The movie is inspired by Rocketship Galileo, a novel by Robert A. Heinlein who, as a retired military officer, wrote books that would strongly influence American science-fiction during the 1940’s and 50’s. Destination Moon tells the story of an expedition on board an atomic-energy propelled rocket headed by a scientist and a retired airforce major general with the financial backing of some businessmen. The astronauts set up a base on the moon but on the eve of their return voyage they find out that the supply of atomic energy might not be enough to go back to Earth. While making the first Hollywood movie on space travel, Irving Pichel found himself at loggerheads with some of the production team who, at some point, wanted to turn it into a musical. But his aim was to make a scientifically correct and educational movie and, with the mentoring of producer George Pal - himself a maker of many well-known sci-fi films - he put together a team of professionals including rocketry expert Hermann Oberth, who had previously worked on Fritz Lang’s side for his Woman in the Moon. One of the highlights of the movie is a delightful animated sequence in which Walter Lantz’s Woody Woodpecker describes the mysteries of spaceflight. In spite of the many difficulties, Destination Moon captured the public’s and critics’ attention and won a special effects Oscar which went to Chesley Bonestell, who had turned Heinlein’s extraordinary creations into engineering masterpieces. Appreciated by NASA because of the interest it then spurred in space exploration, nowadays it is more fascinating for its naively adventurous spirit and anticipation of reality than for its then-realistic intent.