A Journey in Other Worlds HTML version

"The inclination of the axis of our own planet has also frequently considerably exceeded
that of Mars, and again has been but little greater than Jupiter's at least, this is by all odds
the most reasonable explanation of the numerous Glacial periods through which our
globe has passed, and of the recurring mild spells, probably lasting thousands of years, in
which elephants, mastodons, and other semi-tropical vertebrates roamed in Siberia, some
of which died so recently that their flesh, preserved by the cold, has been devoured by the
dogs of modern explorers.
"It is not to be supposed that the inclining of the axes of Jupiter, Venus, the Earth, and the
other planets, is now fixed; in some cases it is known to be changing. As long ago as
1890, Major-Gen. A. W. Drayson, of the British Army, showed, in a work entitled
Untrodden Ground in Astronomy and Geology, that, as a result of the second rotation of
the earth, the inclination of its axis was changing, it having been 23@ 28' 23" on January
1, 1750, 23@ 27' 55.3" on January 1, 1800, and 23@ 27' 30.9" on January 1, 1850; and
by calculation one hundred and ten years ago showed that in 1900 (one hundred years
ago) it would be 23@ 27' 08.8". This natural straightening is, of course, going on, and we
are merely about to anticipate it. When this improvement was mooted, all agreed that the
EXTREMES of heat and cold could well be spared. 'Balance those of summer against
those of winter by partially straightening the axis; reduce the inclination from twenty-
three degrees, thirty minutes, to about fifteen degrees, but let us stop there,' many said.
Before we had gone far, however, we found it would be best to make the work complete.
This will reclaim and make productive the vast areas of Siberia and the northern part of
this continent, and will do much for the antarctic regions; but there will still be change in
temperature; a wind blowing towards the equator will always be colder than one blowing
from it, while the slight eccentricity of the orbit will supply enough change to awaken
recollections of seasons in our eternal spring.
"The way to accomplish this is to increase the weight of the pole leaving the sun, by
increasing the amount of material there for the sun to attract, and to lighten the pole
approaching or turning towards the sun, by removing some heavy substance from it, and
putting it preferably at the opposite pole. This shifting of ballast is most easily
accomplished, as you will readily perceive, by confining and removing water, which is
easily moved and has a considerable weight. How we purpose to apply these aqueous
brakes to check the wabbling of the earth, by means of the attraction of the sun, you will
now see.
"From Commander Fillmore, of the Arctic Shade and the Committee on Bulkheads and
Dams, I have just received the following by cable telephone: 'The Arctic Ocean is now in
condition to be pumped out in summer and to have its average depth increased one
hundred feet by the dams in winter. We have already fifty million square yards of
windmill turbine surface in position and ready to move. The cables bringing us currents
from the dynamos at Niagara Falls are connected with our motors, and those from the
tidal dynamos at the Bay of Fundy will be in contact when this reaches you, at which
moment the pumps will begin. In several of the landlocked gulfs and bays our system of
confining is so complete, that the surface of the water can be raised two hundred feet