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Volume 1445
Edgar Rice Burroughs and the Press
A Life's Journey Through the Newspapers of the World
A Collection of newspaper clippings from 
Chicago to Tarzana  ~ around the world ~ and back to Encino/Tarzana 

From the Dale Broadhurst Collection

Before Barsoom. . .
The science newstories 
Ed Burroughs was reading 
in the Chicago papers.

Chicago Sunday Tribune ~ August 9, 1908

Chicago Sunday Tribune 
August 9, 1908

Are there countless beings watching us in this little world of ours from out of the limitless regions of space, and if so, what do they see and know?

That is the question which has agitated the mind of man since the astrologers of Assyria made bold to tell the fortunes of their fellows from gazing at the twinking points of light in the heavens above them. Modern science has made vast strides since those days, and with the aid of the telescope and the camera is able to provide a comporative answer to the world old question. 

The latest attempt to answer the question has been made by Camille Flammarion, the celebrated French astronomer (see the M. Flammarion is satisfied that some, at least, of the myriad planets about us are the habitation of intelligent beings. A few of the startling speculations and conclusions which he has made are presented here to the American reader.

The moon practically has been given up as hopeless. Its examination has become so exact that it is certain that if life exists at all on our satellite it must do so in a most primitive and rudimentary form. with our nearest neighbor, Mars, however, it is different. We know now that Mars possesses a climate far finer and more equable than our own. That seasons occur with greater regularity than with us, and that there exists there every condition requisite for life in a high form of development. 

While Peary, Mansen, Abruzzi, and all their brotherhood are striving vainly as yet to penetrate the mystery of our poles, we know all about the Martian polar regions. We can watch the snow line gradually disappearing and the appearance of summer. There is little rain and few clouds at Mars and our presumptive neighbors enjoy a summer which would make the inhabitants of the South Pacific islands green with envy. 

Every bit of evidence that has been added to our knowledge strengthens the theory that a race of intelligent beings inhabits Mars, and the evidence presented by the Martian canals would seem to demonstrate that they are our superiors in the mechanical arts. The little ditch at Panama would be child's play to the Martian engineer.

But, while we know something about Mars, what about the countless millions of planets which revolve in their individual systems, many times bigger than the earth, and so far away that the mind reels at the figures which the astronomers present to us?

If there are inhabitants on Mars it is at least reasonable to assume that there also are inhabitants on such other of the planets which have reached a stage where life is supportable.

Strange and incredible must be the beings who exist on those far distant planets. On may of them the conditions of life are almost exactly the reverse of those known to us and some of them are so vast that the discovery of an American continent would affect their inhabitants as little as the discovery of a new island would us. Jupiter is just eleven times bigger than the earth and just at present appears about to start on its terrestrial existence. That is, it probably will have finished its preparations in another few million years. That sounds pretty long, but it really is a mere bagatelle, astronomically speaking. 

Eons ago Jupiter was a sun all in its own right. It had a little system of seven worlds that basked in its Jovian heat, but those worlds have all gone out into the dark void. Jupiter died one day and his satellites perished, as our own world probably will perish when our sun dies. But Jupiter only died to be born again in a new shape. It finished its solar career, is rapidly passing through its stellar existence, and will presently start on its terrestrial life. 

There is a little red patch visible on Jupiter, which the astronomers declare is a continent in the making. If we could get near enough we would be able to see a new world in the throes of its birth. The tremendous machinery of the spheres is revolving and with the thunder of the infinite continents and oceans are being welded together in a fashion which will unite them for countless ages.

A Jovian year consists of a mere trifle of 10,4** days, but in that vast chaos the sun only shines five hours each day. The great bulk is revolving at the equator at the incredible speed of a revolution every nine and a half hours, but it moves slower at the poles. This proves that the process of solidification is not yet complete and that the infant world has not yet come into its own.

But there are other worlds, illimitable in number as stars of the sea, stretching away into infinity until imagination is numbed and senseless attempting to grasp the fact of their existence. Not only worlds bu entire systems, with two or three suns and many moons, where beings with powers undreamed of by us mortals may, and in all possibility do, exist and work out their existence in spans of time which are to our brief lives as we ourselves are to a butterfly.

The planet Castor, which in reality is two stars revolving around one another, takes 347 years for one revolution. While one annual period has been elapsing on that planet generations have grown up and passed away among us. The last Castorian year ended two earthly years ago. It commenced in 1659, before the Armada had sailed and when America was naught bu the happy hunting grounds of the Indian, with a few adventurers risking their lives in attempts to penetrate its fastnesses. In the course of this tremendous year might powers have risen and fallen on earth and our modern world has emerged from the stress and storm of the middle ages.

But much stronger than all this is the contemplation of what the people of these unknown worlds are seeing if they are occupied with the concerns of this little world of all. Light travels at what to us is the inconceivable speed of 185,106 miles a second, but in the language of the spheres that is merely a snail's pace.

The light from many stars has been traveling towards us for centuries and has not yet arrived. Similarly our own light has taken centuries to reach distant worlds and is still traveling towards others which are so far from us that when that light will have reached them this earth will have long since ceased to exist. 

I, then, the peoples of those distant stars are looking at us they do not see us or the world as we know it, but the world as it was generations ago. Way off in space there may be a watcher who at this moment with his marvelous telescope is passing in review the battle of Thermopylm or another nearer who is gazing with bewildered look at the red carnage of Waterloo.

Some of these watchers of the stars could tell us the history of the garden of Eden from the point of view of an onlooker. And the fall of Troy is a spectacle of today for them. The actors in the Crucifixion and living men an d women to them, while of us and our little concerns they have no knowledge.

In the same way if we are ever able to manufacture instruments which will enable us to watch the proceedings of our stellar neighbors we will not see the beings of our day but those of centuries ago. This brings us to a speculation of one of the results of perfected communication between the different worlds which circle about us. We would have a complete and unchallengeable history of the universe, related event by event by those who are themselves spectators. 

One would relate to us the story of the civilization of Babylon as he saw it unfolded before him, while from another we would learn of those one time tropical countries which today are hurled beneath the silent ice fields of the arctic regions. What we would learn of them and their worlds in turn is beyond all speculation. 

One of the most interesting of the many stars which are known to our astronomers is Saturn. No satisfactory explanation ever has been given of the luminous ring which surrounds this planet, and it forms a fruitful subject for conjecture to the scientists.

Millions of miles beyond Saturn there is an even stranger star called Gamma. Gamma is of a beautiful green color with orange stripes. To complete its weird coloring it has a little blue satellite. The wildest dreams of Wells or Jules Verne could not commence to imagine a world which exists under such conditions. If the inhabitants of this planet are not rainbow hued they have every right to be. Perhaps, however, a delicate pea-green may prove more in harmony with their surroundings. As for the vegetation and fauna, what is the use of trying to conceive flowers which grow in a green and orange world with a blue moon smiling down on them at night!

Away off in Sirius old mother earth looks like a little bit of a star. That is if our light has yet reached there, which is improbable. Sirius started sending its rays down to us before Eve had tempted Father Adam to eat that apple and commenced all our troubles for us. The sirens may have gone to live in Sirius when they got snubbed by Ulysses.

A few trillions of miles away there is a small and discrete star called Alpha. It is just 250,000 times as far from us as the sun, but that does not bother Alpha in any way because it has two suns all of its own and so is in no danger of freezing to death. Alpha's two suns sometimes reign together and sometimes alternate, a combination which must prove trying when the inhabitants go to bed at sunset and find that it is really sunrise. Perhaps they dispense with sleep altogether. 

To return to Mars. That planet being the nearest to us. It is from it that we must expect to receive our most accurate information. Assuming that the Martians are at least as intelligent and advanced as ourselves, they have a far greater advantage in studying the earth than we have to studying them. Their atmosphere is of such a clarity that it must afford but little obstruction to their astronomical instruments. Specific gravity is three times greater on the earth than on Mars.

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