From the May 4, 1929 issue
|<<Back to Contents|
In one of H.G. Wells' delightful short stories, a crystal egg on the Earth is so in tune with one on Mars that by looking into the terrestrial one, the scene surrounding the Martian crystal appears. The owner of the crystal identifies the scene as on Mars because of the motions of the two moons which periodically appear.
Some such device would be needed to see the view represented on our cover this week; only the second crystal would have to be on Phobos, Mars' inner moon. Then the planet, only a little over 5,000 miles distant, would appear in the sky as a huge moon, and would undergo phases from new to crescent, then half, then gibbous and finally full, returning to the new phase in the reverse order. As Phobos presumably has no atmosphere, the sky would remain constantly dark, and the sun and stars would be seen at the same time. The sun would appear a little smaller than from the Earth, but the groups of stars would bear the same configuration that they have for us.
It is to the artistic ability, aided by the scientific knowledge, of Howard Russell Butler, N.A., that we are indebted for this imaginative view. Our cover is reproduced from one of two views of Mars from Phobos that Mr. Butler has painted, through the courtesy of Dr. Clyde Fisher, curator of astronomy at the American Museum of Natural History.
URGE SAVING INDIAN RECORDS
The preservation of irreplaceable earth monuments built by Indians in middle western America long before the white man came will be urged at an archaeological conference called for May 18 at St. Louis, under the sponsorship of the National Research Council.
Plows, steam shovels, and souvenir dealers are destroying forever the tombs and buried records of an ancient civilization that built pyramids that rival those of ancient Egypt, Dr. Knight Dunlap, chairman of the division of anthropology and psychology, declared.
"Once the states and local communities of the Mississippi valley realize the value of these valuable heritages from the past, they are sure to take steps to protect them properly," Dr. Dunlap said.
HUNTING FOR "RADIO ROOF"
They are hunting for the "radio roof of the world" with echoes. Somewhere out in the borderlands of the Earth's atmosphere there is a layer of electrically charged gas particles that keeps radio waves from dissipating themselves into space and makes long-distance radio signaling possible. It is called the Kennelly-Heaviside layer, in honor of the scientists who discovered it. It fluctuates a great deal either in its height above the Earth or in its power to reflect radio waves, and hence makes a lot of trouble for radio men.
To learn more about the location and behavior of this important layer, Dr. M.A. Tuve and L.R. Hafstad of the Carnegie Institution of Washington have been studying short-wave radio waves sent out by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, which strike the layer and are reflected back, like echoes from a wall. The same principle is used in the sonic depth-finding employed by ships to study the bottom of the ocean. They laid their results before the meeting of the American Geophysical Union in Washington.
TimeLine ArchivesBack to Top
Copyright © 1999 Science Service