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The Death Rays the Victorians Used to Conquer the Moon

Illustration for article titled The Death Rays the Victorians Used to Conquer the Moon

Do you remember when the Moon was conquered in 1889 and, to cement their victory, a number of giant dishes were erected?

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As promised, this is another image from the British Library’s flickr account, loaded with public domain images. This image is taken from The Conquest of the Moon: a story of the Bayouda, and you can either read the book here or just make up your own story based on this illustration:

Illustration for article titled The Death Rays the Victorians Used to Conquer the Moon
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Contact the author at katharine@io9.com.

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DISCUSSION

Spaceart
Ron Miller

The illustration is from Andre Laurie’s novel, “The Conquest of the Moon.” The mirrors were solar power generators, using steam to produce electricity. This in turn was used to power a cable wrapped around an iron-rich mountain peak in North Africa. The idea was to turn the mountain into a gigantic electromagnet and, instead of traveling to the moon, the moon would drawn down to the earth! The scientists who came up with the scheme expected to just sort of hop on board once the moon got close enough.

The plan almost works. But just as the moon is about to touch down, the entire mountain is ripped from its moorings and lands on the moon (which in turn returns to its old orbit). The people who were in an observatory on the mountain now find themselves having to cope with living on the moon...and figuring out how to get back to the earth. In the meantime, they explore the moon (using life support equipment, I might add) and enjoy spectacles like watching the earth eclipse the sun.