A Journey in Other Worlds HTML version
Hard At Work
In a few moments Ayrault returned with pencils, a pair of compasses, and paper.
"Let us see, in the first place," said Deepwaters, "how long the journey will take. Since a
stone falls 16.09 feet the first second, and 64+ feet the next, it is easy to calculate at what
rate your speed would increase with the repulsion twice that of the ordinary traction. But
I think this would be too slow. It will be best to treble or quadruple the apergetic charge,
which can easily be done, in which case your speed will exceed the muzzle-velocity of a
projectile from a long-range gun, in a few seconds. As the earth's repulsion decreases, the
attraction of mars and Jupiter will increase, and, there being no resistance, your gait will
become more and more rapid till it is necessary to reverse the charge to avoid being
dashed to pieces or being consumed like a falling star by the friction in passing through
Jupiter's atmosphere. You can be on the safe side by checking your speed in advance.
You must, of course, be careful to avoid collisions with meteors and asteroids but if you
do, they will be of use to you, for by attracting or repelling them you can change your
course to suit yourself, and also theirs in inverse ratio to their masses. Jupiter's moons
will be like head and stern lines in enabling you to choose the part of the surface on
which you wish to land. With apergy it is as essential to have some heavy body on which
to work, within range, as to have water about a ship's propellers. Whether, when apergy is
developed, gravitation is temporarily annulled, or reversed like the late attraction of a
magnet when the current is changed, or whether it is merely overpowered, in which case
your motion will be the resultant of the two, is an unsettled and not very important point;
for, though we know but little more of the nature of electricity than was known a hundred
years ago, this does not prevent our producing and using it."
"Jupiter, when in opposition," he continued, "is about 380,000,000 miles from us, and it
takes light, which travels at the rate of 190,000 miles a second, just thirty-four minutes to
reach the earth from Jupiter. If we suppose the average speed of your ship to be one- five-
hundredth as great, it will take you just eleven days, nineteen hours and twenty minutes
to make the journey. You will have a fine view of Mars and the asteroids, and when
1,169,000 miles from Jupiter, will cross the orbit of Callisto, the fifth moon in distance
from the giant planet. That will be your best point to steer by."
"I think," said Ayrault, "as that will be the first member of Jupiter's system we pass, and
as it will guide us into port, it would be a good name for our ship, and you must christen
her if we have her launched."
"No, no," said Deepwaters, "Miss Preston must do that; but we certainly should have a
launch, for you might have to land in the water, and you must be sure the ship is tight."
"Talking of tight ships," said Bearwarden, passing a decanter of claret to Stillman, "may
remind us that it is time to splice the 'main brace.' There's a bottle of whisky and some
water just behind you," he added to Deepwaters, "while three minutes after I ring this