John Wilkins and His 1640s Lunar Exploration Plans


Map of the Moon from “Selenographia, sive Lunae description” (1647) Public domain

In the 1600s, John Wilkins was planning out what he thought it would take for humans to travel to the moon. Wilkins managed to ride out a rocky time in England’s historycomfortably, and was well known; he appears in the diaries of Samuel Pepys.

Holly's Research:

  • Chapman, Allan. “A World in the Moon - Wilkins and his Lunar Voyage of 1640.” Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society. Vol. 32, NO.2/JUN. P.121, 1991. Accessed online: http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1991QJRAS..32..121C
  • Henderson, P.A. Wright. “The Life and Times
  • of John Wilkins.” William Blackwood and Sons. 1910. Accessed online. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/26674/26674-h/26674-h.htm
  • Avxentevskaya, Maria. “Flying Chariots and Exotic Birds: How 17th-Century Dreamers Planned to Reach the Moon.” Scientific American. Dec. 5, 2017. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/flying-chariots-and-exotic-birds-how-17th-century-dreamers-planned-to-reach-the-moon/
  • Ohlmeyer, Jane H. “English Civil Wars.” Encyclopædia Britannica. February 20, 2019. https://www.britannica.com/event/English-Civil-Wars
  • Wilkins, John. “The Discovery of a World in the Moone.” London. 1638. Accessed online: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/19103
  • Chapman, Allan. “Fly me to the Moon.” Astronomy & Geophysics. Volume 55, Issue 1. February 2014. Pages 1.26–1.31, https://doi.org/10.1093/astrogeo/atu037
  • “Ancient Greek Astronomy and Cosmology.” Library of Congress. https://www.loc.gov/collections/finding-our-place-in-the-cosmos-with-carl-sagan/articles-and-essays/modeling-the-cosmos/ancient-greek-astronomy-and-cosmology
  • Wilkins, John. “The mathematical and philosophical works of the Right Reverend John Wilkins.” London, Printed for J. Nicholson. 1708. Accessed online: https://archive.org/details/mathematicalphil00wilk/page/n7
  • Wilkins, John. “An Essay towards a Real Character, and a Philosophical Language.” London. 1668. Accessed online: https://archive.org/details/AnEssayTowardsARealCharacterAndAPhilosophicalLanguage/page/n19

Topics in this Podcast: moon, British history, space, astronomy, Samuel Pepys, 17th century, science history