Mars

Mars
Catalog # SKU3882
Publisher
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Percivel Lowell
ISBN 10: 0000000000
ISBN 13: 0000000000000
 
$9.95
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Description

Mars

By
Percivel Lowell


AMID the seemingly countless stars that on a clear night spangle the vast dome overhead, there appeared last autumn to be a new-comer, a very large and ruddy one, that rose at sunset through the haze about the eastern horizon. That star was the planet Mars.

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Excerpt:

Large as he then looked, however, he is in truth but a secondary planet traveling round a secondary sun; but his interest for us is out of all proportion to his actual size or his relative importance in the cosmos. For that sun is our own; and that planet is, with the exception of the moon, our next to nearest neighbor in space, Venus alone ever approaching us closer. From him, therefore, of all the heavenly bodies, may we expect first to learn something beyond celestial mechanics, beyond even celestial chemistry; something in answer to the mute query that man instinctively makes as he gazes at the stars, whether there be life in worlds other than his own.

Hitherto the question has received no affirmative reply, although the trend of all latter-day investigation has been to such affirmation; for science has been demonstrating more and more clearly the essential oneness of the universe. Matter proves to be common property. We have learnt that the very same substances with which we are familiar on this our earth, iron, magnesium, calcium, and the rest, are present in the far-off stars that strew the depths of space. Nothing new under the sun! Indeed, there is nothing new above it but ever-varying detail.

So much for matter. As for mind beyond the confines of our tiny globe, modesty, backed by a probability little short of demonstration, forbids the thought that we are the sole thinkers in this great universe.

That we are the only minds in space it takes indeed a very small mind to fancy. Our relative insignificance commonly escapes us. If we reduce the universe to a scale on which we can conceive it, that on which the earth shall be represented by a good-sized pea, with a grain of mustard seed, the moon, circling about it at a distance of seven inches, the sun would be a globe two feet in diameter, two hundred and twenty feet away. Mars, a much smaller pea, would circle round the two-foot globe, three hundred and fifty feet from its surface; Jupiter, an orange, at a distance of a quarter of a mile; Saturn, a small orange, at two fifths of a mile; and Uranus and Neptune, good-sized plums, three quarters of a mile and a mile and a quarter away, respectively. The nearest star would lie two hundred and thirty thousand miles off, or at about the actual distance of our own moon, and the other stars at corresponding distances beyond that; that is, on a scale upon which the moon should be but seven inches off, the nearest star would still be as far from us as the moon is now. When we think that each of these stars is probably the centre of a solar system on a grander scale than our own, we cannot seriously take ourselves to be the only minds in the universe.

But improbable as the absence of ultra-terrestrial life in a general way is, up to the present time we have had no proof of its particular existence in worlds beyond our own. Whether the observations I am now to describe have revealed something on the point I shall leave the reader himself to judge, after laying the facts before him; for it is with this in view that the present papers will deal with Mars, since any answer on this point is the most generally interesting outcome of a study of the planet.

That the observations also disclose the fact that the hitherto accepted period of its rotation proves to be too small by the hundredth of a second is a matter of far greater moment, of course, but one which leaves the average man comparatively cool. That Mars, however, should be peopled by intelligent beings, although physically they be utterly unlike us, more goblins than men or animals, is a suggestion which appeals romantically, at least, to everybody.




120 pages - 5½ x 8½ softcover - Print size, 12 point font


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