Today, space travel is closer to reality for ordinary people than it has ever been. Though currently only the super rich are actually getting to space, several companies have more affordable commercial space tourism in their sights and at least one group is going the non-profit DIY route into space.
But more than a decade before it was even proven that man could reach space, average people were more positive about their own chances of escaping Earth’s atmosphere. This may have been partly thanks to the Interplanetary Tour Reservation desk at the American Museum of Natural History.
In 1950, to promote its new space exhibit, the AMNH had the brilliant idea to ask museum visitors to sign up to reserve their space on a future trip to the moon, Mars, Jupiter or Saturn. They advertised the opportunity in newspapers and magazines and received letters requesting reservations from around the world. The museum pledged to pass their list on to whichever entity headed to each destination first.
Today, to promote its newest space exhibit, “Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration,” the museum has published some of these requests. The letters manage to be interesting, hopeful, funny and poignant all at once. Some even included sketches of potential space capsules, rockets and spacesuits. The museum shared some of its favorites with Wired for this gallery.
Images: Copyright American Museum of Natural History