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Preparing To Alight

From: A Journey In Other Worlds

That afternoon Ayrault brought out some statistical tables he had
compiled from a great number of books, and also a diagram of the
comparative sizes of the planets. "I have been not a little
puzzled at the discrepancies between even the best authors," he
said, "scarcely any two being exactly alike, while every decade
has seen accepted theories radically changed." Saying which, he
spread out the result of his labours (shown on the following
pages), which the three friends then studied.


(1) Mean distance from sun in millions of miles
(2) Semimajor axis of orbit, earth's distance as 1
(3) Eccentricity of orbit
(4) Planets inclination of orbit to elliptic
(5) Light at perihelion
(6) Light at apehelion
(7) Heat, earth as 1

(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7)

Mercury... 36.0 0.387 0.2056 7@0'8" 10.58 4.59 6.67

Venus..... 67.2 0.723 0.0068 3@23'35" 1.94 1.91 1.91

The Earth. 92.9 1.000 0.068 0@0'0" 1.03 0.997 1.00

Mars......141.5 1.524 0.0933 1@51'2" 0.52 0.360 1.43

Asteroids 204.4 to 2.200 0.4 to 5@-35@ 325.2 to 3.500 0.34

Jupiter.. 483.3 5.203 0.0483 1@18'41" 0.04 0.034 0.037

Saturn... 886.0 9.539 0.0561 2@29'40" 0.012 0.0099 0.011

Uranus.. 1781.9 19.183 0.0463 0@46'20" 0.0027 0.0025 0.003

Neptune. 2791.6 30.055 0.0090 1@47'2" 0.0011 0.0011 0.001

(1) MOVEMENT IN ORBIT. Velocity compared with earth as 1.
(2) MOVEMENT IN ORBIT. Period of revolution in years and days.
(3) MOVEMENT IN ORBIT. Orbital velocity in miles per second.
(4) Mean diameter in miles
(5) Surface compared with earth as 1.
(6) Volume compared with earth as 1.
(7) Mass compared with earth as 1.

Planets (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7)

Mercury..... 0.88 23 to 35 1.6 3,000 0.14 0.056 0.13

Venus.....0.224 1/2 21.9 1.17 7,700 0.94 0.92 0.78

The Earth... 1.00 18.5 1.0 7,918 1.00 1.00 1.00

Mars........ 1.88 15.0 0.81 4,230 0.28 0.139 0.124

Asteroids... 3.29 .... .... From a few to 6.56
miles to 300

Jupiter..... 11.86 8.1 0.44 86,500 118.3 1309.00 316.0

Saturn...... 29.46 6.0 0.32 1,000 0.4 760.0 95.0

Uranus...... 84.02 4.2 0.23 31,900 16.3 65.0 14.7

Neptune.... 164.78 3.4 0.18 34,800 19.3 90.0 17.1

(1) Length of day. hrs. min. sec.
(2) Length of seasons
(3) DENSITY Compared with earth as 1
(4) DENSITY Compared with water as 1
(5) FORCE OF GRAVITY AT SURFACE OF PLANET Compared with earth as
(7) Inclination of axis.

Planets (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7)

Mercury. ........ ......... 1.24 7.17 0.85 13.7 .....

Venus... 23 21 22 ........ 0.92 5.21 0.83 13.4 53+

The Earth. ..... Spring, 93 1.00 5.67 1.00 16.09 23 1/2
Summer, 93
Terrestrial days Autumn, 90

Mars... 24 37 23 Spring, 191 0.96 2.54 0.38 6.2 27 1/2
Summer, 181
Martian days Autumn, 149
Winter, 147


Jupiter. 9 55 28 ......... 0.22 1.29 2.55 40.98 1 1/2

Saturn..10 29 17 ......... 0.13 0.63 1.15 18.53 27

Uranus. ....... ......... 0.18 1.41 0.91 14.6 102(?)

Neptune......... ......... 0.20 0 0.88 14.2 .....


"You see," Ayrault explained, "on Jupiter we shall need our
apergetic outfits to enable us to make long marches, while on
Saturn they will not be necessary, the increase in our weight as
a result of that planet's size being considerably less than the
usual load carried by the Roman soldier."

"I do not imagine," said Cortlandt, "we should long be troubled
by gravitation without our apergetic outfits even on Jupiter,
for, though our weight will be more than doubled, we can take off
one quarter of the whole by remaining near the equator, their
rapid rotation having apparently been given providentially to all
the large planets. Nature will adapt herself to this change, as
to all others, very readily. Although the reclamation of the
vast areas of the North American Arctic Archipelago, Alaska,
Siberia, and Antarctic Wilkes Land, from the death-grip of the
ice in which they have been held will relieve the pressure of
population for another century, at the end of that time it will
surely be felt again; it is therefore a consolation to feel that
the mighty planets Jupiter and Saturn, which we are coming to
look upon as our heritage, will not crush the life out of any
human beings by their own weight that may alight upon them."

Before going to bed that evening they decided to be up early the
next day, to study Jupiter, which was already a brilliant object.

The following morning, on awakening, they went at once to their
observatory, and found that Jupiter's disk was plainly visible to
the naked eye, and before night it seemed as large as the full

They then prepared to check the Callisto's headlong speed, which
Jupiter's attraction was beginning to increase. When about two
million miles from the great planet, which was considerably on
their left, they espied Callisto ahead and slightly on their
right, as Deepwaters had calculated it would be. Applying a mild
repulsion to this--which was itself quite a world, with its
diameter of over three thousand miles, though evidently as cold
and dead as the earth's old moon--they retarded their forward
rush, knowing that the resulting motion towards Jupiter would be
helped by the giant's pull. Wishing to be in good condition for
their landing, they divided the remainder of the night into
watches, two going to sleep at a time, the man on duty standing
by to control the course and to get photographic negatives, on
which, when they were developed, they found two crescent-shaped
continents, a speckled region, and a number of islands. By 7 A.
M., according to Eastern standard time, they were but fifty
thousand miles from Jupiter's surface, the gigantic globe filling
nearly one side of the sky. In preparation for a sally, they got
their guns and accoutrements ready, and then gave a parting
glance at the car. Their charge of electricity for developing
the repulsion seemed scarcely touched, and they had still an
abundant supply of oxygen and provisions. The barometer
registered twenty-nine inches, showing that they had not lost
much air in the numerous openings of the vestibule. The pressure
was about what would be found at an altitude of a few hundred
feet, part of the rarefaction being no doubt due to the fact that
they did not close the windows until at a considerable height
above Van Cortlandt Park.

They saw they should alight in a longitude on which the sun had
just risen, the rocky tops of the great mountains shining like
helmets in its rays. Soon they felt a sharp checking of their
forward motion, and saw, from the changed appearance of the stars
and the sun, that they had entered the atmosphere of their new

Not even did Columbus, standing at the prow of the Santa Maria,
with the New World before him, feel the exultation and delight
experienced by these latter-day explorers of the twenty-first
century. Their first adventures on landing the reader already

Next: Exploration And Excitement

Previous: Heavenly Bodies

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