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To Mars via The Moon An Astronomical Story   By:

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Transcriber's Note

The punctuation and spelling from the original text have been faithfully preserved. Only obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

Plate XVI is missing from the scanned image files. The reference within the Maps and Plates list has been preserved.

TO MARS via THE MOON

[Illustration: Drawn by M. Wicks

VIEW FROM THE AIR SHIP, OVER THE CANALS AND THE CITY OF SIRAPION

"What a splendid view we then had over the country all around us!... Across the country, in line after line, were the canals which we had been so anxious to see, extending as far as the eye could reach!"]

To Mars via The Moon

AN ASTRONOMICAL STORY

BY MARK WICKS

" It is astronomy which will eventually be the chief educator and emancipator of the human race. " SIR EDWIN ARNOLD.

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS

LONDON SEELEY AND CO. LIMITED 38 GREAT RUSSELL STREET 1911

Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON & CO. At the Ballantyne Press, Edinburgh

TO

PROFESSOR PERCIVAL LOWELL

A.B., LL.D.

Director of the Observatory at Flagstaff, Arizona

TO WHOSE CAREFUL AND PAINSTAKING RESEARCHES, EXTENDING OVER MANY YEARS, THE WORLD OWES SO MUCH OF ITS KNOWLEDGE OF

THE PLANET MARS,

THIS LITTLE BOOK IS RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED BY ONE WHO HAS DERIVED INFINITE PLEASURE FROM THE PERUSAL OF HIS WORKS ON THE SUBJECT

PREFACE

In the course of my experience as an occasional lecturer during the past twelve years, I have been much impressed by the keen interest evinced, even by the most unlettered persons, when astronomical subjects are dealt with in plain untechnical language which they can really grasp and understand.

The pertinent questions which have been addressed to me privately by members of my audiences have clearly indicated that there is ample scope for writers in satisfying a widespread desire for fuller and clearer information upon such subjects. I have observed that particular interest is taken in the planet Mars and also in the moon, but ordinary persons usually find astronomical text books too technical and too difficult to master; whilst, as regards Mars, the information they contain is generally meagre and sometimes not up to date.

Scientific readers are already provided for: and it occurred to me that it would be much more useful and appeal to a more numerous class if, instead of writing a book on the usual lines, I wrote a narrative of events which might be supposed to occur in the course of an actual voyage to Mars; and describing what might be seen on the planet during a short visit.

This is the genesis of the story; and, in carrying out my programme, I have endeavoured to convey by means of natural incidents and conversations between the characters portrayed, the most recent and reliable scientific information respecting the moon and Mars; together with other astronomical information: stating it in an interesting form, and in concise, clear, and understandable language.

Every endeavour has been made to ensure that this scientific information shall be thoroughly accurate, so that in this respect the book may be referred to with as much confidence as any ordinary textbook.

Apart from my own studies and work, all these facts have been carefully verified by reference, as regards the moon, to the works of such well known authorities as Neison, Elger, Proctor, Sir Robert Ball, &c., whilst, with respect to Mars, the works of Professor Lowell, Flammarion, Professor Langley, and other writers, as well as practical papers by other actual observers of the planet, have been studied.

The personal opinions expressed are entirely my own, and the technical writers above mentioned are in no way responsible for them. I do not, however, expect my readers to accept all my views, as they relate to matters in which there is ample room for differences of opinion.

The reader will, of course, understand that whilst the astronomical information is, in all cases, scientific fact according to our present knowledge, the story itself as well as the attempt to describe the physical and social conditions on Mars is purely imaginative... Continue reading book >>




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