I'm searching for a Soviet-era science fiction novel, in which rocks are evaporated by chemical means into gases in order to form an atmosphere.

It may then continue on to describe hydrogen and carbon being somehow extracted by the scientists from the minerals in the planet, creating water, and life begins in the puddles that form, but this is less certain than the atmosphere part.

Does any of it ring any bells for anyone?

It would have originally been published in Russian, although it may have been subsequently translated. It also had to have been published prior to 1958.

Thank you!


Le Continent du ciel

A long shot, as it is originally French, is Paul Berna's YA novel Continent in the Sky (Le Continent du ciel), 1955; a sequel to Threshold of the Stars (La Porte des étoiles), 1954. The first book follows a boy who becomes part of a secret project to build saucer-like spaceships, while the second, which could be the one you are looking for, describes an attempt to give the Moon an atmosphere in a process similar to what you describe.

Both books are pre-1958 and could well have been translated into Russian. I can see from a Google search that at least some of Berna's books were. I read them in Danish translations from the early 60s.

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