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Title: Mars and its Mystery
Author: Morse, Edward Sylvester
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: LOWELL'S GLOBE OF MARS, 1903. _Frontispiece_]




  Author of "Japanese Homes and their Surroundings,"
  "Glimpses of China and Chinese Homes," etc.



  COPYRIGHT, 1906,

  _All rights reserved_

  Published October, 1906


                PERCIVAL LOWELL
               THE STUDY OF MARS
                   THIS BOOK


The following pages have been written for the general reader. The
controversies over the interpretation of the curious markings of Mars
and the wide divergence of opinion as to their nature first turned my
attention to the matter. The question of intelligence in other worlds
is of perennial interest to everyone, and that question may possibly
be settled by an unprejudiced study of our neighboring planet Mars.
Knowing the many analogies between Mars and the Earth, we are justified
in asking what conditions really exist in Mars. Instead of flouting at
every attempt to interpret the various and complicated markings of its
surface, we should soberly consider any rational explanation of these
enigmas from the postulate that the two spheres, so near together in
space, cannot be so far apart physically, and from the fact that as
intelligence is broadly modifying the appearance of the surface of the
Earth, a similar intelligence may also be marking the face of Mars.

A student familiar with a general knowledge of the heavens, a
fair acquaintance with the surface features of the Earth, with an
appreciation of the doctrine of probabilities, and capable of
estimating the value of evidence, is quite as well equipped to examine
and discuss the nature of the markings of Mars as the astronomer.
If, furthermore, he is gifted with imagination and is free from all
prejudice in the matter, he may have a slight advantage. Astronomers
are probably the most exact of all students as to their facts, and in
this discussion there is no attempt to introduce evidence they do not
supply, as the frequent quotations from their writings will show.

Having studied Mars through nearly one presentation of the planet with
the great refractor at the Lowell Observatory, what I saw with my own
eyes, uninfluenced by what others saw, will be presented in a short
chapter at the end of this book.

I wish to express my obligations to Professor Percival Lowell for the
privileges of his observatory, for many of the illustrations in this
book, and for his unbounded hospitality during my visit to Flagstaff.
I am also deeply indebted to Mr. Russell Robb for valuable assistance
during the preparation of the manuscript.

      E. S. M.

  October, 1906.


     I. INTRODUCTION                                         1
    II. IMMEASURABLE DISTANCES OF SPACE                      7
   III. OTHER WORLDS INHABITED                              14
    IV. LOWELL'S BOOK ON MARS                               31
     V. TESTIMONY OF ASTRONOMERS                            51
    VI. THE STUDY OF PLANETARY MARKINGS                     70
   VII. DIFFICULTIES OF SEEING                              79
  VIII. VARIATION IN DRAWING                                94
    IX. THEORIES REGARDING THE CANALS                      100
     X. COMMENTS AND CRITICISM                             125
    XI. ATMOSPHERE AND MOISTURE                            134
   XII. NOTES ON IRRIGATION                                141
   XIV. MY OWN WORK                                        158
    XV. WHAT THE MARTIANS MIGHT SAY OF US                  166
  XVII. LAST WORDS                                         180
        INDEX                                              189


  LOWELL'S GLOBE OF MARS                                  _Frontispiece_
  Fig. 1. PLANISPHERE OF EARTH                               _Page_   61


    II. DRAWINGS OF SOLAR CORONA                               "      96
   III. CHINESE BOWL, SHOWING CRACKLE                          "     107
     V. NATURAL LINES, CRACKS, FISSURES, ETC.                  "     112
        IX. DRAWINGS OF CANALS OF MARS BY THE AUTHOR           "     162


  GIOVANNI VIRGINIO SCHIAPARELLI                             _Page_  172
  PERCIVAL LOWELL                                              "     174
  HENRI PERROTIN                                               "     176
  M. THOLLON                                                   "     178

    _Life not wholly unlike that on the earth may therefore exist
    upon Mars for anything we know to the contrary._





Had some one asked, fifty years ago, Is the Sun composed of chemical
elements with which we are familiar? Shall we ever know? the question
would not have been deemed worthy of a second thought. Realizing
what has been accomplished, not only regarding the constitution of
the Sun, but of the most remote stars, we are encouraged to ask: Is
Mars inhabited? Shall we ever know? To what groups of students are
we to appeal for an answer? If we want to know the diameter of Mars,
its weight, the form of its orbit, the inclination of its axis, the
period of its revolution around the Sun, and its rotation period,
its ephemeris and its albedo, we ask the astronomer, for he has the
instruments with which to observe and measure, and the mathematical
knowledge necessary to reduce the measurements. If Mars were
incandescent, we should appeal to the astrophysicist for information
regarding its chemical composition. If, however, we want to know the
probability of Mars being the abode of life, we should appeal to one
who is familiar with the conditions of life upon our own globe. If the
question is asked as to the existence of intelligence on the planet,
we endeavor to trace evidences of its surface markings, and their
character, whether natural or artificial. Knowing how profoundly man
has changed the appearance of the surface features of our own globe in
the removal of vast forests, in the irrigation of enormous tracts of
sterile plain, the filling up of certain areas, like Peking, Tokio,
London, with material having a different reflecting surface, we are to
scan the surface of Mars for similar modifications, and for an answer
ask those who are familiar with physical geography, with meteorology,
with geology, including the character of natural cracks or crannies,
deep cañon, or range of mountains, or any of the great cataclysms which
have scarred the face of the Earth. Taking the great mass of facts
as they are presented to us by astronomers, to what class are we to
appeal as to the probability of life in other worlds? What class will
form the most rational conclusions? Will it be the circle-squarers,
perpetual-motion cranks, spiritualists, survivals of a past who believe
the world is flat, those who have "anthropomorphic conceptions of
the Supreme" and Hebraic conceptions of the origin of things, or will
it be those who value observation and experiment, who appreciate the
importance of large numbers, and who are endowed with a tithe of
imagination? Most certainly the latter class.

In approaching the interpretation of the markings of Mars we should
first glance at a brief historical summary of what has already been
done. We should examine the testimony of those who have seen and
drawn the canals; we are then better prepared to examine the records
of the latest observations and the explanation of their nature. In
the meantime an inquiry must be made as to whether the mathematical
astronomer, after all, is best fitted to judge of the surface features
of a planet. Next we should take up in the following order the
evidences, which are overwhelming, that a network of lines, geodetic
in their character, mark the surface of Mars. It has been claimed
that these lines show the result of irrigation, and, therefore, the
irrigation features of our own planet should be examined. It has been
objected that many astronomers have not been able to see the markings,
and consequently their existence has been doubted. It will then be
proper to point out that the difficulties of seeing are very great,
and that the acutest eyesight, coupled with long practice, is necessary
to recognize the markings. It has been objected that the drawings of
the minuter details of Mars vary with different observers. It will
be necessary to show that every kind of research employing graphic
representation labors under the same difficulty, and none more so than
astronomy. It has been objected that there is not sufficient moisture
and atmosphere in Mars to sustain life, and this must be answered by
those only who are familiar with conditions affecting life on our own

Various theories have been advanced, some of them physical, to
explain the markings of Mars, and these must be considered, and, if
possible, answered. Comments and criticism are difficult to repress,
as the discoveries of Schiaparelli and the additional discoveries and
deductions of Lowell have evoked discussions, which, in some instances,
have been harsh and unreasonable, and, in one case, positively
ridiculous. Schiaparelli has been called an impostor, and Lowell has
come in for his full share of vituperation and innuendo. If this
portion of the discussion is considered unparliamentary, the attitude
and language of certain astronomers have provoked it.

A brief account is presented of what the author was enabled to draw of
the Martian details, with a transcript of his notes made at the time
of observation, and finally a little imaginary sketch is given as to
how the world would look from Mars; and if similar kinds of astronomers
existed there, what comments and objections they might offer as to the
inhabitability of the Earth.

Such flights of the imagination are justified in that it gives one
a chance to appreciate the weakness of some of the arguments urged
against the idea of intelligence in Mars.

It will be objected that some of the names herein quoted are not
recognized as astronomers. I can only say that in every instance
I have found references to the writings and essays of those that
might be objected to in the pages of the "Observatory," and other
reputable astronomical journals, and in no instances accompanied by
adverse comment or criticism. If astronomers--even the distinguished
Schiaparelli--quote these names in scientific memoirs, I may venture to
do the same in a book written for the general reader. The objection,
however, has always presented itself with every controversy; it was
conspicuously marked in the passionate discussions over Darwin's
"Origin of Species." The intelligent laity recognized the truth of
Darwin's proposition long before the zoölogist began to waver. Essays
by the unprofessional supporting Darwin's contention were discredited
because the writers were not trained naturalists. The history of
invention is crowded with instances where devices and processes have
been invented by men whose trades or professions were the least likely
to enable them to originate such ideas.



        _It is therefore perfectly reasonable to suppose that
        beings not only animated but endowed with reason inhabit
        countless worlds in space._

                SIMON NEWCOMB.

Until within recent centuries, man has not only believed that he and
his kind were the only intelligent creatures in the universe, but
that the little round ball on which he lived was the dominant part
thereof. So rooted for ages was this conviction that it became fixed
in man's mental structure, and hence the survival of the idea that
still lingers in the minds of a few to-day. The conclusion was natural,
however, for the behavior of the starry heavens and the Sun and the
Moon seemed sufficient evidence that man, and the surface upon which
he lived, was the centre of the universe. The stars were bright points
of light, the Moon a silver disk, and the Sun a heat and light giving
ball of fire, equally diminutive and not far away. Let one realize for
a moment the experience of these early people. Everything aerial,
with the exception of feathery birds, fluffy bats and flying insects,
was composed of the lightest particles--cottony seeds, reluctantly
falling snow-flakes, motes in the air, smoke and vaporous cloud, and,
in contrast, the rock-foundationed and irregular surface upon which
the people dwelt, and flat as far as man had reached. What wonder,
then, that man viewed these brilliant points and dazzling disks as
objects of no great size and not far away, hauled across the heavens
by unseen spirits of some kind. The marvel of it all is, not that
they believed as they did, but that any other views of cosmography
could have been established. And yet the successive increments of
astronomical knowledge, founded apparently on the soundest mathematics,
were adopted in their turn. What more convincing than the epicyclic
theory of Ptolemy, buttressed by figures so ingenious and convincing,
that the theory might have lasted till now except for the truer
understanding of planetary movements in relation to that of the Earth?
All through this history are found traces of the barriers erected by
prejudiced conservatives, of which the attitude of Tycho Brahe is a
good example, though in this case it was probably his belief in the
Hebraic conception of the universe which excited his opposition to
Kepler's views, a conception which, unfortunately for the progress of
astronomical research, still lingers among certain observers to-day and
places them in precisely the same category with Tycho Brahe.

With the gradual accumulation of knowledge it was found that of all
the innumerable illuminated bodies in the heavens, only one,--just
one,--the Moon, revolved around the Earth, and that the Earth instead
of being all dominant in the affairs of the universe, played a very
minor part, and, instead of being master, was a very humble midget
revolving around the Sun; that, indeed, with the exception of the
Moon, there were visible to the naked eye only three bright points
of light in the whole range of the heavens more insignificant in
size,--Mercury, Venus, and Mars,--while the other planets were vastly
larger, and had many more satellites revolving around them. Then it
was found that, with the exception of the few planets, the myriad
stars had no connection with the Sun whatsoever, that the Sun was
no longer the centre of a great universe. Later it was discovered
through spectroscopic analysis that all the myriad of stars were
composed of chemical elements similar to our Sun. Here, then, was the
startling revelation that our Sun was simply a star, and that the stars
represented a "universe of Suns," and, if we could get near any one
star of the millions that sparkle in the heavens telescopically, we
should see it as a round ball emitting light and heat. It was perhaps
humiliating to find that our Sun was so insignificant in size that
from Sirius, for example, it could not be seen with the naked eye, so
small indeed that in the close companionship of other stars it would be
swallowed up by their greater size and brilliancy.

To assume, then, that our Sun, so identical to the stars in heat and
light emitting properties, was the only Sun that had revolving around
it a few minute balls, would be as absurd as if one should go on a
pebbly beach, extending from Labrador to Florida for example, and
picking up a single pebble, should have the hardihood to assert that
this pebble was the only one, among the millions of pebbles, upon which
would be found the bits of seaweed and little snails which it might
support. The overwhelming vastness of the universe is entirely beyond
the grasp of the human mind. The mere statement that it requires so
many years for the light to reach us from a certain star, the parallax
of which has been rudely established, affords one only a faint glimmer
of the truth. The swing of our Earth about the Sun gives us a base line
of 186,000,000 of miles, and yet, with this enormous base from which
to subtend an angle, only a very few of the myriad of stars show the
slightest displacement; the others exhibit no more signs of divergence
than if while looking at them we had simply moved our heads from one
side to the other! Fixed stars they appear to be, and are so called,
though we are told they are all drifting in various directions, as our
star-Sun is.

Only by reducing all these vast distances and dimensions to a minute
scale can the mind realize the futility of ever comprehending the
illimitable distances of space.

In order to consider the attitude of the Earth in relation to the
Sun and the nearest fixed star, we will reduce the Sun's diameter of
866,000 miles to the dimensions of a ball one inch in diameter; the
Earth reduced to the same scale would be a minute speck less than one
one-hundredth of an inch in diameter; a perforation in paper made by
the finest cambric needle would represent the size of this minute
speck, the Earth. Following this scale we should place this speck nine
feet from the inch ball, this distance representing 93,000,000 of
miles, the Earth's distance from the Sun; Mars would be a still smaller
speck a step farther off. Let us now proceed to Boston Common, for
example, and on the smooth playground place our inch ball representing
the Sun; taking three good steps we should place our minute speck,
representing the Earth, upon the ground where it would be immediately
lost in the fine gravel; another step and we would place a still
smaller particle, representing Mars. How big a circle on the Earth's
surface, using the inch ball as a centre, should we have to describe in
order to include the nearest fixed star? Such a circle would reach to
Detroit, Michigan, and Columbus, Ohio, or Wilmington, North Carolina!
To find a circle which would include eight other fixed stars next in
distance, and only eight of the thousands which render the heavens
so beautiful on a clear winter's night--we should run such a circle
through the centre of Hudson Bay, the waters of southern Greenland,
Lake Winnipeg, and New Orleans!

In this broad way only can we form a dim conception of the overwhelming
distances of space, and, in this absolutely unthinkable space, our
little Sun, with its constant rain of meteoric dust, an occasional
comet, and its microscopic planets are literally bunched together. To
admit, as we must then, that one of these motes has had irrigating
canals on various parts of its surface since prehistoric times, and the
other mote has nothing of the sort despite the geodetic lines that are
seen marking its surface, is simply preposterous. Their disposition,
their visibility coincident with the Martian summer, becoming apparent
only when the snow caps melt, their convergence towards centres of
distribution, all go to prove by the simplest analogy an identity of
structure. Certainly the overwhelming force of Lowell's observations
and arguments baffles any other reasonable explanation of the character
and purpose of these markings. Here are the lines, some following the
arcs of great circles, all appearing precisely when they should appear,
and in progressive strength from the north when the vivifying water
from the melting snow cap first starts the vegetation. Why certain
parallels or doublings are observed in some of the canals is about as
puzzling to us as the checkerboard townships of the West would appear
to a Martian, where some would be yellow with the ripening grain while
others, uncultivated, would appear of a different color.



        _Whether the other fixed stars have similar planetary
        companions or not is to us a matter of pure conjecture,
        which may or may not enter into our conception of the
        universe. But probably every thoughtful person believes
        with regard to those distant suns that there is in space
        something besides our system on which they shine._


It would be a waste of time to attempt an interpretation of the
markings of Mars as a result of intelligent effort, if it could be
proved beyond a reasonable doubt that our globe was not only unique
among the bodies which probably accompany the innumerable suns, but was
the only body, among them all, sustaining creatures of intelligence. If
life exists in other planets of a nature with which we are familiar,
then the physical conditions must be similar to those of our own
planet. Later we shall point out the infinite variety of conditions
under which life--even man--exists on this globe, and it will be
shown that the question of higher or lower temperature, more or less
humidity, higher or lower atmospheric pressure, greater or less force
of gravity, can have but little weight in discussing the probability of
life in other worlds.

In a planet devoid of atmosphere, or a sphere glowing with its own
heat, we may decide without question that life does not exist. Even
in a globe in many respects like our own it would be hazardous to
conjecture the kinds of organic forms in which it is manifested.
Reasoning from analogy, if life exists in Mars, or other spheres in
infinite space, it must have originated under much the same conditions
as it originated here; at the outset the most primitive bits of
protoplasm. But has life appeared in Mars? Tyndall, in graphic words,
pictures the rounding of worlds from nebulous haze, and then says,
"For eons, the immensity of which overwhelms man's conception, the
Earth was unfit to maintain what we call life. It is now covered
with visible living things. They are not formed of matter different
from that around them. They are, on the contrary, bone of its bone
and flesh of its flesh." Mars must come in the same category. It is
a part of the original nidus from which our world was condensed, and
however life originated in the past, the conditions for its origin,
at least, must have been as favorable on the surface of Mars, as on
the surface of the Earth, and, so far as we know to the contrary, even
more favorable. In the beginning, Mars cooled and hardened with all
those behaviors of contraction, condensation of vapor on its surface,
erosion, etc., and it is impossible to avoid the conviction that life,
as on our Earth, arose under the same physical conditions. Recalling
the resemblance which Mars bears to the Earth, and the data which have
already been established, we behold a world in many respects like ours,
with its sunsets and sunrises, winds that sweep over its surface, the
dust storms from the deserts, its snow-storms and snow-drifts, its
dazzling fields of white in the north, with an occasional snow-storm
that whitens the planet far down in latitude; the seasonal changes,
and, most important of all, the melting ice caps, with rivulets and
torrents, temporary arctic seas and frozen pools, its great expanses
of vegetation and sterile plains. We have in Mars the variety of
conditions under which life has assumed its infinite variety of aspects
on the Earth, and which, by analogy, should have passed through similar
stages in Mars. Life at the outset must have been protoplasmic; then
came contractile tissue, muscular bundles, hardened structures within
and without for their support, nerves to animate the muscles, and
protection for nerve-trunk, either rigid or flexible. Hard parts might
vary under a different force of gravity, though there might appear
types of structure that could be classified with our own.

All such conditions, however, are mere surmises, for about such matters
we can reason only from analogy. The first proposition to establish is
that the conception of the plurality of worlds is not unreasonable, and
second, that many of the most eminent astronomers have believed in the
inhabitability of other worlds, and this justifies a reasonable man to
follow the inquiry. The belief is based upon legitimate analogies which
have thus far guided man in every generalization, in the establishment
of principles, and are continually appealed to in the details of every
day's experience.

From remote times it has been taken for granted by the best minds
that other worlds besides ours sustain life. The early belief in the
plurality of worlds was based on the idea that since spheres like ours
had been fashioned by the Almighty they must have been made for the
same purpose for which our globe seemed intended, to sustain life, and
Scripture was freely quoted in support of the idea.

Sir David Brewster, in his book "More Worlds Than One," says that the
doctrine of the plurality of worlds was maintained by almost all the
distinguished astronomers and writers who have flourished since the
true figure of the Earth was determined: "Giordano Bruno of Nola,
Kepler, and Tycho believed in it; and Cardinal Cusa and Bruno, before
the discovery of binary systems among the stars, believed also that
the stars were inhabited. Sir Isaac Newton likewise adopted it, and
Dr. Bentley, Master of Trinity College, in his eighth sermon on the
Confutation of Atheism from the origin and frame of the world, has ably
maintained the same doctrine. In our own day we may number among its
supporters the distinguished names of Laplace, Sir William and Sir John
Herschel, Dr. Chalmers, Isaac Taylor, and M. Arago."

The attitude of the intelligent world to-day is well shown in a recent
number of London "Nature," where in a review of a book by Wallace,
endeavoring to show that this world alone sustains life, the reviewer
ends by saying: "To consider this Earth as the only inhabited body in
the stellar universe, a reversion to prehistoric ideas, may or may not
be an advance, but it will require very strong arguments before we can
be brought to consider that its isolation in the Cosmos is indeed a
fact." Until the discovery by Schiaparelli of the network of lines in
Mars, laid out with seemingly intelligent precision, the arguments for
the inhabitability of other worlds were based entirely upon analogy.
Sir Richard Owen, the great comparative anatomist, in supporting the
contention that life existed in other planets, said: "The grounds of
belief vary with the probability of a proposition; if nothing better
than analogy can be had--on analogy will belief be based."

Professor O. M. Mitchell, the first director of the Cincinnati
Observatory, in his work on "Popular Astronomy," says, in regard to the
doctrine of the plurality of worlds: "It would be most incredible to
assert, as some have done, that our planet, so small and insignificant
in its proportions when compared with other planets with which it is
allied, is the only world in the whole universe filled with sentient,
rational and intelligent beings capable of comprehending the grand
mysteries of the physical universe."

The eminent French astronomer, M. Flammarion, has, in an eloquent
passage in his "Plurality of Worlds," portrayed the vastness of the
universe and the utter insignificance of our Earth in the immensity of
space: "If advancing with the velocity of light[1] we could traverse
from century to century this unlimited number of suns and spheres
without ever meeting any limit to this prodigious immensity where God
brings forth worlds and beings; looking behind, but no longer knowing
in what part of the infinite to find this grain of dust called the
Earth, we should stop fascinated and confounded by such a spectacle,
and uniting our voice to the concert of universal nature we should say
from the depths of our soul, Almighty God! how senseless we were to
believe that there was nothing beyond the Earth, and that our abode
alone possessed the privilege of reflecting thy greatness and honor."

Compare these elevating thoughts with the shrunken attitude of one who
has the conceit to imagine that he and his kind are not only alone
in the universe but superadds to this monstrous conception the idea
that the millions of great suns are designedly waltzing around solely
for his edification and amusement, unmindful of the heedless way in
which the millions of his race regard the overpowering majesty of the
heavens. To the thousand millions that live to-day, and the thousand,
thousand millions that have perished in the past, the starry heavens
have never excited an emotion grateful, reverent, or curious, unless
a flaming comet, or an eclipse of the Sun or Moon occurred, and then
with superstitious fear have they gone grovelling in the dust.

An astronomer imbued with Hebraic conceptions of the universe is
poorly equipped to appreciate the arguments in favor of life in other
worlds. He may be keen in perceiving lines in the spectrum, and the
significance of their lateral displacement, but possessed with a
belief--the result of early training--that a little two-legged human
molecule could command the Sun and Moon to stand still, a realization
of his own insignificance, or the possibility of intelligence in other
worlds, must forever remain beyond his grasp. Emerson said "the dogmas
shrivel as dry leaves at the door of the observatory." They never
shrivel for such minds, but grow and flourish with a density that
obscures by, its rankness every rational conception of the heavens
above. As an illustration of the attitude of such mentalities we have
to go back fifty years, for few survive to-day. Edward Hitchcock,
Professor of Geology and Theology at Amherst, wrote a book just fifty
years ago entitled "Plurality of Worlds," in which he denounces the
idea; but observe the precise way in which he lays down the law: "The
planets had no vital tendencies, they could have had such given only by
an additional act or series of acts of creative power. As mere inert
globes, they had no settled destiny to be the seats of life; they could
have had such a destiny only by the appointment of Him who creates
living things and puts them in the places which he chooses for them"
(page 352).

It may be objected that it is useless to bring up these old theological
conceptions, as the world has happily gone beyond them, and only in an
atavistic manner do we find a few still holding them; nevertheless it
may be safely asserted that fifty years hence we shall look back upon
the attitude of certain astronomers to-day with much the same pity and
amusement which excites us when we regard the attitude of a similar
class in the middle of the last century.

Tyndall expresses the universal belief of thinkers in whatever line
of work, that life is by no means confined to this Earth. He says:
"Whether the other fixed stars have similar planetary companions or
not is to us a matter of pure conjecture, which may or may not enter
into our conception of the universe. But probably every thoughtful man
believes, with regard to these distant Suns, that there is, in space,
something besides our system on which they shine."

One class of objectors to the idea that other worlds are inhabited
endeavors to show that our position in the universe is unique, that the
solar system itself is quite unlike anything existing elsewhere, and,
to cap the climax, that our own little world has just the right amount
of water, air, and gravitational force to enable it to be the abode of
intelligent life, and nowhere else in the broad expanse of heaven can
such physical habitudes be found as will enable life to originate or to

In a memoir on the "Evolution of the Solar System," by Professor T.
J. J. See, the author, while not denying the possibility of other
systems like our own, still considers our system unique. Here are his
words: "Therefore, while observation gives us no grounds for denying
the existence of other systems like our own, it does not enable us
to affirm, or even to render probable, that such systems do exist."
Because a number of binary stars have been discovered in which the two
stars are nearly equal in mass, and their orbits highly eccentric, he
therefore concludes that the millions of stars that stud the heavens
are probably without satellites. The unreasonableness of this attitude
is emphasized by realizing that these innumerable suns are similar
to our own Sun, as revealed by the spectroscope, and have a similar
eruptive energy. Professor Newcomb, however, says: "Evidence is
continually increasing that dark and opaque worlds like ours exist and
revolve around their primaries." Had Mr. See discovered that every
star of the many million was accompanied by another star nearly equal
in mass, with its marked eccentric behavior, then only would he be
justified in his inference that our solar system was indeed unique.
When one realizes that the stars are at such unimaginable distances
that the highest powers of the telescope reveal even the nearest of
them only as points of light--not as disks--and when one further
realizes that the satellites of our Sun, even the largest of them,
are diminutive globes compared to the vastness of the Sun, it seems
unreasonable if not impossible to entertain the idea that none of these
remote stars are accompanied by satellites, and that, therefore, this
little Sun of ours stands without parallel in the universe.

Tyndall, in his famous reply to the critics of his Belfast address,
in speaking of the origin of life, referred to the Nebular Theory
as follows: "According to it our sun and planets were once diffused
through space as an impalpable haze out of which by condensation
came the solar system. What caused it to condense? Loss of heat.
What rounded the sun and planets? That which rounds a tear,
molecular force." In these terse and graphic expressions we are made
to understand the universality of law. So far as we have sounded
the depths of the stellar universe we see the same obedience to
gravitational laws, the same flashing lines in the spectrum. We
encounter no phenomena that cannot be explained, or at least inferred,
by the knowledge we have obtained from our little mote of the Cosmos.

Mr. See thinks it remarkable that "previous investigators have almost
invariably approached the problem of cosmogony from the point of
view of the planets and satellites, and that no considerable attempt
has been made to inquire into the development of the great number of
systems observed among the fixed stars." It is true our planetary
system has been used as a standard of measurement for the universe,
and a very comprehensive standard it has proved to be. The law of
universal gravitation was based on terrestrial and lunar observations,
spectroscopic analysis was determined in a terrestrial laboratory. As
George Iles says, a coal of fire may be raked from a grate and broken
up to illustrate the rapid cooling of smaller masses. Even a child's
spinning top may be used in an astronomical lecture. The study of our
Sun led to the study of the fixed stars, and so our little system
has thus far furnished us with examples and illustrations by which we
interpret the universe.

In our solar system we have a fair sample of the Cosmos in miniature,
though our Sun is so modest in size, compared with the great orbs that
appeal to us by their number and brilliancy. So far as our telescopes
have sounded the heavens we find nebulous clouds in their structure
showing inchoate masses, orbital and spiral arrangements, condensations
in their centres. We have the binaries with their extraordinary
properties, we have variables with their dark bodies revolving around
their primaries. In our little system we also have dark bodies
revolving around a luminous primary, from one of which we endeavor
to interpret the mysteries of the universe; we have loose masses,
as in comets with enormously elongated orbits; we have spheres of
insignificant size, with small bodies revolving around them, and these
epitomes revolving around a central sun; we have one of these bodies
with meteoric rings; and, in the case of our own globe, a satellite of
such size that except in the form of its orbit it might well represent
a binary in embryo;--and, finally, a host of bodies big enough to
reflect the rays of the sun, pursuing their various orbital paths.
We are told that the stars are as distant from each other as we are
from them. We may regard these systems of nebulæ, variables, doubles,
etc., as different kinds or species of heavenly bodies; and to assert
that our system is the only individual of the species in the universe
seems contrary to all celestial analogy, for do we not have hundreds of
binaries, thousands of variables, millions of suns, revealing the same
fiery energy and consuming the same elemental fuel?

Professor Newcomb in his "Reminiscences" describes his first sweeping
the heavens, at random, with the then new twenty-six inch refractor
at the Naval Observatory and discovering a little cluster of stars so
small and faint that the individual stars eluded even the great power
of this instrument. He says: "I could not help the vain longing which
one must sometimes feel under such circumstances, to know what beings
might live on planets belonging to what, from an earthly point of view,
seemed to be on the border of creation itself." One would suppose that
this expression of a longing to ascertain the character of the beings
inhabiting planets circling these distant suns would induce one to
study a planet analogous to our Earth, and so near in comparison to
these unimaginable distances as to be within a hand's grasp, so to
speak. The little interest Professor Newcomb has taken in the subject
is well expressed in his late book "Astronomy for Everybody." In his
chapter on Mars, in which _Everybody_ is certainly interested, he says:
"The reader will excuse me for saying anything in this chapter about
the possible inhabitants of Mars. He knows just as much of the subject
as I do, and that is nothing at all." He might at least have given the
various pronouncements of Schiaparelli, Lowell, and others as to the
probable character of these remarkable markings on Mars, and their
supposed significance.

While Professor Newcomb's attitude on the question of the plurality
of worlds has been somewhat conservative in the past he has lately,
however, expressed himself on the question in no uncertain terms. In a
recent article in "Harper's Magazine," entitled "Probability of Life
in Other Worlds," he has lent his sanction to the rational idea that
other worlds may be the abode of intelligent creatures. His recognition
of the principle will do much to offset the influence if it ever had
any, of a recent book published in England by Alfred Russel Wallace,
in which the distinguished author attempts to show that this world
stands alone as the abode of intelligent life. Despite his epoch-making
work with Darwin, nearly fifty years ago, which must forever merit our
gratitude, and the charm of his various essays on protective coloring,
mimicry, theory of birds' nests, etc., he has since those lucid days
expressed convictions of such a nature that if a future DeMorgan
should write on human paradoxes he would classify Mr. Wallace as chief
among them. A profound believer in evolution, he exempts man from the
inexorable logic of the principle with about as much reason as if,
confessing his belief in the nebular hypothesis, he should insist that
the Earth was an exception.

But to return to Professor Newcomb's recent utterances. In the
above-mentioned article he says: "Not only does life, but intelligence,
flourish on this globe under great variety of conditions as regards
temperature and surroundings, and no sound reason can be shown
why, under certain conditions which are frequent in the universe,
intelligent beings should not acquire the highest development." Again
he says: "Life, not wholly unlike that on the Earth, may therefore
exist upon Mars, for anything we know to the contrary. More than this
we cannot say." In his final summing up Professor Newcomb says: "It is
therefore perfectly reasonable to suppose that beings not only animated
but endowed with reason inhabit countless worlds in space."

It would seem as if a mind capable of entertaining an idea of our
uniqueness in the universe betrays the survival of a mental condition
which, centuries ago, regarded the stars as bits of luminous material
expressly designed to illuminate this little earth, around which they
all pursued their daily paths.



        _This whole arrangement presents an indescribable
        simplicity and symmetry which cannot be the work of chance._

                SCHIAPARELLI, in writing of the canals.

In a discussion of the surface markings of Mars a broad sketch of
what has already been accomplished in the study of that planet
should be given for the general reader. I know of no better way of
doing this than by giving a brief abstract of Percival Lowell's
epoch-making work entitled "Mars." In this book he presents in a clear
and striking manner the results of his own work covering continuous
observations of the planet for many years. The preface is dated from
Flagstaff, Arizona, 1895. Since that time he has issued three volumes
of Memoirs, in quarto, of the Lowell Observatory, and a number of
Bulletins in which he presents many additional facts confirming
previous observations, besides new observations; and finally, in a late
Bulletin, he has presented photographs of Mars made by his assistant,
Mr. Lampland, in which a number of canals plainly show, thus setting
forever at rest the question of the subjective character of the
markings. The student must, however, follow the advice of an English
reviewer and by all means read the book.

"To determine," says Mr. Lowell, "whether a planet be the abode of
life in the least resembling that with which we are acquainted, two
questions about it must be answered in turn: first, are its physical
conditions such as render it, in our general sense, habitable; and
secondly, are there any signs of its actual habitation? These problems
must be attacked in their order, for unless we can answer the first
satisfactorily, it were largely futile to seek for evidence of the
second." The reason why Mars in certain years becomes so conspicuous
is that its orbit is highly eccentric. Every two years--the period of
its revolution about the Sun--brings it nearest to the Sun, and once in
fifteen years we find ourselves between it and the Sun at its nearest

Huyghens, in 1659, made a drawing of the dark region on Mars now known
as the Syrtis Major, and, through its disappearance and reappearance,
he discovered that the planet rotated on its axis, and roughly
determined a daily period of twenty-four hours. For the first time it
was known that Mars had a day and a night. As some doubts existed as to
the correctness of Huyghens's figures, Cassini in 1666 determined anew
the rotation period of Mars and found it to be twenty-four hours and
forty minutes. From the white polar caps, the study of which we first
owe to Maraldi, it was found that the tilt of its axis to the plane
of its orbit was very nearly the same as that of the Earth. As this
inclination determines the seasons, it was seen that Mars, like the
Earth, had its spring, summer, autumn, and winter. A polar flattening
was also observed which was slightly in excess of ours.

"To all forms of life of which we have any conception, two things in
Nature are vital, air and water." Has it an atmosphere? Without air
no change could take place. The Moon without air remains unchanged,
except what gravitation accomplishes in pulling down crater walls.
"With Mars it is otherwise. Over the surface of that planet changes do
occur, changes upon a scale vast enough to be visible from the Earth."
The first sign of change occurs in the polar snow cap. It dwindles in
size every two years (the time of a single revolution of Mars around
the sun). For nearly two hundred years these white polar caps have
been observed to wax and wane. As the Martian winter comes on in the
northern hemisphere, for example, the polar cap extends its borders to
the temperate zone. As summer comes on the snow cap is seen to dwindle
gradually away, till by early autumn it presents but a tiny patch a
few hundred miles across. Schiaparelli observed changes in tint which
he noticed were correlated with the seasons. In 1894 observations
were made continuously from early June till late in November. These
dates, in Mars, represent the last of April till the last of August.
During this time marked changes took place in the bluish-green areas
of the planet. A wave of seasonal change swept down from the pole to
the equator. The fact of this occurrence constitutes positive proof of
the presence of an atmosphere. In another way the evidence was shown.
A series of measurements of the polar and equatorial diameters of
Mars were made, and these indicated that a visible layer of twilight
atmosphere had been measured. This, Lowell explains by a diagram and
other data. It is found, according to Lowell's observations, that the
atmosphere is much freer from clouds than had been supposed. He shows
conclusively that it is much rarer than that of the Earth. Appearances
have been seen, however, which are best explained by assuming them to
be clouds.

During the opposition of 1892, Mr. Douglass, at that time an assistant
astronomer at the Lowell Observatory, made a special study of the
terminator of Mars.[2] A careful study of the terminator for almost
every degree of latitude was made, and 733 irregularities were
detected. Of this large number, 694 were not only recorded, but
measured; and of these, 403 were depressions, and 291 were elevations
of the surface. Many of these irregularities were supposed to be
clouds, but the arguments to support this attribution are too technical
to be presented here. Unmistakable clouds have also been seen moving at
a definite rate of speed, as if carried along by the wind.

"To sum up, now, what we know about the atmosphere of Mars: we have
proof positive that Mars has an atmosphere; we have reason to believe
this atmosphere to be very thin,--thinner at least by half than the air
upon the summit of the Himalayas,--and in constitution, not to differ
greatly from our own."

As to the existence of water on the planet, one has only to consider
the polar snow caps. In the height of the southern winter, the
polar cap of snow measures over two thousand miles across, covering
fifty-five degrees of latitude, with one unbroken waste of white. As
spring advances the snow begins to melt, disappearing rapidly as summer
comes on, and, as it melts, a dark band is seen bordering this edge. As
the snow recedes the dark band recedes. This band is, therefore, not a
permanent marking on the planet, but obviously water, the result of the
melting snow--an arctic sea, in fact. This band is irregular, varying
in width in different longitudes, as if the water filled up large areas
of depression. When finally the snow cap disappears, as it did for the
first time on record on the notable occasion of October 13, 1894, the
dark band, which had become thinner, disappeared also, leaving only a
yellow stretch of surface. An additional proof that this dark band is
water, was established by Professor W. H. Pickering, for he discovered
that the light reflected from its surface was polarized. The absurdity
of the suggestion that these white polar caps are not snow, but
congealed carbonic acid gas, is fully shown by Lowell.

The asymmetry of the outline of these snow caps is paralleled by the
irregularity of the Earth's polar caps. Glints of brilliant light
are seen to flash out from this region, as if produced by sunlight
reflected from a sloping surface. On comparing these flashes of light
with observations made by Green, in 1877, they were found to be in
the same place. Detached fields of snow were also observed below
the receding line, an evidence that these regions were at a higher
elevation. As before stated, on October 13, 1894, for the first time in
the record of polar observations, the southern polar cap disappeared
entirely. In this connection it may be of interest to observe that in
the United States, in the summer of 1894, the temperature ranged a few
degrees above the normal. (For this fact I am indebted to Professor
Cleveland Abbe, E. S. M.)

The large, irregular, dark regions on the planet have been supposed
to be bodies of water, or seas, and have been described and named
as such by astronomers. Lowell shows, however, that there is every
reason to doubt this conclusion. "To begin with, they are of every
grade of tint,--a very curious feature for seas to exhibit, unless
they were everywhere but a few feet deep; which, again, is a most
singular characteristic for seas that cover hundreds of thousands of
square miles in extent,--seas, that is, as large as the Bay of Bengal.
The Martian surface would have to be amazingly flat for this to be
possible. We know it to be relatively flat, but to be as flat as all
this would seem to pass the bounds of credible simplicity. Here, also,
Professor W. H. Pickering's polariscope investigations come in with
effect, for he found the light from the supposed seas to show no trace
of polarization. Hence, these were probably not water."

Lowell also shows that if these regions were seas, or water surfaces
of the shallowest kind, sunlight would certainly be reflected from
some portion of the surface so as to be visible from the Earth. A
calculation of the region from which such a beam of light might be
reflected has been carefully made, but no light of this nature has ever
been seen. These regions change in color, and Schiaparelli suggested
that in some way these changes were dependent on the Martian seasons.
Lowell, by continuous observations covering many presentations of the
planet, has demonstrated that the changes in color are synchronous
with the seasons, and they further show that these regions change in
expanse as well. The reader must refer to Lowell's book to understand
the very minute way in which the author traces out the behavior of
these so-called seas as the Martian summer advances and autumn comes
on. His evidence is overwhelming that the regions heretofore regarded
as seas are vast tracts of vegetation, doubtless on lower levels, or
depressions of the surface, old sea bottoms, in fact, where springs
and the natural settlings of stray waters might keep the ground
sufficiently moist to support a scanty growth. The regions not marked
by the dark shading, from their reddish and yellowish tinge, have
always been regarded as land, probably desert land, as they remain
fixed from year to year, dead and unchangeable as deserts are.

The question naturally arises, if the water of Mars is piled up at
the poles as snow, how does it find its way back on its melting?
A discovery made by Schiaparelli in 1877 revealed the existence
of various lines marking the surface which he called _canali_, or
channels.[3] These lines cover the face of the planet like a net, they
are laid out with geodetic precision. "The lines start from points on
the coast of the blue-green regions, commonly well-marked bays, and
proceed directly to what seem centres in the middle of the continent,
since, most surprisingly, they meet there other lines that have come
to the same spot with apparently a like determinate intent." In other
words these lines--fine, straight, dark, as if cut by an engraver, some
of them running for hundreds of miles--converge at certain centres.
They all start, as Schiaparelli first observed, from definite regions
and terminate at definite points. Many of them follow the arcs of great
circles. These lines may be thirty or more miles in width, apparently
preserving the same width throughout, though slightly wider where they
leave the dark bands. They run in every direction, a number often
converging at a common centre, and, when they do so, a round, dark area
appears which Lowell has called an oasis.

In the clear and steady atmosphere of Flagstaff, Mr. Lowell, by the
aid of his superb telescope, has added about four times as many canals
as are shown on Schiaparelli's chart. These canals form an intricate
network of lines, and no one can contemplate these curious features
without being impressed by their artificial character. Schiaparelli,
who first discovered them in 1877, continued his observations from
year to year despite the fact that no one else could see them. In the
course of a few years he discovered a still more remarkable condition,
and this was that a number of the canals appeared double. This, indeed,
seemed an optical illusion, and by no means strengthened his position,
as the single canals proclaimed by him were supposed to be figments of
the imagination. Undeterred by the general scepticism, Schiaparelli
established, at each fresh opposition, his previous announcements. For
nine years no one was able to confirm his marvellous discoveries. In
the year 1886, however, Perrotin, at Nice, with his assistant, Thollon,
managed to make out a number of the canals, single and double, which
were carefully drawn. Reference to Perrotin's work will be made further
on. The reason why so few have seen them is the lack of observers
with acute eyesight and patient devotion to the work, coupled with
unsteady air. Size of aperture seems to be of little importance. That
Schiaparelli, with an 8-1/3 inch glass, discovered the canals, while
with the twenty-six inch glass of the Naval Observatory at Washington
they have never been seen, is emphatic evidence of what a clear and
steady atmosphere means in the study of delicate planetary markings.

The artificiality of the canals is shown by the "supernaturally regular
appearance of the system, upon three distinct counts: first, the
straightness of the lines; second, their individually uniform width;
and, third, their systematic radiation from special points." It was
the mathematical shape of the Ohio mounds that first suggested their
artificial character. That these lines are artificial and not natural
is seen in the fact that at times they are not visible. The lines while
temporary in appearance are permanently in place. "Not only do they not
change in position during one opposition; they seem not to do so from
one opposition to another." "Unchangeable, apparently, in position, the
canals are otherwise among the most changeable features of the Martian
disk." The order of their appearance synchronizes with the changes of
the season, as the snow caps begin to melt the canals begin to appear;
in appearance strengthened first at the borders of the polar seas
and gradually stretching down towards the equator. In minute detail
Lowell presents the successive visibility of the different canals. To
account for all these phenomena we have to look at our own Earth for a
parallel, and we see it in the great irrigation tracks of the West, and
in the vast irrigated regions in India depending upon the melting of
the Himalaya snow cap.

The accumulative evidence is overwhelming that here is a dry planet,
and an intelligence of some kind that can only survive by utilizing the
few remaining sources of water supply. It is to the merit of Professor
W. H. Pickering, to whom Professor Lowell gives the credit of having
first suggested the idea of irrigation to account for the great width
of the canals. What we see, then, is not the canal, which may be a
slender stream of water, but a broad band of vegetation irrigated from
these narrow channels. These lines penetrate and cross the dark regions
in various directions, which again offer additional proof that the
so-called seas are not seas but areas of vegetation sparsely scattered,
against which the irrigated portions are of sufficient strength and
color to show.[4]

Among the most interesting features of the planet's surface are the
round, or oval spots which Lowell calls oases; these invariably occur
at the junction of the canals. "In spite of the great number of the
spots, not one of them stands isolate. There is not a single instance
of a spot that is not connected by a canal to the rest of the dark
areas." There appears to be no spot that has not two or more canals
running to it, and apparently no canal junction is without its spot.
The majority of the spots are 120 to 150 miles in diameter. There are
many smaller ones. These spots, like the canals, appear and disappear
coincidently with seasonal changes. The canals and the oases follow
the same method and order in their growth. "Both are affected by one
progressive change that sweeps over the face of the planet from the
pole to the equator." The reader cannot dwell too strongly on the fact
that the visibility of these various markings appears first in northern
latitudes, and gradually darkens toward the equator, precisely the
reverse of the unfolding of plant life on the Earth. From Mars our
Earth would show its tropical vegetation the year round, while in Mars
no tropical vegetable coloration would appear until water from the
melting polar snow caps animates its growth.

Lowell shows conclusively that the seas are not seas, nor the canals
waterways, nor the spots lakes. Apparently, the spots appear not so
much by an increase in size as by a deepening in tint. They start, it
would seem, as big as they are to be, but faint in tone; they then
proceed to darken throughout. If these spots are areas of vegetation,
the explanation of their appearance is at once evident. Even more
markedly unnatural is another phenomenon of this phenomenal system,
of which almost every one has heard and almost nobody has seen,--the
double canals. Upon a part of the disk where, up to that time, a
single canal has been visible, of a sudden, some night, in place of
the single canal, twin canals are perceived, similar in character and
inclination, absolutely parallel, reminding one of the twin rails of a
railroad track. The regularity of the thing is startling. In details
the doubles vary, chiefly, it would seem, in the distance the twin
lines lie apart. Lowell says the widest he has seen is the Ganges,
in which six degrees separate the two lines,--in the narrowest, the
Phison, four degrees and a quarter. From 120 to 175 miles of clear
country is found between the paralleling lines. "One element of mystery
may be eliminated at the outset.... It is perceived of a sudden, by the
observer, because of some specially favorable night. But it has been
for some time developing. So much is apparent from my observations.
Suggestions of duality occurred weeks before the thing stood definitely
revealed. Furthermore, the gemination may lie concealed from the
observer some time after it is quite complete, owing to lack of
favorable atmospheric conditions. For it takes emphatically steady air
to see it unmistakably." Each canal has its individual behavior of
doubling, and the varying widths, and their evident seasonal relations
utterly forbid the conception that their appearance is due to optical
illusion. Mr. Lowell feels tolerably sure that the doubling, or
gemination of the canals, show that the phenomenon is not only seasonal
but vegetal. Why it should take this form is one of the most pregnant
problems about the planet. For it is the most artificial-looking
phenomenon of an artificial-looking disk.

We quote a paragraph from the concluding chapter in his book: "To
review, now, the chain of reasoning by which we have been led to
regard it probable that upon the surface of Mars we see the effects
of local intelligence. We find, in the first place, that the broad
physical conditions of the planet are not antagonistic to some form
of life; secondly, that there is an apparent dearth of water upon the
planet's surface, and, therefore, if beings of sufficient intelligence
inhabited it, they would have to resort to irrigation to support life;
thirdly, that there turns out to be a network of markings covering the
disk, precisely counterparting what a system of irrigation would look
like; and, lastly, that there is a set of spots placed where we should
expect to find the lands thus artificially fertilized, and behaving as
such constructed oases should. All this, of course, may be a set of
coincidences, signifying nothing; but the probability points the other
way. As to details of explanation, any we may adopt will undoubtedly be
found, on closer acquaintance, to vary from the actual Martian state of
things; for any Martian life must differ markedly from our own."

       *       *       *       *       *

In this brief résumé of Lowell's work on Mars but scant justice has
been done to the many novel and convincing suggestions in explanation
of the varied features marking the surface of Mars. There are many
enigmas, however, awaiting solution, if we endeavor to explain them
by comparison with the methods pursued by man on this Earth, and Mr.
Lowell frankly admits the many difficulties in the way of a clear
solution. I have already mentioned how puzzling the checker-board
appearance of our Western townships would seem to a Martian, but this
comparison does not help us to understand the so-called gemination of
the canals, though we might have parallel sets of canals, as we have
parallel lines of railways. The enormous distance which the water
travels in the Martian canals must presuppose an artificial method of
urging it on. Precisely how this operation might be accomplished is a
question to be solved by the mechanical and hydraulic engineer.

Beside the doubling, or so-called gemination, of the canals, there are
other enigmas in the markings. At certain times there has been observed
in the equatorial region of Mars a number of white spots, which have
greatly puzzled the student of Mars and for which no explanation has
yet been offered. That they are not clouds is seen in the fact that
they do not move or drift. Furthermore these white spots are fixed
features of the region, as they appear in the same places. It might
be suggested that they represent snow-capped elevations or mountain
peaks, but this is difficult to believe, as an examination of the
terminator of Mars reveals no evidences of high elevations. These white
spots appear only in mid-summer, which would argue against the idea
of their being snow caps, as in mid-summer they would certainly melt
and disappear. The time of their appearance coincides with the time
of greatest equatorial heat. For a reasonable suggestion it might be
offered that these white spots are due to vegetation of some kind.
The cotton belt of the South, if one could imagine the cotton bolls a
little larger and more crowded together, would make white areas. Masses
of white flowers, such as the whiteweed or daisy, may be seen covering
hundreds of acres of meadow land in New England. I have noticed from
the tops of mountains in New Hampshire, in July, extensive meadow
lands resembling fields of snow from the profusion of white daisies.
The blossoming of fruit trees in the Santa Clara valley, California,
whitens the surface for miles. Since the appearance of these white
spots in Mars corresponds with the period of greatest evaporation, it
is conceivable that an intelligence in Mars might utilize the same
method which has been recently adopted in Connecticut and Porto Rico
in the raising of tobacco; namely, to protect the fields with white
cotton cloth; or, as in Florida, where extensive orange groves are
covered with white cloth to guard against sudden frost. That this
supposition has something to commend it may be seen in the accompanying
reproduction of a photograph (Plate I), made in Porto Rico, of tobacco
plantations when the fields are covered with white cloth supported on
suitable frames. This picture appeared in an article by Eugene P. Lyle,
Jr., on Porto Rico, in the January number of "World's Work," to the
publishers of which we are indebted for the privilege of using it.

These various guesses may all be wrong, as, after all, we are judging
Mars from conditions belonging to our own planet. This, however, we are
compelled to do, as we have no other standards of comparison.

[Illustration: PLATE I




        _That there may be types of life of some kind on Mars is, I
        should think, quite likely._

                SIR ROBERT BALL.

In the following chapter are presented abstracts from memoirs,
communications, etc., of a few among the many astronomers and observers
who have recognized the markings on the planet, and, in many cases,
have made drawings of them. Before presenting these few brief records,
I have compiled, from Camille Flammarion's great work on Mars, the
names of those astronomers whose drawings he reproduces in this
monograph, for such it is. A brief examination of Flammarion's volume
will give one an idea of the extent and variety of work which has
already been accomplished in interpreting the surface features of
Mars, and the number of astronomers who have made contributions to the

Flammarion divides these observations into three periods; the first,
beginning with the rude drawing of Fontana, in 1636, followed by
Huyghens, in 1659, Cassini, in 1666, and many others up to Harding,
in 1824. In this period the drawings were rude, though a number of
the more conspicuous features were established, and above all, the
existence of what was interpreted as snow in the white polar caps.
Astronomically many points were determined, such as an approximation
of the period of revolution, the distance of Mars from the Sun, the
diameter of the planet, its mass, the inclination of its axis, the
eccentricity of its orbit, its period of rotation, etc.

The second period begins with the remarkable work of Beer and Mäedler,
in 1830 and subsequent years. To them belongs the honor of being the
first astronomers to make a chart of the planet. An advance standard
was set for future studies, and the work which followed revealed
details in the surface markings never before suspected. The second
period, from 1830 to 1877, includes the observations and drawings of
Beer and Mäedler, 1830; Sir John Herschel, 1830; Galle, 1837; Warren
de la Rue, 1856; Webb, 1856; Secchi, 1858; Liais, 1860; Schmidt,
1862; Lockyer, 1862; Phillips, 1862; Lassell, 1862; Knott, 1862;
Kaiser, 1862; Dawes, 1864; Franzenne, 1864; Williams, 1867; Proctor,
1867; Lahardeley, 1871; Burton, 1871; Wilson, 1871; Gledhill, 1871;
Flammarion, 1873; Terby, 1873; Green, 1873; Trouvelot, 1873; Lohse,
1873; Holden, 1875.

The third period extends from 1877 to 1892, when Flammarion published
his book. The following drawings are given: Flammarion, 1877-88; Paul
and Prosper Henry, 1877; Neisten, 1877-79-81-88; Terby, 1877-79-88;
Van Ertborn, 1877; Cruls, 1877; Dreyer, 1877-79; Lohse, 1877-79-83-84;
Green, 1877; Schiaparelli, 1877-79; Maunder, 1879; Konkoly, 1879;
Boeddicker, 1881-84; Burton, 1882; Trouvelot, 1884; Knoble, 1884;
Denning, 1886; Perrotin and Thollon, 1886; Proctor, 1888; Perrotin,
1888; Holden and Keeler, 1888; Wislicenus, 1888-90; W. H. Pickering,
1890; Williams, 1890; Giovannozzi, 1890; Guillaume, 1890.

It is impossible to follow these various drawings of Mars from the
earliest ones of the first period, many of little value, to the slow
yet certain advance as seen in the more detailed drawings of the second
period, without realizing the gradual improvement of the telescope,
coupled with a greater number of observers endowed with better eyesight
and impelled by deeper interest in the work. In the third period,
culminating with the great work of Schiaparelli, and confirmed by the
remarkable observations of Perrotin and Thollon, we see the results of
still more arduous devotion to the work; a great advance in telescopes,
with better definition, and, in the case of the observations at Nice
and Milan, a steadier atmosphere through which to observe. Flammarion
brought his work up to 1892.

Lowell's work on Mars, though of a kind with Schiaparelli, is, in every
circumstance accompanying it, so remarkable that we may well consider
the standard now set by him as the beginning of another period;
and this period will fix a standard which will consist in securing
observers who, in the language of Sir David Gill, have a special
faculty, an inborn capacity, a delight in the exercise of exceptional
acuteness of eyesight and natural dexterity, coupled with the gift of
imagination as to the true meaning of what they observe. With this
standard established, there must also go a perfect telescope for
definition, mounted on an elevation a mile and a half or more above the
level of the sea, in a region of the clearest and steadiest atmosphere
in the world.

One cannot help reflecting on these various drawings presented in
Flammarion's work, and wondering what the results would have been if
all these astronomers could have had telescopes as incomparable as
that at Flagstaff, perched on some high mountain peak with a clear and
steady atmosphere continuous for weeks, and, superadded to all these
advantages, independent fortunes to enable them to transport their
telescopes thousands of miles south when a favorable opposition of Mars
occurred at a low altitude.

The astronomers who have advanced certain theories to explain the
markings may be counted as admitting their existence, whatever they may
be. Among the other astronomers to be referred to are, first, those
who admit the markings, and have in all likelihood seen them; second,
those who have observed and made drawings of the markings; and, third,
those who have drawn them and admit, or at least do not deny, their

Miss Agnes M. Clerke, an astronomical writer of great merit, who has
written a most lucid and comprehensive "History of Astronomy in the
Nineteenth Century," says: "The canals of Mars are an existent and
permanent phenomenon." Mr. Thomas Lindsay, of Toronto, read some
notes before the Astronomical Society of that city in regard to the
phenomenon of the so-called doubling of the canals and the explanation
advanced that it was due to errors in focusing. "It had been stated
by several English observers that, by racking the eyepiece within or
without the focus, all the phenomena might be produced." In the case
of Mars, however, he asks: "How is it possible that all the observers
had their telescopes unadjusted, and, if any one had, would he not
be immediately aware of it?" Mr. Lindsay thought that the theory was
too obviously opposed to the simplest kind of common sense to merit a
moment's consideration.

Mr. John A. Patterson, in his Presidential address before the
Astronomical Society of Toronto, in speaking of Mars, said the
discoveries rest on the bed rock of scientific evidence; and, after
speaking of the supposed spectroscopic evidence that there was no
atmosphere in Mars, refers to the polar snow caps, their melting, and
the lines of vegetation that are supposed to mark the margin of the
canals, and he asks: "Is it possible that all these may be consistent
with no vapor floating above the surface? Is it sound philosophy to
conclude that the condition of things on our own little world gauges
the possibilities and relations that exist in our sister world? Dame
Nature does not turn out all her products in one pattern."

Mr. Denning, in the "Astronomische Nachrichten," No. 3926, gives
the result of his observations on Mars in 1903. He says the canals,
without doubt, are objective features; changes in the appearance of
these markings he attributes to vaporous condensations. One rotation
period of the planet satisfies the observation of all the markings,
thus proving them to be definite features of the planet's surface
rather than drifting vapors such as are seen when observing Jupiter
and Saturn. In spite of these admissions Mr. Denning, in 1905, while
repeating his convictions as to the objectivity of the canals, denied
their sharp outline. Of the ten canals he drew, eight were discovered
by Schiaparelli, and two were discovered by Lowell. Denning observed
these lines with a ten inch reflector. Schiaparelli compared them in
sharpness to lines of a steel engraving. It rests with the reader
to judge who is most likely to be correct in his description of the
character of the lines--Mr. Denning with a ten inch reflector, in a
poor atmosphere, or Schiaparelli and Lowell, with a twenty-six and a
twenty-four inch refractor, respectively, in a far superior atmosphere.

Among the many who have seen and drawn the canals comes first, of
course, Professor Schiaparelli, the discoverer of them. It is only
necessary to state here that he first detected these enigmatical
markings, which he named _canali_, in 1877. In the opposition of 1879,
he not only confirmed the discoveries of 1877, but added new _canali_,
and for the first time saw the curious process of doubling, or

Astronomers in various parts of the world searched in vain for these
markings, and despite the exalted character and remarkable work of the
distinguished Italian in other lines of astronomic research, it was
feared that, in this instance, Schiaparelli had been the victim of an
hallucination. It is true that from the time of Huyghens, in 1659, a
few astronomers, such as Secchi, Schroeter, Kaiser, and Dawes, have
detected and drawn a few faint lines which seemed to be identical with
the _canali_ of Schiaparelli. It was not until 1886, however, that
Perrotin and Thollon with a twenty-nine inch refractor of the Nice
Observatory, first began to confirm the discoveries of Schiaparelli,
and since that time observers in various parts of the world have
detected and drawn these remarkable lines. The cumulative testimony of
these men as to the veritable existence of these markings cannot be set

It seems strange that nine years should elapse before an astronomer
with an interest in the subject, coupled with an acute vision and the
patience to observe assiduously, should arise to confirm the existence
of these markings, but in another chapter I have called attention to
the little interest astronomers have manifested in planetary markings
of any kind. It has been shown elsewhere that acute vision, with a
clear and, above all, a steady atmosphere, are the chief essentials
in making out the markings. It is curious to note the attitude of
some astronomers, who, having seen the canals and even drawn them,
denied their veritability. Their explanations cover "illusions due to
the property of light itself, the inability of the eye to maintain
its mechanism of accommodation, the behavior of air waves, temporary
alteration of the focus of the eye, undetected astigmatism," etc.,
etc. But, to return to the astronomers who have drawn them. On the
unfavorable opposition of 1888, Schiaparelli declares that "the
_canali_ had all the distinctness of an engraving on steel, with the
magical beauty of a colored engraving." He furthermore says: "As far as
we have been able to observe them hitherto, they are certainly fixed
configurations upon the planet, the Nilosyrtis has been seen in that
place for nearly one hundred years and some of the others for at least
thirty years."

In this connection it is interesting to quote from Schiaparelli who,
until many years after he discovered the canals of Mars, had no doubt
of their natural origin. As late as 1893, he still considered them
natural. In speaking of the canals, he says: "It is not necessary
to suppose here the work of intelligent beings; and in spite of the
almost geometric appearance of their whole system, for the present
we incline to believe that they are product of the evolution of a
planet, much as on the Earth is the English Channel, or the Channel
of Mozambique." This extract may be found in a memoir in "Natura ed
Arte," 1893, page 22. On page 24 of the same memoir Schiaparelli
illustrates the elasticity of his mind and a thoroughly unprejudiced
attitude by saying: "Their singular aspect, and the fact that they
are drawn with absolute geometric precision, as if they were the
product of rule and compass, have induced some people to see in them
the work of intelligent beings, inhabitants of the planet. _I should
be very careful not to combat this supposition, which involves no
impossibility._" (The italics are ours.) His comparison of the Martian
lines with the English Channel and the Channel of Mozambique, if he
means any resemblance in form and not in the manner of formation, is
most unfortunate, for on the whole face of the Earth he could not
have mentioned surface features more totally unlike any feature of the
Martian surface, as drawn by him, than these two channels: the English
Channel, 100 miles wide at its mouth and 200 miles long, tapering to
the Straits of Dover; the Mozambique Channel, hour-glass shaped, 1,100
miles long, and, at its narrowest part, 260 miles wide, and at either
end nearly 700 miles wide. Had he suggested the Red Sea, 1,200 miles
long, or the Straits of Malacca, 350 miles long, a nearer resemblance
to the canals of Mars might have been seen, though even here it would
be impossible to find their counterparts in Mars. These channels are
merging with the ocean, are nearly half the width of their length, and
enlarge at both ends, while the _canali_ of Mars run for hundreds of
miles as straight as ruled lines. How slight the resemblance is may be
appreciated by comparing the following figure of the Earth (Fig. 1),
upon which the Red Sea, the English and the Mozambique Channels and the
Straits of Malacca are indicated.

[Illustration: FIG. 1.]

In 1897 Schiaparelli becomes still more convinced of their
artificiality. In his Memoir XXV, in the Reale Academia del Lincei,
in speaking of the canals, he says: "This whole arrangement presents
an indescribable simplicity and symmetry which cannot possibly be the
work of chance." In a letter to Mr. Lowell, dated December 4, 1904, he
writes: "Your theory of vegetation becomes more and more probable." Mr.
A. Stanley Williams, in the "Observatory" for June, 1899, in a paper
entitled "Notes on Mars," described the appearance of certain canals,
regions, etc., in great detail. He notices that at the crossing of the
canals a little dark spot occurs, a feature, he says, which was first
elucidated by Professor Lowell in 1894. Mr. Williams also noticed the
black streak bordering the northern snow cap, which Mr. Lowell in his
book on Mars has interpreted as a body of water resulting from the
melting snow.

In the Quarterly Journal of the Astronomical Society of Wales, the Rev.
Theo. E. R. Phillips publishes an excellent drawing of Mars in color.
In this drawing he shows a large number of regions, a number of canals,
and other features which, he says, "came out with the clearness and
sharpness of an engraving, and bore no resemblance to the 'diffused
streaks' or amorphous smudges one sees for the canals in imperfect
seeing." In this drawing the polar snow caps show with remarkable

Professor W. H. Pickering, in a continuous record of observations on
Mars, published in the "Annals of the Lowell Observatory," records
under August 20: "The dark north canals are also noticeable, and, had
they looked as they now do, could not possibly have been missed on the

Dr. Phil. Fauth has, with a seven inch objective, drawn and published
sixty-three drawings of Mars in which a great many canals are shown, a
list of which he presents in his memoir on the subject.

The lamented Perrotin, for some time Director of the Nice Observatory,
in company with M. Janssen, at Meudon, observed Mars through the great
equatorial (32-2/3 inch), and published the results in the "Comptes
Rendues" (Vol. CXXIV, No. 7). He describes the several zones, the
northern equatorial zone "being more particularly the zone of the
extraordinary canals, the discovery of which we owe to Schiaparelli,
and to which we ourselves, by our publication, in 1886, called the
attention of the astronomical world."

The London "Nature," March 17, 1904, in noting the death of M. Henry
Perrotin, speaks of him as one of the ablest advocates of astronomical
science. He devoted much time to Mars. "Aware that he was working
at the extreme limit of visibility, and knowing the tendency for
self-deception to creep in and impair the value of such delicate
observations, he sought opportunities of making similar measures and
records with different instruments, and under varied conditions, in
order to remove, so far as possible, the evils of bias and partiality
from the results of his researches."

Dr. Terby of Louvain, in a memoir entitled "Physical Observations
of Mars," a translation of which appeared in the "Astronomical and
Astrophysical Journal," No. 106, identifies many of Schiaparelli's
_canali_ and other details depicted in Schiaparelli's map of Mars. In
conclusion Dr. Terby says: "After what we have seen we dare affirm
that henceforth the progress of areography will be in the hands of
those alone who, freeing themselves from the shackles of doubt, will
resolutely engage in the way traced by the celebrated astronomer of
Milan. A new era has begun in the study of Mars by the discovery of
canals and their doubling, and by the micrometric determination of one
hundred and fourteen fundamental points on the map, an era succeeding
to that which was inaugurated a half century ago by the construction
of the first two hemispheres and by the approximate fixing of fourteen
points by Mäedler." Dr. Terby further says: "But these results have
an incontestable value in the presence of the incredulity with which
certain astronomers still consider the beautiful discoveries of Milan.
Who would believe it? In spite of the beautiful drawings of M. Perrotin
one reads still that the discoveries of M. Schiaparelli have not been
confirmed by the largest instruments."

In "Astronomy and Astrophysics," No. 108, is published a series
of contributions on Mars by Professors Edward C. Holden, William
H. Pickering, C. A. Young, Lewis Swift, George C. Comstock, E. E.
Barnard, and H. C. Wilson. All of these men are astronomers and all are
connected as directors or observers with various observatories in the
United States. Many sent sketches, most of them saw the canals, all saw
the polar snow caps and darker regions. To say that these astronomers
were sketching details which existed only in their imagination is
simply preposterous.

Professor Herbert A. Howe, Director of the Chamberlin Observatory,
at Denver, in his "Elements of Descriptive Astronomy" says: "If we
have simply to answer the question, 'Would a man, as constituted at
present, if transported to Mars find it possible to exist there?' The
most probable answer is, 'No.' While one must not be dogmatic, it may
be said, with some assurance, that the man would gasp a few times and
die. However, it is conceivable that manlike beings might find a home
there." Mr. Howe could have said without being dogmatic that a man thus
transported would die of what is known as Caisson disease.

Among those who assert that the canals are artificial we have Professor
Percival Lowell as pre-eminent. He has erected an observatory in the
region of one of the clearest atmospheres in the world, has furnished
it with the finest telescope that Clark ever made, and for the chief
purpose of studying the surface features of Mars. In his interesting
book on Mars he has presented the results of his observations in so
lucid and convincing a manner that a reviewer of the English edition
of the work, in an English astronomical journal, is led to write:
"We may say at once that we feel bound to accept these observations
as sufficient evidence of the real existence of the markings without
expressing an opinion as to what they may be." The reviewer ends by
saying: "Indeed, there is a subtle deftness in the way Mr. Lowell
deals with his observations which gives the impression that he has
been there and seen it all, and it is really hard to say why we cannot
accept his conclusions. It is probable, because we are shy to receive
new facts at a first statement. In time, no doubt, we shall be willing
to accept his deductions (or facts) as to the markings. We were about
to advance objections, but they seem poor, and really it is a case
where each person must read and form his own ideas--but by all means

We have already presented a summary of his observations. We may add
here, however, an extract from his book on the solar system. In this
Mr. Lowell says of Mars: "What we see hints of the existence of beings
who are in advance of, not behind us in the journey of life," and
again: "Life on Mars must take on a very different guise from what
it wears on the Earth. It is certain there can be no man there--that
is as certain as anything can be. But this does not preclude a local
intelligence equal to, and perhaps easily superior to, our own. We
seem to have evidence that something of the sort does exist there at
the present moment and has made imprint of its existence far exceeding
anything we have left on Mother Earth."

George W. Morehouse, in his "Wilderness of Worlds," says: "Taken all
together we must regard Mars as probably an inhabited world and very
similar to the Earth."

Mr. Hector Macpherson, Jr., member of the Astronomical Society of
France, in his interesting book "Astronomers of To-day," says, in
regard to Mr. Lowell's book on Mars: "He does not ask us to believe
anything fantastical or extravagant. His hypothesis has been framed to
account for all the various Martian features. At present we can only
say that it is the most comprehensive and probable theory yet advanced
to explain the phenomena of the red planet."

Professor Todd, Director of the Astronomical Observatory at Amherst
College, in his book on Stars and Telescopes, in referring to drawings
of a region in the southern portion of Mars, known as the Solis Lacus,
and a complicated drawing of another region, says: "Whether one views
this marvellous and intricate system as a whole, or in some portion of
high detail, it is difficult to escape the conviction that the _canali_
have, at least in part, been designed and executed with a definite end
in view."

There are many who do not deny the existence of some forms of life on
the planet, but are not prepared to admit the existence of intelligent
creatures. Sir Robert Ball expresses himself as follows: "That there
may be types of life of some kind on Mars is, I should think, quite

The number of astronomers above quoted, who have seen and drawn the
canals, might be augmented, but a sufficient number have been cited to
show that the evidence of the presence of these markings does not rest
with a few, furthermore, some of these observers can only interpret
the markings as the result of intelligent action. It may be urged that
among those quoted are some whose opinion may not have great weight
since they are not professional astronomers. One must insist that the
study of planetary markings as well as the interpretation of their
meanings comes not only within the province of planetary astronomers,
but that any broad-minded man, with an acute eye and familiar with the
sciences connected with the surface features of the Earth, is quite
competent to make observations of his own and to judge of the merits of
the question.



        _Their singular aspect, and the fact that they are drawn
        with absolute geometric precision as if they were the
        product of rule and compass, have induced some people to
        see in them the work of intelligent beings, inhabitants
        of the planet. I should be careful not to combat this
        supposition which involves no impossibility._


It is a question whether, after all, the study of planetary markings
comes within the province of astronomers. Not more, perhaps, than the
study of physical geography and subjects connected with the surface
features of the Earth, comes under the cognizance of those whose
profession it is to determine the oscillation of the pole, the Earth's
movements due to the Moon, etc. Indeed, these lines of research are
strictly astronomical. With the study of the surface markings of
the Moon, or Mars, features of an entirely different kind are to be
interpreted, and quite a different equipment is necessary. It is no
wonder, then, that astronomers, the most conservative of all classes
of investigators, should view with suspicion the results of the work of
Schiaparelli, Lowell and others. Immersed in mathematics, trusting in
nothing that cannot be measured and reckoned, as a class holding their
imagination in abeyance, is it any surprise that they should present an
attitude of indifference and even hostility to the work of those who,
differently equipped mentally, have attempted a definition and solution
of the riddle of the Martian markings? To appreciate how foreign to the
studies of an astronomer is the interpretation of the canals of Mars,
one has simply to scan the index of any astronomical publication, or
the titles of papers in the transactions of astronomical societies.
For example, take volumes XX and XXI of the "Astronomical Journal" and
tabulate the papers, memoirs, etc., therein published, numbering two
hundred and thirty-eight, and we find of these, seventy-four on the
stars; sixty-two on the comets; nineteen on planets and satellites,
mostly mathematical; eighteen on the Sun; eighteen on the asteroids;
fifteen on Eros; ten on polar motion and latitude; four on Nova Persei;
and seventeen miscellaneous, consisting of logarithms, instruments,
Gegenschein, etc.; and only one on Mars, and this on the polar snow

As to the question whether it is more important to add another to the
thousands of variable stars and binaries, and hundreds of asteroids,
already determined, or to consider whether we are alone in the universe
and, if so, the significance of it, I think with the intelligent public
there can be no doubt.

A fair sample of the subjects which occupy the astronomers' mind, and
which are so remote from the study of planetary markings, and have so
little interest for the public, may be gathered from the following list
selected at random from an astronomical publication. Notes on variable
stars; Maxima and minima of long period variables; Micrometrical
measurements of the companion of Procyon; The problem of three bodies;
Ephemeris of Comet a, 1901; On the eruptive energy of the stars;
Eclipse cycles; Determinations of the aberration-constant from right
ascension; Theory of a resisting medium upon bodies moving in parabolic
orbits; Weights and systematic corrections of meridian observation in
right ascension and declination; and other titles equally profound.
Many of these memoirs consist of hundreds of pages of figures, and, as
a friend of mine observed, not a column footed up! Take for example
a title like the following: "Method of developing the perturbative
functions, also precepts for executing their development." This memoir
is accompanied by pages of algebraic formulæ which the layman turns
over in despair, the only illumination consisting of a few words in
English which render the gloom still more apparent,--such words as
"hence," "or," "we therefore have," "if we put." Of what we "have,"
and why we "put," we are left in profound ignorance. Now I venture to
believe that the great world of humanity takes but little interest
in such pages, or in the kinds of titles above given, though fully
realizing that they mean something and represent important steps
in astronomic research. It would add greatly to the value of these
contributions if a brief summary in plain English could be given at the
end of these papers, but it is the rarest event that these collectors
of data ever make any generalizations, or form any deductions.

My faith in the appalling character of algebraic formulæ[5] received
a rude shock when I learned of an experience of Louise Michel, the
anarchist, who was transported for life to New Caledonia (afterwards
pardoned). On arriving at the savage island, true to her humanitarian
instincts, "she immediately established a school for native children,
who by a curious freak of their minds, she noted with rejoicing, took
naturally to algebra before they learned arithmetic!"

Hovenden quotes Huxley as saying that mathematics "is that study
that knows nothing of observation, nothing of induction, nothing of
experiment, nothing of causation." He also quotes the words of Clerk
Maxwell, who said, in regard to mathematicians, that it was "doubtful
whether the ideas as expressed in symbols had ever quite found their
way out of the equations into their minds." They never seem to appeal
to the doctrine of probabilities nor do they in any way permit
imagination to act as a stimulus to suggestive thought.

Least of all would a layman ridicule or question the painstaking labor
involved in astronomic work, though he cannot see a glimmer of light or
intelligence in the enigmatical pages. A certain class of astronomers
might take a lesson from an intelligent public in ceasing to scoff
and ridicule what they are unable to see themselves in the Martian
markings. The chief work of these men indicates the cold precise
measuring of points of light in the heavens, the determination of
orbits, elements and ephemeris of heavenly bodies, the determination
of solar parallax, etc., most of the subjects strictly mathematical,
a question of careful measurements for which the necessary instruments
are at hand, or simply sweeping the heavens for a new variable, binary
or asteroid. Parallaxes and orbits are matters of measurement to be
reckoned by the figures of anybody else. It is obvious from all this
that little or no interest is manifested by astronomers in planetary
markings, least of all in those of Mars. The exasperating feature of
the matter is that they persistently repudiate the observation of
others equally well equipped, and endowed with the same enthusiasm and
devotion to their work.

The way in which the gatherers of the raw material arrogate to
themselves the science of astronomy, relegating the thinkers and
generalizers to the limbo of speculation, is as if the book-keepers of
a corporation should assume themselves to be the master-minds of the
concern and the banker, or financier, at the head of it, a dreamer not
worth regarding.

An illustration of the conservativeness of astronomers in regard to
planetary markings is shown in their cautious attitude concerning the
polar snow caps of Mars. Here are white polar caps on Mars, precisely
where they ought to be if they _are_ snow, they wax and wane at
the time they should and at no other time, a dark band appears at
their borders as the caps in turn diminish in size, which has been
interpreted as water due to the melting snow, and no other substance
known could possibly reproduce these varying conditions. Professor C.
A. Young, in describing these white areas, says: "The one which happens
to be turned toward the Sun continually diminishes in size, while
the other increases, the process being reversed with the seasons of
the planet." After these admissions Professor Young cautiously says:
"These are believed to be ice caps." Sir John Herschel says: "The
variety in the spots may arise from the planet not being destitute of
atmosphere and clouds, and what adds greatly to the probability of
this is the appearance of brilliant white spots at the poles--one of
which appears in our figure--which have been conjectured with some
probability to be snow, as they disappear when they have been long
exposed to the Sun, and are greatest when just emerging from the long
night of the polar winter." Had Michael Faraday been an astronomer,
how long would it have taken him to pronounce these white polar caps
snow and ice? De la Rive, in his memoir of Faraday, in speaking of his
marvellous accomplishments, says: "One may easily understand what must
be produced under such circumstances by a life thus wholly consecrated
to science, when to a strong and vigorous intellect is joined a most
brilliant imagination." Tyndall, in his discourse "On the Scientific
use of the Imagination," says: "Bounded and conditioned by co-operant
reason, imagination becomes the mightiest instrument of the physical
discoverer. Newton's passage from a falling apple to a falling Moon was
a leap of the imagination."

That Herbert Hall Turner, Professor of Astronomy in the University
of Oxford, does not regard the various contributions on the surface
features of Mars as belonging to astronomical science may be inferred
from his interesting book lately published, entitled "Astronomical
Discovery." This book presents to us the history of the discovery of
Uranus and Eros, of Neptune, Bradley's aberration of light, Schwabe and
sun-spot period, the variation of latitude, etc., but not a word about
the marvellous discoveries of the _canali_ of Mars by Schiaparelli, so
fully confirmed by the observation and drawings of many others, and the
great advances made by Lowell in the discovery of new features with his
lucid and rational interpretation of the seeming enigmas.

Astronomy, the oldest and most conservative of all the sciences, has
been the last to subdivide. Already one group of men has justified
by its work a division of the science known as astrophysics. The
lamented Keeler, in explaining the difference between astronomy and
astrophysics, said: "Astrophysics seeks to ascertain the nature of the
heavenly bodies, rather than their positions and motions in space,
_what_ they are, rather than _where_ they are." This natural division
suggests the propriety of making another division equally distinct,
which should comprise the study and interpretation of the surface
markings of the planets and satellites, under the name of planetology.
The study would be the application to these bodies of the science
of geology, in its broadest sense, meteorology, physical geography,
geodesy, and related sciences.

With the science of planetology established, the student of this
science will no longer call to his aid the astronomer, and, least of
all, the astrophysicist, nor will he be mindful of their criticism or
neglect. He will appeal to the sciences which are involved in the study
of the surface features of his own globe, in the interpretation of
planetary detail.



        _It is contrary to all the analogies of nature to suppose
        that life began only on a single world._

                SIMON NEWCOMB.

For years I had been familiar with different representations of Mars
in which the surface features had been strongly depicted in black and
white; in other words, photo-reliefs, or engravings incorporated with
the printed page. I had unwittingly come to believe that these features
were equally distinct when one observed Mars through the telescope. I
had not then seen Schiaparelli's original memoir in which his wonderful
map presents the canals in light and tenuous lines, which are, however,
as clear cut as the lines of a steel engraving, to use his words. For
a long time I had hoped for a chance to observe Mars through a large
telescope in a clear and steady atmosphere. It seemed reasonable to
me--knowing nothing about it--that one who had traced out under the
microscope delicate lines and structural features in diaphanous
membranes, who had, in fact, used a microscope with high powers for
forty years, would find it child's play to make out the canals, oases,
regions, etc., of Mars, as represented in the various publications on
the subject. Professor Percival Lowell, of Flagstaff, Arizona, finally
gave me the opportunity I so much desired, and, through his courtesy
and kindness, I was enabled to observe Mars every night for nearly six
weeks through his twenty-four inch refractor, the last and probably
the best telescope ever made by Clark, mounted in one of the steadiest
atmospheres in the world and at an altitude above sea-level of over
7,000 feet. Imagine my surprise and chagrin when I first saw the
beautiful disk of Mars through this superb telescope. Not a line! not a
marking! The object I saw could only be compared in appearance to the
open mouth of a crucible filled with molten gold. Slight discolorations
here and there and evanescent areas outlined for the tenth of a second,
but not a determinate line or spot to be seen. Had I stopped that
night, or even a week later, I might have joined the ranks of certain
observers and said "illusion" or something worse. And right here it
was that my experience in microscopic work helped me, for, remembering
the hours--nay, days--I had worked, in making out structural features
in delicate organisms which my unprofessional friends could not see at
all, I realized that patient observation would be required if I was to
be successful in my efforts. My despair, however, was overwhelming when
Professor Lowell and his assistants, looking for a few moments at the
same object, would draw on paper the features which had been plainly
revealed to them, consisting of definite shaded regions, a number of
canals and other markings, of which, with the utmost scrutiny, I could
hardly detect a trace. For the first time I realized that observing
fixed diaphanous membranes under a microscope with rigid stand, and
within four inches of one's nose, was quite a different matter from
observing a brilliant disk 4,200 miles in diameter, 52,000,000 miles
away, with an oscillating atmosphere of unknown depth between. Night
after night I examined this golden, opalescent disk, drawing each
time such features as I could convey by memory from the ocular to the
drawing table, and, little by little, new features were detected, and
to my delight the drawings agreed with those made by the others. Since
the drawings made by the four observers coincided, it was evident that
we had not been victims of subjective phenomena. Furthermore, as I
discovered afterwards, by comparison, the drawings I made not only
agreed with theirs but with those made by other observers, at different
times, in other parts of the world. So slow were my acquisitions,
however, that it soon became evident that at least months of continuous
observation would be necessary before the more delicate markings would
be revealed to me. It is interesting to learn that others have had a
similar experience. Mr. A. Stanley Williams, of England, in an article
entitled "Notes on Mars" ("Observatory," June, 1899), in stating the
difficulties of observation, says: "My eye invariably requires at least
two months of continuous observation of a planet before it acquires its
full sensitiveness to the most minute details."

In this connection it is well to state that Mr. Lowell began the
observation of Mars when he was a mere boy. His first telescope, which
he still has, was a two and a quarter inch refractor. His observations
were made from the roof of his house in Boston, and with this small
glass he defined the general shaded regions that Huyghens had detected
and drawn in 1659. Since then Mr. Lowell has observed in turn through
a six inch, an eighteen inch of Brashear, and, for the last few years,
through a twenty-four inch refractor made by Clark especially for this

To refute the accumulated observations of Mr. Lowell one must have the
same acute eye, and a record of the same continuous and devoted study.
Nothing short of that experience will avail. The jealous derision that
has gone up from some observers endowed with less acuteness of vision
is neither dignified nor just. Were these Martian details based upon
the observations of Lowell alone, one might be inclined to say that
some vagary of the mind had led him to imagine these markings which
were first detected by the great Italian astronomer Schiaparelli. Up
to the present time--to mention only a few--observations and drawings
have been made by Perrotin, Thollon, and Flammarion, of France; Dr.
Phil. Fauth, of Germany; Williams, of England; Lowell, W. H. Pickering,
Douglass, Lampland, and Schaeberle, of America, while many others have
made drawings of the more conspicuous details. With this record it is
impossible to deny the existence of these markings essentially as they
are drawn.

The difficulty of seeing the more delicate markings of the planet
is unquestionable, and an examination of astronomical literature,
from which we shall make numerous quotations, indicates only too
plainly the acuteness of vision, and the time and care necessary to
make competent observations. Sir Robert Ball says, in one of his
recent works: "The detection of the Martian features indicates one
of the utmost refinements of astronomical observations." Macpherson,
in his "Astronomers of To-day," thus writes of Schiaparelli,
"Professor Schiaparelli's observations have been distinguished by his
keen-sightedness and care. He has taken every precaution to avoid all
disturbances resulting from personal equation, and has found it well
to adopt the rule (which he here quotes) 'to abstain from everything
which could affect the nervous system, from narcotics and alcohol, and
especially from the abuse of coffee, which I found to be exceedingly
prejudicial to the accuracy of observation.'" What I might have
accomplished in the way of seeing had I followed the wise example of
Schiaparelli I do not know. A not too strict abstemiousness in any of
these matters, coupled with long daily walks on the Mesa, with its
fascinating flora and fauna, found me in the observer's chair every
night, somewhat fatigued mentally and physically.

Sir Robert Ball, in his "Popular Guide to the Heavens," in describing
the difficulty in making out the more delicate markings of Mars,
says: "It should be understood that in the unsteady air of England it
is almost hopeless to expect many of the finer details; not even in
the most favorable climates are they to be seen always, or all at
once, and much training of the eye is required before it is fit to
decide for or against the existence of these details on the verge of
invisibility." As another illustration, perhaps, of the difficulties
of seeing, Sir Robert, in the same book, says: "Observers of Mars are
divided into two camps, those who see the canals, and those who do not.
The former are in the strong position that they are perfectly sure that
they see what they represent in their drawings."

From the foregoing it must be evident that not only are the finer
markings on Mars most difficult to see even under the best conditions
but that exceptional acuteness of vision, which few possess, united
with long practice, is necessary to make out the tenuous lines which
enclose the field of Mars like a net. That Mr. Lowell has had a long
and continuous practice, covering years, in observing Mars through
the steadiest of atmospheres and with a superb glass, is simply a
statement of fact. It may be said without fear of contradiction that
he has devoted more time to the observation of Mars than all the other
observers combined. Has he then an exceptional acuteness of sight,
coupled with indefatigable industry, in the pursuit of this quest to
which he is devoting his life and fortune? The following instance
will illustrate his marvellous eyesight. We were walking along the
shores of a lake some miles from Flagstaff, the expanse of shore left
by the rapidly evaporating waters abounding with thousands of very
small black spiders running hither and thither at our approach. I
told him of one I had just seen in which the abdomen was covered with
minute young spiders which the mother was carrying about with her--a
well-known habit of certain species. This curious fact I had detected
only while stooping close to the ground in search of minute shells. Mr.
Lowell, while walking along, immediately began scanning the ground for
the trace of a spider with minutely granulated abdomen, and finally
exclaimed: "There is one of them!" On stooping down to examine the
object it proved to my astonishment to be a female carrying its young
in the way already described. This incident revealed a remarkable
acuteness of vision to detect, while standing erect and walking,
this tiny spider among hundreds of others of its species that were
scampering away at our approach.

Not only is acuteness of vision necessary to one who is to study
planetary markings, but of importance also is a clear, and above all
a steady atmosphere; and, strange as it may appear, telescopes of
moderate size seem to be the instruments with which the best work has
been done. It is also true in astronomy, as in warfare, that it is not
the biggest gun but the man behind the gun that does the most efficient
work. As an evidence of the importance of steady atmosphere Professor
W. H. Pickering, in his observations on the satellites of Jupiter,
says his work had two important bearings: "First, as showing the
relative importance of atmosphere _versus_ aperture for delicate visual
observations of this sort. In the same category would be included
studies of planetary detail as distinguished from the examination of
very faint objects. In other words, if an observer wishes to study
very faint stars he must have a large telescope. If he wishes to study
the neighboring planets and brighter satellites he may use a small
telescope, but he must have a very good atmosphere."

The importance of a clear and steady atmosphere, for delicate
observation, is known to all astronomers. The rarity of such days,
even in our clear atmosphere so superior to that of England, is not
generally known. Forty years ago Dr. Henry Draper, in an address
entitled "Are Other Worlds Inhabited?" in speaking of Mars and the
difficulties of seeing, said: "One of the greatest obstacles to
distinct vision is our own atmosphere. Its currents and motions tend
to confuse the outlines of objects, and, according to my experience, a
whole year may pass without the occurrence of more than one good night.
The only remedy is to carry the telescope as high up on a mountain
as possible, so as to leave below the more injurious portions of the
atmosphere. It might be possible to work 15,000 feet above the sea in
the neighborhood of the Equator." I quote these words that the general
reader may appreciate the advantages Lowell has with his fine telescope
south of all European observatories, in the latitude, say of Algiers,
at a high altitude, and in the dry and steady atmosphere of Arizona,
with uninterrupted seeing for weeks together, and each night far
superior to any night which Greenwich could ever be blessed with.

Professor W. H. Pickering attests to the importance of a steady
atmosphere in studying the Moon from a station in Jamaica, when he
says that, with a five inch refractor, he was able to detect minute
details which were not revealed by the far larger telescopes at Harvard

Mr. W. D. Barbour, President of the Leeds Astronomical Society, using
his four inch achromatic, says: "In one of those brief intervals
of atmospheric steadiness I saw distinctly a number of well-known
markings," the names of which he gives. Dr. Phil. Fauth, using a seven
inch refractor, made sixty-three drawings of Mars, showing in wonderful
detail the canals, oases, etc. Mr. W. J. Lockyer, in London "Nature,"
testifies that "a keen and patient observer, sitting at the eyepiece of
a comparatively small equatorially mounted telescope, if he makes his
observations carefully, and with due regard to atmospheric conditions
for good seeing, can do more useful and valuable work than one who has
a large aperture at his command and employs it indifferently." Mr. E.
Ledger, in speaking of Dawes, who made a remarkable map of Mars, says
he was justly famed for the remarkable distinctness of his vision; he
had detected and drawn a few lines which seemed to be identical to
those of Schiaparelli.

In the authorities above quoted we have endeavored to show that a
steady atmosphere, a persistent devotion to the work, accompanied by
acute vision, and also a talent for observation, are all the factors
needed, not only to confirm the remarkable discoveries of Schiaparelli
and Lowell, but possibly to detect, at favorable moments, new features
which have escaped the eyes of these keen observers.

At this point we cannot resist giving the words of Sir David Gill,
Director of the Royal Observatory at the Cape of Good Hope. Professor
S. W. Burnham, of the Lick Observatory, in reviewing a memoir entitled
"Double Star Observations at the Cape of Good Hope," quotes as
follows from the preface: "Sir David Gill, in speaking of the routine
character of the work involved in the investigation, says: 'There is
no instance, as far as I know, of a long and valuable series of double
star discovery and observation made by a mere assistant acting under
orders. _It is a special faculty, an inborn capacity, a delight in the
exercise of exceptional acuteness of eyesight and natural dexterity,
coupled with the gift of imagination as to the true meaning of what he
observes, that imparts to the observer the requisite enthusiasm for
double star observing._ No amount of training or direction could have
created the Struves, a Dawes, or a Dembowski. _The great double star
observer is born, not made_, and I believe that no extensive series of
double star measurement will ever emanate from a regular observatory,
through successive directorates, unless men are specially selected
who have previously distinguished themselves in that field of work,
and who were originally driven to it from sheer compulsion of inborn
taste.'" If the reader will substitute the words _planetary markings_
for _double star_ in the above quotation from Sir David Gill's report,
he will understand why we have ventured to italicise certain lines, and
will appreciate their significance. In no stronger or truer words could
one have emphasized the conditions involved in a critical study of the
surface features of Mars.

In the experience of an astronomer, it is not an unusual occurrence
that an object in the heavens, fairly conspicuous, remains unseen
until by some lucky chance an observer sweeping the sky picks it
up, and, having determined its position, it is promptly found by
others. Professor H. H. Turner, in his "Astronomical Discovery of the
Nineteenth Century," says: "It is a common experience in astronomy that
an observer may fail to notice in a general scrutiny, some phenomenon
which he can see perfectly well when his attention is called to it;
when a man has made a discovery, and others are told what to look for,
they often see it so easily that they are filled with amazement and
chagrin that they never saw it before."

In the Rev. T. W. Webb's interesting book on "Celestial Objects for
Common Telescopes," a reminiscence of the author is given by a friend
in which the following is related as illustrating the varying ability
of observers in seeing. "A curious instance of difference of vision was
well illustrated one superb evening when Mr. Webb and the writer were
observing Saturn with the nine and a half inch refractor at Hardwick.
Mr. Webb saw distinctly the division in the outer ring which the writer
could not see a trace of, while the writer picked up a faint point of
light which afterwards turned out to be Enceladus (a satellite) which
Mr. Webb could not see."

In my brief observation of Mars I probably might have made out many
more details if I had permitted Mr. Lowell to tell me what to see, and
where to look for them on the disk. This I would not allow him to do,
nor did I study any of the numerous drawings in his own work, or the
original memoirs of Schiaparelli, or other works containing drawings of
Mars in his library. I would not learn the names of any of the regions,
or canals, nor with a single exception do I know them now. Only when
I had finished my last night's observations, did Mr. Lowell take my
drawings and write out a list of the various canals, oases, etc., which
I had made out. Thus, unaided, I drew simply what was plainly evident,
though many other details flashed out for a second, which were not
recorded, simply because I did not see them often enough to be sure of
their precise position on the disk.

Mr. Lowell points out one of the reasons why so many observers and
astronomers have not seen the canals. In the third volume of the
"Annals of the Lowell Observatory" he refers to a certain series of
observations of Mars, made in 1894, and says: "Not only was there
no sign of a canal, but even the main markings showed disheartingly
indefinite." "This vacancy of expression was due to the Martian date."
"It was the very nick of time to see nothing, for the part of the
planet most presented to the Earth was then at the height of the dead
season, and in this fact lies the key to much past undetection and
present unbelief in the phenomenon of the canals."



        _Let us not cheat ourselves with words. Conservatism sounds
        finely and covers any amount of ignorance and fear._

                PERCIVAL LOWELL.

Much doubt has been expressed as to the existence of the so-called
canals in Mars and other surface markings of that planet in consequence
of the discrepancy seen in the drawings of the more delicate features
by various observers. While in the main a certain general resemblance
is seen in the topographical character of the network of lines,
and a more close resemblance in the darker markings, notably the
Syrtis Major, the disagreement in the minor details has led certain
astronomers to deny their existence altogether, or to insist that most
of the markings were subjective, or due to poor focusing, or the result
of aberration of the eye or lens. Professor Simon Newcomb, in his "New
Astronomy for Everybody," in speaking of the work of the observers at
the Lick Observatory and the great telescope at their command coupled
with favorable situation, says: "It is therefore noteworthy that the
markings on the face of Mars as presented by Barnard do not quite
correspond to the channels of Schiaparelli and Lowell." Newcomb also
reproduces in his book the drawings of a region in Mars known as Solis
Lacus, made by Campbell and Hussey, and finds they do not show an exact
agreement between them. Now such objections might have some weight if
drawings made by different observers of the Solar Corona, for example,
or the Nebula of Orion, or the Milky Way had any close resemblance.
As a matter of fact, these various drawings depart far more widely
from the originals, as shown by photographic reproduction, than do
the various drawings of Mars. Mr. Fison, in his "Recent Advances in
Astronomy," in speaking of the divergence in the drawings made by
different observers, says: "In inspecting sketches of the delicate
details of the Corona of the Sun made at the same place by different
observers, it is difficult to believe that the same object has been
represented." To appreciate how widely divergent such drawings are one
has only to refer to the United States Naval Observatory publication on
the Total Eclipse of the Sun, July 29, 1878.

[Illustration: PLATE II


As an indication of the dissimilarity of the drawings of the Corona
made at the same instant by different observers, many of whom are
well-known astronomers, I may say that the various plates resemble in
turn the following objects: a skate's egg-case; a circular battery
discharging fire from one side while the smoke drifts away in the
opposite direction; an ascidian, known as Molgula, with an extra
aperture, however; a snowshoe; a radiolarian; a fighting shield of
an Igorrote savage; an egg of a hair worm; a crushed spider, and
other equally dissimilar objects. I have reproduced a few of these
drawings (Plate II), that the reader may realize that my similes are
not exaggerated. The many drawings which have been made of the Nebula
of Orion, by astronomers of distinction, depart quite as widely from
each other as do those of the Solar Corona. In Volume XXV of the "Naval
Observatory Observations" is published a monograph of the central parts
of the Nebula of Orion, by Professor E. S. Holden. He starts with
a drawing made by Huyghens in 1659 and ends with a drawing made by
Professor Langley in 1879. In a summary of the work the author says:
"I am acquainted with but one drawing of the Nebula which is entirely
above criticism, that of the late G. P. Bond. He was a skilled artist,"
etc. An examination of the drawings in this Memoir are equally
distracting. In looking at them casually they suggest respectively a
Japanese stocking pattern; an amoeba; an embryo cuttlefish; a plan of
Boston, and other forms equally divergent. Mr. Fison, in his book above
quoted, writes as follows of other astronomical subjects: "Drawings of
the Milky Way as seen by the naked eye have been recently executed by
two independent observers, Mr. Boeddicker and Mr. Eaton, each drawing
the result of long and arduous observation, but in comparing them it
is the exception rather than the rule to find any approximation in
agreement in respect of the more delicate details." The drawings of
the surface features of Mars by different observers do vary in respect
of the more delicate details, but in every case they represent a map
of some kind and do not remind one of a wheelbarrow, baptismal font,
or other incongruous objects. These divergent drawings of the same
object are not confined to celestial bodies. One has only to examine
works on ancient Mexican and Egyptian monuments, or those of classical
archæology, to see the astounding caricatures and perversions. The
various drawings of the famous Dighton Rock inscription, covering a
period of two hundred years, are striking examples of the vagaries of
an artist. Moreover, the text accompanying the drawings often states
that they were drawn with scrupulous care. The hieroglyphics are
pecked out on the face of a rock in rough lines, half an inch wide and
a third of an inch in depth. These marks are in enduring rock; it is
the observer and his imperfect drawing which is at fault. The Nebula
of Orion, the Milky Way, and, for the time being, the Solar Corona
are permanent objective realities and have all been photographed, yet
behold the drawings! It is unnecessary to state that the ability to
draw varies quite as much with man as the ability to sing. A man may
be an excellent observer and yet utterly unable to use a pencil, and
any attempt on the part of one to draw who has no ability in that
direction results in a fiasco. It is noteworthy that an artist with no
knowledge of astronomy, or the art of telescopic observation, will make
a more accurate drawing than one made by the best astronomer who has no
ability as a draughtsman. Concerning the drawings of Mars, if one will
turn to the "Annals of the Lowell Observatory," Volume I, Plate XIV, he
will there see drawings made on successive nights by Mr. Lowell and his
assistants, Mr. Douglass and Mr. Drew, showing a remarkable agreement.
After finishing my observations of Mars, which covered nearly a
complete presentation of the planet, I made a comparison between my
drawings and those made by Professor Lowell and his secretary, Miss
Leonard, and a few made by the assistant astronomers, Mr. Lampland and
Mr. Slipher, and the agreement was almost absolute, the only difference
being that their drawings portrayed additional features which in
some cases I had caught a glimpse of but could not fix. I found it
exceedingly difficult to draw in the correct positions details within a
circle, and particularly when the axis of that circle was inclined some
degrees from the vertical, indicated by a spider's thread in the ocular.

I think any reasonable man will admit that the divergence seen in the
various drawings of Mars by different observers cannot be held as an
argument against their existence.



        _In knowledge, that man only is to be condemned and
        despised who is not in a state of transition._


Having shown to the satisfaction of any reasonable mind that the
delicate lines, known as canals, do exist, it will be interesting
to examine some of the theories which have been advanced to explain
these markings, as well as some of the absurd deductions drawn from
their existence. The late Dr. J. Joly, Professor of Geology in the
University of Dublin, in a paper on the Origin of the Canals of Mars
("Trans." Royal Soc., Dublin) came to the conclusion that meteoric
bodies, revolving on or near the surface of Mars, produced these lines.
In brief, he supposed that Mars at various times in the early stages
of his history, when his rotation period was much shorter, attracted
small bodies, which, after whirling about the planet, finally came
down on the crust and caused these lines. He conceived of satellites
twice the diameter of Phobos, or say, seventy-two miles in diameter,
flying about Mars at a distance of sixty-three miles, which would at
this distance, by its attractive force, exert a stress on the supposed
thin crust of Mars of from fifteen to thirty tons per square foot, and
thus rend the surface of the planet in a zone two hundred and twenty
miles wide, thus forming two parallel ridges which might be visible to
us as double canals. This preposterous idea takes no account of the
greater attractive force of the Earth, and that it too should have
had precisely the same experience, more often repeated. No trace of
such behaviors, however, has ever been detected. The Moon, too, should
have caught some of these heavy bodies, but while conspicuous cracks
are seen on her surface, and delicate ridges are seen radiating from
the larger volcanoes, not a trace of these great meteoric furrows
has ever been observed. It takes no account of the chances--one in a
million--that these cavorting meteors should meet at common centres,
and if they did, the impossibility that they should stop abruptly and
then start off in opposite directions. It takes no account of many
of the lines following the arc of a great circle, or what finally
became of three or four hundred of these meteors to tally with the
number of the canals, unless it is supposed that some of them went
whirling around the planet three or four times, changing their courses
instantly and repeatedly. Indeed, the advancement of such absurd ideas
shows the desperate despair of a man who tries to escape the admission
that the lines in question may be artificial--and hence the result of
intelligence working to a definite end--by a conception as crazy as one
might possibly get in a disordered dream. To heighten the absurdity
of this theory, if that were possible, Mr. J. L. E. Dryer, who signs
a notice of this paper, while calling attention to the fact that this
hypothesis takes no account of the correlation of changes in the canals
with seasonal changes on the planet, otherwise soberly says: "It must
be conceded that there is nothing in the new hypothesis contrary to
observed facts."

Mr. J. Orr, in the pages of the "British Astronomical Journal,"
assuming that Schiaparelli believed that the canals were excavated
(despite the fact that Schiaparelli called them _canali_, or
channels), and compared them to the English Channel and the Channel of
Mozambique--for at the outset he had no doubt of their being natural
configurations--proceeds to show the impossibility of an idea that
was never entertained. His attempt is as childish and ridiculous as
the theory he conjures up. Mr. Orr, taking it for granted that the
only explanation offered for these lines is that they are excavated,
concludes that a Martian canal, like Tartarus, "should be seventy
feet in depth (one might ask, why not five hundred or five thousand?)
and that the canals of Mars would contain 1,634,000 of our Suez
Canals, and would require an army of two hundred million men, working
for one thousand of our years, for their construction," and similar
idiocies regarding the population of Mars, which he concludes "must be
409,000,000, thus showing that all the adult males, and a large number
of women, must have been engaged in the great work." In connection
with this absurd travesty, let us pause for a moment to consider the
extraordinary character of the president of this society before which
this paper was read. A man who is the senior assistant of the Royal
Observatory at Greenwich, instead of rebuking this balderdash as
entirely beside the question, stated as the result of an experiment
with a lot of charity-school children, that the canals are merely
illusions of the brain, and this in the face of the testimony of a
number of astronomers, many of whom are highly distinguished, that
the markings do exist. This man seriously commented on the paper by
saying: "He hoped that Mr. Orr's statistical, but nevertheless amusing
and instructive, paper might prove one more nail in the coffin of a
very absurd idea which had certainly got most undue currency, namely,
that the canals of Mars could possibly be the work of human agents."
Equally astounding, too, is it that this nonsense the "Astronomical
Journal of the Pacific" republishes without a word of comment. But what
could we expect of the mentality of the senior assistant of the Royal
Observatory at Greenwich, who, with the great vault of heaven crowded
with enigmas awaiting an answer, should waste a particle of gray matter
in trying to ascertain precisely where Joshua stood when he commanded
the Sun to stand still so that he could have a little more time for
his bloody work. Even the day of the month is ascertained; he finds
that the date of this murderous affair was about July 22, and that the
Sun must have risen exactly at 5 A. M. and set at 7 P. M. The Moon,
he concludes, must have been about its third quarter and was within
half an hour of setting. He could not fix the year, however! Fancy
all this detail without a word of exegetical criticism, or comment
on the precise words of Joshua. "And he said in the sight of Israel,
Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of
Ajalon. And the Sun stood still, and the Moon stayed, until the people
had avenged themselves upon their enemies." Not even a pious query
as to why the Lord did not shower down a few more meteorites, rather
than disarrange the whole solar system. Such an attitude of the mind
renders one incapable of appreciating anything in astronomic research
beyond that which can be measured and photographed. The above is a fair
illustration of the intolerable attitude of many of those who deny the
existence of the canals, or, if admitting them as existent, resort to
every expedient to disprove their artificial character.

Among the interesting suggestions as to the cause of the lines on Mars
is that proposed by Professor W. H. Pickering, who, while admitting
that they represent bands of vegetation, believes that they have their
counterpart on the Moon, and that both are produced by volcanic forces,
the cracking of the surface being the result of internal strain and
stress. The fissures thus produced permit the escape of water vapor
and carbon dioxide, and thus the natural irrigation of these cracks is
effected and growth of vegetation follows. This opinion should have
great weight, as Professor Pickering has made a profound study of lunar
details, and is one of the foremost authorities on the subject. He
has also drawn many of the surface features of Mars, and was at one
time connected with the Lowell Observatory. He it was who suggested
irrigation to account for the great apparent width of the Martian
lines. In the "Annals of the Harvard College Observatory," Vol. LIII,
No. 14, Professor Pickering presents a study of a crater on the Moon's
surface, known as Eratosthenes, accompanied by drawings and photographs
of an area within the crater revealing a few irregular cracks which he
thinks correspond to the well-known canals of Mars; indeed, he calls
these lines canals though he believes them to be cracks. A few spots,
probably craterlets, he compares to the oases of Lowell. That there is
no atmosphere on the Moon is admitted by all. Professor Pickering's
keen eye has, however, detected a change in the appearance of these
cracks which he attributes to vegetation, animated in its growth
by water vapor and carbonic acid gas, as before remarked. In this
supposition he may be right, though it seems difficult to believe that
so deliquescent an organism as a plant could withstand a variation of
temperature from two to three hundred degrees below zero, to one above
that of boiling water. One might naturally ask why the greater cracks
so conspicuous on the Moon's surface, typical examples of which
are found in the Mare Serenitis, Mare Triangulatis, and surroundings,
do not emit aqueous vapor and carbon dioxide, and thus show similar
features of widening and change of shade. Admitting the correctness of
Pickering's views, it seems impossible to see any resemblance between
this diminutive agglomeration of lines within a lunar crater, and the
great geodetic lines sweeping for hundreds of miles across the face of

[Illustration: PLATE III


In the lunar crater, known as Flammarion's Circle, a most typical
branching crack is seen. An examination of these lunar cracks, of which
I made drawings through the great telescope at the Lowell Observatory,
showed them to be cracks of the most unmistakable character, paralleled
on the Earth's surface, by sunbaked fissures. If volcanic forces have
caused these cracks in the Moon the same kind of energy should have
produced the same general results in Mars, and circular craters should
equally be in evidence, for many of the lunar craters are sufficiently
large to be detected were they on Mars. They would certainly be
indicated on the terminator, and yet not a trace of such markings has
been found. It is rather extraordinary, too, that such earthquake
fissures on any great scale should not have been filled with trap,
silicate, or other injected material. Indeed it is strange that such a
triangulating arrangement of cracks has not been found on the Earth's

[Illustration: PLATE IV


In order to pronounce the lines on Mars as simply cracks one should
study the various kinds of cracks in similar surfaces on the Earth.
In such a study he would be amazed at the similarity of cracks. When
there is a grain in the substance, as in wood, the cracks follow
the grain, though even in this material they are discontinuous. In
amorphous material they have essentially the same character; whether in
the almost microscopic crackle of old Satsuma pottery, or huge cracks
in sun-dried mud, the areas enclosed are generally polygonal. If the
material be of impalpable fineness the edges of the cracks are smooth
and clean-cut, as in Plate III, from a Chinese bowl; whereas if the
material is coarse and pebbly the edges of the cracks are rough and
irregular, as in Plate IV, from the muddy shores of a lake. Cracks
arising from contraction never converge to a common centre, and when
not connected with another crack they taper to a point. They begin at
indefinite places and end in an equally indefinite manner. That there
should be a common resemblance in cracks due to contraction is
evident as they arise from a shrinking of the surface. The most ancient
deposits, millions of ages ago, reveal mud cracks differing in no
respect from those found to-day. We subjoin a few forms of cracks from
various surfaces, to show their essential resemblance. It will be seen
that the cracks in the Moon are identical in character to those found
on the Mesa at Flagstaff. They start from some indefinite point, are
irregular in outline and end as indefinitely. A poor asphalt pavement
offers one of the best opportunities for the study of the formation of
various kinds of cracks and fissures. On the edge of a sloping sidewalk
one may see the cracks due to a sliding, or lateral displacement of the
surface; the effects of subsidence show a number of cracks around the
area of depression; the growth of a tree crowding the asphalt shows
the effect of lateral thrust, and an enlargement of a root below, or
the effects of frost show cracks due to elevation. All these various
cracks reveal the same features: they are discontinuous, they begin and
end without definition. Schiaparelli says in regard to the _canali_ of
Mars: "None of them have yet been seen cut off in the middle of the
continent, remaining without beginning or without end." These lines on
the surface of Mars, as a writer in "Nature" says, are almost without
exception geodetically straight, supernaturally so, and this in spite
of their leading in every possible direction. It is inconceivable that
cracks should be laid out with such geodetic precision. We have seen
that cracks have no definite beginning or termination; we have seen
that the lines of Mars begin and end at definite places. Cracks are
irregular, vary in width and differ entirely from the straight lines
depicted by Schiaparelli, Lowell, and others. But if we admit them
to be natural cracks in the crust we are compelled to admit that the
forces implicated in such cracks must have been active many millions
of years ago, as Mars, being a much older planet than the Earth, must
have long since ceased to show those activities which the Earth,
even to-day, exhibits in such phenomena as earthquakes, subsidences,
elevations, and the like. Now cracks made at that early time in the
history of the planet must have long since become filled with detritus
and obliterated in other ways, and no evidence would show, even on
close inspection, of their former existence, much less at a distance of
50,000,000 of miles, more or less.

[Illustration: PLATE V

       2 INCHES

       2 FEET

       16 INCHES

       10 FEET

       55 MILES

  6. _a._ MOON      _b._ AFRICA
       100 MILES      1500 MILES



In Plate V, page 112, are given six figures representing various cracks
and fissures. No. 1 represents the cracks in the glaze of Japanese
pottery, magnified. No. 2 shows the mud cracks on the edge of a lake,
to the extent of two feet. No. 3 is a series of cracks in an asphalt
pavement, covering about two feet. No. 4 shows the form of cracks
in the surface of a mesa in Arizona, the result of the summer heat,
the length being about ten feet. No. 5 is a tracing from a drawing
by Professor W. H. Pickering showing cracks in the lunar crater
Eratosthenes, with an extent of fifty-five miles. The original drawing
represented a much greater widening of the lines which Professor
Pickering believes to be due to vegetation. I endeavored to trace
the centre of each line and Professor Pickering said in regard to my
tracing: "In one or two instances you have assumed that a crack went
through the middle of a broad space, whereas, for aught we know, it
may have gone along either edge, but otherwise the tracing obviously
follows the outlines of my drawing." It evidently gives a _cachet_
of what appears to be veritable cracks on the surface, and it is
interesting to compare this drawing with the cracks in the asphalt. In
No. 6 are two drawings; one marked A represents cracks in a region of
the Moon known as Flammarion's Circle, the other B represents the great
rift in southern Africa, probably the most stupendous phenomenon in
geological history. This rift has been traced from the Valley of the
Jordan through the Dead Sea, into the Gulf of Akaba, thence into the
Red Sea, which it follows the entire length, then turning southwesterly
into Africa and branching, one branch takes in Lake Tanganyika, and
the other branch Lake Nyassa. A portion north of Nyassa is still
problematical. Here is a crack 1,500 miles long, most of it filled with
detritus, water, or forest. It would be an interesting question whether
such a fracture would be visible even from the Moon. A glance at these
various figures will give one a conception of the similarity of cracks,
their irregular contour, their indeterminate origin, and ending. Cracks
arising from shrinkage vary only in the material in which the crack
takes place; the conditions resulting from shrinkage or pulling apart
are precisely the same.

[Illustration: PLATE VI

       37 MILES

       1/2 MILE

        1-1/3 MILES

       10 MILES





Let us now glance at a series of figures on Plate VI, page 113;
their artificial character may be recognized at once. They are all
designed for channels or thoroughfares for the transportation of men,
merchandise, or water. No. 1 represents a tracing from a railroad map
of a county in Illinois. The convergence of lines to common centres,
and, in one case, parallel lines may be seen. The length of the region
represented is thirty-seven miles. No. 2 is a tracing of streets
in a district of Montreal, covering an extent of half a mile. No. 3 is
a tracing of a small region near Phoenix, Arizona, showing irrigating
canals. The larger ones follow contour lines of the surface; the
smaller ones are usually laid out in rectangular form to correspond
with the original land sections and sub-sections, the boundary lines
of which run north and south, east and west. No. 4 represents the
canals converging on Groningen, Holland. No. 5 is a tracing from a
hemispherical map of Mars made by Schiaparelli, and No 6 is traced
from a photograph of a globe on which Lowell has carefully drawn the
canals, oases, etc., of Mars covering a land extent of 7,400 miles. The
remarkable artificiality of all these figures must be admitted. The
lines on the first four figures are laid out by an intelligence for
similar purposes. No. 1 for the conveyance of passengers and freight;
No. 2 for the traffic of a city; No. 3 for the conveyance of water; No.
4 for purposes of navigation, and Nos. 5 and 6, according to Lowell's
view, for the conveyance of water from melting polar snow caps for
irrigation purposes. A simple, rational explanation, as their great
width and geodetic precision forbid any other.

Let one contemplate these lines of Mars and compare them with the
natural cracks on Plate V and he will appreciate the emphatic words of
Lowell when he says: "The mere aspect is enough to cause all theories
about glaciation, fissures, or surface cracks to die an instant and
natural death." Consider any other possible tracing of lines on the
face of the Earth as the result of Nature's forces, such as river beds,
cañons, chasms, fissures, faults, rifts, precipitous valleys, fiords,
the results of sharp folds in the strata, parallel chains of mountains,
and none of these lines would be straight, none of them would be of
uniform width, and few of them would have the enormous breadth of the
Martian lines, they would begin nowhere and, with the exception of
the rivers, end nowhere. This definition holds good as the result of
natural forces from the microscopic crackle on a dinner plate, to a
crack in the Earth's crust fifteen hundred miles long.

Having briefly alluded to some of the theories advanced to explain the
geodetic network of lines encircling Mars--theories in one case so
puerile, and in another case an interpretation so monstrous, though
endorsed by astronomers of standing--we turn to the suggestion that
these various lines are artificial, that they were designed for a
definite purpose, namely, to conduct water from those regions alone
where water is found for the purposes of irrigation. We shall call
attention to a parallel case where the great ice caps and glaciers of
the Himalaya Mountains supply water, by their melting, for thousands of
miles of irrigating canals. Let us ask ourselves whether if the snows
of the Himalayas gradually failed, the crowded millions of India would
not if necessary reach out to the farthest North for this precious
fluid? Our great centres of population at the present time are reaching
out in every direction for water supply. How long would it take New
York City to decide in case of water famine to tap the Great Lakes to
the north, or to establish pipe lines to the north pole, if it were
necessary to go that distance for water?

From the foregoing it is seen that the question of water supply has
engaged the energies of man from pre-historic times. These great
irrigating works are found, however, in regions of sterility, or light
rainfall, from the rude irrigating canals of ancient Peru and Arizona
to the marvellous accomplishments of the hydraulic engineer in India
and Egypt. This demand for more water is not, however, confined to
regions of sterility, the reaching out of cities for supplies of water
for potable purposes and for the wasteful disposal of sewage was
inevitable. What shall we say, however, of the notes of warning in
regions of rain?

England is considered a land of humidity and copious rains, and yet the
alarm is already sounded that in the no distant future an appalling
catastrophe may threaten her in the failure of her water supply. In a
special despatch to the "New York Herald," Mr. Bently, president of
the Royal Meteorological Society, is quoted as saying at its Annual
Meeting, "So enormous now is the drain upon the country's available
supplies, so much have the growth of cities, the disappearance of
forested areas, the extent of street surface impervious to moisture,
and the diversion of the rivers, lakes, and other natural fresh water
reservoirs from their natural function of irrigators and distributors
of the all essential moisture to the land interfered in England with
nature's arrangements, that English engineers and meteorologists at no
distant date may find a task of almost insuperable difficulty awaiting
their endeavors."

Dr. Mill, a rainfall expert, on being consulted by a "Daily Mail"
correspondent regarding this alarming statement, was of the opinion
that the question would require early consideration. We quote his words
as follows: "Legislation is needed in the immediate future for the
regulation of the rivers. The great question is how to store the water
which at present runs to waste on the coasts."

"The planting of trees on the high water-sheds is one of the first
solutions of the problem. The chief difficulty lies in the scarcity
of suitable land available for building large reservoirs, and at some
future date the services of engineers will be required to reform the
present arrangement of reservoirs."

"In Austria the government issues an annual report on the condition
of the Danube and detailed statistics of the rainfall, with a view
to storing all the available water supplies. The work done by the
Austrian government I am doing in regard to the British Isles on my own
responsibility, but the rainfall and the river conditions are only a
portion of a much larger problem."

The above quotations indicate that even now an alarm is felt in
countries of fair rainfall regarding the possible failure of the water
supply in the near future and is perhaps a premonition as to what may
be absorbing our energies in centuries to come. Such possibilities as
here suggested may offer an additional clew to an interpretation of the
Martian markings.

The unnatural straightness of these interlacing lines on Mars,
many of them following the arcs of great circles, their uniform
width throughout, their always starting from definite areas,
their convergence to common centres, and their varying visibility
synchronizing with the Martian seasons finds no parallel in natural

If in the mind's eye we were to survey the Earth from Mars the only
feature we should find at all paralleling the lines in Mars would be
found in the level regions of the West, where, for thousands of miles,
the land extends in vast level stretches. In these regions would be
found lines of railroads running in straight courses, starting from
definite places, converging to common centres, their sides, in certain
seasons, conspicuous with ripening grain fields, or again the work of
the United States Reclamation Bureau running its irrigating canals in
various directions through that great region. Both these kinds of lines
would be artificial and both designed for purposes of conveyance--in
the one case, merchandise and passengers, in the other case, water.

If the Martian lines are not artificial some other theories must be
offered than those thus far advanced to explain their origin and

The phenomenon of the extraordinary doubling of the canals when first
announced was immediately disbelieved; when, however, other observers
confirmed Schiaparelli's discoveries, and it became evident that these
double lines had a veritable existence, the phenomenon was regarded as
an evidence that profound physical changes were going on in the planet.
Thus in 1887 Mr. Stanislaus Maunier, in "La Nature,"[6] in alluding to
the remarkable discovery of the doubling of the canals, says: "Mars at
this moment is the theatre of phenomena of stupendous grandeur which
will be adequate in a few years to impress profound changes in its
aspect." This was written in 1887, and continuous observations of the
planet since that time have shown no profound changes, or changes of
any kind beyond those which periodically occur with the seasons. Since
Mars is a much older planet than the Earth, it seems reasonable to
believe that it is more stable, that volcanoes and earthquakes have
long ceased to manifest their activities, that erosive action by water
is no longer in evidence, subsidence and elevation of continental areas
no longer occur. From this condition of the planet it is impossible to
believe that the curious phenomenon of the doubling or gemination of
the canals can be due to any physical changes now taking place.

Schiaparelli said that many of the ingenious suppositions advanced to
account for this doubling of the canals would not have been proposed
had their authors been able to examine the gemination with their own
eyes; he further says: "It is far easier to explain the gemination if
we are willing to introduce the forces pertaining to organic nature;
here the field of plausible supposition is immense," and in this field
of suppositions he suggests "changes of vegetation over vast areas."
Let any intelligent mind soberly consider this rational suggestion
of Schiaparelli's and compare it with other theories that have been
advanced, and he will be compelled to admit that vegetation alone gives
us at least a clew to the extraordinary behavior of these parallel
lines. To understand the symmetry, the suddenness, and the vast extent
of this phenomenon, the further explanation of vegetation superinduced
by artificial methods will alone complete the answer.

Sir Robert Ball cannot conceive how Mars, a much older planet, should
develop synchronously with the Earth creatures of intelligence, an
event which he insists should have occurred ages earlier in its
history. In this supposition he is quite right, for if there are
creatures of intelligence in Mars these should have appeared much
earlier, and that is probably what has happened. The problem is one
parallel to that urged by Sir Boyd Dawkins in regard to the evidences
of man in the Tertiary rocks. Dawkins argued that since the mammals in
the Tertiary had changed so profoundly, many types becoming extinct,
if man had lived at that time he also should have been affected by
the same influences, and should have changed accordingly. It has been
clearly pointed out by Cope and others that the moment intelligence
became a factor in natural selection it was seized upon to the relative
exclusion of physical characteristics, hence but little change,
otherwise than an intellectual one, has taken place in man since his
progenitors took to the trees and made up by agility, cunning, and
alertness what they lacked in physical strength. In the same way,
if, in the past history of Mars, an intelligent creature appeared he
must have survived under precisely similar conditions, and long after
favorable environments had passed that were implicated in making him
what he was.

Admitting that there is an intelligent creature of some kind in Mars,
is it reasonably conceivable that he should have caused such changes
in the surface features of that planet as to be visible from the
Earth? Professor Newcomb concludes, in a recent article in "Harper's
Magazine," that "we cannot expect to see any signs of the works of
inhabitants in Mars, if such exist." Let us, however, reverse the
proposition and ask ourselves if man has been implicated in any changes
in the surface appearance of the Earth that would be visible from
Mars? And I think the question can be answered in only one way. The
vast cities such as Pekin, Tokio, London, and New York, with their
great expanse of tiled and slated roofs, and sterile streets, would
certainly have a different albedo from the grass and trees in the
immediate outskirts of such places. The tracts of land reclaimed from
the sea, and still more the enormous areas which have been rendered
green by irrigation, must, of all contrasts, be markedly conspicuous.
To realize the extent of this work, it is only necessary to state that
in Egypt 6,000,000 acres depend upon irrigation, and this area to be
vastly increased in a short time; the Western states of America with
10,000,000 acres, and this area being rapidly augmented by the work
of the United States Reclamation Bureau; in India 25,000,000 acres
under irrigation, and this being continually added to; above all,
however, the vast extent of territory from which the dark forests have
been removed in this country, and more particularly in China, must
make a visible landmark. If one can recall the appearance of forests
in the southern and middle part of Maine, say from Bethel or Bangor,
fifty years ago, he will remember that from the top of any hill a
stretch of dark blue forest was to be seen as far as the eye could
reach, and now from the same elevations one can see only an occasional
clump of blue forest, while the remaining surface is, according to
the season, either bright green, yellow with ripening vegetation, or
white with snow, out of which the dark clumps of forest growth are most
conspicuous. Considering the contrasting colors in one year covering
hundreds of thousands of square miles in various portions of the
country, the question naturally arises which of these contrasts would
be most conspicuous,--the colors just mentioned of solid land surfaces
of vegetation, snow, and desert, or diaphanous clouds with their gray
shadows. We are told that Jupiter, with the mean distance at opposition
of nearly 400,000,000 miles, shows its clouds, its red spot, and the
shadow transits of its satellites. Surely if these conditions are seen
from the Earth, the changes in the Earth's appearance above described
might be seen from Mars, which at its nearest opposition is only
35,000,000 miles away, and, conversely, any change of similar character
in Mars would certainly be visible from the Earth.



        _Nothing is more difficult and requires more caution than
        philosophical deduction, nor is there anything more adverse
        to its accuracy than fixity of opinion._


It will be of interest to examine the writings of certain astronomers,
and writers on astronomy, to appreciate the unreasonable conservatism,
not to say narrow-mindedness, which color their opinions. It ill
becomes students of science to ridicule the honest and persistent
labors of such men as Schiaparelli, Lowell, Perrotin, and others,
unless they can show an equal devotion to the work. They do not recall
the deluge of essays, reviews, and sober treatises which followed
Darwin's great work, viewing the evidences of Darwin not thoughtfully,
nor based upon any knowledge of the subject, but with contempt, and,
in many instances, with vituperation. So rapid, however, was the
recognition of Darwin's interpretation of Nature's facts that most
of these writers lived long enough to see their protests entirely
discredited, or to become enthusiastic advocates of the theory.

In their own domain of astronomy these writers are equally forgetful of
the earnest and even bitter controversies regarding the demonstration
by Chandler of the oscillation of the poles, and consequent variation
of latitude, and the final establishment of Chandler's views, in the
teeth of opposition, by the greatest astronomers.

The character of this irrelevant and adverse criticism may be
appreciated by subjoining a few examples. The most amazing of all these
expressions is to be found in the report of the British Astronomical
Association, for 1892. It seems that a committee had been appointed by
the Association to report on the surface features of Mars. E. Walter
Maunder was made Director of the Committee. Twenty-six observers,
of whom twenty-one were inhabitants of Great Britain, sent in the
result of their work accompanied by drawings. A summary of this work
was published in the form of memoranda accompanied by a Mercator
projection map of Mars, individual planisphere drawings, as well as
colored plates; these together represented twenty-eight single canals,
five double canals, nine oases, as well as the dark regions so long
familiar to astronomers. This was a somewhat remarkable contribution
considering the complaints from the different observers in regard to
the weather, and the prejudiced, and negligent part played by the man
at the helm. That I am not unjust in these statements may be understood
by quoting from the report showing the conditions under which the
English observers labored, the delinquent part which Mr. Maunder,
the Director, played in the matter, and the conclusions which Mr.
Maunder arrived at after this unsatisfactory performance. He says:
"The opposition of 1892 proved on the whole a very disappointing one.
Although Mars at opposition was almost at its nearest approach to the
Earth, it was far from being well placed for observation by European
astronomers owing to its great southerly declination, and consequent
low altitude.[7] The weather during the autumn of 1892 was for the most
part very unfavorable for observation of so difficult an object, and
several members who joined the section at the beginning were unable to
contribute either drawings or report."

Now I beg the reader to carefully note the part the Director played
in this important work. Here are his words; there is no need of
italicizing them. "None of the few evenings which the Director was able
to give to the examination of the planet was really suitable for the
purpose, and as the pressure of other duties rendered it impossible
for him to supply any detailed help to the members, the section was
at a very serious disadvantage." He certainly is frank enough to
state the disadvantages the section was under with such a man at the
head. Realizing the conditions of seeing in the fog and soot-begrimed
atmosphere of England, the low altitude of Mars, and the loss to
the committee of the assistance which a Director might have given
to the work had he been able to approach the subject in a broad and
unprejudiced manner, one is naturally led to ask what this committee
would have accomplished if each member in turn had had an opportunity
of observing Mars at a high altitude with a twenty-four inch refractor
of remarkable definition, at an elevation of 7,000 feet above the
sea-level, in an atmosphere so clear and steady that stars of the third
and fourth magnitude may be seen to set at the horizon line.

Mr. Maunder in speaking of the nomenclature used in his report says,
"The term 'canal' has also been retained, though 'canals' in the sense
of being artificial productions, the markings of Mars which bear that
name, are certainly not. It is difficult, indeed, to understand how
so preposterous an idea obtained currency for a moment even by the
most ignorant." It is impossible to repress one's amazement at these
expressions after the confessions he makes as to his official functions
on the committee, and I appeal to any honest and unprejudiced mind if
a more incompetent person of the class to which he belongs could have
been found in England for the Directorship of such a body. In this
connection we cannot refrain from giving a few paragraphs from a paper
entitled "Can Organic Life Exist in the Planetary System?" by C. A.
Stetefeldt. The author says: "We must, however, acknowledge that if
other suns in the universe have planets--and there is no reason why
they should not--many of them may present physical conditions identical
with, or similar to, those existing on the Earth, and that therefore
their organic life may be similar to our own. Further, I am far from
denying that, under favorable circumstances, creatures may be evolved
upon planets which revolve around other suns, whose mental capacity is
as much superior to man's as that of the latter is to the lowest form
of vertebrates." Having made these liberal admissions in regard to the
universe at large he attempts to show that none of the planets outside
the Earth could sustain life, and finally closes in this extraordinary
manner: "In concluding this investigation we cannot help admiring the
inductive acumen of the theologians who considered the Earth the most
important of the planets, and the centre of creation. Although their
opinions were not based upon scientific facts, they _arrived at the
truth nevertheless_." (Italics ours.) Familiar as every one is with
the attitude of theologians for the last several centuries concerning
astronomical discovery I think it may be safely said that this is
the first instance on record where they have been credited with an
induction not based on observed facts worth quoting in an astronomical
paper. And this contribution also appeared in the publications of the
"Astronomical Society of the Pacific," Volume VI, No. 25, without a
word of comment! How different was the behavior of the "Journal" when
a report of Percival Lowell's lecture on Mars, written by Dr. Edward
Everett Hale, was reproduced in its pages. The following comments were
made by Edward S. Holden, then Director of the Lick Observatory:
"Something is seen, no doubt, but I may add that nothing has been
observed at the Lick Observatory during the years 1888-1895, so far
as I know, which goes to confirm the very striking conclusions here
described." It may be added that during the years 1888-1892 nothing was
seen of the fifth moon of Jupiter. The discovery of this satellite with
the Lick telescope was not due to any special efforts on the part of
the Director.

The Rev. E. Ledger, "Nineteenth Century Magazine," Volume LIII, 1903,
p. 773, in an article entitled "The Canals of Mars--Are they Real?"
presents an excellent account of the successive observers of Mars,
and the results of their work, and the objections of those who could
not see the canals, or saw them imperfectly. He recalls Maunder's
childish experiments, and is greatly impressed by them. He then
says: "Astronomers are no doubt very well acquainted with the laws
of optics as applied to the eye. They have made, and may yet make,
many experiments connected with their action. They are accustomed to
allow for individual peculiarities in observation, as, for instance,
when what is termed personal equation affects the rapidity with which
different observers touch a key to record what they see. They may
therefore skilfully judge of the effect produced in observations of
Mars by such processes of the eye, or of the brain, or nervous system
as I have referred to." He strongly thinks it would be well "if some
skilful nerve specialist and oculist could work in conjunction with
some of these practised observers who have seen the canals. They might
both assist in observing, and at the same time carry out careful
researches into the optical delusions which brain or eye may experience
in connection with telescopic observation." This is certainly a happy
thought of the reverend author, only it would seem in this case that a
larger and more diversified corps of specialists, including alienists,
is needed to attend to that class of astronomers who are suffering with
mental strabismus. It might be advisable to call in the services of
a bacteriologist to make cultures of new forms of microbes which may
be involved in rendering a man incapable of estimating the value of

It is the exception rather than the rule in astronomical science that
one finds such unfounded and prejudiced utterances as those above
commented upon. The glamour of astrology still lingers, in the public
eye in its respect and awe for the astronomer's work. Every eclipse
seems in the nature of a prophecy. The public contributes liberally
for the support of eclipse expeditions, observatories, and the like,
and these contributions would be still more liberal if the public
could realize the profound significance of the researches now being
carried on by Director Pickering at Harvard, Director Campbell at Lick,
Director Hale at the Solar Observatory, Mount Wilson, and many others.
Their observations are received without question. The thoughtful
man would only ask that like credence should be given to the work
of every earnest student unless disproved, even though the field of
investigation covers regions hitherto but little explored, and yet of
the very greatest interest to the human race.



        _If in any planet we could detect the traces of vegetable
        life it would at once be a strong argument for the
        existence of animals there and vice versa._

                HENRY DRAPER.

Schiaparelli points out that "the polar snows of Mars prove in an
incontrovertible manner that the planet, like the Earth, is surrounded
by an atmosphere capable of transporting vapor from one place to
another." Mr. E. E. Barnard, in the "Astrophysical Journal," Volume
XVII, No. 4, in speaking of the polar caps, says: "There seems no
definite proof that they are not as much ice and snow as that which we
have to deal with in our own terrestrial winters. So much is at least
suggested by the great seasonal changes they undergo from winter to
summer. There seems to be a general belief now that Mars certainly has
an atmosphere. This atmosphere seems to be very much less than our own,
and yet it is of sufficient density to produce the phenomena of the
polar caps by condensation and evaporation and also to produce, though
rarely, some form of clouds."

Among those who have claimed to have established the existence of water
vapor in Mars by the spectroscope are Rutherford, Secchi, Huggins,
Janssen, and Vogel; and these declare the existence of a Martian
atmosphere similar to our own in composition. Mr. Campbell can find no
spectroscopic indication of an atmosphere charged with water vapor.
Lewis E. Jewell says: "The spectroscopic proof of the presence of a
fair amount of water in the atmosphere of Mars must be regarded as
unattainable." Professor Lowell, despite the aid the admission of
water vapor in Mars would give to his position, also doubts whether
the spectroscope is able to detect the evidence through our own
moisture-laden atmosphere.

After a minute and exhaustive study of the polar snow caps by the
combined observations of Lowell, Douglass and W. H. Pickering, Mr.
Lowell says: "It is interesting that the cap should so simply tell us
of these three important things: the presence of air, the presence of
water, and the presence of a temperature, not incomparable with that of
the Earth."

Seasonal changes on Mars have long been recognized and admitted
by astronomers, and these changes are on so vast a scale as to be
distinctly visible from the earth. Without an atmosphere the surface
of Mars would be inert. Schiaparelli was the first to notice that at
successive oppositions the same regions showed different degrees of
darkness and accounted for these variations by seasonal change. Mr.
Denning believes that certain changes in the appearance of the markings
to be due to vaporous condensations. Sir Norman Lockyer believed he
saw the obscuration of a large region by clouds, this obscuration
continuing for some hours. A bright spot on the terminator of Mars,
discovered by Douglass at the Lowell Observatory, and which led to the
newspaper excitement that signals were being made, was seen to move
and finally disappear and its appearance, drift and disappearance is
interpreted by Lowell as a cloud illuminated by the Sun and carried
along by the wind. The presence of clouds, judging from my own brief
experience, was certainly suggested at times by the peculiar way in
which a large region known as Syrtis Major disappeared and flashed
out again. This behavior might be expected of the tenuous lines as a
result of refraction and other disturbances in our own atmosphere;
when, however, a large, dark region at one time stands out firm,
clear and sharp-cut as the stroke of a Japanese brush, then gradually
fades out and remains obscure for some time we are inclined to believe
that Sir Norman Lockyer's interpretation is true and that in such a
case drifting clouds or sudden vaporous condensation produced the

From an article on Mars by Sir Robert Ball, republished in the
"Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution" for 1900, we quote
the following: "The discussion we have just given will prepare us to
believe that a planet with the size and mass of Mars may be expected
to be encompassed with an atmosphere. Our telescopic observations
completely bear this out. It is perfectly certain that there is a
certain shell of gaseous material investing Mars. This is shown in
various ways. We note the gradual obscuration of objects on the planet
as they approach the edge of the disk, where they are necessarily
viewed through a greatly increased thickness of Martian atmosphere.
We also observe the clearness with which objects are exhibited at the
centre of the disk of Mars, and though this may be in some measure
due to the absence of distortion from the effects of foreshortening,
it undoubtedly arises to some extent from the fact that objects in
this position are viewed through a comparatively small thickness of
the atmosphere enveloping the planet. Clouds are also sometimes seen
apparently floating in the upper region of Mars. This, of course, is
possible only on the supposition that there must be an atmosphere which
formed the vehicle by which clouds were borne along. It is, however,
quite obvious that the extent of the Martian atmosphere must be quite
insignificant when compared with that by which our Earth is enveloped.
It is a rare circumstance for any of the main topographical features,
such as the outlines of its so-called continents, or the coasts of
its so-called seas, to be obscured by clouds to an extent which is
appreciable except by very refined observations."

Professor W. H. Pickering made seven photographs of Mars on April 9,
and within twenty-four hours made seven additional photographs of
the same region. The second series of photographs showed an area of
white extending from the polar snow cap far down toward the equator,
covering a surface which he estimated to be as large as the United
States. It afterwards slowly disappeared. How shall we account for
this sudden apparition of a vast area of white which the photographs
of twenty-four hours before did not reveal. A boy of ten, as well as
the philosopher would simply say a snow-storm had taken place in Mars.
Is it, then, unreasonable to picture whirling snowflakes, snow-drifts,
and dazzling whiteness from the Sun's rays, and in the rapid melting
of the snow, broad rivers and turbulent brooks with water areas frozen
at night? But why should we be compelled to imagine as naked the
surface through which these waters find their way? Soil there must be
from the continual erosion of running water. The character of the rock
exposures we cannot guess at, but a picture of bare rock and lifeless
ground is unthinkable. Such wide-spread storms without an atmosphere
could not occur. The seasonal appearance of these snows and their slow
disappearance not only indicates an atmosphere, but an atmosphere
disturbed by established currents which convey the moisture-laden air
to regions of congelation.

A number of observers who have detected clouds in Mars described
them as being yellowish in color. What more probable than that these
yellowish masses are simply dust-storms such as one may often see
whirling along over our American deserts? When the gusts of wind
are fitful like squalls at sea, the obscuration would be fitful, to
clear up again. The vast areas of desert land in Mars renders this
supposition very probable.

Since the above was written, my attention has been called to an
early "Bulletin of the Lowell Observatory," in which Mr. Lowell,
in discussing the appearance of a certain large projection on the
terminator of Mars, says: "Finally, its color leads me to believe it
not a cloud of water-vapor, but a cloud of dust. Other phenomena of the
planet bear out this supposition."



        _Your theory of vegetation becomes more and more probable._

                SCHIAPARELLI in a letter to Lowell.

Let one stand on some peak of the Verd Mountains, northeast from
Phoenix, Arizona, overlooking the Gila River as it follows its course
across the desert, and after the river is lost to view he will notice
that the foliage along its banks marks its course. If one takes this
view in winter time, the uniform gray of the plains, unbroken by a
single shade of color blends with the light blue of the distant Plomas
and Castle Dome Mountains on the southwest horizon. In the early spring
when the water is first let into the irrigating channels with their
innumerable divergent ditches, a shade of green may be seen emerging
from the monotonous yellow-gray of the hot and sterile plain, first
conspicuous near the source of the water supply, and then following
along to Phoenix, Tempe, and other regions till in full efflorescence
these cities stand out like great green carpets spread upon the Earth.
From this mountain top not a trace of an irrigating ditch, large or
small, would be discerned, except here and there a glint of reflected
sunlight, but the effects of the life-giving waters can be traced in
broad bands to the remotest limits of the water channels, when they
would end as abruptly as they had begun.

If we examine railroad maps, the lines of which represent the road-beds
utilized to convey passengers and freight to various places, we shall
observe that in mountainous regions the lines run very irregularly,
often paralleling mountain chains, or following rivers. On level areas
such as Iowa, Texas, and other states, the railroads run for hundreds
of miles in straight lines, at times converging towards large centres
of population. Their occasional parallelism and radiation from centres,
all present a certain _cachet_ in angles of approach and alignment
that reminds one strongly of similar features in the markings of
Mars. If each railroad were bordered by a wide growth of trees with
sterile desert between, these broad bands as seen from Mars would be
identical with the appearance of similar lines in Mars as seen from
the Earth. In Mars, however, there are no high elevations since the
terminator of Mars stands out clear cut and not jagged as in the Moon.
The planet being devoid of hill ranges, and large oceans, the canals
can run in straight lines for hundreds of miles. If it were possible
to conceive by analogy a creature on Mars furnished with a telescope,
he would undoubtedly correlate the irrigating regions of Arizona as
similar in nature to his own canals. The irregularity of the rivers
running through such regions would puzzle him quite as much as we are
puzzled by the absolute straightness of the Martian canals. He would,
of course, observe that in our winter the irrigating areas became
invisible, to appear again as our summer advanced. His own experience
of vegetation arising from irrigation alone and starting from the north
when the first water from the melting snow cap animated the growth of
plant life, and proceeding slowly towards the equator would prevent him
from understanding the reverse condition on our planet, with the shade
of green being perennial at the equator and spreading slowly north with
the advance of summer.

The marvels of irrigation are impossible to conceive of without first
seeing a parched land before the water channels are dug and the
exuberant vegetation springing with the water's advent. The illimitable
stretches of arid plain, no green, rarely an evidence of life, and
then usually in hideous shapes like the hissing and purple-mouthed
Gila monster; hot pale dust; blinding sunlight; ragged clumps of gray
sagebrush, rebuking by their hopeless color and dishevelled appearance,
the intolerable condition of their existence; angular cacti, surviving
because of their vicious needles, and then literally a step only from
this sterile waste, and one finds himself wading through rich, soft
alfalfa, under the deep shade of cottonwood trees, glistening threads
of water when the overhanging vegetation does not hide the channels,
brilliant flowers, singing birds, fat cattle and vociferous children.

In this apparently irreclaimable desert of Arizona, have sprung up
prosperous cities, great farms and fruit orchards. About Phoenix,
more than one hundred and twenty-five thousand acres are under the
richest and most profitable cultivation, and all due to a little narrow
canal which conveys the water from Salado River, and distributes it
by narrow ditches, so narrow, indeed, as to be invisible except on
the nearest approach. There have already been constructed in the
Gila Valley alone, two hundred and fifty miles of ditches, and four
hundred miles of parallels. Mr. Ray Stannard Baker, in the "Century"
for July, 1902, presents in a graphic way, the marvels of irrigation.
Major J. W. Powell, during the later years of his life devoted his
whole time and energy to urging the reclamation of desert lands in the
West by irrigation. In his reports on the subject he estimated that a
region equal in size to New England, New York, Pennsylvania, and West
Virginia could be recovered from the desert sands of Arizona and other
regions in the West. In India, millions of pounds have been spent for
irrigating canals and ditches. A single canal with its tributaries
drawing water from the Ganges measures 3,910 miles in length, bringing
into cultivation one million acres of land at an expense of fifteen
millions of dollars. The idea of irrigation is not due to the advanced
intellect of man; it has been the result of dire necessity and is of
great antiquity. Mr. Frank Hamilton Cushing discovered evidences of the
most extensive irrigating canals among the ancient Pueblo Indians of

Sir C. Scott Moncrief, in his address as president of the engineering
section of the British Association for the Advancement of Science,
describes the various forms of irrigation. The primitive method
consists in raising water by human labor. Early Egyptian sculpture
depicts laborers raising water by means of buckets, and along the
banks of the Nile the same method may be seen to-day. Other methods
of raising water are by pumps driven by windmills. In certain regions
Artesian wells furnish water for irrigation. The importance of
irrigation is best shown in the fact, that, while the rainfall in
Cairo is, on an average, one and four tenths inches a year, yet in the
immediate neighborhood land brings $750 per acre; this value being due
to irrigation alone. In speaking of water storage for supplying the
irrigating canals the author says: "When there is no moderating lake,
a river fed by a glacier has a precious source of supply. The hotter
the weather the more rapidly will the ice melt, and this is just when
irrigation is most wanted." (Judging from this dictum, the condition in
Mars is ideal.) In speaking of the great Assouan Reservoir in Egypt, he
says: "The sale value of land irrigated by its waters will be increased
by about $125,000,000. The increase in irrigation areas in our Western
States may be appreciated by the following figures. In 1889 it amounted
to 3,564,416 acres; in 1900, to 7,539,545 acres. Now it is at least
10,000,000 acres. Without irrigation this land sold for four or five
dollars per acre; with irrigation it brings forty dollars per acre.



        _Not only does life but intelligence flourish on this globe
        under a great variety of conditions, as regards temperature
        and surroundings, and no sound reason can be shown why
        under certain conditions which are frequent in the
        universe, intelligent beings should not acquire the highest

                SIMON NEWCOMB.

The argument most often urged against the idea that life exists in Mars
is that there is no atmosphere in that planet, or if there is one it is
so rarefied that it could not sustain life as we know it. According to
Proctor, we have heretofore been led to consider the planet's physical
condition as adapted to the wants of creatures which exist upon our
own Earth rather than to ascertain the conditions which might obtain
to enable life to exist on the surface of other planets. It is highly
probable that if an air-breathing animal of our earth were instantly
immersed in an atmosphere as rare as that of Mars, it would perish in
a short time. Precisely what a species through thousands of generations
of selection and survival might adapt itself to, is an open question.
Leaving this contention for a moment, let us consider the almost
infinite variety of conditions under which life exists on our globe,
and we shall find that any and all conditions which the surface of Mars
may offer, if experienced gradually through successive generations,
would not be inimical to terrestrial life from the lowest to the
highest, including even man.

Mr. Garrett P. Serviss, in discussing the question of life, in his book
"Other Worlds," said: "Would it not be unreasonable to assume that
vital phenomena on other planets must be subject to exactly the same
limitations that we find circumscribing them in our world? That kind of
assumption has more than once led us far astray even in dealing with
terrestrial conditions. It is not so long ago, for instance, since life
in the depths of the sea was deemed to be demonstrably impossible. The
bottom of the ocean, we were assured, was a region of eternal darkness
and of frightful pressure, wherein no living creatures could exist. Yet
the first dip of the deep-sea trawl brought up animals of marvellous
delicacy of organization, which, although curiously and wonderfully
adapted to live in a compressed liquid, collapsed when lifted into a
lighter medium."

One has only to make himself familiar with the wide range of conditions
under which life in various forms exists on the Earth, to realize
that the introduction of Martian conditions here would not be such an
overwhelming calamity, and if these conditions could be introduced
by minute increments covering thousands of centuries, it is not
unreasonable to believe that myriads of forms would survive the change,
and among those that survive would be precisely the kinds that thrive
under the most diverse conditions here--namely, man and the higher
hymenoptera, the ants.

To enumerate, in the broadest way, the variety of conditions under
which life exists here, one has only to enumerate creatures living
in the deepest abysses of the ocean; high up on the slopes of the
Himalayas; swarming in arctic seas; withstanding the hot glare of a
tropical sun; living deep in the ground; breeding in the darkest caves;
flourishing in desert regions; thriving in water below freezing, and
again in water nearly at the boiling point. Professor Jeffries Wyman,
in a memoir on "Living Organisms in Heated Water," has collected data
showing that fishes are found living in water ranging from 104° to 135°
Fahrenheit. He also found that low forms of plant life exist in water
of various temperatures as high as:

    168° F. observed by Dr. Hooker in Sorujkund;
    174° "     "     "  Capt. Strachey in Thibet;
    185° "     "     "  Humboldt in LaTrinchera;
    199° "     "     "  Dr. Brewer in California;
    208° "     "     "  Descloizeaux in Iceland.

If we consider man alone, we find him at Aden, on the Red Sea, at a
temperature of 130° in the shade, and in Siberia at 70° below zero;
grovelling in mines deep in the Earth, and living in great communities
ten thousand feet above sea-level; fighting battles on the slopes
of the Himalayas, at an altitude of 19,000 feet; nomadic on sterile
tracts; sweltering under the glaring sun of the equator, and existing
in regions of perpetual snow and ice, and without sunlight for six
months of the year. Such are a few of the varied conditions to which
man has become accustomed since he emerged from his tropical and
arboreal relatives.

The question finally comes down to the effect of the rarefaction of air
on life. An inquiry as to how far man can stand changes of atmospheric
pressure is of interest in this connection, for we know that sudden
changes are accompanied by mountain sickness, at great elevations,
and caisson disease under great pressure. Large birds soar among the
high peaks of the Andes and drop at once to sea-level. I have dredged
delicate mollusks at a depth of one hundred and fifty fathoms of water
and kept them alive for weeks in an aquarium. Man, while showing a
sensitiveness to changes in barometric pressure when experienced
suddenly, can nevertheless get accustomed to great ranges of pressure.
The cities of Bogota and Quito are 10,000 feet above the level of the
sea and yet in Quito when De Saussure, the naturalist, became so ill
from the rarefaction that he could hardly find energy enough to read
his instruments, and his servants, digging holes in the snow, fainted
from the exertion, the natives were pursuing their various activities,
and bull-fights were going on! One has only to read the accounts of the
English expedition to Thibet to learn that troops fought in skirmishes
at the height of 19,000 feet.

Mr. Douglas W. Freshfield (in "Scot. Geo. Mag.," April, 1905) gives an
account of mountain sickness in the Sikkim Himalaya. He says the effect
of high altitude was different in different individuals; some men were
entirely free from it, and among them a Goorkha, who ran back in a pass
at an altitude of 20,000 feet to hurry up some loiterers. Another
member of the party, an Englishman, actually gained in weight, and had
an increased appetite. Here, then, are a few men among a small number,
without previous experience in rarefied air, feeling no disturbance,
and, in one case, actually benefited by it!

The question arises as to what natural selection would do among a
hundred million say, who, through many centuries, might be subject
to a gradual attenuation of the air. The result of rarefaction of
the atmosphere and the absence of moisture is associated with marked
hygienic influences. The Hadley Climatological Laboratory of the
University of New Mexico has made special investigations as to the
increased lung capacity of those living at high altitudes, the relation
of dry soil to health, etc. Important work has been done by Drs. John
Weinzirl, C. Edw. Magnusson, F. S. Maltby, and Mrs. W. C. Hadley,
and their investigations go to prove that high altitudes and absence
of moisture are favorable to the health of man on this world, and by
analogy would not be inimical to the survival of certain forms of life
in Mars.

Dr. S. E. Solby (in "Medical Climatology," p. 43, 1897), in describing
the effects of rarefaction of the air says: "The amount of air taken
in at each breath becomes greater, and the air-cells, many of which
are at lower altitudes often unused, are dilated."

If we consider the atmospheric pressure under which a man can work and
live, we find equal adaptability.

Mr. Gardner D. Hiscox, in his work on "Compressed Air, Its Production,
Uses, and Applications," says: "Experience has taught that the ill
effects are in proportion to the rapidity with which the transmission
is made from compressed air to the normal atmosphere. That while the
pressure remains stationary all subjective phenomena disappear." He
speaks of pressure of forty or fifty pounds to the square inch, and
says that, at these pressures, taste, smell, and the sense of touch
lose their acuteness.

In the "Engineering Record" for January 23, 1904, there is an
interesting article on "Caisson Disease." It says that twenty pounds
pressure per square inch is common on foundation work in New York, and
that bridge piers have been built when pressures of nearly fifty pounds
were required. The deepest pneumatic work in New York was done in the
East River gas tunnel, when the maximum pressure was about forty-seven
to fifty pounds per square inch above atmospheric. In the gas tunnel
four men died from the effects of heavy pressure, while none died
from that reason under bridge work. The article further says that
ordinarily "strong young men in proper condition do not suffer from
working two four-hour shifts daily, under pressure up to twenty-five or
thirty pounds; above that limit injurious effects may be felt," etc.

Let any reasonable man consider the meaning of these data. Without
any selective action on the race, without even a graded increase of
pressure from boyhood up, these workmen perform hard labor of stone
excavation at these pressures, and in the same way, without previous
experience, men are fighting battles at 19,000 feet altitude, and in
one instance growing fat at 20,000 feet. Eminent German and French
scientists have studied the effects of pneumatic pressure by numerous
experiments on men and animals. One experimenter subjected a great
number of dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea-pigs, and other animals to
repeated pressures up to one hundred pounds, and carefully observed
the effects of the varying conditions, some of which were fatal, while
others were apparently harmless. The experiments showed that sudden
release from heavy pressures was fatal, but that if three or four hours
were occupied in reducing a pressure of one hundred pounds, it was

With these facts one cannot help wondering whether even man himself
could not exist on Mars if allowed time to get accustomed to the rare
atmosphere through thousands of generations of minute increments of

As a matter of fact we use but a small portion of our lung capacity.
Let any one experiment with himself and observe that after he has
inspired the accustomed quantity of air he can continue for some time
to inspire more air, and also when he has expired the accustomed
quantity of air in normal breathing, he can continue to expire a
great deal more air. Professor Jeffries Wyman, the famous lecturer on
comparative anatomy at Harvard, used to tell us that we ordinarily
inspired about twenty cubic inches of air but we could inspire one
hundred cubic inches more by an effort; also that having expired the
ordinary quantity we could expire a hundred cubic inches more and when
the lungs were removed from the body, an extra hundred cubic inches
could be forced from them. A surgeon friend tells me that many men live
and work with the greater portion of both lungs diseased, and unable to
perform their functions.

It would be an interesting inquiry to ascertain what other species
of the animal kingdom has so wide a range as man. The dog evidently
follows him in all altitudes and at all temperatures.

The group of insects to which the bees, wasps, and ants belong, have
always been recognized as standing highest in intelligence among the
invertebrates. In the great work of Dr. and Mrs. Peckham on wasps are
shown manifestations of intelligence among the wasps that are simply
startling, and the remarkable work of Miss Adele M. Fielde on the ants
adds greatly to the evidences of their unique intelligence. The ant
stands among the invertebrates much as man does among the vertebrates.
One has only to state concretely that ants practise a division of
labor; distinguish certain colors; estimate numbers; recognize friends
and enemies; harvest seeds, and, it is said, raise them, hence are
called agricultural ants; have insect cows and milk them; collect
leaves which they chop up for the purpose of raising a kind of fungus
upon which they live; organize raids and fight battles in masses;
enslave other species; build covered ways and tunnels; and perform
other acts of a similar nature.

Bearing these statements in mind it is an interesting fact that at
altitudes in Arizona, where man finds it impossible to live except
by fetching water from regions below, the ant, equally dependent on
water, has survived on these high tablelands, and manages to raise huge
colonies. In wandering over the mesa at Flagstaff, at an elevation of
over 7,000 feet, the extreme dryness of the ground is indicated by long
cracks which appear on the surface. Here, where hardly any insect is
found except an occasional roaming butterfly, the ant has survived and
is met with in great numbers. Even a rare solitary insect known as the
velvet ant, and consequently without communal aid, is found chirping
merrily amidst these arid surroundings.

In this connection, it is interesting to observe that creatures endowed
with the highest intelligence, both vertebrate and invertebrate, manage
to survive in considerable numbers in regions devoid of water. One
conveys it to his habitations from lower levels, the other digs wells
or manages to utilize the moisture from the roots of trees.



        _Snow caps of solid carbonic acid gas, a planet cracked in
        a positively monomaniacal manner meteors ploughing tracks
        across its surface with such mathematical precision that
        they must have been educated to the performance, and so
        forth and so on, in hypotheses each more astounding than
        its predecessor, commend themselves to man, if only by such
        means he may escape the admission of anything approaching
        his kind._

                PERCIVAL LOWELL.

I am led to present these few brief memoranda of my own work in order
to meet questions which would naturally be asked as to whether I had
ever seen Mars through a telescope, and if so did I make out any
markings or canals.

[Illustration: PLATE VII


It was my good fortune to have the privilege of observing Mars every
night at the Lowell Observatory (see Plate VII) for thirty-four days,
covering an almost complete presentation of the planet. A few nights
were cloudy and no observations were made. With these exceptions I
was in the observer's chair several times each evening. The twenty-four
inch refractor of which I had the use was the last telescope Clark
ever made, and he pronounced it his best one. This instrument (Plate
VIII) is mounted on a mesa near the town of Flagstaff, Arizona, at
a height of over 7,000 feet above sea-level, in an atmosphere of
remarkable clarity and steadiness. I have already stated on page 80
my first experiences in observing and will only present the brief
notes I made at the time of observation. Better results would have
accompanied these efforts had I followed the custom of Michael Faraday
and asked what was I to look at, what was I expected to see? I had been
somewhat prejudiced as to the existence of the canals by the comments
of sporadic observers, many of whom, by the way, had never been able to
see them, and denying that any one else ever had, straightway proceeded
to suggest a theory to explain their presence! Careful to avoid any
bias in the matter I rigidly refused to allow either Professor Lowell
or his assistants to suggest where I might find a canal or a marking on
the disk. The night before I left the Observatory for home I asked Mr.
Lowell for the first time, to indicate the position of some conspicuous
canal which I had not seen. This he did and examining the region
which I supposed he had indicated on the disk I searched in vain for
the line. In doing so another line was detected and drawn, and on
confessing my failure to see the line he had described, showed him my
drawing, when he exclaimed, "Why, you have got it," and sure enough
when he showed me his drawing and repeated the directions he had given
me, I found that I had been looking at the wrong pole of the planet.

[Illustration: PLATE VIII


In one stage of great discouragement I came across a statement made
by Mr. A. Stanley Williams which has already been quoted, namely,
that he had to observe continually for two months before sufficient
sensitiveness enabled him to make out the more delicate markings. That
I might have seen more had I been acclimated, and had been accustomed
to telescopic observation there is no doubt. The record is poor enough
and yet under the conditions mentioned the results may be of interest
to the reader.

  May 14. Midnight. Saw planet for the first time. A beautiful
          luminous disk with shades of tone dimly visible. Southern
          pole cap white and seen.

  May 15. Certain details sufficiently distinct to make out dark
          areas, and at times a line or two.

  May 16. Occasional flashes of a few lines, while broad darkened
          area and cuniform area on right visible, and, in one flash,
          a line supporting the wedge as well as basal line. With no
          better seeing conditions than last night, more details came
          out, and for the first time I am encouraged to believe that
          each day an improvement will take place. I saw enough to
          make my first drawing.

  May 17. Bad seeing. I made out only the broad southern band,
          the line at the northern pole and the wedge-shaped area to
          the right below, also a slight discoloration in the middle.

  May 18. Not very good seeing. Could make out but little more
          than I did last night.

  May 19. Seeing about the same, perhaps slightly less. Saw rift
          in southern dark band and north pole appeared luminous.

  May 20. Mr. Lowell informed me this morning that the luminous
          appearance around the north pole that I saw last night
          was the result of a snowstorm. Seeing fair. Considerable
          vibration of planet. Saw new snow field of the northern
          pole distinctly outlined and much confused markings. Looked
          in vain for spots but could not discern them.

  May 21. Seeing clearer, and for the first time I made out
          distinctly two spots, or oases. Mr. Lowell informed me that
          Schiaparelli had never seen them. The snow which fell on
          May 19 was still conspicuous.

  May 22. With a headache and a seedy condition from not being
          acclimated, I yet found an improvement in my seeing
          capacities. I made out a promontory in the southern dark
          belt, also a canal running down from the Trivium.

  May 23. Bad seeing. Could not define snow cap though dark
          southern band showed. Made no drawing.

  May 24. Am in despair of seeing anything when the others see so
          much. I must have an old and worn-out retina. In looking,
          lines flash out at times but it is impossible to locate
          them. I can certainly see more than Huyghens did, but not
          much more.

  May 25. Heavens very cloudy and Mars obscured.

  May 26. Poor seeing--saw but a few markings.

  May 27. Snow and hail storm in the afternoon. Temperature 35°
          at night. Seeing zero, and consequently no observation.

  May 30. To-night markings and more particularly shades seemed
          abundant yet so evanescent that only an intimate knowledge
          by long study could define them. I gave up in despair.

  May 31. Saw a little more than I saw last night but did not see
          a trace of things that Mr. Lowell and his assistants
          apparently saw without effort. I realize that it requires
          a special training to observe the flickering evanescent
          markings on Mars.

  June 1. Though the best night yet for steady atmosphere I saw
          but little more and have come to the conclusion that it
          will take months of continuous observation before I can see

  June 2. I went to the Observatory to-night in despair of ever
          seeing anything more. Got into the observing chair and
          immediately saw a number of markings I had not seen before,
          as my drawings show. I have purposely refrained from
          studying the maps, and so do not know the names of the
          lines detected.

  June 3. Atmosphere so unsteady that it was impossible to make
          anything out of Mars, so after struggling awhile gave it up
          in disgust.

  June 4. Seeing about 4, yet manage to see a few planetary

  June 5. I find a slow advance in my ability to see the markings
          though it is exasperating that the janitor of the
          Observatory talks about plainly seeing certain details
          which he indicates to me by a sketch, and looking at the
          region I can see no trace of a canal or anything else.

  June 7. Seeing very good and in my observations tonight added
          another canal. It is a most difficult matter to catch the
          fleeting lines as they appear with startling distinctness
          to instantly vanish again.

  June 9. Seeing fairly good. Could make out but little more.
          Color of regions very strong and vivid.

  June 10. Seeing a little better than last night. Added three new
          canals, and these canals flashed out three or four times
          before I was willing to record them, and then I did not
          believe them till Mr. Lowell showed me a drawing he had
          made just before, and the two drawings corresponded.

  June 11. Looked at eight o'clock and the markings of larger
          features came out strong and dark and yet the seeing was
          not estimated high.

  June 12. Rather poor seeing though some of the dark regions came
          out with remarkable distinctness. Every day I notice a very
          slight improvement in detecting lines. Markings formerly
          made out with great difficulty are now instantly recognized.

  June 13. In my observations to-night added one new canal and
          completed another, and was able to detect one that Mr.
          Lowell had not seen during the evening--a well-known one he
          says. It simply shows that one must continually observe as
          the lines flash out for a single instant.

  June 14. Made out still another canal to-night. The markings
          show very clear, in fact some parts were vivid in
          distinctness and the lower part of Syrtis Major dark blue.

  June 15. Poor seeing, yet I was able to see a few of the
          prominent features and defined the wedge-shaped region

On Plate IX I give a few of my drawings of Mars in which are indicated
the lines I saw many times and was able to fix. Other lines flashed out
for an instant but these were not recorded, simply because I could not
definitely locate them.

[Illustration: PLATE IX

    MAY 19

    MAY 22 Snow fell May 19

    JUNE 5

    JUNE 9-10

    JUNE 13

    JUNE 11-13


The expression "poor seeing" in the above notes must be taken in
a comparative sense with relation to the usual conditions of the
atmosphere of Flagstaff. Poor seeing, therefore, at Flagstaff would
be equal, if not superior, to the best seeing at much lower levels.
An astronomer who resigned his position in a western observatory for
duties at Mount Wilson, California, told me that for thirty consecutive
nights the seeing was superior to the best nights he had observed in at
his former post.



    _O wad some power the giftie gie us,
    To see oursels as others see us!_

                ROBERT BURNS.

For every single perplexity of interpretation we encounter in our study
of the surface markings of Mars, the Martian would encounter a dozen
perplexities in interpreting the various features on the surface of the

Admitting the conclusions of Lowell of the existence of intelligence in
Mars, and that that intelligence has been associated for ages with a
planet having only slight elevations of land, a tenuous atmosphere, a
scarcity of water which has been utilized for ages through artificial
channels, as we have done in various parts of the world since
prehistoric times, having vast tracts of sterile plains, and, within
these sterile tracts large oases fed by irrigating canals, regions of
sparse vegetation, and no large bodies of water; with these conditions
going beyond the history of these intelligences, what must be the
Martian interpretation of the surface features of this world? It is
a perfectly fair inquiry, for by such means we may appreciate the
attitude of some of our interpreters of Mars.

In examining the Earth, then, as we have examined Mars, the Martian
would find large yellow and reddish areas, extensive greenish areas,
and, besides, large regions of varying shades of blue, possibly,
occupying three-fourths of the Earth's surface. The yellow areas he
would interpret as desert land, the greenish areas he might consider
vegetation, but what would he make out of the larger regions of blue?
This would certainly puzzle him, because, unfamiliar with oceans, he
could not believe that such vast tracts could really be water. He would
easily interpret the polar snow caps, and the waters at their edges,
but the oceans would be impossible to solve. The suggestion, by some
audacious interpreter, that this vast blue area was water, would be
answered by showing that these so-called bodies of water bordered vast
tracts of sandy deserts with no canals running into them for irrigation
or navigation purposes. Even the polar snow caps would be doubted,
because they seemed to extend far down into temperate latitudes; and on
their recedence in summer, there would be seen no dark, bordering seas
as the result of their melting. The vegetation, instead of unfolding
at the north and gradually extending southward, would unfold in a
contrary direction, appearing first in south temperate latitudes and
developing northward. The perennial character of the vegetation in the
tropics would puzzle him. Even if he recognized oases in the deserts
of America and Africa, the results of Artesian wells or springs,
he could not believe them to be vegetation; for he would detect no
irrigating canals running into them. He would come to the conclusion
that no creature could possibly exist on the Earth, as the tremendous
force of gravitation with great atmospheric pressure would forbid
the existence of any organic forms. The immense clouds veiling the
surface must at times suffer condensation, and the impact of raindrops
would, from their velocity and weight, smash everything in the way of
life. Life, if it existed in forms supported by appendages, must have
legs of iron to sustain its weight, and a crust like a turtle to be
impervious to raindrops, and this would be contrary to all Martian
analogy. The courses of rivers, if detected, would puzzle him from
their irregularity, unless he dared to suggest that these long sinuous
channels extending for thousands of miles were identical to the little
rivulets he had studied near his own poles.

In fact, about the only feature outside the polar snow caps that
he would instantly recognize, would be the great ice cap of the
Himalayas. India, that vast region extending from latitude 35° nearly
to the equator, with its great plains and sterile regions, with its
overpowering heat, and a dense population, depends for the sustenance
of many of its millions upon the thousands of miles of irrigating
canals, fed from the melting snow caps of the Himalayas. India has no
great lakes, but in the northern plains great rivers course their way
to the sea. The Ganges and the Indus and their tributaries derive their
waters from the melting glaciers, and from these, a most extensive
irrigating system of canals and reservoirs draw their waters. As
the heat increases the ice melts more rapidly, and so more water is
supplied at just the time when it is most needed. The whole scheme is
on so vast a scale that a Martian would recognize its meaning, though
he would wonder at the tortuous outlines of the larger canals.

Flammarion has, in a similar manner, presented the arguments of Martian
astronomers as to whether life exists anywhere but upon the planet
Mars. He says, among other fancies, that the sapient Martian argues
that houses could not be built on the Earth, on account of the violence
with which building materials, such as bricks, blocks, etc., would
drop, and thus endanger life. Believing that Mars is rightly balanced
as to temperature, the Earth being so much nearer the Sun, would be too
hot for life to exist. The Martian conceives himself to be supremely
complete "even to the point that artists wishing to represent God in
our sanctuaries have figured Him in the image of a Martian man." The
Martian considers our year too short. In his reflections he says:
"During the period in which one of us attains the middle age of fifty
years those on Earth have become decrepit old men of ninety-four, if,
indeed, they are not already dead."

Seriously, if there is an intelligence in Mars, it must have evolved
along the same general lines as intelligence has developed on the
Earth. Being an older planet, it must have outgrown many of the
vagaries and illusions which still hamper man in his progress here.
In the dim past, however, we can imagine some Martian astronomer with
the enigma of our Earth before him, and the great vault of heaven with
its thousands of riddles unanswered, consulting records and covering
pages with mathematical formulæ to ascertain the precise spot upon
which grew the bean stalk by which a Martian Jack ascended to encounter
the giant. Indeed, the imagination can conjure up an infinite number of
parallels. If Mars is an older sphere, we trust it has long outgrown
the superstitions which still hamper man in his interpretation of the
inexorable phenomena of Nature on this little planet. We may hope
that they have finally reached that stage when a dictum similar to
that of Huxley forms an engraved tablet in their temples of worship.
These are his words: "Science is teaching the world that the ultimate
court of appeal is observation and experiment, and not authority. She
is teaching it to estimate the value of evidence; she is creating a
firm and living faith in the existence of immutable moral and physical
laws, perfect obedience to which is the highest possible aim of an
intelligent being."



        _Every age has its problem, by solving which humanity is
        helped forward._

                HEINRICH HEINE.

In previous pages allusion has been made to the distinguished character
of the astronomers who have contributed to a knowledge of the surface
markings of Mars. Testimony from astronomical sources has been quoted
as to their keen-sightedness in this work which, as Sir Robert Ball
has said, "indicates one of the utmost refinements of astronomical
observation." That the reader may better understand the eminence
of some of those whose names will forever be associated with the
investigation of the surface features of Mars the following brief
records are given.


The two astronomers most widely known in connection with the study of
Mars are Professor Giovanni Schiaparelli and Professor Percival
Lowell. Lowell had just graduated from Harvard, at the age of
twenty-one, when Schiaparelli, at the age of forty-two, made his
first great discovery of the _canali_ of Mars. Macpherson, in his
valuable history of the "Astronomers of To-day," says of Schiaparelli:
"His studies of meteoric astronomy, of Mars, Venus, and Mercury, of
double stars and of stellar distribution, have given him a place
second to none among living students of the heavens." From the same
interesting book we gather the following facts: Schiaparelli was born
in Sabigliano, in Piedmont, in 1835. He attended the usual schools in
his native town and then entered the University of Turin as a student
of mathematics and architecture. Before he was twenty years old he
decided to devote himself to the study of astronomy. At the age of
twenty-four he was an assistant in the celebrated Observatory of
Pulkova. When the kingdom of Italy was organized he became an assistant
in the Brera Observatory, Milan. He became suddenly famous at the age
of twenty-seven by the discovery of a new asteroid. In 1862 he became
Director of the Observatory. Schiaparelli's first great discovery was
the relationship between comets and meteoric showers. In 1872 he was
accorded the gold medal of the Royal Astronomical Society for his
various astronomical discoveries. Professor Simon Newcomb gives him
high praise when he says: "Among the individual observers Schiaparelli
may be assigned the first place in view of his long continued study of
the planets under a fine Italian sky, the conscientious minuteness of
his examinations, and his eminence as an investigator." Schiaparelli's
researches into the relation of comets and meteors "were developed
in 1873, in his remarkable work 'Le Stelle Cardenti,' which is,
according to Sir Norman Lockyer, one of the greatest contributions to
astronomical literature which the nineteenth century has produced."
Macpherson closes his interesting memoir of Schiaparelli by saying:
"His devotion to astronomy, his singularly accurate observations and
his wonderful discoveries have secured for him an exalted position
among the greatest astronomers of modern times." For a further
appreciation of the work of Schiaparelli the reader is referred to
Macpherson's "Astronomers of To-day." In this brief sketch the reader
may judge of the eminent character of one who insists that the lines
in Mars are a persistent feature of its surface, whatever one's
interpretation of them may be.

[Illustration: PERCIVAL LOWELL]

Percival Lowell was born in Boston in 1855. He was graduated from
Harvard in 1876, and prepared for his graduating thesis an essay on
the Nebular Hypothesis. Lowell is a many-sided man. Early interested
in mathematics, he became one of the founders of the Mathematical and
Physical Society of Boston. A visit to Japan, where he lived a number
of years, resulted in the writing of three interesting books: "The Soul
of the Far East," 1886; "Noto," 1891; and "Occult Japan," 1894. During
his residence in Japan he was chosen foreign Secretary and adviser to
the Korean Special Commission, then about to visit the United States,
which he accompanied. On his return to Korea he was the guest of the
Korean Government, and this experience prompted him to write "A Korean
Coup d' État," 1894, and his well-known volume, "Choson, the Land of
the Morning Calm," 1885. On his return to America he undertook an
eclipse expedition to Tripoli with Professor Todd. His early interest
in astronomical subjects was now fully awakened, and the red planet,
which he had observed in boyhood with a small telescope from the roof
of his father's house, aroused his interest on account of the heated
discussions over Schiaparelli's discoveries. With an impetuosity and
enthusiasm which characterizes all his work, he set about to secure a
proper region and a sufficient elevation for an observatory site. This
was found in northern Arizona at an elevation of over 7,000 feet. Here,
then, was established the Lowell Observatory with a twenty-four inch
refractor made by Clark especially for this Observatory, the last, and,
according to the maker's words, the best telescope he had ever made.
Lowell insisted that the location of an observatory was a much more
important factor than the size of the instrument, and says: "When this
is recognized, as it eventually will be, it will become the fashion to
put up observatories where they may see rather than be seen." It may be
said with truth that, for the first time in the history of astronomy,
an observatory has been erected and fitted for the special purpose of
studying the surface features of Mars. During unfavorable oppositions
Lowell has turned his attention to the other planets, notably Mercury
and Venus, with the result of adding many new and interesting details
concerning these bodies. Three volumes of quarto memoirs and many
bulletins from the Lowell Observatory attest to his industry. He has
been fortunate in securing talented assistants, and their contributions
may be found in the various publications of the Observatory. The
character and importance of Lowell's work may be understood by stating
that the "British Nautical Almanac" is to adopt for the future the
value of the position of the axis of Mars, and the tilt of the planet's
equator to its ecliptic, which was furnished by Professor Lowell in
compliance with a request.

Mr. Lowell is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences;
Member of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain; American
Philosophical Society; Société Astronomique de France; American
Astronomical and Astrophysical Society; Astronomische Gesellschaft;
Société Belge d'Astronomie; Fellow of the American Geographical
Society; Honorary Member Sociedad Astronomica de Mexico; and others.

In 1904 he was awarded the Janssen medal of the Astronomical Society of
France for his researches on Mars.

Mr. Macpherson, in his memoir on Lowell, says that "Mr. Lowell, by his
unwearied devotion to astronomy, has already gained for himself an
enduring reputation."

[Illustration: HENRI PERROTIN]

M. Henry Perrotin and his assistant, M. Thollon, have been quoted
in previous pages as having markedly confirmed the discoveries of
Schiaparelli. Through the courtesy of Professor Lowell I am enabled
to present the likenesses of these two astronomers. I am indebted to
the exhaustive work of Miss Agnes M. Clerke, entitled the "History of
Astronomy during the Nineteenth Century," for the following memoranda
of some of the work accomplished by these men. Perrotin made a series
of observations on Venus fully confirming Schiaparelli's inference
of synchronous rotation and revolution: "A remarkable collection of
drawings made by Mr. Lowell in 1896 appeared decisive in favor of the
views of Schiaparelli." In other words, Venus, like the Moon, presents
the same face to the Sun in its revolution about that luminary.
Perrotin has made important observations on the rings of Saturn; his
double-star measurements are also considered work of the highest

[Illustration: M. THOLLON]

Thollon has made many spectroscopic studies, among which were delicate
experiments showing the lateral displacement of lines in the solar
spectrum arising from the Sun's rotation. In the Annals of the Nice
Observatory he published a great atlas consisting of thirty-three maps,
exhibiting in quadruplicate a subdivision of the solar spectrum under
varied conditions of weather and zenith distance. He also studied the
spectrum of the great comet of 1882, and by the displacement of its
lines estimated that the comet was receding from the Earth at the rate
of from sixty-one to seventy-six kilometers per second. The Leland
prize was awarded to Thollon for a hand drawing he made of the
prismatic spectrum obtained with bisulphide of carbon prisms of high
dispersive power.

The character and reputation of these men, as well as others who have
been quoted in these pages, must be weighed against the few who, not
content with denying the existence of the _canali_ in Mars, have in
strong language abused those who accept them as veritable markings on
the planet's surface.



        _The uniformity of the course of Nature will appear as the
        ultimate major premise of all inductions._

                JOHN STUART MILL.

The final question is, do the lines as depicted and described by
various observers exist on the surface of Mars? Those who have made the
greatest addition to our knowledge of the character of these lines,
and have constructed maps based on Martian latitude and longitude are
accredited on other grounds as being endowed with remarkable acuteness
of vision coupled with persistence and painstaking care in observation.
The most successful work has been accomplished with instruments of fine
definition in regions of steady atmosphere and high altitude, or at
intervals of clarity and steadiness in regions otherwise unfavorable.
Finally, and most convincing of all, Mr. Lowell's assistant, Mr.
Lampland, after many attempts has succeeded in photographing the more
conspicuous linear markings. _The lines do exist essentially as
figured by Schiaparelli and Lowell._ It now rests with the objectors
to suggest any better interpretation of the markings of Mars than that
they are the results of intelligent effort.

The mediæval attitude of some astronomers regarding this question
recalls the story of Scheiner, a Jesuit brother, who, independently
of Galileo and Fabricius, discovered spots on the Sun. Eager with
enthusiasm he informed his Superior of his remarkable discovery and
begged to be allowed to publish it to the world. The Superior replied,
"Go, my son; tranquilize yourself and rest assured that what you take
for spots on the Sun are the faults of your glasses or of your eyes."
This happened three hundred years ago, and yet to-day a few astronomers
of this class still survive.

If one will calmly reason about the matter, let him consider a parallel
case of interpretation. He digs out from the ground a fragment of
stone; its somewhat symmetrical shape suggests to him the idea that it
may be a rude stone implement. If he wishes to know what kind of rock
it is and its geological age, he refers it to a geologist; if he wishes
to know its composition, he asks a mineralogist, who, if necessary,
will analyze it for him. If, however, he is curious to know whether
its peculiar, fractured surface is due to frost or other natural
agency, or whether it is the work of some rude savage, he inquires of
an archæologist, who alone will be able to tell him whether it is a
worked stone or natural fragment. He will probably tell him whether
it was shaped by paleolithic man, and whether it is a rough stone
implement or a core, _reject_ or chip. So with the study of Mars, as
we have already pointed out, there are certain matters of information
about the planet which the astronomer alone can impart, while the
superficial markings are just as certainly to be interpreted by another
class of students who may or not be familiar with astronomical methods.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was quite natural that astronomers, the most conservative of all
classes of observers, should have doubted the first announcement
of Schiaparelli of the startling discovery of the _canali_ marking
the face of the planet, the more so as year after year went by and
yet with the utmost efforts of astronomers nothing of the nature of
Schiaparelli's lines could be seen.

What added greatly to the doubt about the lines, and at the same
time strengthened the idea that the lines were illusory, was the
subsequent announcement by Schiaparelli--undeterred by the universal
skepticism--that at times the lines appeared double. What more
convincing evidence could be offered than that the phenomenon was
purely subjective?

A few astronomers expressed their doubts in a courteous though
hesitating manner. Professor Young, in his valuable text-book,
"Elements of Astronomy" (1890), in correctly reporting Schiaparelli's
discovery says: "He is so careful and experienced an observer that
his results cannot be lightly rejected; and yet it is not easy to
banish a vague suspicion of some error or illusion, partly because his
observations have thus far received so little confirmation from others,
and partly because his 'canals' are so difficult to explain. They can
hardly be _rivers_, because they are quite straight; nor can they be
_artificial_ water-ways since the narrowest of them are forty or fifty
miles wide. To add to the mystery, he finds that at certain times many
of them become _doubled_,--the two which replace the former single one
running parallel to each other for hundreds, and sometimes thousands,
of miles, with a space of 200 or 300 miles between them. He thinks that
this _gemination_ of the canals follows the course of the planet's

The overpowering belief that this world alone sustained creatures of
intelligence formed an obstructive barrier to any and all attempts
made to uphold--at least by analogy--the idea of intelligence in other
worlds. One cannot but regret that some philosopher had not, years
before Schiaparelli's time, expressed the conviction that Mars might
perhaps be more favorable to the existence of intelligent life than our
own world, and with this conviction proceed to formulate the conditions
which must of necessity exist: namely, that the planet being a much
older world than ours, its waters had mostly vanished by chemical
combination with the rocks and otherwise. Following this assumption,
the philosopher might have insisted that in the last extremity the
melting snow caps would be utilized by the supposed intelligences to
furnish water for potable and irrigating purposes. The philosopher
might have superadded to this idea the prediction that, when telescopes
were strong enough and eyes were keen enough, evidence of the truth
of this supposition would be found in canals of some sort and that
such lines should be carefully sought for. Fancy the exultation of
Schiaparelli when at last he found the lines precisely as indicated.
Such an announcement from so distinguished an astronomer would have
been hailed with acclaim. Alas! for the conservatism of astronomers,
such powers of prevision are sadly wanting. Le Verrier's prediction
of an outer planet was a matter of dead certainty. The perturbations
of Uranus could not be accounted for except by the assumption of an
outside body, and had it not been for the characteristic reserve of
English astronomers, Adams might have had the full credit. So rare
are predictions of this nature in the history of astronomy that this
instance will probably be quoted to the end of time. The masses,
still ignorant of the certainty of mathematical astronomy, regard the
prediction of an eclipse as in the nature of a prophecy. The liberal
attitude of naturalists stands in marked contrast, and the history
of their work is filled with examples of prediction and repeated
confirmations. Until the middle of the last century--grounded in the
belief of special creation--how wonderfully rapid was the conversion
of naturalists to the theory of evolution after Darwin had offered his
rational views on the subject. The existence of forms was predicted,
based on the idea of evolution, and these have been found again and
again. Our museums display in their cases remains of fossil animals
which complete many series undreamed of in pre-Darwinian days. This
wonderful work has been accomplished without resort to algebraic
formulæ, and yet when mathematics can be applied, as it is in the law
of variation, quantitative studies in heredity, and statistical methods
generally, it is promptly seized upon by the biologist.

       *       *       *       *       *

To one unconvinced of the existence of some signs of intelligent
activity in Mars the suggestions that have been made to account for
certain appearances in the planet will seem absurd. If, on the other
hand, he finds himself in agreement with those who believe the markings
are the result of intelligent effort, then he is justified in using the
various artificial markings of the surface of the Earth as standards of
comparison in explaining the many curious markings of Mars. Indeed, he
is compelled to do so, just as would be demanded of him if he should
stand on some high mountain peak in some hitherto unexplored region
of Africa and should minutely scan the hazy stretch of plains below.
Large white spots in equatorial regions which could not possibly be
snow-covered hills, might be masses of white flowers or cloth-covered
areas for the better cultivation of certain plants. Lines that dimly
stretched across the surface might be rivers, cañons, rifts, or bands
of irrigation, according to their character.

As we compare the circular markings on the Moon with our terrestrial
craters and fissures, and cracks on its surface with similar fissures
on the Earth, so we are forced to compare the markings on the surface
of Mars with what seems analogous to them on the surface of our own

Once proved that the markings of Mars are due to erosion, cracks,
encircling meteors big enough to raise ridges by their attractive
force, then all that has been written in demonstration of their
artificial character goes for naught. The intelligent reader
unprejudiced in the matter will, however, judge for himself the
merits of our contention and will determine the reasonableness of the
comparisons that have been made by Lowell in solving the mystery of


  Algebraic formulæ, 73.

  American astronomers, Holden, Pickering, Young, Swift, Comstock,
          Barnard, Wilson, drew the more conspicuous canals, 65.

  Ancient irrigation, 115.

  Ants surviving at high altitudes, 157;
    unique intelligence, 156.

  Astronomer's chief work, 74;
    conservatism, 75.

  Astronomers who have seen the canals, 83.

  Astronomical subjects remote from Martian studies, 72.

  Atmosphere and moisture, Barnard and others, 134, 135;
    Sir Robert Ball, 137.

  Austria's care of water, 117.

  Ball, Sir Robert, difficulties of observation, 84;
    life on Mars quite likely, 68, 69;
    objection to Mars being inhabited, 121.

  Barbour, W. D., with a four inch achromatic, 88.

  Barnard's, Dr., description of dark regions, 43.

  Bees, wasps, and ants, 156.

  _Canali_ supposed to mean canals, 39.

  Canals appear double, 41;
    artificiality of, 42;
    as distinct as engraved lines, 59;
    chain of reasoning in regard to, 47;
    double, 41;
    of Mars, 40;
    unchangeable in position, 42.

  Cassini, 33.

  Chandler's oscillation of pole, 126.

  Checkerboard appearance of West, 48.

  Clerke's, Agnes M., expressions, 55.

  Clouds in Mars, 139;
    in Mars, Sir Norman Lockyer, 136.

  Comments and criticism, 125.

  Committee of British Astronomical Association, 126.

  Conception of life in other worlds, 17.

  Conservatism of astronomers, 185.

  Cracks all of the same nature, 108;
    discontinuous, 109;
    in asphalt pavement, 109.

  Cultivation under cloth, Porto Rico, 50.

  Dark regions not seas, 45.

  Dawes, remarkable distinctness of vision, 89.

  De la Rive, memoir of Faraday, 76.

  Denning's, Mr., testimony, 56, 57.

  Difficulties of seeing, 79.

  Dighton Rock, 97.

  Draper, Dr. Henry, "Are other worlds inhabited?" 87;
    difficulties of seeing, 87;
    high altitudes for telescopes, 88.

  Drawings of Mars by different observers, 98.

  Dust storms in Mars, 140.

  Earth, a standard, 25, 26, 186;
    early ideas regarding the, 7;
    improbability of its being unique, 13.

  Earth's distance from the sun, 11;
    temperature above normal, 37.

  Emerson's expressions, 21.

  England's unsteady atmosphere, 84.

  Epicyclic theory of Ptolemy, 8.

  "Evolution of the Solar System," T. J. J. See, 23.

  Failure of water in England, 116.

  Faraday's, Michael, attitude, 76.

  Fauth, Dr. Phil., 63;
    drawings of Mars, 63.

  First look at Mars, 80.

  Fison's, Mr., comments, 97.

  Flammarion's picture of the Earth from Mars, 169;
    work on Mars, 51.

  Fruit trees, Santa Clara Valley, 49.

  Gill's, Sir David, testimony, 90.

  Hebraic conceptions, astronomers imbued with, 21.

  Hebraic conceptions of the universe, 8.

  Herschel, Sir John, on snow caps, 76.

  High altitudes favorable to health, 152.

  Holden, E. S., on nebula of Orion, 96.

  Howe's, Herbert A., remarks, 65, 66.

  Huxley's estimate of mathematicians, 74.

  Huyghens, 32.

  Ice caps of Himalaya, 115.

  Iles, George, illustration of cooling bodies, 25.

  Illusions, supposes, 59.

  Irrelevant criticism, 126.

  Irrigation, ancient in Arizona, in Egypt, in India, 145;
    marvels of, 143;
    notes on, 141.

  Joly's, Dr. J., theory, 100.

  Keeler's definition of astrophysics, 77.

  Lampland, photographs of Mars, 32.

  Ledger's, Rev. E., canals of Mars, 131.

  Liberal attitude of naturalists, 185.

  Life at high altitudes, 150;
    in other worlds, Garrett P. Serviss, 148;
    under atmospheric pressure, 153.

  Lindsay's, Thomas, expressions, 55.

  Lines of artificial character, 112.

  Lockyer, Sir Norman, saw clouds in Mars, 136.

  Lockyer's, W. J., testimony, 89.

  Lowell, Percival, brief sketch of, 174;
    different telescopes used by, 82;
    gives reason why canals cannot always be seen, 93;
    his acute eyesight, 85, 86;
    his book on Mars, 31;
    his various publications, 31;
    long practice in observing, 85;
    snow caps prove atmosphere, 135;
    on life on Mars, 32, 67;
    on twilight atmosphere in Mars, 34.

  Lung capacity, 155;
    at high altitudes, 152.

  Macpherson, Hector, Jr., agrees with Lowell, 68.

  Mars, appearance of Earth from, 118;
    beginning of life in, 16;
    canals, 40;
    canals continuous, 109;
    dark regions change with the season, 38;
    dark regions not seas, 37;
    desert lands, 39;
    detached fields of snow, 37;
    disappearance of southern snow cap, 37;
    distance from sun, 12;
    double canals, 45, 46;
    drawings of, coincided, 81;
    glints of brilliant light, 37;
    has it water? 35;
    has life appeared in? 15;
    life in, from analogy, 15;
    much like the world, 16;
    nearest approach to earth, 32;
    oases, 44;
    seasonal changes in, 34;
    seasons, 33;
    rarefaction of atmosphere in, 35;
    rotation of, Cassini, 33;
    temperature of, 35;
    terminator of, Douglass, 35;
    those who see and those who do not see, 85;
    tilt of axis, 33;
    white polar caps, 33.

  Maunder, director of committee, 126.

  Maunders's, E. W., comments, 103.

  Maunier, Stanislaus, on canal doubling, 119.

  Maxwell, Clerk, on mathematicians, 74.

  Mediæval attitude of some astronomers, 181.

  Michel, Louise, teaching children, 73.

  Morehouse, George W., believes Mars is inhabited, 67, 68.

  My own work, 158.

  Newcomb's, Professor, opinion, 24;
    other worlds inhabited, 28;
    "Reminiscences," 27.

  Number of acres under irrigation, 122.

  Observations of Mars, 1st period, 51;
    2d period, 52;
    3d period, 53;
    4th period, Lowell's work, 54.

  Orr's, J., theory, 102.

  Parallel case of interpretation, 181.

  Patterson's, John A., expressions, 56.

  Perrotin, brief sketch of, 177.

  Perrotin and Janssen describes the canals, 63;
    and Thollon, 58.

  Perrotin's painstaking care, 63, 64.

  Phillips', Rev. Theo. E. R., drawing, 62.

  Pickering, W. H., canals seen by, 63;
    shows importance of steady atmosphere, 87;
    observations in Jamaica by, 88;
    polariscope observations by, 36-38;
    theory of, 105.

  Planetology, 77.

  Plurality of worlds, astronomer's belief in, 18;
    Edward Hitchcock's views of the, 21;
    Flammarion's views of the, 19;
    Newcomb's attitude in regard to the, 28;
    Newcomb's belief in the, 29;
    O. M. Mitchell's views in regard to the, 19;
    Sir David Brewster's views of the, 17;
    Sir Richard Owen's views in regard to the, 19;
    Tyndall's views of the, 22.

  Polar snow cap, proof deduced from Lowell, Douglass, and
          Pickering, 135.

  Profound changes by man, 123.

  Railroads in Iowa and Texas, 142.

  Review of Lowell's book, 66.

  Rift in Southern Africa, 112.

  Schiaparelli, abstemiousness when observing, 84;
    brief sketch of, 172;
    canals artificial, 62;
    _canali_ natural, 60;
    discovery, 57;
    discovery of canals, 39;
    does not deny intelligence in Mars, 60;
    suggestion as to doubling, 120.

  Sea, so-called, land areas, 39.

  Seasonal changes, 136.

  Snow storms in Mars, W. H. Pickering, 138.

  Solar system a standard for universe, 26.

  Stars, bright points of light, 7;
    similar to our sun, 9.

  Stetefeldt's, C. A., views, 129.

  Study of planetary markings, 70.

  Sun and planets reduced to minute scale, 11.

  Temperature under which man exists, 149.

  Terby, Dr., identifies many canals, 64.

  Theories regarding canals, 100.

  Thollon, brief sketch of, 178.

  Titles of papers in astronomical journals, 71.

  Todd, Professor, says canals result of design, 68.

  Turner, H. H., "Astronomical Discovery," 78;
    on the difficulties of seeing, 91.

  Tycho Brahe, 8.

  Tyndall on imagination, 77.

  Tyndall's expressions on the Nebular Theory, 15;
    reference to Nebular Theory, 24.

  Unfolding of plant life on the earth, 45.

  Variation in drawings by different observers, 94, 95;
    of Milky Way, 95;
    of Nebula of Orion, 95;
    of Solar Corona, 95, 96.

  Variety of conditions under which life exists, 147.

  Vastness of the universe, 10.

  Wallace, Alfred Russel, human paradox, 29;
    review of, in London "Nature," 18.

  Water vapor, no spectroscopic proof of, Campbell, 135.

  Webb's, Rev. T. W., difficulties of seeing, 91, 92.

  What the Martians might say of us, 166.

  White spots in equatorial regions of Mars, 48.

  White weed in New England, 49.

  Williams, A. Stanley, difficulty in observation, 82.

  Would the work of man show in Mars? 122.

  Young, C. A., on snow caps, 76, 126;
    on Schiaparelli's discovery, 183.


[1] Some of our readers may not know that light travels, in round
numbers, at the rate of 186,000 miles a second.

[2] The terminator represents the limit of light on that side of the
planet in the shade, in other words, where the light terminates. In
viewing the Moon, when at quarter or half, the terminator is seen very
ragged on account of the illumination of higher points on the surface.
If the Moon was as smooth as a billiard ball the terminator would be
clear cut.

[3] The world in its ignorance of Italian assumed that the word meant
exclusively canals, and, if canals, then dug by shovels. What! a canal
thirty miles wide and two thousand miles long dug in the snap of the
finger? Impossible conception, you say. We shall see later the sober
utterances of a member of the British Astronomical Society on this
gratuitous assumption, and an equally serious comment by the chief
assistant of the Royal Observatory at Greenwich (E. S. M.).

[4] The views so long held that the dark shaded regions were bodies
of water, or seas, was disproved by the observations of Pickering
and Douglass, who distinctly traced the course of the canals across
these dark areas. The observations of Dr. E. Barnard certainly sustain
the contention that they are land areas and probably depressions,
representing ancient ocean beds. Dr. Barnard, using the telescope at
the Lick Observatory, says: "Under the best conditions these dark
regions which are always shown, with smaller telescopes, of nearly
uniform shade, broke up into a vast amount of very fine details. I
hardly know how to describe the appearance of these 'Seas' under these
conditions. To those, however, who have looked down upon a mountainous
country from a considerable elevation, perhaps some conception of the
appearance presented by these dark regions may be had. From what I know
of the appearance of the country about Mt. Hamilton, as seen from the
Observatory, I can imagine that, as viewed from a very great elevation,
this region, broken by cañon, and slope and ridge, would look like the
surface of these Martian seas."

[5] Sterling Heiley, in "Pearson's Magazine," June, 1905.

[6] A translation of which may be found in the "Popular Science
Monthly," Vol. XXXV, p. 532.

[7] I may add that in a similar case an American student of Mars moved
his telescope to Mexico and remounted it at a cost of some thousands of

Transcriber's Notes:

Punctuation and spelling were made consistent when a predominant
preference was found in this book; otherwise they were not changed.

Simple typographical errors were corrected; occasional unbalanced
quotation marks retained; inconsistent hyphenation retained.

Ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines were retained.

Page 146: Quotation mark preceding 'The sale value' has no matching
closing mark.

Page 192: "Stetefelt's" is spelled "Stetefeldt" on page 129. The latter
is correct.

Page 192: "Tycho Brahe" probably should be indexed as "Brahe, Tycho".

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