Across the Zodiac eBook

Percy Greg
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 587 pages of information about Across the Zodiac.
in a voyage to the Moon, or the Sun in a more distant journey.  As soon, then, as the character of the apergic force was made known to me, its application to this purpose seized on my mind.  Experiment had proved it possible, by the method described at the commencement of this record, to generate and collect it in amounts practically unlimited.  The other hindrances to a voyage through space were trivial in comparison with that thus overcome; there were difficulties to be surmounted, not absent or deficient powers in nature to be discovered.  The chief of these, of course, concerned the conveyance of air sufficient for the needs of the traveller during the period of his journey.  The construction of an air-tight vessel was easy enough; but however large the body of air conveyed, even though its oxygen should not be exhausted, the carbonic acid given out by breathing would very soon so contaminate the whole that life would be impossible.  To eliminate this element it would only be necessary to carry a certain quantity of lime-water, easily calculated, and by means of a fan or similar instrument to drive the whole of the air periodically through the vessel containing it.  The lime in solution combining with the noxious gas would show by the turbid whiteness of the water the absorption of the carbonic acid and formation of carbonate of lime.  But if the carbonic acid gas were merely to be removed, it is obvious that the oxygen of the air, which forms a part of that gas, would be constantly diminished and ultimately exhausted; and the effect of highly oxygenated air upon the circulation is notoriously too great to allow of any considerable increase at the outset in the proportion of this element.  I might carry a fresh supply of oxygen, available at need, in some solid combination like chlorate of potash; but the electricity employed for the generation of the apergy might be also applied to the decomposition of carbonic acid and the restoration of its oxygen to the atmosphere.

But the vessel had to be steered as well as propelled; and in order to accomplish this it would be necessary to command the direction of the apergy at pleasure.  My means of doing this depended on two of the best-established peculiarities of this strange force:  its rectilinear direction and its conductibility.  We found that it acts through air or in a vacuum in a single straight line, without deflection, and seemingly without diminution.  Most solids, and especially metals, according to their electric condition, are more or less impervious to it—­antapergic.  Its power of penetration diminishes under a very obscure law, but so rapidly that no conceivable strength of current would affect an object protected by an intervening sheet half an inch in thickness.  On the other hand, it prefers to all other lines the axis of a conductive bar, such as may be formed of [undecipherable] in an antapergic sheath.  However such bar may be curved, bent, or divided, the current will fill and follow it, and

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Across the Zodiac from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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