SF and Late Antiquity

luna_2
Luna II

In 1959 the Soviet satellite Luna II lifted off from the Kazakh steppes. At the very edge of the atmosphere, on the threshold of deep space, it released a cloud of sodium vapour so bright it could be seen from the Earth. A day later its plunge into the surface of the Moon was observed by the astronomers it had left behind on Earth. The probe was a tremendous success and a testament to Soviet primacy in space. In particular, it demonstrated that the USSR had the capacity to direct a craft through the vacuum between worlds and deliver it effectively (if violently) to its destination. This was a capability that would be critical in the next stage of the space race, for clear guidance is required if one is to study heavenly things. Continue reading “SF and Late Antiquity”