A VOYAGE IN SPACE
that it would almost certainly have taken a long time; and we want something to go much quicker than that sphere. It accordingly occurred to me that we could not do better than adopt a hint from our old friend Mark Twain in his Tramp Abroad (a delightful book which can be bought for sevenpence nowadays). Perhaps you have read it, and you remember that after he had braved the perils of the ascent of the Riffelberg (which had taken him seven days!), he was contemplating going up Mont Blanc. But the perils of the actual ascent seemed so great that he decided to make it by telescope. He found in the village street at Chamonix a man with a telescope directed on a party going up the mountain; he followed them up by means of that telescope, feeling all the time just as though he were along with them; so that when they had got to the top, he quite felt that he had got there himself, and cheered so loudly that he disturbed the people round and they made remarks which called him back to Chamonix.
The advantage of going by telescope is, first of all, as Mark Twain hints, that it is very much safer. I am afraid I have not got a licence to drive an aeroplane, and if I had I might even then have an accident. But besides being safer, the telescope takes us much more quickly. Supposing you wanted to get to the Sun, even in two years, how fast do you think you would have to go? We said the Sun is 93 million miles away; and there are about a million minutes in two years; so that you would have to go about 93 miles a minute which is pretty quick! But we can go much quicker than that by telescope. We can get to the stars, I was going to say, in no time;