The boy who was trained to be an astronaut

Jeanne Granveaud wanted her six-year-old son Paul to be an astronaut who would fly to the moon. So she began training him for this role. What made this unusual is that she came up with this plan back in the 1920s.

Some details about little Paul's training from the San Francisco Examiner (Aug 28, 1927):

The body of Baby Paul will be trained by exercises and food and careful scientific supervision to withstand the enormous strains of the starting of that wonderful voyage. He will be accustomed to breathe as little air as possible; to live in a rarified atmosphere or to endure the close confinement of the moon projectile.

So far as the hardships of a moon voyage can be foreseen, young Paul will be seasoned to them in advance. His scientific training will include the parts of astronomy which he must learn in order to navigate his queer craft when it gets well out in space. Every fact that terrestrial scientists can learn about the moon will be written down, not in any book for Paul to take along and read, but in a book which he cannot forget or leave behind. These facts will be poured into his brain. Better than an ordinary child knows the alphabet or the multiplication tables, Baby Paul Granveaud will learn to know each scrap of fact about the moon that the astronomers of the world can supply.

The mother's plan seemed incredibly eccentric to people in the 1920s, but in hindsight, her timing was pretty good. Paul was born in 1921, and Alan Shepard, who went to the moon in 1971, was born just two years later, in 1923. So it wouldn't have been impossible for Paul to have grown up to become a lunar astronaut. If only he had been born in America rather than France.

Edmonton Journal - Nov 12, 1927

     Posted By: Alex - Mon Jan 13, 2020
     Category: Spaceflight, Astronautics, and Astronomy | 1920s

How quaint.
Posted by KDP on 01/14/20 at 11:25 AM
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