A Journey in Other Worlds HTML version
Space And Mars
Never before had the travellers observed the stars and planets under such favourable
conditions. No air or clouds intervened, and as the Callisto did not revolve on its axis
there was no necessity for changing the direction of the glasses. After an hour of this
interesting work, however, as it was already late at the longitude they had left on earth,
and as they knew they had many days in space before them, they prepared to go to bed.
When ready, they had only to pull down the shades; for, as apergy was not applied to
them, but only to the Callisto, they still looked upon the floor as down, and closed the
heavy curtains to have night or darkness. They found that the side of the Callisto turned
constantly towards the sun was becoming very warm, the double-toughened glass
windows making it like a greenhouse; but they consoled themselves with the thought that
the sun's power on them was hourly becoming less, and they felt sure the double walls
and thick upholstery would protect them almost anywhere within the solar system from
the intense cold of space.
"We could easily have arranged," said Ayrault, for night and day on alternate sides of the
Callisto by having strips of metal arranged spirally on the outside as on the end of an
arrow. These would have started us turning as slowly as we like, since we passed through
the atmosphere at a comparatively low rate of speed."
"I am afraid," said Cortlandt, "the motion, however slow, would have made us dizzy. It
would be confusing to see the heavens turning about us, and it would interfere with using
The base and one side of the Callisto had constant sunshine, while the other side and the
dome were in the blackest night. This dome, on account of its shape, sky windows, and
the completeness with which it could be isolated, was an ideal observatory, and there was
seldom a time during their waking hours for the rest of the journey when it was not
occupied by one, two, or all the observers.
"There is something marvellous," said Cortlandt, "about the condition of space. Its
absolute cold is appalling, apparently because there is nothing to absorb heat; yet we find
the base of this material projectile uncomfortably warm, though, should we expose a
thermometer in the shade in front, we know it would show a temperature of three hundred
to four hundred degrees below zero--were the instrument capable of recording it."
Artificial darkness having been obtained, the travellers were soon asleep, Bearwarden's
dreams being regaled with thoughts of his company's triumph; Ayrault's, naturally, with
visions of Sylvia; while Cortlandt frequently started up, thinking he had already made
some great astronomical discovery.
About 9 A. M., according to seventy-fifth meridian time, the explorers awoke feeling
greatly refreshed. The tank in which the liquefied oxygen was kept automatically gave off
its gas so evenly that the air remained normal, while the lime contained in cups absorbed