A Journey in Other Worlds HTML version

the carbon dioxide as fast as they exhaled it. They had darkened those windows through
which the sun was actually pouring, for, on account of the emptiness of the surrounding
ether and consequent absence of diffusion of light, nothing but the inky blackness of
space and the bright stars looked in at the rest. On raising the shades they got an idea of
their speed. A small crescent, smaller than the familiar moon, accompanied by one still
tinier, was all that could be seen of the earth and its satellite.
"We must," said Bearwarden, "be moving at the rate of nearly a million miles an hour,
from the way we have travelled."
"We must be doing fully a million," replied Cortlandt, "for by this time we are pretty well
in motion, having got a tremendous start when so near the moon, with it and the earth in
By steering straight for Jupiter, instead of for the place it would occupy ten days later,
they knew they would swing past, for the giant planet, being in rapid motion, would
advance; but they did not object to this, since it would give them a chance to examine
their new world in case they wished to do so before alighting; while, if they preferred to
land at once, they could easily change their course by means of the moons, the fourth,
from which their car was named, being the one that they knew would be of most use.
Their tremendous speed showed them they should have time for exploration on their
arrival, and that they would reach their destination sooner than they had expected. The
apergetic force being applied, as we have seen, only to the Callisto, just as power in
starting is exerted on a carriage or railway car and only through it to the passengers,
Ayrault and his companions had no unusual sensation except loss of weight, for, when
they were so far from the earth, its attraction was very slight, and no other planet was
near enough to take its place. After breakfast, wishing to reach the dome, and realizing
that it would be unnecessary to climb, each in turn gave a slight spring and was obliged to
put up his hands to avoid striking the roof. In the cool quiet of the dark dome it was
difficult to believe that only twenty feet away the sun was shining with such intensity
upon the metal base as to make it too hot on the inside to touch without gloves.
The first thing that attracted their attention was the size and brilliance of Mars. Although
this red planet was over forty million miles from the earth when they started, they
calculated that it was less than thirty million miles from them now, or five millions nearer
than it had ever been to them before. This reduction in distance, and the clearness of the
void through which they saw it, made it a splendid sight, its disk showing clearly. From
hour to hour its size and brightness increased, till towards evening it looked like a small,
full moon, the sun shining squarely upon it. They calculated that on the course they were
moving they should pass about nine hundred thousand miles to the right or behind it,
since it was moving towards their left. They were interested to see what effect the mass
of Mars would have on the Callisto, and saw here a chance of still further increasing their
speed. Notwithstanding its tremendous rate, they expected to see the Callisto swerve from
its straight line and move towards Mars, whose orbital speed of nine hundred miles a
minute they thought would take it out of the Callisto's way, so that no actual collision
would occur even if their air-ship were left to her own devices.