From the Earth to the Moon Author:Jules Verne (from Wikipedia) — It's been some time since the end of the American Civil War. The Gun-Club, a society based in Baltimore and aimed exclusively to the design of weapons of all kind (especially cannons), meets when Impey Barbicane, its president, calls them to support his idea: according to his calculations, a cannon can shoot a projectile so tha... more »t it reaches the moon. After receiving the whole support of his companions, a few of them meet to decide the place from where the projectile will be shot, the dimensions and makings of both the cannon and the projectile, and which kind of powder are they to use.
An old enemy of Barbicane, the captain Nicholl, designer of anti-projectiles protection, declares that the enterprise is absurd and makes a series of bets with Barbicane, each of them of increasing amount over the impossibility of such feat.
The first obstacle, the money, and over which Nicholl has bet 1000 dollars, is raised from all countries in America and Europe, in which the mission reaches variable success (while the USA gives 4 million dollars, England doesn't give a coin, since they are on Captain Nicholl's side), but in the end nearly five and a half million dollars are raised, which secures the possibility of building the needed things.
After deciding the place for the launch (Stone's Hill in "Tampa Town", Florida; predating Kennedy Space Center's placement in Florida by almost 100 years ), the Gun-Club travels there and starts the construction of the Columbiad cannon, which requires the excavation of a nine-hundred-feet-deep and sixty-feet-wide circular hole, which is made in the nick of time, but a surprise awaits Barbicane: Michel Ardan, a French adventurer, plans to travel aboard the projectile.
During a meeting between Ardan, the Gun-Club and the inhabitants of Florida, Nicholl appears and challenges Barbicane to a duel, which is successfully stopped when Ardan, warned by J. T. Maston, secretary of the Gun-Club, meets the rivals in the forest they have agreed to duel in. Meanwhile, Barbicane finds the solution to the problem that would suppose the incredible acceleration that the explosion would cause. Ardan suggests Barbicane and Nicholl to travel with him in the projectile, and the offer is accepted.
In the end, the projectile is successfully launched, but the destinies of the three astronauts are left inconclusive. The sequel, Around the Moon, deals with what happens to the three men in their travel from the Earth to the Moon.« less