Tips for Tomorrow's Cosmonauts

The following text and images are from The Complete Book of Space Travel, dated 1956 and never reprinted. I got it off ebay. The illustrator, Virgil Finlay, turned out a huge amount of work for pulps and astronomy texts from the 30's to the 50's, despite his time-consuming and incredibly detailed drawing style. See more of his work here.

We know there is water on Mars. Mars has a polar ice cap, akin to our arctic regions... the south polar ice cap expands in size in the winter, and contracts and disappears in the summer.... we have seen that Mars has water, and may have small amounts of oxygen, and we know that planets with atmospheres should have histories similar to Earth's...It is pretty generally agreed that Mars has plants. Each springtime shows changes from red to greenish in certain areas. Therefore, if Mars has plants, it must also have animals.

Why could there not be intelligent animal life on Mars? There could be! We may even have a different kind of thing altogether, perhaps intelligent plants. Biology cannot deny the possibility, although biologists are unfamiliar with such beasts.

Although some astronomers have drawn different pictures, they all agree on one thing: the (Martian) canals run in all directions, and even cross each other. Would any natural phenomena make intersecting lines? How can we explain away so many canals as natural phenomena? The chances are against it.

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