Long before space flight was possible, the human imagination was already charting a course through the stars. Our ideas have been varied and fanciful. The Library of Congress recently collected some of these imaginary space vehicles, which go all the way back to the 1630s.

Space Birds (1638)

Galileo's observations of the moon opened a whole new dimension for imaginary travelogues. In Francis Godwin's 1638 The Man in the Moone, a Spanish nobleman discovers birds of super strength that take him first around an island—and eventually to the moon.

Cyrano de Bergerac and Fireworks (1657)


The big-nosed Frenchman's imaginary journey to the moon was powered by fireworks—quite resembling a modern spaceship blasting off into space.

Sail Boat/Space Elevator Mashup (1835)


Edison's Conquest of Mars (1889)


Who says scientists can't be superheroes? In a science fiction story in 1889, a fictional Thomas Edison invents an anti-gravity device and disintegrator ray to help earthlings attack Mars.

Read more about imaginary space ships on Inside Adams, the Library of Congress's blog on science, technology, and business. [Library of Congress]

All images courtesy of Library of Congress