Topsy Turvy

Page 29

“We have the means of making a new one which will hereafter regulate the routine of day and night.”

“You want to modify the daily rotation of the earth?” repeated Col. Karkof, with fire in his eyes.

“Absolutely, but without affecting its duration,” answered President Barbicane. This operation will bring the pole at or about the sixty-seventh parallel of latitude, then the earth will be similar to the planet Jupiter, whose axis is nearly perpendicular to the plane of its orbit. Now this movement of 23 degrees 28 minutes will be sufficient to give at our North Pole such a degree of heat that it will melt in less than no time the icebergs and field which have been there for thousands of years.”

The audience was out of breath. Nobody thought of interrupting the orator, even to applaud him. All were taken in by this idea, so ingenious and simple, of modifying the axis on which this earthly spheroid is rotating. And as for the European delegates, well, they were simply stupefied, paralyzed, and crushed, they kept their mouths shut in the last stage of astonishment. But the hurrahs seemed to rend the hall asunder, when President Barbicane made the additional remark: “It is the sun which will take upon himself the melting of the icebergs and fields around the North Pole, and thus make access to the same very easy. So, as people cannot go to the pole, the pole will come to them.”

CHAPTER VIII.

YES, JUST LIKE JUPITER.

Since that memorable meeting in honor of Michel Ardan, the Hon. J.T. Maston had talked and thought of nothing else but the “changing of the axis of the earth.” He had studied the subject as much as possible and found out all the facts and figures about it. As the problem had been solved by this eminent calculator a new axis was going to take the place of the old one upon which the earth was now turning, and the world would otherwise remain the same. In the scheme it would be possible for the climate around the North Pole to become exactly the same as that of Trondhjem, in Norway, in the Spring. Naturally, then the large amount of ice would melt under the ardent sun. At the same time the climates would be distributed over our sphere like those now on the surface of Jupiter. In other words, the new-formed society of Barbicane was going to change everything at present on the surface of the earth. And the creation of this new axis was possible, just as soon as the platform of which Archimedes had dreamed and the lever imagined by J.T. Maston were at the disposal of these courageous engineers. And as they had decided to make a secret of their invention until a future time, people could not do anything else but make their own figures. This was what all the papers did, calling on the most scientific persons and learning as well something from the most ignorant persons. If there really were people living on the surface of Jupiter, they had a good many advantages over those on the earth, advantages which had all been narrated and explained in the meeting which was held before the trip to the moon. All these advantages would come to the people living on the earth if Barbicane & Co. could accomplish what they intended to do. Twenty-four hours would then always separate two noons from each other. Twilight and dawn would always be as they are now. But the most curious thing of all would be the absence of the different seasons of the year. Now there were Summer, Winter, Fall, and Spring. The people living on Jupiter did not know these seasons at all. After this experiment people living on this globe would not know them either. As soon as the new axis would be in smooth working order there would be no more ice regions, nor torrid zones, but the whole world would have an even temperature climate.

What, after all, is the torrid zone? It is a part of the surface in which the people can see the sun twice yearly at its zenith, and the temperate zone but a part where the sun never goes to the zenith, and the icy region but a part of the world which the sun forgets entirely for a long time, and around the North Pole this extends for six months.

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