Wannabe Astronauts

In 1950 the American Museum of Natural History promoted their exhibition Conquest of Space in the Hayden Planetarium with a campaign announcing a future trip into space that would allow tourists.  They ask people to write and request a reservation for a trip planned for 1975.  Letters poured in from around the world, some from skeptics, but mostly from those eager for the adventure.

Many kids wrote, noting that they’d be in their mid-30s by the time of the trip, assuring the coordinator that they were sure still to be eager to go 25 years later.  One letter writer said he wanted to open the first hot dog stand on the moon and another expressed a desire to get off the planet before the H-bomb hit.

You can check out a sample of the letters sent in by eager space explorers here. They reveal the excitement folks felt about the future possibility of space travel and the limited understanding many in the general public had about space at the time.  It’s hard to believe that little more than ten years later the Russians put a man in space and not twenty years later the U.S. put a man on the moon.

How wonderful that the museum kept these letters!