GALLERY OF SPACE FICTION BOOKS FOR OLDER READERS

APOLLO AT GO ARTIFACT (circa 1963)

APOLLO AT GO BOOK  COVER

APOLLO AT GO by Jeff Sutton, Copyright 1963 by Jeff Sutton, Published by arrangement with G.P. Putnam's Sons


DISCUSSION

APOLLO AT GO by Jeff Sutton is a fascinating example of a "predictive novel" of the first manned lunar landing. Based on early (1963) space technology knowledge, the author fashions a tale of what the first men on the Moon might experience. Reading the book as one might study prophecy makes a fascinating adventure. For example, Sutton predicts the initial landing for July 8th, 1969, only twelve days before the actual event of July 20, 1969. With regard to NASA's time table for selecting the first lunar landing crew, Sutton is less accurate writing, "Besides, selection of the three-man crew...was overdue, with the launching LESS THAN TWO WEEKS AWAY." Only Apollo 13's substitution of Jack Swigert for the measle-exposed Ken Mattingly had such a short fuse.

Written prior to the Surveyor landings, the author's prediction of the depth of lunar dust (called lunar ash in the novel) is quite exaggerated from findings of Armstrong and Aldrin, but the exciting conclusion of APOLLO AT GO is must reading. It seems the command ship called APOLLO encounters a meteor causing a fatal depressurization for the pilot. The lunar bug (as the LM is designated in the story) serves as an eternal space coffin for the fallen crewmember. The remaining astronauts approach Earth, according to the author, at 33,000 miles per hour. The actual reentry speed was nearer 25,000 miles per hours (35,000 feet per second).


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Last modified: Wednesday, 30-Nov-04 09:15:00 PM CDT

Author: Jerry Woodfill / NASA, Mail Code ER7, jared.woodfill1@jsc.nasa.gov

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