MONKEYING WITH MARS
Last year, about this time, learned astronomers were hitching vest-pocket Kodaks to rockets, hoping thereby to obtain better pictures of the planet Mars. This season, the process is being reversed. Professor Todd of Amirerst has conceived the notion of going down thirteen hundred feet in a mine, from which point of vantage he expects to get a peep at our sister planet, as it were, unawares. By rotating a dish of mercury, he plans to convert the mine shaft into a huge-reflecting telescope. This done, no "final close-up" on the silver screen ever betrayed an unsuspecting complexion more completely than such a gigantic instrument would reveal the face of our mysterious relative. No sewing circle, tearing asunder some absent member, can compare with our astronomical gossips, gathered round observatory table, as they gloat over ever wrinkle and mole which the telescope reveals. What wonder, therefore, that the fear-stricken orb hangs back, refusing to shine down the mine shaft before 1924!
Is it possible then, that Mars has something which she is anxious to conceal? Professor Lowell has long held that the planet is the seat of intelligent life; Marconi is convinced that he has received wireless messages from this source. So if, as is commonly supposed, Mars is a much older world than our own, Professor Todd should soon be turning his clock forward a million wears or so and spying out the future of the Human Race. Unfortunately, Nature dislikes dealing in futures, and will undoubtedly do all in her power to prevent him from casting the horoscope of this old earth in his dish of mercury. But for the peace of mind of those who believe in reincarnation, let us hope that Mars will at last show some unmistakable "signs of life".