“Ideas Die Hard,” Isaac Asimov, 1957 — Two astronauts are on a mission to the moon. They discuss how ideas (e.g., age of earth or that the earth is round, a fact which this trip will truly prove with direct observation) become accepted as fact by the public on the word of scientists. This is how scientific “truths” are proven. Perhaps suspecting “the truth,” one astronaut loses his composure as they approach the moon. When they round the moon, they discover that it’s propped up like a stage set. The story next finds the pair in a psychiatric hospital. It’s implied that the experience could have been real, but the astronauts are led to believe that it was an experiment.
Comments: Read in the Third Galaxy Reader.
Author: Wikipedia: “Isaac Asimov…(January 2, 1920 – April 6, 1992) was a Russian American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards…Asimov is widely considered a master of hard science fiction and, along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, he was considered one of the ‘Big Three’ science fiction writers during his lifetime.”