Wan Hu: The Man Who Shoots Himself to the Moon with a Cartridge:

The Man Who Shoots Himself to the Moon with a Chair: Wan Hu

Fly… It has been one of the most desired talents throughout human history. This ability is directly associated with freedom. And of course, many people have lost their lives in the pursuit of this power. The legendary Wan Hu was the first person to try to achieve this flying power. Yes, Wan Hu has listed as the first astronaut in the world according to 20th-century sources.

How Did He Try To Fly?

Wan Hu was a dreamer living in 16th-century China. One day, he placed exactly 47 rockets under his chair made of bamboo. He also assigned 47 people to light these flares at the same time. And when the moment had come, he pointed the chair’s direction towards the Moon and gave the order for the flares to be lit. In an instant, there was an extraordinary explosion. No one could see because of the rising smoke. When the smoke cleared, there was neither Wan nor his chair. No one had seen him since that day.

Wan Hu
Wan Hu Drawing
Image Source: NASA

Could He Really Have Made It To The Moon?

Of course, these are just legends. However, at that time, not a small number of people believed that Wan Hu had reached the Moon by flying instead of thinking that he had been burned to the ground. Therefore, in the 20th-century sources, it was written that Wan Hu was the first astronaut in history who managed to go into space with a rocket.


There is probably a well-known production that tests whether such stories are true: Mythbusters. In a 2004 episode of this production, the reality of the system described in the legend of Wan Hu was tested. As a result of this experiment, the chair exploded and the mannequin was damaged, which could have cause serious burns. Then, the same experiment was tested once again, using modern rockets instead of old-style cartridges. But the result was the same. This time, the test failed because there were really too many complications. The conclusion reached by Mythbusters is that the rockets certainly do not have enough thrust to fly a chair. This legend is fake!

But the Mythbusters team came to the conclusion that something was right. People around Wan Hu said that Wan Hu disappeared right after the attempt to fly was made. They were right. As a result of the team’s experiment, the mannequin and chair were also destroyed. After the smoke had gone, only their remains were found some distance away.

Wan-Hoo Crater on the Moon


Wan Hoo Crater on the Moon
Wan Hoo Crater on the Moon
Image Source: Wikipedia

The legend of Wan Hu has become more and more famous as time went by. In fact, a crater on the far side of the Moon has been named Wan-Hoo Crater”, based on this legend.

References and Further Reading

Jack, A. (2015). They laughed at Galileo. Little, Brown Book Group.

Wikimedia Foundation. (2021, August 1). Wan Hu Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved October 22, 2021, from

Wikimedia Foundation. (2021, June 24). Wan-Hoo (crater ) Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved October 22, 2021, from

Images not cited are used through Canva Pro with a royalty payment.

The proofreading has been done by Asu Pelin Akköse and Mete Esencan.

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Mete Esencan

Hello everyone! I'm Mete Esencan. I am a graduate student in the Department of Chemistry at METU. I was planning to establish a platform by combining the research knowledge I gained during my basic science education and the management experience I gained in the METU Chemistry Society, which I was in charge of for three years. For this purpose, in February of 2021, I took the first step and established the OkButWhy, a platform where we can write articles as if to chat about science, art and philosophy. I wish everyone a pleasant reading!

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