A Journey in Other Worlds
reversing the attraction. As the gravitation of so small a sun would be slight,
counteracting it for even a considerable time would take but little from the batteries."
"There are known to be several unclaimed masses," added Ayrault, "with diameters of a
few hundred yards, revolving about the earth inside the orbit of the moon. If in some way
two of these could be brought into sufficiently violent collision, they would become
luminous and answer very well; the increase in bulk as a result of the consolidation, and
the subsequent heat, about serving to bring them to the required size. Whenever this sun
showed spots and indications of cooling, it could be made to collide with the solid head
of some comet, or small asteroid, till its temperature was again right; while if, as a result
of these accretions, it became unwieldy, it could be caused to rotate with sufficient
rapidity on its axis to split, and we should have two suns instead of one."
"Bravo!" said Bearwarden. "There is no limit to what can be done. The idea of our
present trip would have seemed more chimerical to people a hundred years ago than this
new scheme appears now."
Thus they sat and talked, or studied maps and star- charts, or the stars themselves, while
the hours quickly passed and they shot through space. They had now a straight stretch of
over three hundred million miles, and had to cross the orbits of innumerable asteroids on
the way. The apparent size of the sun had by this time considerably decreased, and the
interior of the Callisto was no longer uncomfortably warm. They divided the day into
twenty-four hours from force of habit, and drew the shades tightly during what they
considered night, while Bearwarden distinguished himself as a cook.