A Journey in Other Worlds HTML version
Landing on a place about ten degrees north of the equator, so that they might obtain a
good view of the great rings--since ON the line only the thin edge would be visible--they
opened a port-hole with the same caution they had exercised on Jupiter. Again there was
a rush of air, showing that the pressure without was greater than that within; but on this
occasion the barometer stopped at thirty-eight, from which they calculated that the
pressure was nineteen pounds to the square inch on their bodies, instead of fifteen as at
sea-level on earth. This difference was so slight that they scarcely felt it. They also
discarded the apergetic outfits that had been so useful on Jupiter, as unnecessary here.
The air was an icy blast, and though they quickly closed the opening, the interior of the
Callisto was considerably chilled.
"We shall want our winter clothes," said Bearwarden; "it might be more comfortable for
us exactly on the equator, though the scene at night will be far finer here, if we can stand
the climate. Doubtless it will also be warmer soon, for the sun has but just risen."
"I suspect this is merely one of the cold waves that rush towards the equator at this
season, which corresponds to about the 10th of our September," replied Cortlandt. "The
poles of Saturn must be intensely cold during its long winter of fourteen and three quarter
years, for, the axis being inclined twenty-seven degrees from the perpendicular of its
orbit, the pole turned from the sun is more shut off from its heat than ours, and in addition
to this the mean distance--more than eight hundred and eighty million miles--is very
great. Since the chemical composition of the air we have inhaled has not troubled our
lungs, it is fair to suppose we shall have no difficulty in breathing."
Having dressed themselves more warmly, and seen by a thermometer they had placed
outside that the temperature was thirty-eight degrees Fahrenheit, which had seemed very
cold compared with the warmth inside the Callisto, they again opened the port-hole, this
time leaving it open longer. What they had felt before was evidently merely a sudden
gust, for the air was now comparatively calm.
Finding that the doctor's prediction as to the suitability of the air to their lungs was
correct, they ventured out, closing the door as they went.
Expecting, as on Jupiter, to find principally vertebrates of the reptile and bird order, they
carried guns and cartridges loaded with buckshot and No. 1, trusting for solid-ball
projectiles to their revolvers, which they shoved into their belts. They also took test-
tubes for experiments on the Saturnian bacilli. Hanging a bucket under the pipe leading
from the roof, to catch any rain that might fall--for they remembered the scarcity of
drinking-water on Jupiter--they set out in a southwesterly direction.
Walking along, they noticed on all sides tall lilies immaculately pure in their whiteness,
and mushrooms and toadstools nearly a foot high, the former having a delicious flavour
and extreme freshness, as though only an hour old. They had seen no animal life, or even