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Wan Hu Rocket to the Moon in the year 1500 A.D.


Scene depicts the wishful thinking of Wan Hu's trip to the moon

                               Scene depicts the wishful thinking of Wan Hu’s trip to the moon

Wan Hu, also spelled as Wan Hoo(pronounced as Van-Gu), according to legend, was a Chinese sage, scholar, and official that tried to fly to the moon by use of a multi rocket powdered sedan chair.

The story is Wan Hu, according to some sources Wan Tu, lived in or around the middle of the Ming Dynasty(year 1500 or around 1500). The Ming Dynasty ran from 1368 AD to 1644 AD. Wan Hu, a Mandarin Chinese, had constructed for himself a pair of large, parallel, and horizontal kites that were fixed between them and a large wicker chair which Wan Hu sat in. He was dressed in exquisite clothes for the lift off journey to the moon. Beneath the chair and kites were attached 47 large rockets: bamboo tubes packed with gunpowder. The Chinese, we know, discovered gunpowder by about 1,000 AD.

Forty seven attendants, each with their own lit torch; a variant of the story says a lit candle, lit all the fuses of the 47 rockets individually and simultaneously. There was a huge explosion with brilliant light and great smoke. When the smoke cleared, Wan Hu and the chair vanished, both never to be seen again. This story is the most popular, often told version.

Another version of the story, less told, is that Wan Hu was killed. Others say the rocket under the chair exploded burning Wan Hu, and that the bad incident enraged the emperor who ordered a sever paddling for the would be moon traveler.

On the far side of the moon, the crater Wan-Hoo, is named after this legendary Chinese attempted astronaut.

To further honor his memory, a statute of Wan Hu was placed at the Yionang Satellite Center in mainland China.


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