In 1932 Konstantin EduardovichTsiolkovsky, the Russian cosmologist, turned seventy-five. The anniversary washonored by celebrations thrown all over the country. A pompous event crowned by the Order of theRed Banner of Labor award was meant to emphasize the positiveattitude of the Soviet regime towards the queer member of theCommunist Academy of Sciences. These works will help toreinforce the national defense… Regretfully, the award was only a formality. The Soviet regimeneeded the symbols of Socialism! Spotless reputations and ceremonial portraits. Thus, only space rocketsseemed to be noticed in the workof the scientist, but not the outer space theory, which, in fact, he wastalking about. No one was planning tomake his dreams of aeronautics and exploring theUniverse come true. A rocket, in my humble opinion, is by far the only means ofgetting into the depths of space, means ñ not the ends. If there are other means ñI will accept them. The point is to leave Earth and colonize the planetsof outer space. And this is our Earth. All this is calledthe Solar System. All planets spin around on their axis and orbit the Sun. Like a sort of dance. His fascination withstars began when his father told him about the Solar System. The harmony and thecorrelation of elements amazed Konstantin. Right now we knownothing about other planets, because they remainedunexplored up to this day. As soon as I closed my eyes, I could see the Sun, planetscirculating around it very slowly. I imagined comets withenormous bright tails, cutting throughthe Solar System. And the stars which belongto other distant galaxies are twinkling from afar. I was a part of this runningand flickering world, I was a little grain of sand. Nonetheless, this grain ofsand thought that this phantasmagoriawas staged for it alone. The infinite Universe causedendless questions. Why do stars only glow at nightand arenít seen during the day. How do they remainsuspended in the sky? Where do they go whenthey fall? Why does the Great Bearconstellation actually resemble a plough? I believed I could countall the stars and and measure infinity itself.
and measure infinity itself. The mind couldnítgrasp this abyss, but it found its place in my soul and gave birth to dreamsthat knew no bounds – like the Universe. I imagined myself flying pastunknown stars and planets. I discovered newamazing worlds. Kostya Tsiolkovsky was one ofthe five children in the family. He was different from hisbrothers and sisters: his incredible inquisitivenessand hunger for knowledge wasmaking him special. His father was constantly amazedby his sonís phenomenal memory, diligence and the abilityto analyze information. Kostya was brilliantat exact sciences, he easily memorizedformulas and theorems, and was passionate aboutthe most complex problems. His future promised tobe very bright indeed. When he was nine, Konstantincontracted scarlet fever. The disease caused aterrible complication: an almost completeloss of hearing. He would call this time thesaddest, darkest time of his life. He was surrounded with silence that would define his future life. He had to leave hisgrammar school. His father decided toteach his son at home. Kostya was absorbed intothe world of his fantasies. He would watch the driftof the clouds, birds and study animalsand their habits, but stars fascinatedhim the most. As soon as Konstantinturns sixteen, his father sends him toMoscow. His hearing would sometimesreturn but then, just like that,he would be deaf again. But he managed to turn itinto an ally: the ambient noise wouldnot distract him. That helped himto concentrate. Three years of self-studying inlibraries was enough for youngTsyolkovsky to complete every class ofhigh school and first two years ofcollege. In Moscow Konstantin becomespassionate about aeronautics. Those who attended freeuniversity lectures could not even imaginethat this young man, who would boldly arguewith professors or suggest his own theories, didnít even have a formaleducation and has, in fact, learnedeverything by himself. Free Lectures.Aeronautics. That was when Tsiolkovskymet Sasha Kovanko. Both were passionate aboutaeronautics. – I do believe. We live in the era offascinating discoveries. Can you imagine,soon man-made birds will be gliding throughthe sky. – Air balloons are alreadya part of our reality. – No. You are going to be ableto control them. Like steamers. Can you imagine that,Sasha?
Can you imagine that,Sasha? Soon youíre going totake off the sky and be the first pilot. – Come down to earth. Someone has to design thesemachines, build them. – Then I’ll design them! – Sure! The Americans andthe Germans couldnít, but here comes Tsiolkovskywhoíll fix it in a jiffy. – You doubt me? – I donít know. Who doesnít want tobecome famous? But there are smarterpeople out there. – And I want to bringabout this breakthrough. – You donít have to bethis person. What matters is whogets the credit. Who gets to become famous. After getting considerableknowledge of physics, algebra, analytical and sphericalgeometrics, Konstantin leaves Moscow. He would dedicate thefollowing fifteen years of his life to teaching. Working with children hadbecome Tsiolkovskyís real calling. His dedication to sciencewas passed on to his students. Physics and math werenot boring anymore. Konstantin Eduardovich nevergave away canned solutions. He was never fixated onthe subject of a lecture. Tsiolkovsky would often deviate from the topicand change it to stars, space, and flying. He would conduct amazingexperiments which would leave nostudents indifferent. To illustrate the nature ofvertical ñattitude takeoff, Konstantin would launch apaper air balloon with a hot candle inside, which would heat up theair inside the carcass. In the childrenís minds,the little box would become a gondola of a greataeronautic device, inside which they, like Jules Verneís characters,would embark on an incredible journeyaround the world. Their teacher was as muchof a child as they were. The paper air balloonwould lead him to his dreams ofconquering the sky, moving through the boundlessocean that is the atmosphere. Superstitions of the smallprovincial town were the reason mistrust and consequenthostility with which the locals treatedTsiolkovskyís experiments as well as the scientist himself. He was regarded aneccentric and a dreamer. No one would wantto talk to him. Everyone avoidedTsiolkovskyís house because of constantdisturbances and explosions. I rented two rooms in Borovskin Evgraf Sokolovís house, the local priest andthe widower. I took a fancy to hisdaughter Varvara, a cute but somewhatsad girl. Summer, 1880,I proposed to her and on August the 20thwe got married
einstein brain teaser and on August the 20thwe got married
and on August the 20thwe got married in the Church of the Nativity. She had no dowry, but Ididnít need anything from her. There wasnít a weddingparty either. And we kept weddinga secret. The noise would onlycome in the way of our quiet andpeaceful life. Children were the appleof our eyes. He set a study in hishouse by himself. He would spend all hisfree time in there. It was his special place. He was building modelsof flying machines, making calculations and exploring space. His children loved to spendtheir time with their father. Experiments in chemistryand physics seemed like real magic to them. Tsiolkovsky himself neverceased being amazed by the results of seeminglysimple experiments. He would becomefascinated like a child. At those moments hewould experience an extraordinary unitywith his family. Konstantin was especiallyclose to his oldest son, Ignat. There was a special bond between them. At nights, Ignat wouldsecretly sneak into his father’s studyto watch the stars. – Dad, what’s the moon like? – If you throw this ballon the moon, it would jump up slowly, as in the water. A pile of dust would go up and stay in the airfor a few days. There is no wind, sound orvegetation on the moon. Just the mountains: veryhigh and scary ones. Their tops aren’t coveredwith snow, because there has neverbeen any water on the moon. The solar wind evaporatesany moisture on its surface. The moon has no air, there is notransition from darkness to light, like what we’re usedto here on Earth. It can only be causedby the atmosphere. That’s why objects here causedvery deep and dark shadows. The moon is uninhabitablebecause it has no atmosphere. But it is possible to set up powerplants and accumulate sunlight. The moon rotates about its axisin such a way that it is nearly always keeping the sameface turned towards the Earth. The sunlight reaches themoon facing no obstacles, so the plants couldtrap the sunlight and transform itinto the energy, which could later beutilized on the Earth. His speeches aboutcosmic bodies may have been considered fairytales by his contemporaries, but scientists adorehim to this day. That’s how and averagecountry boy with only a makeshift telescopein his hands imagined the moon back in the19th century.
the moon back in the19th century. Once upon a time,watching the sky Konstantin noticed thatsome stars flicker with a steady regularity. The discovery made him happy. Maybe those areextraterrestrial civilizations communicating with otherplanets? It’s a question we areyet to answer, but undoubtedly intelligentlife exists outside of Earth. So, humankind is not alone. Tsiolkovsky tried to develophis own way of communication withother civilizations. He considered Marsto be the closest and the most probablehabitant to sentient beings. One night the planetcame close to the Earth, and you could see its surfacethrough a telescope. It was covered withdistinct geometrical patterns. What if there is life on Mars and those lines are actuallya message to us, humans? Tsiolkovsky didn’t wantto leave the Martian’s messageunanswered. He suggested settingup enormous white shields in a field. A construction like this wouldlook like a bright spot from Mars. Moving the shields withdashes and dots humanity would not only be able toassert itself but also to engage in dialogue withthe Martians. We’ve got facts whichcan prove my theory, arguments brought forth bypeople of undeniable intelligence, people we all knowand respect. Those facts point to the existence ofextraterrestrial intelligence, to the existence ofsentient beings communicating with humans. Tsiolkovsky’s determinationto study outer space was insuppressible. He understood that beforeexploring the Universe, humanity will need toleave the Earth somehow. There had to be a vessel that would make it easierto transport people and cargo to distant destinations, which would become a rival of the already availabletrains and steamers. He dreamed of creatinga machine like that. Tsiolkovsky turned tonature for ideas. He studied the structureof birds’ wings and their ability toglide in the air. – If I had wings, would I fly? – Ignat, The secret of flying doesn’tlie in flapping your wings. People aren’t birds. Look, a steamer doesn’t look like a fish,does it? But it can swim. Let’s go I’ll explainyou everything. Look, the shape ofthe bird’s wing Tsiolkovsky developeda flying machine similar to a hovering bird. He called it the monoplane since it had one pair of wings located on the same level. The monoplane’s wingswere fixed and only utilized fortaking off the ground. But it took so much more beforethe machine could actually fly – it needed draft. For this purpose Tsiolkovskyhad installed two propellers in the front of the monoplane. The propellers were fuelledby gas engines cooled by the front wind. Horizontal and vertical ruddersserved as tail feathers. For the monoplane to beable to take off and land the scientist developedpullout landing gear. The scientist dreamed abouthis project’s implementation. But sadly the project neveroutlived the very development first stage and was forever lostin endless sketches and calculations. In a few years the first airplane built by Wright brothers,took off. It flew 260 meters and sealed the creators’ nameson pages of history books. Tsiolkovsky disapproved of theshape of that flying machine, the design of the wings,the location of the engine. But victors are not judged. However today it is clear that the characteristics ofTsiolkovsky’s monoplane were much better thanthose of the Wright Brothers’. My airplane has no protrudingparts except wings. A streamlined shellencases everything, including passengers. I want to emphasize thenecessity of improving the aerodynamic qualitiesof the airplane to achieve higher speed Modern planes have come a longway since early 20th century. But even today it is surprisinghow much they look like the monoplane developedby Konstantin Tsiolkovsky. Konstantin had toargue a lot. Many people considered himweird exactly because he was trying to dothe impossible. Sometimes he would thinkback to the argument he had with his Moscowfriend Sasha Kovanko. Young Tsiolkovsky did believethat people would learn to control the movementsof aerostats. Many engineers weredealing with this issue but no one seemed tohave solved it. The envelopes of theexisting aerostats were made from softrubberized fabric which wouldn’t keep its shapeunder the atmospheric pressure. This made impossible thehorizontal handling of such machine. Due to the structure ofthe fabric air would get inside theenvelope. Air when coming into thecontact with Hydrogen, which filled the aerostat, would form an explosivegas. One spark and disasteris unavoidable. Dmitry Mendeleev said that the first man to makethe aerostat controllable would leave hismark in history. Tsiolkovsky’s interest in solvingthis problem was enormous. He comes up with a project that changes the entirestructure of the aerostat, making it not onlycontrollable but safe as well. An aerostat with the all-metal jacket able to adjust its size. According to hiscalculations such a structure would make it possible topreserve the uplift at different heightsand temperatures. The adjusting of the sizewas achieved due to the ridged side plates andretracting block and tackle. Konstantin replaced theexplosive Hydrogen with hot air heated up by the aerostat’sengines and heating spirals. The Tsiolkovsky’s aerostatwas incredible in size: 500 000 m3. Its safety, size and firstand foremost its controllability made the machine the most effective airfreighter known to humanity. Even though it was enormousthe hull of the flying machine could fold in a way that no hangars or specialstations were needed. Tsiolkovsky saw the possibilityof creating public air travelling and making it as commonplaceas other means of transport. He believed that thanksto aerostats people could now travelboth to nearby cities and to any part ofthe planet. After he had finisheddeveloping the aerostat, Tsiolkovsky sent his sketchesand calculations to various scientificorganizations and magazines. He hopes that the Russian Physico-ChemicalSociety will approve of his work One of the main goals of therespected scientific community was to unite the remarkablescientists of the Russian Empire and help funding the development andimplementation of the most promisingprojects. Tsiolkovsky calculated that he would need onlythree hundred rubles to create his metalaerostat. In his letter he had askedthe scientists fund the project. Tsiolkovskyís project raisedlively interest and controversy among themembers of the society. How could have a simplecountry school teacher achieved what some of the bestminds of the world couldnít? The scientists invitedTsiolkovsky to present his project in front ofscientific society committee. Konstantin arrived inSaint-Petersburg inspired. He is absolutely surethat now with the help of the RussianPhysico-Chemical Society his project is going toget the funds it needed and finally become a reality. He became even moreconvinced in his success when he suddenly methis old friend, Sasha Kovanko. Now Kovanko was theHead of the Aeronautic Park, an influential bureaucrat and amember of the social committee. – And you took off to the sky? – Yes. – And you saw our Earth froma birdís eye view? – I saw, yes. – Iím so glad for you,Sasha! Iím so glad! Your childhood dreamhas come true. Now you are goingto help to make my dreamcome true. Youíll do it, ok? – It all has to be looked at, calculated… But, yes, Iíll help you. And Iíll arrangeyou see what itís like being upthere, in the sky. – Iíll bring you all my sketches,calculations… – I know, know. The whole scientificcommittee is talking about nothing but yourdiscovery. Bring them. Tsiolkovsky, a man dedicatedto science and not very well adaptedto everyday life, didnít know that his former friend was blamed for abusinghis status. Some talented scientistsíprojects were dismissed because of Kovanko and then those ideas wouldmiraculously be presented bysomeone else. Someone, who wasable to pay. Tsiolkovskyís ideawas rejected. The committee didnít believethat heavy all-metal aerostats could fly. We who know the history must be brave. Misfortunes shouldnot bring us down. We have to look for thecauses and eliminate them. Konstantin Tsiolkovskyísscientific investigations never brought himany fame or money. He was not interestedin compliments. He loved science selflessly and wanted to do somethinguseful for humanity. But people regardedhis discoveries as eccentricities and fantasies. Even his family had becometired of constant poverty and lost faith in him. His beloved son Ignat no longershared his fatherís interests and didnít understand hisobsession with science. On July 2nd 1900 worldís first controlledmetallic aerostat Zeppelin LZ-1 took off. Scientists still believed that Tsiolkovskyís drawingswere used in the development. Theft was never proved, but one thing isabsolutely clear: the scientific committee would never let someprovincial boy who didnít even havea formal education develop somethingthey, respected scientists with academic degrees, couldníthave developed themselves. The members of the RussianPhysico-Chemical Society gave the zeppelin lotsof attention, praising the machines intheir articles and magazines. Somehow they completelyforgot their colleague’s all metal and controllable aerostatproject, which they called anutopia project and an anti-scientific fantasyjust some years ago. Tsiolkovsky was terriblydisappointed. The project of his lifeseemed to be over. That year Ignat went tostudy to Saint-Petersburg. Konstantin didnít know thathe was seeing his son for the last time. A wire arrived very soon: Ignat committed a suicide. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky wouldnot invent, write or dream for 10 years. It was impossible to cometo terms with the grief. Immersing in theworld of space helped to overcome it. This is the sky of stars, the way everyone would see it after firstspace flight. The Earth is thecradle of humanity. But we canít live in the cradle forever. One day we will manage to break away from the pullof gravity and travel to space. And then, step by step, we will conquerthe Solar System and populate other planets. Life on a planet with nogravitation is impossible. But for a space vehicle toovercome the force of gravity itwould need speed ten timesbigger than the speed of an artillery shell. Tsiolkovsky didnít challengethat it wasnít long before that speed could be reached. Then a space station could be set up on the Earthís orbit. Telescopes would bebrought there. With their help humanitycould watch far-away galaxies. And there would be settlementsand even cities on the orbit. People would reach thestation via an elevator and get back homethe same way. Tsiolkovskyís dreams turnedout to be prophetic: today satellites, orbital stations and telescopesmove on the Earthís orbit. And by 2018, on the Cosmonautics Day,NASA promises to connect the orbital space stationand the Earth with an elevator. In the early ë30s of XX century Tsiolkovsky would saythis to his contemporaries. I am fully convinced that mydream of interplanetary travel ñ for which I have sought andfound a theoretical foundation, will come true. It took me forty yearsto develop a jet engine, and so I thought it wouldtake further hundreds of years to make a journey to Mars. But time frame has changed. Many of you will bear witness tothe first space flight. He faced a lot of obstacleson the way to his dream. In his little workshopstep-by-step Tsiolkovsky was workingon the solution of an important issue – how an aircraft canescape the velocity. We need a round camerawith two balances. The balances swingin arcs, and the resulting centrifugalforce should launch the vessel from the groundand bring it to outer space. It had soon becomeapparent… It wouldnít fly. A space vehicle likethat wouldnít fly. Something radical, somethingnew was needed for it to work. He did calculations, made spaceship models, but there were morequestions than answers. He needed a totallynew flying machine design, able to make it toouter space. A rocket! This thought was acradle of a new science: jet engine aircraft theory. The jet propulsion wasa basis for it: propulsion that occurs asa result of separation of a part from its bodyat a certain velocity. The absence of anatmosphere doesnít affect the lawsof jet propulsion much. Of course, only Oxygencan support fire, but this was aquestion of fuel. The main thing was thatjet propulsion doesnít need a specificenvironment for it to work, the propulsion canalso occur in vacuum, and, thus, in space. And the movement couldbe controlled by the change of the movement of the part separating itself. Therefore, a controlledflight in space is possible. Tsiolkovsky manages toformulate the main principles of creatingjet engine spaceships. The important part is the craftísability to develop a great speed. By escaping velocity the aircraftcan reach the outer space. But the calculations showthat a rocket is incapable of transporting the amountof fuel it needs. The solution lies inaccompanying transport. Apart from the main rocket, a whole rocket squadronflies up in the sky. Refueling mid-flight, the auxiliary rockets help the main oneto get higher and higher, until it finally escapes the Earthís gravitational field. But this way one would need up to fifty rockets forone expedition. Tsiolkovsky gradually approachesa rational solution which is used up to this day. He named his concept ìmultistage interplanetaryrocketî. The apparatus consists of onlythree interconnected rockets. The rockets work in turns, thus, maintaining theshipís speed. When one rocket runsout of fuel, it gets dropped and all the empty fueltanks with it, making the wholeconstruction lighter. Then itís the second rocketísturn to get working. The top rocket getsall the speed gathered by the onesbefore it. Tsiolkovsky comes up witha formula illustrating the relationshipsbetween the rocketís velocity and the velocity of gassesleaving the nozzles. According to the formulathe velocity of the rocket is directly proportional to the temperatureof the gas current coming out of the nozzles. That way it is possibleto calculate the rocketís maximum velocity. The next problem the scientistencountered was whether the pilot could handle the pressure fromthe fast gaining of speed. Tsiolkovsky conductsthe experiment. He places a cockroachin a handmade centrifuge then increases his weight 300times as a result of the spinning. Then he puts amouse in there, increasing its weightten times. The overpressure doesnít doany visible harm to the animals. So, concludes scientist, the important thing is to keepthe acceleration gradual, no sudden changes. He needed the kind of fuel thatwould produce the most heat and allow the rocket to gainthe speed steadily. A mix of gasoline and liquidoxygen would become this fuel. He was on the threshold ofthe greatest discovery of his life. He stepped overthat threshold. His rocket accelerated, gotfree from expended stages and it had enough fuelto escape the EarthísGravitational Field. Of course it had onlybeen the first step in conquering outer space. A rocket like that could only fly a limited distance fromthe Earth. To overcome really cosmicdistances, it had to be faster thanthe velocity of light. Einstein insisted thatovercoming the velocity of lightis impossible. Tsiolkovskyís belief in boundlessnessof the human mind would not allow him to agree withEinsteinís deductions. He believed that Mancould solve any problem. If we take the rocketís jetpropulsion as the base, Einsteinís right. So far, no fuel is capable ofgiving out enough energy to accelerate an object toa speed that high. Bu humanity will overcomethis obstacle. Future generations will findsome new kind of motion. Our future migration out tospace is pre-determined. Humanity is going to stopbeing an Earth civilization. Itíll inevitably colonizeother planets. We donít aim for the skyjust to bate our curiosity. No… We are looking for a newhome for our descendants. Tsiolkovskyís worlds set brandnew goals for the science. And probably only todaywe are beginning to realize how prophetic were thewords of a man considered to be a weirdo anda storyteller by his contemporaries. No one knows for sure when Man first dreamedof outer space. Perhaps, it happened at thedawn of the human civilization. Tsiolkovsky can berightfully considered the first earthling who felt himself a partof the Universe. He firmly believed that the dreams hehad had since his very childhood wouldcome true and humanity wouldfirst escape velocity, then conquer the Solar System, and then, finally,the entire Universe The man who is going to be the first in spacehas already been born. I imagine the Red Squarein the capital city. Hundreds of steel dragonflies circle above pedestrians. Somewhere downdirigibles glide, the dream of my childhood, made just like inmy fantasies, probably a result ofmy early work. There is no more roomfor birds in the sky. Itís only become possiblein the last few years, when our Party, and ourGovernment, and our working people, when everyone in ourSoviet Motherland began to implement the mostdaring dream of humankind, conquering the dizzyingheights.