on some bleak lunar mountain-side and peering out across the void, our Earth would look quite a huge body suspended away there in the distant sky. But its details would not stand out so clearly to them as do those on the Moon to us. This would be due to the belt of air, mist and cloud which surrounds our Earth, and which would screen to some extent any outside view.
Those looking from the Moon would be able to pick out the great land zones on our Earth, and to see the difference between continents and oceans, while the North and South Poles would stand out clearly enough against the darker background. And there would be deserts like the Sahara which would catch the eye.
There is one thing we must get clearly in our minds about the first voyage of man from our Earth across to the Moon.
We must look on it as a sort of preliminary test flight, as just a beginning of the great coming era of space travel - that era in which men will be venturing farther and farther in their journeyings to other worlds.
As soon as our first Moon explorers have returned from their pioneer voyage, and have been given the congratulations and the honours which they will so richly deserve, they will give lectures before our famous scientific societies, and show the wonderful films and photographs they took while on the Moon.
They will also be talking over with space-ship experts all they have learned in the handling and navigation of their vessel, and it will be these first lessons in actual space-flight which will be taken advantage of in designing the still bigger and more powerful machines in which, as soon as everything is ready, voyagers will start out across space on those journeys that will take them to the planets whose orbits, or movements round the Sun, bring them nearest to our Earth.
Yes, the whole world will unite in saluting the first men on the Moon!
Monochromatic World by Ugress
Monochromatic World by Ugress