Freshman Seminar, FRS 148 [QR]
The dream that Jules Verne portrayed in 1865 became reality a century later when Project Apollo landed men on the moon and returned them safely to earth. In the quarter century that has passed since this stunning accomplishment, there has been no follow-up, giving the impression that this feat was an end in itself rather than the first chapter of a new human saga. Our society seems not only to have lost the momentum to build on its achievements in space but to have gone into reverse. The development of technology has continued at an ever-quickening pace, so it is clear that the reasons for this reversal must be found elsewhere.
The goal of From the Earth to the Moon (numbered FRS 110 in Spring 1996) is to reveal the freedoms and limitations of technological development, with a focus on space flight. We will investigate the scientific, political, and economic factors that made Project Apollo possible. The seminar will provide an introduction to orbital mechanics, launch, and re-entry, as well as to the basic principles of space-vehicle design and rocket propulsion, using flight from the earth to the moon and back as a focal point. We will study the space program as portrayed in history and fiction, and we will develop an understanding of the critical roles played by organizations, management principles, and budget. In the process, we will witness the interplay between technological capabilities and social goals, between inward and outward thinking, between perception and actuality, between baseness and nobility of purpose.
Assignments will include problem-solving, reading, and reporting, culminating in a term paper on the feasibility and rationale for future lunar travel, lunar exploration, and commercial development of the moon. Use of tools for symbolic computation and computer-network search will be reviewed, and their application to completing assignments will be encouraged.
About the Program of Freshman Seminars in the Residential Colleges
These seminars are designed to enrich the freshman experience by enabling students to work closely with faculty members in small groups exploring significant ideas and documents. Most seminars are conducted within one of the residential colleges (in this case, Butler College), though offered on a University-wide basis. Enrollment is limited to 15 students chosen for their interest in participating in a rigorous, intellectual endeavor. Freshman seminars count as regular University courses.
Reference Material on the Internet
Science and Technology
- Cyrano de Bergerac, excerpts from A Voyage to the Moon, 1649
- Jules Verne, From the Earth to the Moon, (full text online), 1865
- Jules Verne, selections from Round the Moon, 1870
- Jules Verne Collection - 1
- Jules Verne Collection - 2
- Jules Verne Collection - 3
- Science Fiction Space Technology
- Arthur C. Clarke, Extra-Terrestrial Relays, Wireless World, October 1945.
- Arthur C. Clarke Bibliography
- Chesley Bonestell Gallery
- The Artemis Project
- The First Millenial Foundation
- Princeton CisLunar Transportation System
- Archive of Historical Texts
- World History Links
- History Resource Index
- History of Ancient Technology
- History of Science and Technology Virtual Library
- History of Astronomy
- The History of Space Flight
- A Brief History of Rocketry
- Hermann Noordung, The Problem of Space Travel: The Rocket Motor
- Lunar Exploration Timeline
- Roger Launius, Apollo: A Retrospective Analysis (abridged version), 1994
- --, Key documents from the Apollo Program , c. 1961
- Roger Launius and J. Hunley, An Annotated Bibliography of the Apollo Program, 1994
- Charles D. Benson and William Barnaby Faherty, Moonport: A History of Apollo Launch Facilities and Operations
- Courtney G. Brooks, James M. Grimwood, and Loyd S. Swenson, Jr., Chariots for Apollo: A History of Manned Lunar Spacecraft
- Saturn V Launch Vehicle
- Fire on the Launch Pad: Apollo 1 (AS 204)
- The Apollo 11 Mission
- Apollo 11 MultiMedia
- Recollections from the Apollo 11 Crew
- Apollo 13
- A Chronology of the Apollo Spacecraft
- William David Compton, Where No Man Has Gone Before: A History of Apollo Lunar Exploration Missions
- Apollo Lunar Surface Journal
- NASA History
- Roger E. Bilstein, Orders of Magnitude: A History of the NACA and
- Exploring the Moon
- National Air and Space Museum
A few photos from the 1996 and 1997 class trips to the NASA Wallops Flight Facility and the nearby Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and Assateague Island National Seashore.
key words: Earth, Moon, lunar exploration, space flight, Apollo Program, orbital mechanics, attitude dynamics, space launch vehicles, interplanetary travel, solar system, science fact, science fiction, space race, aerospace industry, NASA programs, rocketry.
Last updated May 8, 2000.
Copyright (c) 1996-2000 by Robert F. Stengel. All rights reserved.