Round the Moon


Jules Verne

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Preliminary Chapter-- Recapitulating the First Part of This Work, and Serving as a Preface to the Second

I. From Twenty Minutes Past Ten to Forty-Seven Minutes Past Ten P. M.
II. The First Half Hour
III. Their Place of Shelter
IV. A Little Algebra
V. The Cold of Space
VI. Question and Answer
VII. A Moment of Intoxication
VIII. At Seventy-Eight Thousand Five Hundred and Fourteen Leagues
IX. The Consequences of A Deviation
X. The Observers of the Moon
XI. Fancy and Reality
XII. Orographic Details
XIII. Lunar Landscapes
XIV. The Night of Three Hundred and Fifty-Four Hours and A Half
XV. Hyperbola or Parabola
XVI. The Southern Hemisphere
XVII. Tycho
XVIII. Grave Questions
XIX. A Struggle Against the Impossible
XX. The Soundings of the Susquehanna
XXI. J. T. Maston Recalled
XXII. Recovered From the Sea
XXIII. The End



During the year 186-, the whole world was greatly excited by a scientific experiment unprecedented in the annals of science. The members of the Gun Club, a circle of artillerymen formed at Baltimore after the American war, conceived the idea of putting themselves in communication with the moon!-- yes, with the moon-- by sending to her a projectile. Their president, Barbicane, the promoter of the enterprise, having consulted the astronomers of the Cambridge Observatory upon the subject, took all necessary means to ensure the success of this extraordinary enterprise, which had been declared practicable by the majority of competent judges. After setting on foot a public subscription, which realized nearly L1,200,000, they began the gigantic work.

According to the advice forwarded from the members of the Observatory, the gun destined to launch the projectile had to be fixed in a country situated between the 0 and 28th degrees of north or south latitude, in order to aim at the moon when at the zenith; and its initiatory velocity was fixed at twelve thousand yards to the second. Launched on the 1st of December, at 10hrs. 46m. 40s. P.M., it ought to reach the moon four days after its departure, that is on the 5th of December, at midnight precisely, at the moment of her attaining her perigee, that is her nearest distance from the earth, which is exactly 86,410 leagues (French), or 238,833 miles mean distance (English).

The principal members of the Gun Club, President Barbicane, Major Elphinstone, the secretary Joseph T. Maston, and other learned men, held several meetings, at which the shape and composition of the projectile were discussed, also the position and nature of the gun, and the quality and quantity of powder to be used. It was decided: First, that the projectile should be a shell made of aluminum with a diameter of 108 inches and a thickness of twelve inches to its walls; and should weigh 19,250 pounds. Second, that the gun should be a Columbiad cast in iron, 900 feet long, and run perpendicularly into the earth. Third, that the charge should contain 400,000 pounds of gun-cotton, which, giving out six billions of litres of gas in rear of the projectile, would easily carry it toward the orb of night.

These questions determined President Barbicane, assisted by Murchison the engineer, to choose a spot situated in Florida, in 27@ 7' North latitude, and 77@ 3' West (Greenwich) longitude. It was on this spot, after stupendous labor, that the Columbiad was cast with full success. Things stood thus, when an incident took place which increased the interest attached to this great enterprise a hundredfold.

A Frenchman, an enthusiastic Parisian, as witty as he was bold, asked to be enclosed in the projectile, in order that he might reach the moon, and reconnoiter this terrestrial satellite. The name of this intrepid adventurer was Michel Ardan.

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Jules Verne

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Jules Verne
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