Oddity of the Week: Back to the Future

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It's a new year, folks. Time to be forward-thinking. Yeah, right.

Back to the Future

What IS it?

We quote the Library of Congress, that source of all knowledge that isn't already on h2g2:

Historic View Of Max Valier, Founding Member of the Verein Für Raumschiffahrt (German Society For Space Travel), Drives His Rocket Car In 1931 [sic]. – Marshall Space Flight Center, Redstone Rocket (Missile) Test Stand, Dodd Road, Huntsville, Madison County, AL.

Pretty spiffy, huh? I want to become a member of the Verein für Raumschiffahrt. Or, since there has been a German spelling reform since then, the Verein für Raumschifffahrt, with THREE f's1 Then I could go drink Liebfraumilch on Mars. (I still love that picture. Thanks, Tav!)

Valier was Austrian, take note, being considered one of the premier scientists to come from South Tyrol2. He lived from 1895 to 1930, which makes us wonder about the Library of Congress' caption. Unless he did this posthumously. According to that other reference work, the test of the rocket car took place on 19 April, 1930. Unfortunately, Herr Valier was killed a month later in Berlin.

How? You want to know how he was killed? Oh, all right: the rocket car exploded. What did you expect? Visionaries live dangerous lives. Valier's pioneering work helped put us on the moon, though.

Anyway, it's New Year's, and we think of the future. May all your projects go swimmingly, and may 2013 hold adventures beyond your wildest dreams! (And may none of your vehicles explode.)

Post Quiz and Oddities Archive

Dmitri Gheorgheni

31.12.12 Front Page

Back Issue Page

1Yes, even German speakers think this is ludicrous. How many f's can one word need?2Yes, that's where the hats come from.

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