Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 91.djvu/274

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��Popular Science Monthly

���An isolated mountain at the north terminus of the Apennines. Rising 15,000 feet above the plain it is but one of scores of similar solitary peaks, the sublime grandeur of which cannot be overestimated. Even at midday the sky is darker than on our darkest starlight nights, with the stars and planets shining brighter than it would be possible to see them from our earth

��mittently obscured by slowly-moving white vapor in the terrestrial envelope, lying usually in long streaks roughly parallel to the equator.

The Terrible Desolation of the Moon

And now assuming that we have planted ourselves upon a more elevated portion of the moon, our attention, which has been directed to the sky, is now concentrated upon the surrounding landscape. We be- hold everywhere a scene representing the wildest desolation. The shadows assume total blackness and appear quite im- penetrable to one's vision ; for absence of an atmosphere means no diffusion of light. In stepping behind a bowlder or any other part which does not receive the direct rays of the sun, one becomes invisible. Volcanic cones, ranging in diameter from a few hundred feet^to many miles, literally crowd

��the surface as far as the eye can reach. At a distance of forty miles or so the summits of a gigantic mountain range are seen peering above the horizon, and as clearly defined as the adjacent neighborhood. It is difficult if not nearly impossible to pass correct judgment on the distance of the various features owing to the lack of aerial perspective. The region close by is seen to be composed chiefly of hills of volcanic debris, rocks, bottomless pits, yawning crevasses and piles of slag — doubtless a scene of inconceivable commotion in ages antedating mortal history, but now a world devoid of sound or disturbance, and minus evidence of organic life. Indeed we realize that we are in touch with a world which is typical of a dream of lifelessness, an apparition denoting not death, but a world upon which life has never appeared. No atmospheric elements have been at work to tarnish the pristine hues of many parts

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