Simon knows, of course, the answer to his question. All our space history and space present and space future is based on science fiction. Judging by NASA’s budget, if I were a budding author, it’s what I’d be writing – right after I signed up for the masons to get a good dose of occult numerology.
Lo and behold ! This is pretty much the exact same figure which is currently commonly accepted (by NASA and all) as the escape velocity needed for any object to exit from our Earth’s atmosphere, switch off its rocket engines – and keep orbiting indefinitely at hypersonic speeds free of charge – with no more fuel needed. Yet, Jules Verne somehow calculated this escape-velocity figure back in 1865? Really? How did he do that?
1865 = 911 (a stretch I know)