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Destination Moon

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''Destination Moon''
Tintin16
Author(s) Hergé
Dates of publication March 30, 1950 - September 7, 1950 / April 9, 1952 - October 22, 1952
Published in Tintin magazine
Published as book 1953
English translation 1959
Preceded by Land of Black Gold
Followed by Explorers on the Moon


Destination Moon is a book in The Adventures of Tintin comic by Hergé which was first released in 1953. It was the follow up to Land of Black Gold. Like most Tintin books, it is 62 pages long and the illustrations are in colour. The book has two parts and was very successful, and at this time Tintin was very famous already. The same year the next part of the book came out.

Plot

Tintin, Snowy and Captain Haddock return to Marlinspike only to find that Professor Cuthbert Calculus has gone to Syldavia. After receiving a questioning phone call and a telegram from Calculus, they hop on from Marlinspike to catch the next plane to Klow, the Syldavian capital. Despite Haddock's complaints about mineral water and their drinking, he is forced to leave his whiskey at the customs gate, before being greeted with Tintin by the ZEPO-Zecreti Polizte, who have been ordered to escort the trio to Calculus's location. They are closely observed by two unknown men at the terminal.After a long drive from Klow (involving numerous checkpoints, incoherent security guards, and an alcohol-deprived Captain) they arrive at the Sprodj Atomic Research Center, where they are introduced to Chief Engineer Frank Wolff, and Calculus. Explaining over a glass of whiskey, Calculus details his work and research into nuclear propulsion, and his plans to build a nuclear-powered rocket to the moon. Despite Haddock's laughter, the Professor assures him that he is serious, and introduces them to Director General of the Centre, Mr. Baxter. The latter congratulates the four in their decisions to accompany the Professor on the flight, while a flabbergasted Haddock looks on.The next morning, after the Captain's pipe was accidentally switched with the Professor's hearing trumpet and set off a smoke alarm, the trio, accompanied by Wolff go the atomic pile, where they extract plutonium for "cooking" from Uranium-238. Their tour is cut short with the discovery of the misplaced blueprints for the rocket, discovered by Tintin in the wastebasket. The tour continues with Haddock, Tintin, Calculus, Wolff, and Snowy examining an unmanned remote-controlled Rocket that will test the nuclear motor and take snapshots of the moon.During the night, an unidentified aircraft approaching the sector alerts anti-aircraft crews and fighter pilots, which attempt to intercept the plane, but not before three parachutists make their way out into restricted airspace. In a rare mishap, an AA shell lands in Calculus' bed, propelling him out the window. The next morning, security is doubled and all senior members of the Project are called into a briefing, during which Thompson and Thomson show up disguised as "Syldavian Folk" who are released from custody on identity asInterpol.Curious as to how the facility was penetrated so easily, Tintin treks up into the mountains with Snowy to examine the ventilation grids and radios the Captain with coordinates and possible entry routes. At the center, the Thompsons intercept Wolff and Haddock during a brief power outage, allowing them to sneak off and mistake an x-ray machine for a real skeleton. In the facility's hospital, Tintin is okay, but is forced to spend some time in bed with a grazed skull while final preparations are made for the test rocket's launch-X FLR6. At this time, it is revealed that an unnamed foreign power is using agents to seize vital information on the rocket and intends to disrupt the "Mammoth Project" (their name)'s launch of X-FLR6 via radio interference. All goes well for the team in Sprodj, until their rocket is intercepted and they are forced to destroy it to avoid having it fall into enemy hands.For the next several months, construction on the Moon-Rocket is underway, with Tintin, Snowy, Haddock, and Professor Calculus testing the pressure suits in an atmospheric chamber. Fed up with all the waiting around an technical difficulties with his clumsiness, Haddock infuriates Calculus with the phrase "acting the goat." Flying into a rage and marching Haddock (in full space-suit), Tintin, and Snowy to the main vehicle facility, Calculus drives them maniacally to the construction site via jeep, where he shows them the process of building the Moon-Rocket. When reprimanding Haddock for not watching his step, Calculus loses balance and falls down a well onboard, causing him to suffer from temporary anterograde amnesia.With the project temporarily halted due to Calculus' condition, Tintin and Haddock attempt to bring "poor Cuthbert" back to reality, but to little avail-including Haddock's childish attempts (which backfire hilariously). Only when he uses the phrase "acting the goat" does Calculus come round in a fit or temporary rage before thanking the Captain for his work.As the months pass, more tests and upgrades are performed on the rocket and its counterpart crew, and the foreign intelligence service (led by their bald leader) continues to mount preparations for the imminent launching. The night of the launching arrives, with Haddock writing his will, and a final champagne-based farewell by Mr. Baxter to the crew of the Moon-Rocket: Tintin, Haddock, Snowy, Wolff, and Calculus. They proceed to the launching site via motorcade with additional security, and arrive after midnight for launching.Haddock is apprehensive at first, but continues with the set course. Inside the rocket's crew space, they prepare for final launching using traditional chemical rocket power for atmospheric ascension. Each of the crew frets over whether this will be their last living moment(s). In the Launch Control Center, Baxter and associates are tense as the countdown begins. At the last second, Calculus ignites the rocket, and it carries off skyward towards the moon as the crew experiences sensational crushing and shock from motion.With the rocket safely away into the Earth's upper atmosphere, Baxter heads back to the Mission Control Centre, trying to contact the Moon-Rocket, but to no avail, leaving the story arc hanging by an eerie silence, as Tintin and his companions soar into space.

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Trivia

  • The phrase "acting the goat" is a French vernacular "faire le Zouave" i.e. to behave wildly. This was the term used indiscriminately as an insult by Captain Haddock which Professor Calculus takes offense to. In the American edition by Golden Press, the phrase is translated as "acting like a goat".
The Adventures of Tintin

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