December 5, 2015

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A Doctor on the Moon

Originally published December 16, 2004


Image Credit: Chuck Wood

A Doctor on the Moon

When I was young - 8 or 9 maybe - I read Hugh Lofting's books about Dr. Dolittle, a wise doctor who had the gift of talking to animals and plants. Dr. Dolittle went on various expeditions, including in this 1928 volume, to the Moon. He and his companions traveled from Earth to Moon by moth (which is no more extraordinary than the travel by demons in Kepler's Somnium), and relied, quite sensibly, on emergency rations of chocolate. The book was not all a childish tale, for facts about the Moon appeared casually throughout the story. There were cup-shaped mountains - extinct volcanoes, explained the Dr. - and walking or bounding was easy because of the lower gravity. Of course, the lunar forests and animals were not found by Apollo astronauts, but probably because the trees were on the far side, which, as the Dr. said, was where the water must be for Earth's astronomers had not seen it on the nearside. I am happy to have recently acquired another copy of Dr. Dolittle in the Moon to reread the simple tale and to wonder how much it influenced me.

Chuck Wood

Related Links:
Hugh Lofting

Yesterday's LPOD: All But Armstrong

Tomorrow's LPOD: Roris Rump

Author & Editor:
Charles A. Wood



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