Science fiction is by far the nerdiest of the fictions, and its bread and butter consists of robot uprisings and unexpected time travel consequences. But for every Martian invasion and robocop-related mishap it has warned about, science fiction has made some stunningly accurate premonitions.
We're not talking about broad predictions, like "thinking machines" or "interplanetary travel." That stuff's easy. It's the weirdly specific prophecies that impress us.
6Jules Verne Predicts the Moon Landing in Ridiculous Detail ... in 1865
The first manned spaceship was launched during the month of December, by the United States from a base in Florida. The ship was made up mostly of aluminum, weighed 19,250 pounds, and cost what would now be about $12.1 billion to build. After three of the astronauts completed their moonwalk, they returned to Earth. Their capsule splashed down into the Pacific Ocean and was recovered by a U.S. Navy vessel.
Why are we boring you with history? Actually, we're not -- this is the plot of an 1865 novel by Jules Verne, whose frighteningly accurate visions of space travel lead us to conclude that he had to be some kind of time-traveling space-wizard.
Survey says ... "Space Wizard."
Though it was written over 100 years before the Apollo 11 mission, Verne's novel From the Earth to the Moon actually serves as a pretty damn accurate novelization of that mission, down to the scariest details. He was slightly off on the cost and weight of the rocket (but only slightly -- the real stats were 26,275 pounds and $14.4 billion), and in the biggest departure from reality, Verne's astronauts were shot out of a huge gun. But get this: Verne's space cannon was called Columbiad, and the Apollo 11 command module was named Columbia.
The real coincidence icing on this insanity cake is this:
"The three adventurous companions were surprised and stupefied, despite their scientific reasonings. They felt themselves being carried into the domain of wonders! They felt that weight was really wanting to their bodies. If they stretched out their arms, they did not attempt to fall. Their heads shook on their shoulders. Their feet no longer clung to the floor of the projectile. They were like drunken men having no stability in themselves."
Somehow, Verne predicted that the astronauts would become weightless in space. There was no way he could have known that at the time -- it was just some crazy bullshit he made up to make the story interesting, like that time he wrote a book about going to the center of the Earth and finding dinosaurs.
And giant mushrooms.