Around the Moon

Around the Moon

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Around the Moon Jules Verne
Jules Verne
Jules Gabriel Verne was a French author who pioneered the science fiction genre. He is best known for his novels Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea , A Journey to the Center of the Earth , and Around the World in Eighty Days...

's sequel to From the Earth to the Moon
From the Earth to the Moon
From the Earth to the Moon is a humorous science fantasy novel by Jules Verne and is one of the earliest entries in that genre. It tells the story of the president of a post-American Civil War gun club in Baltimore, his rival, a Philadelphia maker of armor, and a Frenchman, who build an enormous...

, is a science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

A novel is a book of long narrative in literary prose. The genre has historical roots both in the fields of the medieval and early modern romance and in the tradition of the novella. The latter supplied the present generic term in the late 18th century....

 continuing the trip to the moon which left the reader in suspense after the previous novel. It was later combined with From the Earth to the Moon to create A Trip to the Moon and Around It.


Having been fired out of the giant Columbiad
The Columbiad was a large caliber, smoothbore, muzzle loading cannon able to fire heavy projectiles at both high and low trajectories. This feature enabled the columbiad to fire solid shot or shell to long ranges, making it an excellent seacoast defense weapon for its day...

 space gun
Space gun
A space gun is a method of launching an object into outer space using a large gun, or cannon. It provides a method of non-rocket spacelaunch‎.In the HARP Project a U.S...

, the Baltimore Gun Club's bullet-shaped projectile, along with its three passengers, Barbicane, Nicholl and Michel Ardan
Michel Ardan
Michel Ardan is a fictional French adventurer created by Jules Verne. He plans to travel aboard the projectile in the series From the Earth to the Moon. Ardan is also a recurring character of Les Cités Obscures. The character was inspired by Félix Nadar.-Quotes:-See also:* From the Earth to the...

, begins the five-day trip to the moon. A few minutes into the journey, a small, bright asteroid passes within a few hundred yards of them, but luckily does not collide with the projectile. The asteroid had been captured by the Earth's gravity and had become a second moon.

The three travelers undergo a series of adventures and misadventures during the rest of the journey, including disposing of the body of a dog out a window, suffering intoxication by gases, and making calculations leading them, briefly, to believe that they are to fall back to Earth. During the latter part of the voyage, it becomes apparent that the gravitational force of their earlier encounter with the asteroid has caused the projectile to deviate from its course.

The projectile enters lunar orbit, rather than landing on the moon as originally planned. Barbicane, Ardan and Nicholl begin geographical observations with opera glasses. The projectile then dips over the northern hemisphere of the moon, into the darkness of its shadow. It is plunged into extreme cold, before emerging into the light and heat again. They then begin to approach the moon's southern hemisphere. From the safety of their projectile, they gain spectacular views of Tycho
Tycho (crater)
Tycho is a prominent lunar impact crater located in the southern lunar highlands, named after the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe . To the south is the crater Street; to the east is Pictet, and to the north-northeast is Sasserides. The surface around Tycho is replete with craters of various sizes,...

, one of the greatest of all craters on the moon. The three men discuss the possibility of life on the moon, and conclude that it is barren. The projectile begins to move away from the moon, towards the 'dead point
Lagrangian point
The Lagrangian points are the five positions in an orbital configuration where a small object affected only by gravity can theoretically be stationary relative to two larger objects...

' (the place at which the gravitational attraction of the moon and earth becomes equal). Michel Ardan
Michel Ardan
Michel Ardan is a fictional French adventurer created by Jules Verne. He plans to travel aboard the projectile in the series From the Earth to the Moon. Ardan is also a recurring character of Les Cités Obscures. The character was inspired by Félix Nadar.-Quotes:-See also:* From the Earth to the...

 hits upon the idea of using the rockets fixed to the bottom of the projectile (which they were originally going to use to deaden the shock of landing) to propel the projectile towards the moon and hopefully cause it to fall onto it, thereby achieving their mission.

When the projectile reaches the point of neutral attraction, the rockets are fired, but it is too late. The projectile begins a fall onto the earth from a distance of 160,000 miles, and it is to strike the earth at a speed of 115,200 miles per hour, the same speed at which it left the mouth of the Columbiad. All hope seems lost for Barbicane, Nicholl and Ardan. Four days later, the crew of a US Navy vessel USS Susquehanna spots a bright meteor fall from the sky into the sea. This turns out to be the returning projectile, and the three men inside are found to be alive and are rescued. They are treated to lavish homecoming celebrations as the first people to leave Earth.

External links

— This is the original translation of Mercier and King published by Sampson Low et al. in 1873 and deletes about 20% of the original French text, along with numerous other errors.
  • Round the Moon — Gut. text #83 in HTML format.
  • Round the Moon — This is the original translation of Lewis Page Mercier and Eleanor E. King published by Sampson Low et al. in 1873, revised and reconstituted by Christian Sánchez and Norman Wolcott. The parts Mercier and King left out are shown in red type.
  • Project Gutenberg's The Moon Voyage — This the version of both parts of Earth to the Moon and Round the Moon as published by Ward Lock in London in 1877. The translation is more complete than the Mercier version, but still has flaws, referring to the space capsule as a "bullet".
  • Project Gutenberg's All Around the Moon — This is the translation of Edward Roth first published in 1876 by King and Baird, Philadelphia. This translation has been vilified by Verne scholars for the large amount of additional non-Verne material included. However the book does contain the first printed corrected equation of motion for moon travel and also the first correct printed derivation of the formula for the escape velocity for a space capsule to leave the earth for the moon.
  • Gallery of images, from the 1874 edition, from the Smithsonian Institution
    Smithsonian Institution
    The Smithsonian Institution is an educational and research institute and associated museum complex, administered and funded by the government of the United States and by funds from its endowment, contributions, and profits from its retail operations, concessions, licensing activities, and magazines...