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Marvels of Modern Science
by Paul Severing
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Electricity plays an important role in the parlor and drawing-room. The electric fireplace throws out a ruddy glow, a perfect imitation of the wide-open old-fashioned fireplaces of the days of our grandmothers. There are small grooves at certain sections in the flooring over which chairs and couches can be brought to a desired position. When the master drops into his favorite chair by the fireplace if he wishes a tune to soothe his jangled nerves, there is an electric attachment to the piano and he can adjust it to get the air of his choice without having to ask any one to play for him. In the drawing-room an electric fountain may be playing, its jets reflecting the prismatic colors of the rainbow as the waters fall in iridescent sparkle among the lights. Such a fountain is composed of a small electric motor and a centrifugal pump, the latter being placed in the interior of a basin and connected directly to the motor shaft. The pump receives the water from the basin and conveys it through pipes and a number of small nozzles thus producing cascades. The water falling upon an art glass dome, beneath which are small incandescent lamps, returns to the basin and thence again to the pump. There is no necessity of filling the fountain until the water gets low through evaporation. When the lights are not in colored glass, the water may be colored and this gives the same effect. To produce the play of the fountain and its effects, it is only necessary to connect it to any circuit and turn on the switch. The dome revolves by means of a jet of water driven against flanges on the under side of the rim of the dome and in this way beautiful and prismatic effects are produced. The motor is noiseless in operation. In addition to the pretty effect the fountain serves to cool and moisten the air of the room.

The sleeping chambers are thoroughly equipped. Not only the rooms may be heated by electricity but the beds themselves. An electric pad consisting of a flexible resistance covered with soft felt is connected by a conductor cord to a plug and is used for heating beds or if the occupant is suffering from rheumatism or indigestion or any intestinal pain this pad can be used in the place of the hot water bottle and gives greater satisfaction. There is a heat controlling device and the circuit can be turned on or off at will.

There are many more curious devices in the electrically equipped house which could they have been exhibited a generation or so ago, would have condemned the owner as a sorcerer and necromancer of the dark ages, but which now only place him in the category of the smart ones who are up to date and take advantage of the science and progress of the time.



CHAPTER XI

HARNESSING THE WATER-FALL

Electric Energy—High Pressure—Transformers—Development of Water-power.

The electrical transmission of power is exemplified in everything which is based on the generation of electricity. The ordinary electric light is power coming from a generator in the building or a public street-dynamo.

However, when we talk in general terms of electric transmission we mean the transmission of energy on a large scale by means of overhead or underground conductors to a considerable distance and the transformation of this energy into light and heat and chemical or mechanical power to carry on the processes of work and industry. When the power or energy is conveyed a long distance from the generator, say over 30 miles or more, we usually speak of the system of supply as long distance transmission of electric energy. In many cases power is conveyed over distances of 200 miles and more. When water power is available as at Niagara, the distance to which electric energy can be transmitted is considerably increased.

The distance to a great extent depends on the cost of coal required for generation at the distributing point and on the amount of energy demanded at the receiving point. Of course the farther the distance the higher must be the voltage pressure.

Electrical engineers say that under proper conditions electric energy may be transmitted in large quantity to a distance of 500 miles and more at a pressure of about 170,000 volts. If such right conditions be established then New York, Chicago and several other of our large cities can get their power from Niagara.

In our cities and towns where the current has only to go a short distance from the power house, the conductors are generally placed in cables underground and the maximum electro-motive force scarcely ever exceeds 11,000 volts. This pressure is generated by a steam-driven alternating-current generator and is transmitted over the conductors to sub-stations, where by means of step-down transformers, the pressure is dropped to, say, 600 volts alternating current which by rotary converters is turned into direct current for the street mains, for feeders of railways and for charging storage batteries which in turn give out direct current at times of heavy demand.

That electric transmission of energy to long distances may be successfully carried out transformers are necessary for raising the pressure on the transmission line and for reducing it at the points of distribution. The transformer consists of a magnetic circuit of laminated iron or mild steel interlinked with two electric circuits, one, the primary, receiving electrical energy and the other the secondary, delivering it to the consumer. The effect of the iron is to make as many as possible of the lines of force set up by the primary current, cut the secondary winding and there set up an electromotive force of the same frequency but different voltage.

The transformer has made long distance the actual achievement that it is. It is this apparatus that brought the mountain to Mohammed. Without it high pressure would be impossible and it is on high pressure that success of long distance transmission depends.

To convey electricity to distant centres at a low pressure would require thousands of dollars in copper cables alone as conductors. To illustrate the service of the transformer in electricity it is only necessary to consider water power at a low pressure. In such a case the water can only be transmitted at slow speed and through great openings, like dams or large canals, and withal the force is weak and of little practical efficiency, whereas under high pressure a small quantity can be forced through a small pipe and create an energy beyond comparison to that developed when under low pressure.

The transformer raises the voltage and sends the electrical current under high pressure over a small wire and so great is this pressure that thousands of horse-power can be sent to great distances over small wires with very little loss.

Water power is now changed to electrical power and transmitted over slender copper wires to the great manufacturing centres of our country to turn the wheels of industry and give employment to thousands.

Nearly one hundred cities in the United States alone are today using electricity supplied by transmitted water-power. Ten years ago Niagara Falls were regarded only as a great natural curiosity of interest only to the sightseer, today those Falls distribute over 100,000 horse-power to Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester, Toronto and several smaller cities and towns. Wild Niagara has at last indeed been harnessed to the servitude of man. Spier Falls north of Saratoga, practically unheard of before, is now supplying electricity to the industrial communities of Schenectady, Troy, Amsterdam, Albany and half a dozen or so smaller towns.

Rivers and dams, lakes and falls in all parts of the country are being utilized to supply energy, though at the present time only about one-fortieth of the horse-power available through this agent is being made productive. The water conditions of the United States are so favorable that 200,000,000 horse-power could be easily developed, but as it is we have barely enough harnessed to supply 5 million horse-power.

Eighty per cent. of the power used at the present time is produced from fuel. This percentage is sure to decrease in the future for fuel will become scarcer and the high cost will drive fuel power altogether out of the market.

New York State has the largest water power development in the Union, the total being 885,862 horsepower; this fact is chiefly owing to the energy developed by Niagara.

The second State in water-power development is California, the total development being 466,774 horsepower over 1,070 wheels or a unit installation of about 436 H.P.

The third State is Maine with 343,096 horse-power, over 2,707 wheels or an average of about 123 horse-power per wheel.

Lack of space makes it impossible to enter upon a detailed description of the structural and mechanical features of the various plants and how they were operated for the purpose of turning water into an electric current. The best that can be done is to outline the most noteworthy features which typify the various situations under which power plants are developed and operated.

The water power available under any condition depends principally upon two factors: First, the amount of fall or hydrostatic head on the wheels; second, the amount of water that can be turned over the wheels. The conditions vary according to place, there are all kinds of fall and flow. To develop a high power it is necessary to discharge a large volume of water upon properly designed wheels. In many of the western plants where only a small amount of water is available there is a great fall to make up for the larger volume in force coming down upon the wheels. So far as actual energy is concerned it makes no difference whether we develop a certain amount of power by allowing twenty cubic feet of water per second to fall a distance of one foot or allow one cubic foot of water per second to fall a distance of twenty feet.

In one place we may have a plant developing say 10,000 horse-power with a fall of anywhere from twenty to forty feet and in another place a plant of the same capacity with a fall of 1,000, 1,500 or 2,000 feet. In the former case the short fall is compensated by a great volume of water to produce such a horse-power, while in the latter converse conditions prevail. In many cases the power house is located some distance from the source of supply and from the point where the water is diverted from its course by artificial means.

The Shawinigan Falls of St. Maurice river in Canada occur at two points a short distance apart, the fall at one point being about 50 and at the other 100 feet high. A canal 1,000 feet long takes water from the river above the upper of these falls and delivers it near to the electric power house on the river bank below the lower falls. In this way a hydrostatic head of 125 feet is obtained at the power house. The canal in this case ends on high ground 130 feet from the power house and the water passes down to the wheels through steel penstocks 9 feet in diameter.

In a great many cases in level country the water power can only be developed by means of such canals or pipe lines and the generating stations must be situated away from the points where the water is diverted from its course.

In mountainous country where rivers are comparatively small and their courses are marked by numerous falls and rapids, it is generally necessary to utilize the fall of a stream through some miles of its length in order to get a satisfactory development of power. To reach this result rather long canals, flumes, or pipe lines must be laid to convey the water to the power stations and deliver it at high pressure.

California offers numerous examples of electric power development with the water that has been carried several miles through artificial channels. An illustration of this class of work exists at the electric power house on the bank of the Mokelumne river in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Water is supplied to the wheels in this station under a head of 1,450 feet through pipes 3,600 feet long leading to the top of a near-by hill. To reach this hill the water after its diversion from the Mokelumne river at the dam, flows twenty miles through a canal or ditch and then through 3,000 feet of wooden stave pipe. Although California ranks second in water-power development it is easily the first in the number of its stations, and also be it said, California was the first to realize the possibilities of long distance electrical energy. The line from the 15,000 horsepower plant at Colgate in this State to San Francisco by way of Mission San Jose, where it is supplied with additional power, has a length of 232 miles and is the longest transmission of electrical energy in the world. The power house at Colgate has a capacity of 11,250 kilowatts in generators, but it is uncertain what part of the output is transmitted to San Francisco, as there are more than 100 substations on the 1,375 miles of circuit in this system.

Another system, even greater than the foregoing which has just been completed is that of the Stanislaus plant in Tuolumme County, California, from which a transmission line on steel towers has been run in Tuolumme, Calaveras, San Joaquin, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties for the delivery of power to mines and to the towns lying about San Francisco Bay. The rushing riotous waters of the Stanislaus wasted for so many centuries have been saved by the steel paddles of gigantic turbine water wheels and converted into electricity which carries with the swiftness of thought thousands of horse power energy to the far away cities and towns to be transformed into light and heat and power to run street cars and trains and set in motion the mechanism of mills and factories and make the looms of industry hum with the bustle and activity of life.

It is said that the greatest long distance transmission yet attempted will shortly be undertaken in South Africa where it is proposed to draw power from the famous Victoria Falls. The line from the Falls will run to Johannesburg and through the Rand, a length of 700 miles. It is claimed the Falls are capable of developing 300,000 electric horse power at all times.

Should this undertaking be accomplished it will be a crowning achievement in electrical science.



CHAPTER XII

WONDERFUL WARSHIPS

Dimensions, Displacements, Cost and Description of Battleships— Capacity and Speed—Preparing for the Future.

All modern battleships are of steel construction. The basis of all protection on these vessels is the protective deck, which is also common to the armored cruiser and many varieties of gunboats. This deck is of heavy steel covering the whole of the vessel a little above the water-line in the centre; it slopes down from the centre until it meets the sides of the vessel about three feet below the water; it extends the entire length of the ship and is firmly secured at the ends to the heavy stem and stern posts. Underneath this deck are the essentials of the vessel, the boilers and machinery, the magazines and shell rooms, the ammunition cells and all the explosive paraphernalia which must be vigilantly safe-guarded against the attacks of the enemy. Every precaution is taken to insure safety. All openings in the protective deck above are covered with heavy steel gratings to prevent fragments of shell or other combustible substances from getting through to the magazine or powder cells.

The heaviest armor is usually placed at the water line because it is this part of the ship which is the most vulnerable and open to attack and where a shell or projectile would do the most harm. If a hole were torn in the side at this place the vessel would quickly take in water and sink. On this account the armor is made thick and is known as the water-line belt. At the point where the protective deck and the ship's side meet, there is a projection or ledge on which this armor belt rests. Thus it goes down about three feet below the water and it extends to the same distance above.

The barbettes, that is, the parapets supporting the gun turrets, are one forward and one aft. They rest upon the protective deck at the bottom and extend up about four feet above the upper deck. At the top of the barbettes, revolving on rollers, are the turrets, sometimes called the hoods, containing the guns and the leading mechanism and all of the machinery in connection with the same. The turret ammunition hoists lead up from the magazine below, delivering the charges and projectiles for the guns at the very breach so that they can be loaded immediately.

An athwartship line of armor runs from the water line to the barbettes, resting upon the protective deck. In fact, the space between the protective and upper deck is so closed in with armor, with a barbette at each end, that it is like a citadel or fort or some redoubt well-guarded from the enemy. Resting upon the water-belt and the athwartship or diagonal armor, and following the same direction is a layer of armor usually somewhat thinner which is called the lower case-mate armor; it extends up to the lower edge of the broadside gun ports, and resting upon it in turn is the upper case-mate armor, following the same direction, and forming the protection for the broadside battery. The explosive effect of the modern shell is so tremendous that were one to get through the upper case-mate and explode immediately after entering, it would undoubtedly disable several guns and kill their entire crews; it is, therefore, usual to isolate each broadside gun from its neighbors by light nickel steel bulkheads a couple of inches or so thick, and to prevent the same disastrous result among the guns on the opposite side, a fore-and-aft bulkhead of about the same thickness is placed on the centre line of the ship. Each gun of the broadside battery is thus mounted in a space by itself somewhat similar to a stall. Abaft the forward turret there is a vertical armored tube resting on the protective deck and at its upper end is the conning tower, from which the ship is worked when in action and which is well safe-guarded.

The tube protects all the mechanical signalling gear running into the conning tower from which communication can be had instantly with any part of the vessel.

To build a battleship that will be practically unsinkable by the gun fire of an enemy it is only necessary to make the water belt armor thick enough to resist the shells, missiles and projectiles aimed at it. There is another essential that is equally important, and that is the protection of the batteries. The experience of modern battles has made it manifest, that it is impossible for the crew to do their work when exposed to a hail of shot and shell from a modern battery of rapid fire and automatic guns. And so in all more recently built battleships and armored cruisers and gunboats, the protection of broadside batteries and exposed positions has been increased even at the expense of the water-line belt.

Armor plate has been much improved in recent years. During the Civil War the armor on our monitors was only an inch thick. Through such an armor the projectiles of our time would penetrate as easily as a bullet through a pine board. It was the development of gun power and projectiles that called forth the thick armor, but it was soon found that it was impossible for the armor to keep pace with the deadliness of the guns as it was utterly impossible to carry the weight necessary to resist the force of impact. Then came the use of special plates, the compound armor where a hard face to break up the projectile was welded to a softer back to give the necessary strength. This was followed by the steel armor treated by the Harvey process; it was like the compound armor in having a hard face and a soft back, but the plates were made from a single ingot without any welding.

The Harvey process enabled an enormously greater resistance to be obtained with a given weight of armor, but even it has been surpassed by the Krupp process which enables twelve inches of thickness to give the same resistance as fifteen of Harveyized plates.

The armament or battery of warships is divided into two classes, viz., the main and the second batteries. The main battery comprises the heaviest guns on the ship, those firing large shell and armor-piercing projectiles, while the second battery consists of small rapid fire and machine guns for use against torpedo boats or to attack the unprotected or lightly protected gun positions of an enemy. The main battery of our modern battleships consists usually of ten twelve-inch guns, mounted in pairs on turrets in the centre of the ship. In addition to these heavy guns it is usual to mount a number of smaller ones of from five to eight inches diameter of bore on each broadside, although sometimes they are mounted on turrets like the larger guns.

A twelve-inch breech-loading gun, fifty calibers long and weighing eighty-three tons, will propel a shell weighing eight hundred and eighty pounds, by a powder charge of six hundred and twenty-four pounds, at a velocity of over two thousand six hundred and twenty feet per second, giving an energy at the muzzle of over forty thousand foot-tons and is capable of penetrating at the muzzle, forty-five inches of iron.

During the last few years, very large increases have been made in the dimensions, displacements and costs of battleships and armored cruisers as compared with vessels of similar classes previously constructed. Both England and the United States have constructed enormous war vessels within the past decade. The British Dreadnought built in nineteen hundred and five has a draft of thirty-one feet six inches and a displacement of twenty-two thousand and two hundred tons. Later, vessels of the Dreadnought type have a normal draft of twenty-seven feet and a naval displacement of eighteen thousand and six hundred tons. Armored cruisers of the British Invincible class have a draft of twenty-six feet and a displacement of seventeen thousand two hundred and fifty tons with a thousand tons of coal on board. These cruisers have engines developing forty-one thousand horse-power.

Within the past two years the United States has turned out a few formidable battleships, which it is claimed surpass the best of those of any other navy in the world. The Delaware and North Dakota each have a draft of twenty-six feet, eleven inches and a displacement of twenty thousand tons. Great interest attached to the trials of these vessels because they were sister ships fitted with different machinery and it was a matter of much speculation which would develop the greater speed. In addition to the consideration of the battleship as a fighting machine at close quarters, Uncle Sam is trying to have her as fleet as an ocean greyhound should an enemy heave in sight so that the latter would not have much opportunity to show his heels to a broadside. The Delaware, which has reciprocating engines, exceeded her contract speed of twenty-one knots on her runs over a measured mile course in Penobscot Bay on October 22 and 23, 1909. Three runs were made at the rate of nineteen knots, three at 20.50 knots, and five at 21.98 knots.

The North Dakota is furnished with Curtis turbine engines. Here is a comparison of the two ships:

North Delaware Dakota Fastest run over measured mile......... 21.98 22.25 Average of five high runs.............. 21.44 21.83 Full power trial speed................. 21.56 21.64 Full power trial horsepower............ 28,600. 31,400. Full power trial, coal consumption, tons per day............ 578. 583. Nineteen-knot trial coal consumption, tons per day....... 315. 295. Twelve-knot trial coal consumption, tons per day.............111. 105.

The Florida, a 21,825 ton boat, was launched from the Brooklyn Navy Yard last May 12. Her sister ship, the Utah, took water the previous December at Camden.

Here is a comparison of the North Dakota of 1908 and the Florida of 1910:

N. Dakota Florida Length 518 ft. 9 in. 521 ft. 6 in. Beam 85 ft. 2-1/2 in. 88 ft. 2-1/2 in. Draft, Mean 26 ft. 11 in. 28 ft. 6 in. Displacement 20,000 tons 21,825 tons Coal Supply 2,500 tons 2,500 tons Oil 400 tons 400 tons Belt Armor 12 in. to 8 in. 12 in. to 8 in. Turret Armor 12 inches 12 inches Battery armor 6 in. 6-1/2 in. Smoke stack protection 6 inches 9-1/2 inches l2-inch guns Ten Ten 5-inch guns Fourteen Sixteen Speed 21 knots 20.75 knots

The Florida has Parsons turbines working on four shafts and generates 28,000 horse-power.

The United States Navy has planned to lay down next year (1911) two ships of 32,000 tons armed with l4-inch guns, each to cost eighteen million dollars as compared with the $11,000,000 ships of 1910.

The following are to be some of the features of the projected ships, which are to be named the Arkansas and Wyoming.

554 ft. long, 93 ft. 3 in. beam, 28 ft. 6 in. draft, 26,000 tons displacement, 28,000 horse-power, 30 1/2 knots speed, 1,650 to 2,500 tons coal supply, armament of twelve l2-inch guns, twenty-one 5-inch, four 3-pounders and two torpedo tubes.

Fittings in recent United States battleships are for 21-inch torpedoes. The armor is to be 11 inch on belt and barbettes and on sides 8 inches, and each ship is to carry a complement of 1,115 officers and men. Two of the turrets will be set forward on the forecastle deck, which will have 28 feet, freeboard, the guns in the first turret being 34 feet above the water and those of the second about 40 feet. Aft of the second turret will be the conning tower, and then will come the fore fire-control tower or lattice mast, with searchlight towers carried on it. Next will come the forward funnel, on each side of which will be two small open rod towers with strong searchlights. Then will come the main fire-control tower and the after funnel and another open tower with searchlight. The two lattice steel towers are to be 120 feet high and 40 feet apart. The four remaining turrets will be abaft the main funnel, the third turret having its guns 32 feet above water; those in the other turrets about 25 feet above the water. The guns will be the new 50-calibre type. All twelve will have broadside fire over a wide arc and four can be fired right ahead and four right astern.



CHAPTER XIII

A TALK ON BIG GUNS

The First Projectiles—Introduction of Cannon—High Pressure Guns—Machine Guns—Dimensions and Cost of Big Guns.

The first arms and machines employing gunpowder as the propelling agency, came into use in the fourteenth century. Prior to this time there were machines and instruments which threw stones and catapults and large arrows by means of the reaction of a tightly twisted rope made up of hemp, catgut or hair. Slings were also much employed for hurling missiles.

The first cannons were used by the English against the Scots in 1327. They were short and thick and wide in the bore and resembled bowls or mortars; in fact this name is still applied to this kind of ordnance. By the end of the fifteenth century a great advancement was shown in the make of these implements of warfare. Bronze and brass as materials came into general use and cannon were turned out with twenty to twenty-five inch bore weighing twenty tons and capable of hurling to a considerable distance projectiles weighing from two hundred pounds to one thousand pounds with powder as the propelling force. In a short time these large guns were mounted and carriages were introduced to facilitate transportation with troops. Meantime stone projectiles were replaced by cast iron shot, which, owing to its greater density, necessitated a reduction in calibre, that is a narrowing of the bore, consequently lighter and smaller guns came into the field, but with a greater propelling force. When the cast iron balls first came into use as projectiles, they weighed about twelve pounds, hence the cannons shooting them were known as twelve-pounders. It was soon found, however, that twelve pounds was too great a weight for long distances, so a reduction took place until the missiles were cut down to four pounds and the cannon discharging these, four pounders as they were called, weighed about one-quarter of a ton. They were very effective and handy for light field work.

The eighteenth century witnessed rapid progress in gun and ammunition manufacture. "Grape" and "canister" were introduced and the names still cling to the present day. Grape consisted of a number of tarred lead balls, held together in a net. Canister consisted of a number of small shot in a tin can, the shots being dispersed by the breaking of the can on discharge. Grape now consists of cast iron balls arranged in three tiers by means of circular plates, the whole secured by a pin which passes through the centre. The number of shot in each tier varies from three to five. Grape is very destructive up to three hundred yards and effective up to six hundred yards. Canister shot as we know it at present, is made up of a number of iron balls, placed in a tin cylinder with a wooden bottom, the size of the piece of ordnance for which it is intended.

Towards the close of the eighteenth century, short cast-iron guns called "carronades" were introduced by Gascoigne of the Cannon Iron Works, Scotland. They threw heavy shots at low velocity with great battery effect. They were for a long time in use in the British navy. The sailors called them "smashers."

The entire battery of the Victory, Nelson's famous flag-ship at the battle of Trafalgar, amounting to a total of 102 guns, was composed of "carronades" varying in size from thirty-two to sixty-eight pounders. They were mounted on wooden truck carriages and were given elevation by handspikes applied under the breech, a quoin or a wedge shaped piece of wood being pushed in to hold the breech up in position. They were trained by handspikes with the aid of side-tackle and their recoil was limited by a stout rope, called the breeching, the ends of which were secured to the sides of the ship. The slow match was used for firing, the flint lock not being applied to naval guns until 1780.

About the middle of the nineteenth century, the design of guns began to receive much scientific thought and consideration. The question of high velocities and flat trajectories without lightening the weight of the projectile was the desideratum; the minimum of weight in the cannon itself with the maximum in the projectile and the force with which it could be propelled were the ends to be attained.

In 1856 Admiral Dahlgren of the United States Navy designed the Dahlgren gun with shape proportioned to the "curve of pressure," which is to say that the gun was heavy at the breech and light at the muzzle. This gun was well adapted to naval use at the time. From this, onward, guns of high pressure were manufactured until the pressure grew to such proportions that it exceeded the resisting power, represented by the tensile strength of cast iron. When cast, the gun cooled from the outside inwardly, thus placing the inside metal in a state of tension and the outside in a state of compression. General Rodman, Chief of Ordnance of the United States Army, came forward with a remedy for this. He suggested the casting of guns hollow and the cooling of them from the inside outwardly by circulating a stream of cold water in the bore while the outside surface was kept at a high temperature. This method placed the metal inside in a state of compression and that on the outside in a state of tension, the right condition to withstand successfully the pressure of the powder gas, which tended to expand the inner portions beyond the normal diameter and throw the strain of the supporting outer layers.

This system was universally employed and gave the best results obtainable from cast iron for many years and was only superseded by that of "built up" guns, when iron and steel were made available by improved processes of production.

The great strides made in the manufacture and forging of steel during the past quarter of a century, the improved tempering and annealing processes have resulted in the turning out of big guns solely composed of steel.

The various forms of modern ordnance are classified and named according to size and weight, kind of projectiles used and their velocities; angle of elevation at which they are fired; use; and mode of operation.

The guns known as breechloading rifles are from three inches to fourteen inches in calibre, that is, across the bore, and in length from twelve to over sixty feet. They weigh from one ton to fifty tons.

They fire solid shot or shells weighing up to eleven hundred pounds at high velocities, from twenty-three to twenty-five hundred feet per second. They can penetrate steel armor to a depth of fifteen to twenty inches at 2,000 yards distance.

Rapid fire guns are those in which the operation of opening and closing the breech is performed by a single motion of a lever actuated by the hand, and in which the explosive used is closed in a metallic case. These guns are made in various forms and are operated by several different systems of breech mechanism generally named after their respective inventors. The Vickers-Maxim and the Nordenfeldt are the best known in America. A new type of the Vickers-Maxim was introduced in 1897 in which a quick working breech mechanism automatically ejects the primer and draws up the loading tray into position as the breech is opened. This type was quickly adopted by the United States Navy and materially increased the speed of fire in all calibres.

What are known as machine guns are rapid fire guns in which the speed of firing is such that it is practically continuous. The best known make is the famous Gatling gun invented by Dr. R. J. Gatling of Indianapolis in 1860. This gun consists of ten parallel barrels grouped around and secured firmly to a main central shaft to which is also attached the grooved cartridge carrier and the lock cylinder. Each barrel is provided with its own lock or firing mechanism, independent of the other, but all of them revolve simultaneously with the barrels, carrier and inner breech when the gun is in operation. In firing, one end of the feed case containing the cartridges is placed in the hopper on top and the operating crank is turned. The cartridges drop one by one into the grooves of the carrier and are loaded and fired by the forward motion of the locks, which also closes the breech while the backward motion extracts and expels the empty shells. In its present state of efficiency the Gatling gun fires at the rate of 1,200 shots per minute, a speed, by separate discharges, not equaled by any other gun.

Much larger guns were constructed in times past than are being built now. In 1880 the English made guns weighing from 100 to 120 tons, from 18 to 20 inches bore and which fired projectiles weighing over 2,000 pounds at a velocity of almost 1,700 feet per second. At the same time the United States fashioned a monster rifle of 127 tons which had a bore of sixteen inches and fired a projectile of 2,400 pounds with a velocity of 2,300 feet per second.

The largest guns ever placed on board ship were the Armstrong one- hundred-and-ten-ton guns of the English battleships, Sanspareil, Benbow and Victoria. They were sixteen and one-fourth inch calibre. The newest battleships of England, the Dreadnought and the Temeraire, are equipped with fourteen-inch guns, but they are not one- half so heavy as the old guns. Many experts in naval ordnance think it a mistake to have guns over twelve inch bore, basing their belief on the experience of the past which showed that guns of a less calibre carrying smaller shells did more effective work than the big bore guns with larger projectiles.

The two titanic war-vessels now in course of construction for the United States Navy will each carry a battery of ten fourteen-inch rifles, which will be the most powerful weapons ever constructed and will greatly exceed in range and hitting power the twelve-inch guns of the Delaware or North Dakota. Each of the new rifles will weigh over sixty-three tons, the projectiles will each weigh 1,400 pounds and the powder charge will be 450 pounds. At the moment of discharge each of these guns will exert a muzzle energy of 65,600 foot tons, which simply means that the energy will be so great that it could raise 65,600 tons a foot from the ground. The fourteen-hundred-pound projectiles shall be propelled through the air at the rate of half a mile a second. It will be plainly seen that the metal of the guns must be of enormous resistance to withstand such a force. The designers have taken this into full consideration and will see to it that the powder chamber in which the explosion takes place as well as the breech lock on which the shock is exerted is of steel so wrought and tempered as to withstand the terrific strain. At the moment of detonation the shock will be about equal to that of a heavy engine and a train of Pullman coaches running at seventy miles an hour, smashing into a stone wall. On leaving the muzzle of the gun the shell will have an energy equivalent to that of a train of cars weighing 580 tons and running at sixty miles an hour. Such energy will be sufficient to send the projectile through twenty-two and a half inches of the hardest of steel armour at the muzzle, while at a range of 3,000 yards, the projectile moving at the rate of 2,235 feet per second will pierce eighteen and a half inches of steel armor at normal impact. The velocity of the projectile leaving the gun will be 2,600 feet per second, a speed which if maintained would carry it around the world in less than fifteen hours.

Each of the mammoth guns will be a trifle over fifty-three feet in length and the estimated cost of each will be $85,000. Judging from the performance of the twelve-inch guns it is figured that these greater weapons should be able to deliver three shots a minute. If all ten guns of either of the projected Dreadnoughts should be brought into action at one time and maintain the three shot rapidity for one hour, the cost of the ammunition expended in that hour would reach the enormous sum of $2,520,000.

Very few, however, of the big guns are called upon for the three shots a minute rate, for the metal would not stand the heating strain.

The big guns are expensive and even when only moderately used their "life" is short, therefore, care is taken not to put them to too great a strain. With the smaller guns it is different. Some of six-inch bore fire as high as eight aimed shots a minute, but this is only under ideal conditions.

Great care is being taken now to prolong the "life" of the big guns by using non-corrosive material for the charges. The United States has adopted a pure gun-cotton smokeless powder in which the temperature of combustion is not only lower than that of nitro-glycerine, but even lower than that of ordinary gunpowder. With the use of this there has been a very material decrease in the corrosion of the big guns. The former smokeless powder, containing a large percentage of nitro-glycerine such as "cordite," produced such an effect that the guns were used up and practically worthless, after firing fifty to sixty rounds.

Now it is possible for a gun to be as good after two or even three hundred rounds as at the beginning, but certainly not if a three minute rate is maintained. At such a rate the "life" of the best gun made would be short indeed.



CHAPTER XV

MYSTERY OF THE STARS

Wonders of the Universe—Star Photography—The Infinity of Space.

In another chapter we have lightly touched upon the greatness of the Universe, in the cosmos of which our earth is but an infinitesimal speck. Even our sun, round which a system of worlds revolve and which appears so mighty and majestic to us, is but an atom, a very small one, in the infinitude of matter and as a cog, would not be missed in the ratchet wheel which fits into the grand machinery of Nature.

If our entire solar system were wiped out of being, there would be left no noticeable void among the countless systems of worlds and suns and stars; in the immensity of space the sun with all his revolving planets is not even as a drop to the ocean or a grain of sand to the composition of the earth. There are millions of other suns of larger dimensions with larger attendants wheeling around them in the illimitable fields of space. Those stars which we erroneously call "fixed" stars are the centers of other systems vastly greater, vastly grander than the one of which our earth forms so insignificant a part. Of course to us numbers of them appear, even when viewed through the most powerful telescopes, only as mere luminous points, but that is owing to the immensity of distance between them and ourselves. But the number that is visible to us even with instrumental assistance can have no comparison with the number that we cannot see; there is no limit to that number; away in what to us may be called the background of space are millions, billions, uncountable myriads of invisible suns regulating and illuminating countless systems of invisible worlds. And beyond those invisible suns and worlds is a region which thought cannot measure and numbers cannot span. The finite mind of man becomes dazed, dumbfounded in contemplation of magnitude so great and distance so amazing. We stand not bewildered but lost before the problem of interstellar space. Its length, breadth, height and circumference are illimitable, boundless; the great eternal cosmos without beginning and without end.

In order to get some idea of the vastness of interstellar space we may consider a few distances within the limits of human conception. We know that light travels at the rate of 186,000 miles a second, yet it requires light over four years to reach us from the nearest of the fixed stars, travelling at this almost inconceivable rate, and so far away are some that their light travelling at the same rate from the dawn of creation has never reached us yet or never will until our little globule of matter disintegrates and its particles, its molecules and corpuscles, float away in the boundless ether to amalgamate with the matter of other flying worlds and suns and stars.

The nearest to us of all the stars is that known as Alpha Centauri. Its distance is computed at 25,000,000,000,000 miles, which in our notation reads twenty-five trillion miles. It takes light over four years to traverse this distance. It would take the "Empire State Express," never stopping night or day and going at the rate of a mile a minute, almost 50,000,000 years to travel from the earth to this star. The next of the fixed stars and the brightest in all the heavens is that which we call Sirius or the Dog Star. It is double the distance of Alpha Centauri, that is, it is eight "light years" away. The distances of about seventy other stars have been ascertained ranging up to seventy or eighty "light years" away, but of the others visible to the naked eye they are too far distant to come within the range of trigonometrical calculation. They are out of reach of the mathematical eye in the depth of space. But we know for certain that the distance of none of these visible stars, without a measurable parallax, is less than four million times the distance of our sun from the earth. It would be useless to express this in figures as it would be altogether incomprehensible. What then can be said of the telescopic stars, not to speak at all of those beyond the power of instruments to determine.

If a railroad could be constructed to the nearest star and the fare made one cent a mile, a single passage would cost $250,000,000,000, that is two hundred and fifty billion dollars, which would make a 94-foot cube of pure gold. All of the coined gold in the world amounts to but $4,000,000,000 (four billion dollars), equal to a gold cube of 24 feet. Therefore it would take sixty times the world's stock of gold to pay the fare of one passenger, at a cent a mile from the earth to Alpha Centauri.

The light from numbers, probably countless numbers, of stars is so long in coming to us that they could be blotted out of existence and we would remain unconscious of the fact for years, for hundreds of years, for thousands of years, nay to infinity. Thus if Sirius were to collide with some other space traveler and be knocked into smithereens as an Irishman would say, we would not know about it for eight years. In fact if all the stars were blotted out and only the sun left we should still behold their light in the heavens and be unconscious of the extinction of even some of the naked-eye stars for sixty or seventy years.

It is vain to pursue farther the unthinkable vastness of the visible Universe; as for the invisible it is equally useless for even imagination to try to grapple with its never-ending immensity, to endeavor to penetrate its awful clouded mystery forever veiled from human view.

In all there are about 3,000 stars visible to the naked eye in each hemisphere. A three-inch pocket telescope brings about one million into view. The grand and scientifically perfected instruments of our great observatories show incalculable multitudes. Every improvement in light-grasping power brings millions of new stars into the range of instrumental vision and shows the "background" of the sky blazing with the light of eye-invisible suns too far away to be separately distinguished.

Great strides are daily being made in stellar photography. Plates are now being attached to the telescopic apparatus whereby luminous heavenly bodies are able to impress their own pictures. Groups of stars are being photographed on one plate. Complete sets of these star photographs are being taken every year, embracing every nook and corner of the celestial sphere and these are carefully compared with one another to find out what changes are going on in the heavens. It will not be long before every star photographically visible to the most powerful telescope will have its present position accurately defined on these photographic charts.

When, the sensitized plate is exposed for a considerable time even invisible stars photograph themselves, and in this way a great number of stars have been discovered which no telescope, however powerful, can bring within the range of vision. Tens of thousands of stars have registered themselves thus on a single plate, and on one occasion an impression was obtained on one plate of more than 400,000.

Astronomers are of the opinion that for every star visible to the naked eye there are more than 50,000 visible to the camera of the telescope. If this is so, then the number of visible stars exceeds 300,000,000 (three hundred millions).

But the picture taking power of the finest photographic lens has a limit; no matter how long the exposure, it cannot penetrate beyond a certain boundary into the vastness of space, and beyond its limits as George Sterling, the Californian poet, says are—

"fires of unrecorded suns That light a heaven not our own."

What is the limit? Answer philosopher, answer sage, answer astronomer, and we have the solution of "the riddle of the Universe."

As yet the riddle still remains, the veil still hangs between the knowable and the unknowable, between the finite and the infinite. Science stands baffled like a wailing creature outside the walls of knowledge importuning for admission. There is little, in truth no hope at all, that she will ever be allowed to enter, survey all the fields of space and set a limit to their boundaries.

Although the riddle of the universe still remains unsolved because unsolvable, no one can deny that Astronomy has made mighty strides forward during the past few years. What has been termed the "Old Astronomy," which concerns itself with the determination of the positions and motions of the heavenly bodies, has been rejuvenated and an immense amount of work has been accomplished by concerted effort, as well as by individual exertions.

The greatest achievements have been the accurate determination of the positions of the fixed stars visible to the eye. Their situation is now estimated with as unerring precision as is that of the planets of our own system. Millions upon millions of stars have been photographed and these photographs will be invaluable in determining the future changes and motions of these giant suns of interstellar space.

Of our own system we now know definitely the laws governing it. Fifty years ago much of our solar machinery was misunderstood and many things were enveloped in mystery which since has been made very plain. The spectroscope has had a wonderful part in astronomical research. It first revealed the nature of the gases existing in the sun. It next enabled us to study the prominences on any clear day. Then by using it in the spectro-heliograph we have been enabled to photograph the entire visible surface of the sun, together with the prominences at one time. Through the spectro-heliograph we know much more about what the central body of our system is doing than our theories can explain. Fresh observations are continually bringing to light new facts which must soon be accounted for by laws at present unknown.

Spectroscopic observations are by no means confined to the sun. By them we now study the composition of the atmospheres of the other planets; through them the presence of chemical elements known on the earth is detected in vagrant comets, far-distant stars and dimly-shining nebulae. The spectroscope also makes it possible to measure the velocities of objects which are approaching or receding from us. For instance we know positively that the bright star called Aldebaran near the constellation of the Pleiades is retreating from us at a rate of almost two thousand miles a minute. The greatest telescopes in the world are now being trained on stars that are rushing away towards the "furthermost" of space and in this way astronomers are trying to get definite knowledge as to the actual velocity with which the celestial bodies are speeding.

It is only within the past few years that photography has been applied to astronomical development. In this connection, more accurate results are obtained by measuring the photographs of stellar spectra than by measuring the spectra themselves. Photography with modern rapid plates gives us, with a given telescope, pictures of objects so faint that no visual telescope of the same size will reveal them. It is in this way that many of the invisible stars have impressed themselves upon exposed plates and given us a vague idea of the immensity in number of those stars which we cannot view with eye or instrument.

Though we have made great advancement, there are many problems yet even in regard to our own little system of sun worlds which clamor loudly for solution. The sun himself represents a crowd of pending problems. His peculiar mode of rotation; the level of sunspots; the constitution of the photospheric cloud-shell, its relation to faculae which rise from it, and to the surmounting vaporous strata; the nature of the prominences; the alternations of coronal types; the affinities of the zodiacal light—all await investigation.

A great telescope has recently shown that one star in eighteen on the average is a visual double—is composed of two suns in slow revolution around their common center of mass. The spectroscope using the photographic plate, has established within the last decade that one star in every five or six on the average is attended by a companion so near to it as to remain invisible in the most powerful telescopes, and so massive as to swing the visible star around in an elliptic orbit.

The photography of comets, nebulae and solar coronas has made the study of these phenomena incomparably more effective than the old visual methods. There is no longer any necessity to make "drawings" of them. The old dread of comets has been relegated into the shade of ignorance. The long switching tails regarded so ominously and from which were anticipated such dire calamities as the destruction of worlds into chaos have been proven to be composed of gaseous vapors of no more solidity than the "airy nothingness of dreams."

The earth in the circle of its orbit passed through the tail of Halley's comet in May, 1910, and we hadn't even a pyrotechnical display of fire rockets to celebrate the occasion. In fact there was not a single celestial indication of the passage and we would not have known only for the calculations of the astronomer. The passing of a comet now, as far as fear is concerned, means no more, in fact not as much, as the passing of an automobile.

Science no doubt has made wonderful strides in our time, but far as it has gone, it has but opened for us the first few pages of the book of the heavens—the last pages of which no man shall ever read. For aeons upon aeons of time, worlds and suns, and systems of worlds and suns, revolved through the infinity of space, before man made his appearance on the tiny molecule of matter we call the earth, and for aeons upon aeons, for eternity upon eternity, worlds and suns shall continue to roll and revolve after the last vestige of man shall have disappeared, nay after the atoms of earth and sun and all his attending planets of our system shall have amalgamated themselves with other systems in the boundlessness of space; destroyed, obliterated, annihilated, they shall never be, for matter is indestructible. When it passes from one form it enters another; the dead animal that is cast into the earth lives again in the trees and shrubs and flowers and grasses that grow in the earth above where its body was cast. Our earth shall die in course of time, that is, its particles will pass into other compositions and it will be so of the other planets, of the suns, of the stars themselves, for as soon as the old ones die there will ever be new forms to which to attach themselves and thus the process of world development shall go on forever.

The nebulae which astronomers discover throughout the stellar space are extended masses of glowing gases of different forms and are worlds in process of formation. Such was the earth once. These gases solidify and contract and cool off until finally an inhabited world, inhabited by some kind of creatures, takes its place in the whirling galaxy of systems.

The stars which appear to us in a yellow or whitish yellow light are in the heyday of their existence, while those that present a red haze are almost burnt out and will soon become blackened, dead things disintegrating and crumbling and spreading their particles throughout space. It is supposed this little earth of ours has a few more million years to live, so we need not fear for our personal safety while in mortal form.

To us ordinary mortals the mystery as well as the majesty of the heavens have the same wonderful attraction as they had for the first of our race. Thousands of years ago the black-bearded shepherds of Eastern lands gazed nightly into the vaulted dome and were struck with awe as well as wonder in the contemplation of the glittering specks which appeared no larger than the pebbles beneath their feet.

We in our time as we gaze with unaided eye up at the mighty disk of the so called Milky Way, no longer regard the scintillating points glittering like diamonds in a jeweler's show-case, with feelings of awe, but the wonder is still upon us, wonder at the immensity of the works of Him who built the earth and sky, who, "throned in height sublime, sits amid the cherubim," King of the Universe, King of kings and Lord of lords. With a deep faith we look up and adore, then reverently exclaim,—"Lord, God! wonderful are the works of Thy Hands."



CHAPTER XVI

CAN WE COMMUNICATE WITH OTHER WORLDS?

Vastness of Nature—Star Distances—Problem of Communicating with Mars—The Great Beyond.

A story is told of a young lady who had just graduated from boarding school with high honors. Coming home in great glee, she cast her books aside as she announced to her friends;—"Thank goodness it is all over, I have nothing more to learn. I know Latin and Greek, French and German, Spanish and Italian; I have gone through Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Conic Sections and the Calculus; I can interpret Beethoven and Wagner, and—but why enumerate?—in short, 'I know everything.'"

As she was thus proclaiming her knowledge her hoary-headed grandfather, a man whom the Universities of the world had honored by affixing a score of alphabetical letters to his name, was experimenting in his laboratory. The lines of long and deep study had corrugated his brow and furrowed his face. Wearily he bent over his retorts and test tubes. At length he turned away with a heavy sigh, threw up his hands and despairingly exclaimed,—"Alas, alas! after fifty years of study and investigation, I find I know nothing."

There is a moral in this story that he who runs may read. Most of us are like the young lady,—in the pride of our ignorance, we fancy we know almost everything. We boast of the progress of our time, of what has been accomplished in our modern world, we proclaim our triumphs from the hilltops,—"Ha!" we shout, "we have annihilated time and distance; we have conquered the forces of nature and made them subservient to our will; we have chained the lightning and imprisoned the thunder; we have wandered through the fields of space and measured the dimensions and revolutions of stars and suns and planets and systems. We have opened the eternal gates of knowledge for all to enter and crowned man king of the universe."

Vain boasting! The gates of knowledge have been opened, but we have merely got a peep at what lies within. And man, so far from being king of the universe, is but as a speck on the fly-wheel that controls the mighty machinery of creation. What we know is infinitesimal to what we do not know. We have delved in the fields of science, but as yet our ploughshares have merely scratched the tiniest portion of the surface,—the furrow that lies in the distance is unending. In the infinite book of knowledge we have just turned over a few of the first pages; but as it is infinite, alas! we can never hope to reach the final page, for there is no final page. What we have accomplished is but as a mere drop in the ocean, whose waves wash the continents of eternity. No scholar, no scientist can bound those continents, can tell the limits to which they stretch, inasmuch as they are illimitable.

Ask the most learned savant if he can fix the boundaries of space, and he will answer,—No! Ask him if he can define mind and matter, and you will receive the same answer.

"What is mind? It is no matter."

"What is matter? Never mind."

The atom formerly thought to be indivisible and the smallest particle of matter has been reduced to molecules, corpuscles, ions, and electrons; but the nature, the primal cause of these, the greatest scientists on earth are unable to determine. Learning is as helpless as ignorance when brought up against this stone-wall of mystery. The effect is seen, but the cause remains indeterminable. The scientist, gray-haired in experience and experiment, knows no more in this regard than the prattling child at its mother's knee. The child asks,—"Who made the world?" and the mother answers, "God made the world." The infant mind, suggestive of the future craving for knowledge, immediately asks,—"Who is God?" Question of questions to which the philosopher and the peasant must give the same answer,—"God is the infinite, the eternal, the source of all things, the alpha and omega of creation, from Him all came, to Him all must return." He is the beginning of Science, the foundation on which our edifice of knowledge rests.

We hear of the conflict between Science and Religion. There is no conflict, can be none, for all Science must be based on faith,—faith in Him who holds worlds and suns "in the hollow of His hand." All our great scientists have been deeply religious men, acknowledging their own insignificance before Him who fills the universe with His presence.

What is the universe and what place do we hold in it? The mind of man becomes appalled in consideration of the question. The orb we know as the sun is centre of a system of worlds of which our earth is almost the most insignificant; yet great as is the sun when compared to the little bit of matter on which we dwell and have our being, it is itself but a mote, as it were, in the beam of the Universe. Formerly this sun was thought to be fixed and immovable, but the progress of science demonstrated that while the earth moves around this luminary, the latter is moving with mighty velocity in an orbit of its own. Tis the same with all the other bodies which we erroneously call "fixed stars." These stars are the suns of other systems of worlds, countless systems, all rushing through the immensity of space, for there is nothing fixed or stationary in creation,—all is movement, constant, unvarying. Suns and stars and systems perform their revolutions with unerring precision, each unit-world true to its own course, thus proving to the soul of reason and the consciousness of faith that there must needs be an omnipotent hand at the lever of this grand machinery of the universe, the hand that fashioned it, that of God. Addison beautifully expresses the idea in referring to the revolutions of the stars:

"In reason's ear they all rejoice, And utter forth one glorious voice, Forever singing as they shine- 'The Hand that made us is Divine.'"

Our sun, the centre of the small system of worlds of which the earth is one, is distant from us about ninety-three million miles. In winter it is nearer; in summer farther off. Light travels this distance in about eight minutes, to be exact, the rate is 186,400 miles per second. To get an idea of the immensity of the distance of the so-called fixed stars, let us take this as a base of comparison. The nearest fixed star to us is Alpha Centauri, which is one of the brightest as seen in the southern heavens. It requires four and one-quarter years for a beam of light to travel from this star to earth at the rate of 186,000 miles a second, thus showing that Alpha Centauri is about two hundred and seventy-five thousand times as far from us as is the sun, in other words, more than 25,575,000,000,000 miles, which, expressed in our notation, reads twenty-five trillion, five hundred and seventy- five billion miles, a number which the mind of man is incapable of grasping. To use the old familiar illustration of the express train, it would take the "Twentieth Century Limited," which does the thousand mile trip between New York and Chicago in less than twenty-four hours, some one million two hundred and fifty thousand years at the same speed to travel from the earth to Alpha Centauri. Sirius, the Dog-Star, is twice as far away, something like eight or nine "light" years from our solar system; the Pole-Star is forty-eight "light" years removed from us, and so on with the rest, to an infinity of numbers. From the dawn of creation in the eternal cosmos of matter, light has been travelling from some stars in the infinitude of space at the rate of 186,000 miles per second, but so remote are they from our system that it has not reached us as yet. The contemplation is bewildering; the mind sinks into nothingness in consideration of a magnitude so great and distance so confusing. What lies beyond?—a region which numbers cannot measure and thought cannot span, and beyond that?—the eternal answer,—GOD.

In face of the contemplation of the vastness of creation, of its boundlessness the question ever obtrudes itself,—What place have we mortals in the universal cosmos? What place have we finite creatures, who inhabit this speck of matter we call the earth, in this mighty scheme of suns and systems and never-ending space. Does the Creator of all think us the most important of his works, that we should be the particular objects of revelation, that for us especially heaven was built, and a God-man, the Son of the Eternal, came down to take flesh of our flesh and live among us, to show us the way, and finally to offer himself as a victim to the Father to expiate our transgressions. Mystery of mysteries before which we stand appalled and lost in wonder. Self-styled rationalists love to point out the irrationality and absurdity of supposing that the Creator of all the unimaginable vastness of suns and systems, filling for all we know endless space, should take any special interest in so mean and pitiful a creature as man, inhabiting such an infinitesimal speck of matter as the earth, which depends for its very life and light upon a second or third-rate or hundred-rate Sun.

From the earliest times of our era, the sneers and taunts of atheism and agnosticism have been directed at the humble believer, who bows down in submission and questions not. The fathers of the Church, such as Augustine and Chrysostom and Thomas of Aquinas and, at a later time, Luther, and Calvin, and Knox, and Newman, despite the war of creeds, have attacked the citadel of the scoffers; but still the latter hurl their javelins from the ramparts, battlements and parapets and refuse to be repulsed. If there are myriads of other worlds, thousands, millions of them in point of magnitude greater than ours, what concern say they has the Creator with our little atom of matter? Are other worlds inhabited besides our own. This is the question that will not down—that is always begging for an answer. The most learned savants of modern time, scholars, sages, philosophers and scientists have given it their attention, but as yet no one has been able to conclusively decide whether a race of intelligent beings exists in any sphere other than our own. All efforts to determine the matter result in mere surmise, conjecture and guesswork. The best of scientists can only put forward an opinion.

Professor Simon Newcomb, one of the most brilliant minds our country has produced, says: "It is perfectly reasonable to suppose that beings, not only animated but endowed with reason, inhabit countless worlds in space." Professor Mitchell of the Cincinnati Observatory, in his work, "Popular Astronomy," says,—"It is most incredible to assert, as so many do, that our planet, so small and insignificant in its proportions when compared with the 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." Camille Flammarion, in referring to the utter insignificance of the earth in the immensity of space, puts forward his view thus: "If advancing with the velocity of light we could traverse from century to century the unlimited number of suns and spheres without ever meeting any limit to the prodigious immensity where God brings forth his worlds, and looking behind, knowing not in what part of the infinite was the little grain of dust called the earth, we would be compelled to unite our voices with that universal nature and exclaim—'Almighty God, how senseless were we to believe that there was nothing beyond the earth and that our abode alone possessed the privilege of reflecting Thy greatness and honor.'"

The most distinguished astronomers and scientists of a past time, as well as many of the most famous divines, supported the contention of world life beyond the earth. Among these may be mentioned Kepler and Tycho, Giordano Bruno and Cardinal Cusa, Sir William and Sir John Herschel, Dr. Bentley and Dr. Chalmers, and even Newton himself subscribed in great measure to the belief that the planets and stars are inhabited by intelligent beings.

Those who deny the possibility of other worlds being inhabited, endeavor to show that our position in the universe is unique, that our solar system is quite different from all others, and, to crown the argument, they assert that our little world has just the right amount of water, air, and gravitational force to enable it to be the abode of intelligent life, whereas elsewhere, such conditions do not prevail, and that on no other sphere can such physical habitudes be found as will enable life to originate or to exist. It can be easily shown that such reasoning is based on untenable foundations. Other worlds have to go through processes of evolution, and there can be no doubt that many are in a state similar to our own. It required hundreds of thousands, perhaps hundreds of millions of years, before this earth was fit to sustain human life. The same transitions which took place on earth are taking place in other planets of our system, and other systems, and it is but reasonable to assume that in other systems there are much older worlds than the earth, and that these have arrived at a more developed state of existence, and therefore have a life much higher than our own. As far as physical conditions are concerned, there are suns similar to our own, as revealed by the spectroscope, and which have the same eruptive energy. Astronomical Science has incontrovertibly demonstrated, and evidence is continually increasing to show that dark, opaque worlds like ours exist and revolve around their primaries. Why should not these worlds be inhabited by a race equal or even superior in intelligence to ourselves, according to their place in the cosmos of creation?

Leaving out of the question the outlying worlds of space, let us come to a consideration of the nearest celestial neighbor we have in our own system, the planet Mars: Is there rational life on Mars and if so can we communicate with the inhabitants?

Though little more than half the earth's size, Mars has a significance in the public eye which places it first in importance among the planets. It is our nearest neighbor on the outer side of the earth's path around the Sun and, viewed through a telescope of good magnifying power, shows surface markings, suggestive of continents, mountains, valleys, oceans, seas and rivers, and all the varying phenomena which the mind associates with a world like unto our own. Indeed, it possesses so many features in common with the earth, that it is impossible to resist the conception of its being inhabitated. This, however, is not tantamount to saying that if there is a race of beings on Mars they are the same as we on Earth. By no means. Whatever atmosphere exists on Mars must be much thinner than ours and far too rare to sustain the life of a people with our limited lung capacity. A race with immense chests could live under such conditions, and folk with gills like fish could pass a comfortable existence in the rarefied air. Besides the tenuity of the atmosphere, there are other conditions which would cause life to be much different on Mars. Attraction and gravitation are altogether different. The force with which a substance is attracted to the surface of Mars is only a little more than one-third as strong as on the earth. For instance one hundred pounds on Earth would weigh only about thirty-eight pounds on Mars. A man who could jump five feet here could clear fifteen feet on Mars. Paradoxical as it may seem, the smaller a planet, in comparison with ours and consequently the less the pull of gravity at its centre, the greater is the probability that its inhabitants, if any, are giants when compared with us. Professor Lowell has pointed out that to place the Martians (if there are such beings) under the same conditions as those in which we exist, the average inhabitant must be considered to be three times as large and three times as heavy as the average human being; and the strength of the Martians must exceed ours to even a greater extent than the bulk and weight; for their muscles would be twenty-seven times more effective. In fact, one Martian could do the work of fifty or sixty men.

It is idle, however, to speculate as to what the forms of life are like on Mars, for if there are any such forms our ideas and conceptions of them must be imaginary, as we cannot see them on Mars we do not know. There is yet no possibility of seeing anything on the planet less than thirty miles across, and even a city of that size, viewed through the most powerful telescope, would only be visible as a minute speck. Great as is the perfection to which our optical instruments have been brought, they have revealed nothing on the planet save the so-called canals, to indicate the presence of sentient rational beings. The canals discovered by Schiaparelli of the Milan Observatory in 1877 are so regular, outlined with such remarkable geometrical precision, that it is claimed they must be artificial and the work of a high order of intelligence. "The evidence of such work," says Professor Lowell, "points to a highly intelligent mind behind it."

Can this intelligence in any way reach us, or can we express ourselves to it? Can the chasm of space which lies between the Earth and Mars be bridged—a chasm which, at the shortest, is more than thirty-five million miles across or one hundred and fifty times greater than the distance between the earth and the moon? Can the inhabitants of the Earth and Mars exchange signals? To answer the question, let us institute some comparisons. Suppose the fabled "Man in the Moon" were a real personage, we would require a telescope 800 times more powerful than the finest instrument we now have to see him, for the space penetrating power of the best telescope is not more than 300 miles and the moon is 240,000 miles distant. An object to be visible on the moon would require to be as large as the Metropolitan Insurance Building in New York, which is over 700 feet high. To see, therefore, an object on Mars by means of the telescope the object would need to have dimensions one hundred and fifty times as great as the object on the moon; in other words, before we could see a building on Mars, it would have to be one hundred and fifty times the size of the Metropolitan Building. Even if there are inhabitants there, it is not likely they have such large buildings.

Assuming that there are Martians, and that they are desirous of communicating with the earth by waving a flag, such a flag in order to be seen through the most powerful telescopes and when Mars is nearest, would have to be 300 miles long and 200 miles wide and be flung from a flagpole 500 miles high. The consideration of such a signal only belongs to the domain of the imagination. As an illustration, it should conclusively settle the question of the possibility or rather impossibility of signalling between the two planets.

Let us suppose that the signalling power of wireless telegraphy had been advanced to such perfection that it was possible to transmit a signal across a distance of 8,000 miles, equal to the diameter of the earth, or 1-30 the distance to the moon. Now, in order to be appreciable at the moon it would require the intensity of the 8,000 mile ether waves to be raised not merely 30 times, but 30 times 30, for to use the ordinary expression, the intensity of an effect spreading in all directions like the ether waves, decreases inversely as the square of the distance. If the whole earth were brought within the domain of wireless telegraphy, the system would still have to be improved 900 times as much again before the moon could be brought within the sphere of its influence. A wireless telegraphic signal, transmitted across a distance equal to the diameter of the earth, would be reduced to a mere sixteen-millionth part if it had to travel over the distance to Mars; in other words, if wireless telegraphy attained the utmost excellence now hoped for it—that is, of being able to girdle the earth—it would have to be increased a thousandfold and then a thousandfold again, and finally multiplied by 16, before an appreciable signal could be transmitted to Mars. This seems like drawing the long bow, but it is a scientific truth. There is no doubt that ether waves can and do traverse the distance between the Earth and Mars, for the fact that sunlight reaches Mars and is reflected back to us proves this; but the source of waves adequate to accomplish such a feat must be on such a scale as to be hopelessly beyond the power of man to initiate or control. Electrical signalling to Mars is much more out of the question than wireless. Even though electrical phenomena produced in any one place were sufficiently intense to be appreciable by suitable instruments all over the earth, that intensity would have to be enhanced another sixteen million-fold before they would be appreciable on the planet Mars.

It is absolutely hopeless to try to span the bridge that lies between us and Mars by any methods known to present day science. Yet men styling themselves scientists say it can be done and will be done. This is a prophecy, however, which must lie in the future.

As has been pointed out, we have as yet but scratched the outer surface in the fields of knowledge. What visions may not be opened to the eyes of men, as they go down deeper and deeper into the soil. Secrets will be exhumed undreamt of now, mysteries will be laid bare to the light of day, and perhaps the psychic riddle of life itself may be solved. Then indeed, Mars may come to be looked on as a next-door neighbor, with whose life and actions we are as well acquainted as with our own. The thirty-five million miles that separate him from us may be regarded as a mere step in space and the most distant planets of our system as but a little journey afield. Distant Uranus may be looked upon as no farther away than is, say, Australia from America at the present time.

It is vain, however, to indulge in these premises. The veil of mystery still hangs between us and suns and stars and systems. One fact lies before us of which there is no uncertainty—we die and pass away from our present state into some other. We are not annihilated into nothingness. Suns and worlds also die, after performing their allotted revolutions in the cycle of the universe. Suns glow for a time, and planets bear their fruitage of plants and animals and men, then turn for aeons into a dreary, icy listlessness and finally crumble to dust, their atoms joining other worlds in the indestructibility of matter.

After all, there really is no death, simply change—change from one state to another. When we say we die, we simply mean that we change our state. There is a life beyond the grave. As Longfellow beautifully expresses it:

"Life is real, life is earnest, And the grave is not its goal, Dust thou art, to dust returnest, Was not spoken of the soul."

But whither do we go when we pass on? Where is the soul when it leaves the earthly tenement called the body? We, Christians, in the light of revelation and of faith, believe in a heaven for the good; but it is not a material place, only a state of being. Where and under what conditions is that state? This leads us to the consideration of another question which is engrossing the minds of many thinkers and reasoners of the present day. Can we communicate with the Spirit world? Despite the tenets and beliefs and experiences of learned and sincere investigators, we are constrained, thus far, to answer in the negative.

Yet, though we cannot communicate with it, we know there is a spirit world; the inner consciousness of our being apprises us of that fact, we know our loved ones who have passed on are not dead but gone before, just a little space, and that soon we shall follow them into a higher existence. As Talmage said, the tombstone is not the terminus, but the starting post, the door to the higher life, the entrance to the state of endless labor, grand possibilities, and eternal progression.

THE END

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