Monday, October 12, 2009

Swift's Space Travel Guide (Howard Kaneff/Swift, 1958)

Everyone knows that traveling into space is a piece of cake. But getting where you need to go? That's the tough part! Unless, of course, you've got this handy Space Travel Guide.

With a turn of the wheel, it tells you everything you need to know about the planets in our solar system: The astronomical sign, the maximum surface temperature, the distance from the Earth at its closest approach, and the period of revolution around the sun. Yep, computers are for punks!

The card also points out that "The Sun has a diameter of 864,000 miles. The average distance from Earth is about 93,000,000 miles. The average surface temperature has been computed to be about 10,000 (degrees) Fahrenheit. The light from the Sun reaches the Earth in 498.6 seconds or slightly more than eight minutes."


The back of the card provides even more useful information, with a diagram illustrating the size of each planetary body relative to Earth as well as the mean diameter in miles.

And in case you're feeling a little peckish from your interstellar wanderings, there's a handy advertisement for Swift's Premium Flavor-Tite Dried Beef! As it says, "Out of this world recipes on the back of every package. Get into Space Orbit with.... Satellite Surprize, Interplanetary Delight, Supersonic Sandwiches or Space Snacks." And yes, they spell it "surprize" because that's how things are spelled in The Future!

All in all, this is a great little premium from a time when kids still considered science and space exploration cool. Yeah, it's educational -- but it's also the type of thing that a young Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers or Tom Corbett would drop in his pack, along with his Space Phones and ray gun, before running out to play with his friends. Good stuff, right? Right.


  1. Ahhhhh yes, Doc Atomic, moi also oft times speaks of THE ATOMIC ROCKET AGE.

    I bet you'd know who Sun Ra is/was, too.

    Oh, BTW: I recently found episodes of
    "Captain Z-ro (Explorer in space and time)"
    and it's really super atomically rocket aged.

    Stay on groovin' (super atomic) safari,

  2. Great article, love it!
    By the way: Is there a collectors' consent on the implications of the loss of the 9th planet? Will there be revised space travel guides? Are there any collectors specialized in Pluto? The solar system isn't any more what it used to be ... ;-)


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