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The earliest reference to space travel by means of a rocket was written by William Leitch in 1861 in "Good Words". He describes a rocket as the only means to travel through a vacuum. He goes on to describe a journey through the solar system on a comet, which he regarded as a natural rocket. As the article was printed in a religious journal there ...


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One book which mentions many early stories of sort of space travel is Rockets, Missiles, and Men in Space by Willy Ley. My edition, published in the mid 1960s, starts with several chapters covering the prehistory of space travel stories from before the discoveries of Galileo to early stories of travel to the moon or other planets to 19th and early 20th ...


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The Epic of Gilgamesh dates from as early as the Third Dynasty of Ur (c. 2100 BC), and mentions travel, e.g., see the Standard Babylonian version tablets II–V, specifically: he spoke to Young Hero Utu, the son born of Ningal: ‘Now, when (as the Sun God) you make an opening in the Netherworld, bring his servant up to him from the Netherworld!’ He made an ...


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Definitely not as old as the other answers, but a classic book about space travel is Jules Verne's From the Earth to the Moon, dating back to 1865. I'm quite surprised you didn't find that one. Of course, the concepts were still pretty crude at the time (firing a spaceship with a cannon!), but it was the inspiration for many later works, including the first ...


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The earliest mention I know of the possibility was the novella A True History by Lucian in the 2nd century AD, where at one point the protagonists are taken to the moon by a whirlwind, meet the strange creatures living on the moon, and discover a war between the kingdom of the sun and the kingdom of the moon. Outside of European / classical culture, the ...


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You should define more precisely what do you mean by "space travel" when you are talking about pre-Galileo times. For example, Elijah, the prophet, was taken to heavens in a chariot of fire, according to the Bible (2 Kings 2:3-9). Mohammed also traveled to heavens, on a winged horse, according to Koran. A travel to heavens is described in Dante's ...


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