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Rocket Ship Galileo was Robert Heinlein's first novel, first published in 1947, and out of print since the mid 1980's The novel introduces the "Galileo Club", a group of young students who get together to build and launch rockets. The teenagers meet a nuclear scientist named Dr. Cargraves, who convinces them to join him in trying to build a rocket to go to the moon.

This novel seems very dated to a 21st century reader for several reasons. One, the fact that a single scientist and a group of teenagers could get their hands on the parts and materials necessary for a moon shot, two, the very anti nuclear weapons tone that is pervasive throughout the book (A product of its immediate post-ww2 authorship), and three, what the astronauts find on the moon (read the book to find out!).

In addition, there is at least one astronomical error, obvious today, but completely hypothetical before Apollo, the far side of the moon, which is described in the novel as looking almost exactly like the near side (when it looks very unlike the near side).

I would recommend this book for any sf fan, especially for the excellent discussion of the scientific method in chapter 10 (I wish I had learned it in school that way!)

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