Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Wonders: "A Trip to Mars" (1975)

I am not sure how to describe this one in any other terms than "too cool/strange to miss!" Wonders was one of those school readers. It had a number of different stories, poems and articles for kids to read at school. One of the articles was "A Trip to Mars". It illustrated how a teenager created photographs of a mission to Mars using models.

Whitney, Alma. Wonders. New York : Macmillan, 96 pg. It was issued as one of 3 volumes as part of the New MacMillan reading Program.

It is hard to know what to show first but I will start with the mission pictures and then go on to some of the behind the scenes.

I find these images wonderful. Many of us probably tried to make our own space ships and staged mock landings. Since this was publsihed in 1975 I hope it inspired some kids to make models and plan for what was coming next.
Ned built models and then hung them on thread in front of suitable backgrounds.
Mars was of course just the right shade of carpet.
And with the just the right angle we had a landing
This trick was pretty clever, to make the parachute look real.
I wonder what became of Ned. Definitely a true enthusiast I wonder if he went on to work in photography, model building, or space ship design?


  1. Perhaps Ned went to work for ILM. In any case, this is quite an interesting volume. I built plenty of model rockets over the years, but all I ever did with them is fly them!

    -- Michael S.

  2. Holy smokes! I remember this when I was a kid, I was so inspired by this... WOW, this takes me back; I remember making craters in plaster of Paris using racquet-balls, marbles, ball-bearings and bee-bees, but they never looks as good!
    Yeah, what happened to Ned?