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Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
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Scientist
    (September 17, 1857-September 19, 1935)
    Born in Izhevskoye, Russia
    Pioneering rocket scientist
    Derived the Tsiolkovsky Equation describing the motion of a rocket
    Wrote 'Investigation of Outer Space by Rocket Devices' (1911) and 'Aims of Astronauts' (1914)
    He designed a dirigible (1886) and an airplane (1894) that were arguably more advanced than the ones invented by Ferdinand von Zeppelin and the Wright Brothers, but he was unable to get financial backing to build even models of them.
    He was a eugenics advocate, writing that 'imperfect beings, for example, rapists, cripples, the sickly, imbeciles, etc' needed to be kept from having children.
    He suggested that as human beings spread through the cosmos, they would evolve beyond needing physical bodies, becoming pure energy.
    When fellow rocketry pioneer Hermann Oberth attempted to start a correspondence with him, he accused Oberth of trying to steal his ideas.
    The Soviet Union planned to launch Sputnik I on his 100th birthday, but various delays resulted in the event being two weeks late.
    He lost most of his hearing during a childhood infection with scarlet fever.
    He used an ear trumpet of his own design.
    He learned enough from reading and attending lectures in Moscow to pass the exam to qualify as a teacher.
    He considered science fiction a valuable tool in popularizing serious scientific ideas, wrote three sci-fi novels, and served as technical advisor on the Soviet film 'Cosmic Voyage.'
    The largest crater on the dark side of the moon was named after him.
    He said, 'Earth is the cradle of humanity, but one cannot live in a cradle forever.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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