Page:Mars - Lowell.djvu/176

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But if, instead of being due to water, the blue-green tint had been due to leaves and grasses, just such a fading out as was observed should have taken place as autumn came on, and that without proportionate increase of green elsewhere; for the great continental areas, being desert, are incapable of supporting vegetation, and therefore of turning green.

Thus we see that several independent phenomena all agree to show that the blue-green regions of Mars are not water, but, generally at least, areas of vegetation; from which it follows that Mars is very badly off for water, and that the planet is dependent on the melting of its polar snows for practically its whole supply.

Such scarcity of water on Mars is just what theory would lead us to expect. Mars is a smaller planet than the Earth, and therefore is relatively more advanced in his evolutionary career. He is older in age, if not in years; for whether his birth as a separate world antedated ours or not, his smaller size, by causing him to cool more quickly, would necessarily age him faster. But as a planet grows old, its oceans, in all probability, dry up, the water retreating through cracks and caverns into its interior. Water thus disappears from its surface, to say nothing of what is being continually imprisoned by chemical combination. Signs of having thus parted with its oceans we see in the case of the