The moon landings didn’t come from nowhere. Someone had to have that idea. But who?

The idea was certainly not down to politicians. Neither Eisenhower nor Kennedy were the true architects of the space programme that led to Apollo 11 touching down 50 years ago today. The idea itself was down the the dreamers, thinkers and wonderers. What if…?

There are many claims and counter-claims as to who came up with the idea. But ideas are like that. The moon was always there. The most humble of farm hands may well have come up with the idea of getting there, with no idea as to how. But it was the philosophers, poets and writers who came up with something a little more tangible.

Jules Verne is often credited as the forefather of space travel. His novels certainly dealt with the topic, notably From The Earth to the Moon (1865). He even thought that men would travel in a projectile that would be fired there from earth. Ask any French person who invented space travel and they will say Verne.

Ask the same question in Russia and they will tell you that Nikolai Fyodorovich Fyodorov is the one. He was a thinker, philosopher and futurist. As futurists tend to do, he got a lot of stuff wrong and a lot of it sounds a little out there in retrospect. But he was certainly on the ball on space travel. And his other theories on subjects such as mortality and immortality may yet be proved right by future generations. After all, space travel sounded crazy when he was speculating on that.