Please take me to space: Letters to the Hayden Planetarium

In 1950, as part of promoting a new exhibit on space exploration, the Hayden Planetarium in New York City put out the word that it was accepting applications from would-be space tourists. Over the next few years, hundreds of letters poured in. This is one of them, written by a man who would like to get to Mars early in order to corner the hot dog market there.

You can view several other letters at the American Museum of Natural History's website. They're equally delightful and packed with awesome Happy Mutant goodness—from a man who helpfully offered the planetarium his own, home-brew rocket schematics; to a man with the nickname "Stardust" who told the planetarium they could cancel his reservation if he was able to hitch a ride on a flying saucer sooner; to Barbara, a 16-year-old who informed the Planetarium that she "won't be content" until she was on a rocket headed to far-off space. Beautiful!


  1. He’s not thinking big enough.  He should be franchising the first hot stand on Mars.  That way it’s scalable and he can actually make some money.

    1. I was thinking the exact same thing! I always loved the one called “Night Meeting” where the Earthman and the Martian meet at night on a lonely road, both believing that the other is a phantom. Such a haunting story.

    2. I’ll go you one better.  I just finished re-reading The Martian Chronicles, not 90 minutes before encountering this BoingBoing post, and the hot dog stand story was part of what i read this evening.

  2. I don’t know if it’s related, but when I was in second grade around 1969-70 I found a book in my school’s library that said at the back they were offering trips to the Moon and Mars. I excitedly showed it to my teacher and she mimeographed (!) the order form and I filled it out and sent it in. I got a reply back saying that although they appreciated my interest, they didn’t yet have the ability to fulfill such a trip they appreciated my interest. If only I could find that reply letter! It’s probably still in my mom’s house. Ah, the memories.

  3. I still have my Pan Am First Moon Flights Club card.  When I was a kid, I hoped to spend Dec. 31, 1999 on the moon.

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