Page:Mars - Lowell.djvu/276

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208
MARS

smoothed down; his oceans have all dried up.Teres atque rotundus, he is a steady-going body now. If once he had a chaotic youth, it has long since passed away. Although called after the most turbulent of the gods, he is at the present time, whatever he may have been once, one of the most peaceable of the heavenly host. His name is a sad misnomer; indeed, the ancients seem to have been singularly unfortunate in their choice of planetary cognomens. With Mars so peaceful, Jupiter so young, and Venus bashfully draped in cloud, the planet's names accord but ill with their temperaments.

Mars being thus old himself, we know that evolution on his surface must be similarly advanced. This only informs us of its condition relative to the planet's capabilities. Of its actual state our data are not definite enough to furnish much deduction. But from the fact that our own development has been comparatively a recent thing, and that a long time would be needed to bring even Mars to his present geological condition, we may judge any life he may support to be not only relatively, but really older than our own.

From the little we can see, such appears to be the case. The evidence of handicraft, if such it be, points to a highly intelligent mind behind it. Irrigation, unscientifically conducted would not give us such truly wonderful mathematical