15 Predictions Jules Verne Made That Actually Came True

Imagine a world where fiction entertains and also serves as a prophetic glimpse into the future. Jules Verne, the visionary author known for his groundbreaking science fiction, not only captured readers’ imaginations but also foreshadowed technological marvels to come.

1. Electric Submarines

Electric Submarines
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

According to The Economic Times, electric submarines were first seen in Jules Verne’s famous novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Captain Nemo travels the ocean in a massive electric submarine called the Nautilus, which includes a main cabin, dining room, library, and separate cabins. Nemo also used a barometer and other navigational devices. Like modern submarines, the Nautilus was entirely powered by electricity.

2. Solar Sails

The Japanese IKAROS spaceprobe in flight (artist's depiction).
Image Credit: Andrzej Mirecki – CC BY-SA 3.0/Wiki Commons.

Have you ever wondered how spacecraft efficiently move around in space? According to Planetary, solar sails help them in doing so. These use the momentum from light particles called photons to make a spacecraft move.

While these are recent inventions, they were first seen in Verne’s 1865 science fiction classic, From the Earth to the Moon, where he mentions the use of light to propel objects in space.

3. Taser

Taser
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

This invention is quite handy in today’s world. According to Eugene Nielsen, this device was introduced in 1974. Yet, in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Verne talks about a gun that delivers a powerful electric jolt.

4. Helium Balloons

Hot air balloon
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

In Five Weeks in a Balloon, Verne described a journey across Africa in a balloon filled with a lighter-than-air gas, much like helium. This predates the actual use of helium in balloons.

5. Electric Cars

Tesla Model Y
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

In The Mysterious Island, Jules Verne showcases his visionary imagination by introducing an electric car powered by batteries — a concept far ahead of its time when the novel was published in 1874.

6. Newscasts

Newscasts
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In the Year 2889 is a Verne novella written in 1889. At the time, newspapers were used to spread information. According to the Radio Hall of Fame, newscasts began in the 1920s.

7. Skywriting

Skywriting
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Skywriting is a process where an aircraft’s smoke is used to form writing in the sky. According to Hartzell Propeller, these emerged as early as 1915 in an attempt to entertain crowds. But 2889 talks about the “enormous advertisements reflected from the clouds” almost 26 years before skywriting debuted.

8. Videoconferencing

Videoconferencing
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Also in 2889, Verne introduces the “phonotelephote.” This device allowed the transmission of images using sensitive mirrors connected by wires. According to the website Technovelgy, Verne made one of the earliest references to a videophone.

9. Warfare

Tanks on parade during 1935 Erntedankfest, the traditional German thanksgiving. Nazi Germany rearmed in the 1930s, exceeding limitations placed by the Treaty of Versailles.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Verne’s novel The Begum’s Fortune was published in 1879notably before World War I. However, it warned people of the dangers of extreme militarism, which was soon seen in the following world wars. The details of military advancements mentioned closely resemble those of the 20th century.

10. Moon Landing

The Apollo 11 lunar landing mission crew, pictured from left to right, Neil A. Armstrong, commander; Michael Collins, command module pilot; and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot.
Image Credit: NASA – NASA Human Space Flight Gallery/Wiki Commons.

Published in 1865, Verne’s novel From the Earth to the Moon showcases three people who launch themselves to the moon in a gun-fired projectile. ZME Science points out the interesting similarities between Verne’s novel and the Apollo 11 mission: his dimensions are close to those of Apollo 11, both crews consisted of three people, and his cannon’s name was Columbiad, while the command module for the real mission was Columbia.

What’s more interesting is that the fictional and real-life projectiles were both launched from Florida.

11. Holographs

The Carpathian Castle
Image Credit: Léon Benett – Original Book (scanned), Public Domain/Wiki Commons.

In The Carpathian Castle, published in 1892, villagers are afraid of approaching a castle from where they can hear peculiar noises and see strange shapes being projected. One brave person finally enters the castle, only to find that these were recorded sounds and holographic images.

12. The Internet

Woman taking online class
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Paris in the Twentieth Century, from 1863, talks about a world where people can interact with each other courtesy of a “worldwide telegraph.” Osvaldo Portales-Alcantara points out how strikingly similar this is to the World Wide Web.

13. Journey to the North Pole

Pressure ridge and melt water at the Geographic North Pole
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

In his novel, The Adventure of Captain Hatteras, published in 1866, Verne predicted the journey to the North Pole. The first journey took place in April 1909 by U.S. Navy engineer Robert Peary.

14. A Warm Ocean Beneath the Arctic Ice

Swimming polarbear in the Fram strait between svalbard abd Greenland
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

In Captain Hatteras, the author refers to discovering a warm ocean beneath the Arctic ice. Fast forward to the 21st century, and scientists know this is a reality. Research conducted by scientists using instruments like submersibles and automated underwater vehicles revealed the presence of relatively warm Atlantic water flowing into the Arctic Ocean through channels like the Fram Strait and the Barents Sea.

15. Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

In The Master of the World in 1904, Verne describes a virtual reality simulator for experiencing flight. While his depiction of it may seem rudimentary compared to modern virtual reality technology, it laid the groundwork for the concept of immersive digital experiences that would later become a reality.

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