"Every scientist worth his salt that I know of has read science fiction."
It was the intent of the Baltimore Gun Club to actually hit the Moon with a projectile. However, upon missing the Moon the passengers began to debate upon the course of the projectile.
In writing the story the way he did, Verne became the first person to describe the idea of a free return trajectory, that is, a path that would lead from the Earth, around the Moon, and back to Earth again without any additional fuel expended for navigation.
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