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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/309

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ADVANCE OF ASTRONOMY.

that if these lines were much narrower than forty miles they would be invisible. Each of them is marvelous in its uniformity throughout its entire length.

The existence of these straight lines on the planet contains perhaps the first suggestion of the presence of some intelligent beings on Mars. The mere occurrence of a number of perfectly straight, uniform lines on such a globe would in itself be a sufficiently remarkable circumstance. But there are other features exhibited by these objects which also suggest the astonishing surmise that they have been constructed by some intelligent beings for some intelligent purposes.

Sometimes two of these lines will start from a certain junction, sometimes there will be a third or a fourth from the same junction; in one case there are as many as seven radiating from the same point. Such an arrangement of these straight lines is certainly unlike anything that we find in Nature. We are led to seek for some other explanation of the phenomenon, and here is the explanation which Mr. Lowell offers:

It has recently been found that there are no oceans of water on the planet Mars. In earlier days it used no doubt to be believed that the dark marks easily seen in thetelescope could represent nothing but oceans, but I think we must now give up the notion that these are watery expanses. Indeed, there is not much water on that globe anywhere in comparison with the abundance of water on our earth. It is the scarcity of water which seems to give a clew to some of the mysteries discovered on Mars by Schiaparelli and Lowell.

As our earth moves round the sun we have, of course, the changing seasons of the year. In a somewhat similar manner Mars revolves around the sun, and accordingly this planet has also its due succession of seasons. There is a summer on Mars, and there is a winter; during the winter on that globe the poles of the planet are much colder than at other seasons, and the water there accumulates in the form of ice or snow to make those ice-caps that telescopic observers have so long noticed. In this respect Mars, of course, is like our earth. The ice-cap at each pole of our globe is so vast that even the hottest summer does not suffice to melt the accumulation; much of the ice and snow there remains to form the eternal snow which every arctic explorer so well knows. It would seem, however, that the contrast between winter and summer on Mars must be much more deeply marked than the contrast between winter and summer on our earth. During the summer of Mars ice and snow vanish altogether from the poles of that planet.

Mr. Lowell supposes that water is so scarce on Mars that the