Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Closer Than We Think! Lunar Mailbag (1960)


This Closer Than We Think! strip ran in the December 25, 1960 Chicago Tribune.

Chistmas cards of the future may be transmitted electronically. The post office is studying the use of space technology for quick movement of endless quantities of mail between widely separated points.

To do this, microwave stations would be set up. Envelopes would be opened mechanically, and the automatic "fingers" would remove the contents and expose them to a scanner. Impulses from the card or letter might be beamed to a postal satellite or even the moon, bounced back to the destination point, reproduced there in the original printing or handwriting, sealed in a capsule and delivered. All this might be done minutes from the time the communication first arrived at a post office thousands of miles away.

See also:
Closer Than We Think! (1958-1963)
Closer Than We Think! Monoline Express

3 comments:

richard said...

Doesn't all email already bounce off the moon? I can't even believe anyone thought there could be a more efficient way to send an electronic message.

Anonymous said...

I don't think any email is bounced off the moon. But you may not have meant literally.

The article is actually rather unimaginative even for 1960.

Matthew said...

I think there actually was an unimplemented scheme floated sometime around the Carter administration for e-mail that would go through the US Postal Service and be delivered as paper hardcopy. Of course that's not too different from what telegram companies had been doing for ages. Fax technology of some sort had also existed for decades, used mostly in journalism.

The idea of bouncing radio messages off the moon had some popularity slightly before comsats became prevalent, which was only a few years after this article appeared. It's interesting that it's presented as the more gee-whiz option when it is actually considerably more primitive.