Across the Zodiac eBook

Percy Greg
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 490 pages of information about Across the Zodiac.
covered the land alone, it might have been attributed to a snowfall, or, perhaps, even to a very severe hoar frost congealing a dense moisture.  But this last seemed highly improbable; and that mist or cloud was the true explanation became more and more apparent as, with a nearer approach, it became possible to discern dimly a broad expanse of water contrasting the orange tinge of the land through this annular veil.  At 4h. on the second day of the descent, I was about 500,000 miles from Mars, the micrometer verifying, by the increased angle subtended by the diameter, my calculated rate of approach.  On the next day I was able to sleep in security, and to devote my attention to the observation of the planet’s surface, for at its close I should be still 15,000 miles from Mars, and consequently beyond the distance at which his attraction would predominate over that of the Sun.  To my great surprise, in the course of this day I discerned two small discs, one on each side of the planet, moving at a rate which rendered measurement impossible, but evidently very much smaller than any satellite with which astronomers are acquainted, and so small that their non-discovery by terrestrial telescopes was not extraordinary.  They were evidently very minute, whether ten, twenty, or fifty miles in diameter I could not say; neither of them being likely, so far as I could calculate, to come at any part of my descent very near the Astronaut, and the rapidity of their movement carrying them across the field, even with the lowest power of my telescopes, too fast for measurement.  That they were Martial moons, however, there could be no doubt.

About 10h. on the last day of the descent, the effect of Mars’ attraction, which had for some time so disturbed the position of the Astronaut as to take his disc completely out of the field of the meta-compass, became decidedly predominant over that of the Sun.  I had to change the direction of the apergic current first to the left-hand conductor, and afterwards, as the greater weight of the floor turned the Astronaut completely over, bringing the planet immediately below it, to the downward one.  I was, of course, approaching Mars on the daylight side, and nearly in the centre.  This, however, did not exactly suit me.  During the whole of this day it was impossible that I should sleep for a minute; since if at any point I should find that I had miscalculated my rate of descent, or if any other unforeseen accident should occur, immediate action would be necessary to prevent a shipwreck, which must without doubt be fatal.  It was very likely that I should be equally unable to sleep during the first twenty-four hours of my sojourn upon Mars, more especially should he be inhabited, and should my descent be observed.  It was, therefore, my policy to land at some point where the Sun was setting, and to enjoy rest during such part of the twelve hours of the Martial night as should not be employed in setting my vessel in order and preparing to evacuate

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Across the Zodiac from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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