Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2003 February 15
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Happy Birthday Jules Verne
Credit: NASA

Explanation: One hundred seventy-five years ago (on February 8th), Jules Verne was born in Nantes, France. Inspired by a lifelong fascination with machines, Verne wrote visionary works about "Extraordinary Voyages" including such terrestrial travels as Around the World in 80 Days, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. In 1865 he published the story of three adventurers who undertook a journey From the Earth to the Moon. Verne's characters rode a "projectile-vehicle" fired from a huge cannon constructed in Florida, USA. Does that sound vaguely familiar? A century later, the Saturn V rocket and NASA's Apollo program finally turned this work of fiction into fact, propelling adventuresome trios on what was perhaps Verne's most extraordinary voyage. This dramatic view shows the moonbound Apollo 11 space-vehicle riding top a Saturn V rocket as it blasts skyward. Launched from a spaceport in Florida, the Apollo 11 crew traveled to the moon and back again in 1969, making humanity's first landing on the lunar surface.

Tomorrow's picture: south by southwest

< | Archive | Index | Search | Calendar | Glossary | Education | About APOD | >

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA / GSFC
& NASA SEU Edu. Forum
& Michigan Tech. U.