Talking With The Planets

Saturday, February 9, 1901
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FEBRUARY 0 1901 COLLlER`S WEEKLY "°"“""°’“ _ :F jgfgye. *_ l\`_ l -f »f< ;;h} ._ i "%. t ' ‘Fi ‘- an _/775: 5 - _ - 5 ` . »=i"‘.~'- - hi I I l'¢’i 5 - 1, ,if ,» tg' ‘ ~i1,_ "nw ,_» ~»; ’*' t. &W% emwgmw e h%s hd” L' A' '- l I, 'ff / - is I @¢i*‘>’€§*\ if? li - K e - .~&§`*.;1?_\ ‘ln l @f;@%w5§%@&i§%z3$5-5§¥&“i '%5ssssesh§ssensJd, ,yE \- iii ‘-.‘ - `- ' 'iffi-%_i"Q-U‘t;‘§ li' , rs-ve ~=='-eff if-=By NIKOLA TESLA Enrr0tt`s Nora.-Jlr, Nikola Tesla has at-complisltecl some marvellous results in electrical discoveries. Notts, with the titttwt of I/te new century/, he annotttzces an ncltieeenteitt tvlticlz will amaze the entire tutirerse, and which eclipsex the tvilrlest dream of the mast t't`st`an- ary scientist. He has receired contmutticatinn. he as- serts. from out the great void of space; tt call from the inltabilctnts of Mars, or Venus, or some ollter sister planet! And, furthermore, noted scientisls like Sir Norman Lockyer are disposed to agree with Mr. Tesla in his startling deductions. Mr. Tesla has not only discovered 'ntarty important principles. but most of his im:e1ttitms are in practical use: rtolably in the harnessing of the Titanic forces of Niagara Falls, an/i t/te discovery of rt new light by means of a vacttttm tube. He htts, he declares, solved the problem of telegraphing tvitltnttt wires or artzjicinl crm- zlttclorx of any sort. using the earl/L as his tnerlittrn. By nwmts of this principle he expects to be able to send messages under t/tc ocean, and lo any distance on the L-in-l7t`s surface. Inferplanetrtry counntuticatitm has ittferexled him for years, the sustenance of organized beings. My idea is Lhztt the de- velopment of lite must lead to forms of existence that will be possible without nourishment and tvhich will not be shackled hy consequent limitations. \Vhy should a living being not be able to obtain all the energy it needs for the performance of its life-functions [rorn the environment, in- stead ot through consumption of food, and tmnsfortning, by a complicated process, the energy of chemical combinations inno life-susmining energy? II there were such beings on one of the planets we should know next to nothing about them. Nor is it necessary to go so far in our assumptions, for we can readily conceive that, in the some degree as the atmosphere diminishes iu density, moisture disappears and the planet freezes up, organic life might also undergo corresponding tnoditicationsh leading tinally to forms which, according to our present ideas of life, are impossible. I will readily admit, of course, that if there should be a sudden catastrophe of any kind all life processes might be arrested; bitt if the changes, no matter how great, should be gradual, and occupied ages, so that the ultiruave results could be intelligently foreseen, I cannot but think that impossible, By tvay of illustration, let us suppose that a square mile of the e:trth’s surface-the smallest area that might possibly be within reach of the best telescopic vision of other worlds-were covered with incandescent lamps, packed closely together so as to form, when illuminated, a continuous sheet of light. It would require not less than one httndred million ltorse-power to light this area of htrups, and this is many times the ntuouttt of motive power now in the service of man throughout the tvorld. But with the novel means, proposed by myself, I can readily demonstrate that, with an expenditure not exceeding two thousand horse-power, signals can be transmitted to :i planet auch as Mars with as much exncrness and certitudre as we now send messages hy wire from New York to Philn- delphixt. These means are the result of long»conlinued cx~ periruent and gradual improvement. Some ten years ago, I recognized the Iact that to convey electric currents to a distance it was not at all necessary to employ a return wire, but that any amount of energy might be transmitted by using a single wire. I illustrated this prin- ciple by numerous experiments, which, at that time, excited considerable attention among T THE CAPAC TY OF HVS OSCILLA and he sees no reason trhy ire sltottld not som: be tt'it7tin tttlking riixfunce of _llrtrs rn' of ull |t'm~l(Is in flu’ solar sy/slum fltrtl may Inc icnantad by intelligent beings. _'ll Hat' rvqztcsf ry' t`ot.- r,tt;tt‘s \\`r:r:t<|.\' _lh~. Tcsla _11t~¢-vents hert»1z't`th a frank sfutentenl Qf tc/tai lic ex- pects to accomplish and /tozr he Ito]/cs to establish cot/tmtmicatiort with the platters. HE IDEA of communi- cating with the in- habitants of other worlds is an old one. But for ages it hns been regarded merely as a poet`s dream, forever ttttrculiztthle. And yct, with the tnvcntmn and perfection of tho telescope and the ever-witleuittg lavens, its inild `|pnu our itnztgiuations has been ittcrcasci and thc sci- t-ntiric achieternents during the latter part of the nine- teenth t-t>nrury_ together with the dewlnprnettt of the tend- ency mwar-l the uuture ideal ot Goethe. lntvc in tcn OR FOR PRODJCMG ELEC Rl AL scientific men. This being practically dem- onstrated, my next step was to rise the earth itself as the medium lor conducting the currents, tltus dispensing with wires and all other artuictttl conductors. So I was led to the development of rt system of energy transmission and of telcgraphy without the use of wires. which I descrihcd in 1893. The difficulties I encountered at first in the traustnission of currents through the earth were very great, At that time I had ut hand only ordinary appara- tus, which I found tn be in- effective, and I concentrated my attention immediately np- on perfecting machines for this special purpose. This work consumed a number ol years, but I tinally van- quished all difficulties and succeeded in producing a machine nhich. to explain its operation in plain language, resembled tt pttmp in its ac- tion, dra\\ ing electricity front the earth and driving rt hack into the same ut an enormous raw, thus crcuting: ripples or disturbances which, sprcad- ing through the earth as through a wire, could be dc- tected at great distances by carefully attuned receiving circuits. Itt tltis tnanner I was able to transmit to a distance, not only ieehle space tlncs not spring from idle cnrit»~itv nur from thust f XPl_OSlGN5 OF GREAT POWER ciiects for purposes of signal- ling, hut considerable amounts ‘t Str! ‘ " 'QF Qi -1 ' . ‘ f' s-. - it ,f` ‘Linh , "-~/ in "'~¢;`~, ” I ‘I » V' s " ' ‘» ar ' 1 ; . ~ 17; ¢:.-;_-_~g.E:- _ . ' .__»r--,, 3 _,_ ‘FQ-_ I ., ,_ , , _ _ _,___ F};é; ., p., ,V r _ 1 ' I, I _fjff ~ ' ` . ` »_ ____,_,l|_ lf r., Y.. ~-Q 31, - - _ ` agp- `:< 34 Q ' ’ ` 1 if, ,_ _ ga- ;;;,,‘- v',_"_- , *_ lj, ~. = \ =e?4 ` " | \"*»`¥“ ‘_ _ “ to II: r I I f '* ' lessees/ s;~\§~§s%v, _ ~s“ § »»-<~ .T,;:; , A. A :`,. _ lx "jr ' ° f Q §'§é§§;f¢ i ft* tftii ,L 1 ‘ ~ -` ' tsgefef, - ~ 'Q ~\- -t' - ~ . 3 - .~ , - til ~»j t lil. is, ¢ t .=;E§;;;, , - _ii‘ ,‘~, , \,1A 1 J ' é%é§eez-- `~sa~;mW¥t ht.ei tis- 1 is? ~" ` *L* , f ‘ * $- -es-2e@ s s. ,I i-h~ » ? i.=-ii' ~‘ ' f "“ - V* `f¢“l » " ' cfs;-e1“~ s~ -~c,. » »r»i sr t --.~-tt . t or knit-cle,Egc. lutt front a deeper cause. :ind it is :t ict-hug rirtnty rooted tu thc l‘@"" uf CWI? lttiman itciug cnpahle of tltiuktutr at all \\'t.->ti¢t~_ then. docs it Canter who tnttn-sv ivtio on assign liruits to the subtlety of nutnre`s iutlnences? Perhaps it wc crutltl clearly perceive all the intricate mechanism of tht :loritnts specurcle that is continually unfolding Iieforc us, nut could. also. trace this desire to its distant orioin, we might fiurl it in the sorrowful vibrations of the earth which begat when ir parted from its celestial parent. But in this age of rezisfnt it is not :tstortislting to rind per- sons who scoff at the vcry thought of effecting comuiuniezt- tion with a phtrtet, First of all. the argument is made thtu thet'c is onlya small prubahiltty of other planets being in- habited at all. This urgnrncnt has ncrcr appealed to` me. Itt the solnr system, there scent to be onli' t\\'o planets~ tents and ttnrssertpntite of sttstztining ttté such as ours; but this docs not mean that there might not he on ull ot tht-in some other forms of life. (`ltcnticr\l processes mat' be nnnutniued without the aid of oxygen, and it is still rt :pics- tiou wherher chemical processes are ahsoltttcly ncccssztry lor reasoning lieings would still tind means of existence. They would ztrlapt themselves to their constantly changing environ- ment. So I think it quite possible that in a frozen planet. sucu as our moon is supposed to be, intelligent beings may still dwell. in its interior, if not on its surface. SIGNALLING AT 100,000,000 MILES! Then it is contended that it is beyond human power and inccnuity to convey signals to the almost inconcetvalyle dis- tances of Etfry tuillion or one httndred million miles. This might have been a valid argument formerly. It is not so now. Most of those who are enthusiastic upon the subject of interplanetztry communication have reposed their faith iu the light-ray as the best possible medium of such communi- cation. True, waves of light. owing to their immense rapidity of succession, can penetrate space more readily than w:\\'(~s less rapid, but a simple consideration will show that hy their means an exchange of signals between this earth and its coznprtnions in the solar system is, at least uuw, ot energy. und later discor- eries I made convinced me that I shall ultimately suc- ceed in conveying power without wires. for industrial pur- poses, with high economy, and to any distance. however great. EXPERIMENTS IN COLORADO To develop these inventions further. I went to Colorado in 1999, where I continued my investigations niong these and other lines. one of which in particular I now consider of oren greater importance than the transmission of power without wires. I constructed a laboratory in the neighborhood of Pil»;e`s Peak. The conditions in tlte pure air of thc Colorado Mountains proved extremely favorable for my experiments, and the results \vere most gratifying to me. Ifound that I could not only accomplish more work, physically and men- tally, than I cotrld in New York, hut. that electrical effects and changes were more readily and distinctly perceived. A few vears ago it was virtually impossible to produce electrical spztrlrs twenty or thirty feet long; but I produced some more than one hundred feet in length, and this without dilhculty. The rates of electrical movement involved in strong induction

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VI , _,,,,__ ytéfé " E==§:5i:,f1€;:§:E==$¢; _ q* . / I I _Q "\ ‘ I t ? __ R / tg* f piqrl, t \ / 1 ' ; \ I , I ' ’ . 6 gl Q ` t f ' ‘ it \ A s 1 _ ‘ 9 1 I 2 t , bill" ll I 1 ` I I 1 \ l II - _ _ » ' _ \ ' I I _ 1 1 yt \ _ ,Ml __, I ‘ f SUPPLYING ELECTRICAL ENERGY THROUGH A SINGLE WIRE WITHOUT RETURN appttrzttus itzttl ttteztsttrcd lntt tt [ew ltttttdretl ltotse-power. ttnd Iprutluceti olectricnl ntovetnents of rntes of one hundred and ten tltuusttutl lturse-power. Prior to this, only ittstzttfliuarlt. electrical pressures were obtained, tvltilc I ltatve reached fifty million volts. The accompanying illustrations, with their descriptive titles, taken from an article I wrote for tltc "Century Magazine," may serve to convey an idea of tlte results I obtained in the directions indicated. Many persons in my own profession have wondered at them and have asked tvlntt I run trying to do, But the time B not fttr zttvay uutv tvhett the prztcticztl results of my ltthors will he placed before the world rind their inrluence felt evetyzvhere. One of the itnmcdiute consequences will be the ttnustztissiou of messages tvitltout wires, over sent or html, to :tn ittnnensc distance. I have already detnonstratted, by crucial Less. tlte pratcticztlvility of signalling by my system from one to any other point of the globe, no mutter how retnote, and I shall soon convert the disbelievers I halve every rertsou for cottgratttltttittg myself that througlt- out these experttuettts, many of which were exceedingly delicate and hazatrdutts, neitlter myself ttorany of my assistants received :tn injury. When working \vith theso powerful electrical oscil- lntirnts the most extraordinary phenomena take place at times Owing tn some interference of tha oscillations, verimblglralls of fire are upt to leap out to a great distance, and if my one were within or near their paths, he would be instantly de~ strayed. A machine suclt as I have used could easily ltill, in an instnut, three hundred thousand persons. I observed that the strain upon my :tssistetttts was telling, and some of them conltl not endure thc extreme t,ension.o£_ the nerves. But these perils are now entirely overcome, ttnd the operation of such ttppuretttts 3.-atvever powerful, involves no risk \\'ltuDe\'er_ As I was improving my mttchines for the production of intense electrical actions, I was alsoperfectirtg the means for observing feeble eiects. One of the most interesting te- sults, and also one of great practical importance, was the devel- opment oi certain cunrrivances for indicating at a distance ol TRANSMITTING ELECTRICAL ENERGY » THROUGH THE EARTH WITHOUT WIRE ntuny hundred miles :tn :tpproncltiug storm, tts direction, speed and dtstrutce travelled. These appliances are likely Lo be rati- uable in future tneteorologicxtl observations and surveying, sul will lend themselves particularly to many nxtvttl uses, It was in carrying on this work that for the [lrst time I discov- ered those mysterious etfects which have elicited such unusual interest, I had perfected the apparittus referred to so far that from my laboratory in the Colorado mountains I could feel the pulse of the globe_ as it \vere, noting every electrical change that occurred tvithitt :1 rttditts of eleven hundred miles. BY SUCCESS sensations I experienced when ohserved something possibly of mankind. I felt :ts though I new knowledge or the -revel:t~ now, :tt tirnes, I can vividly TERRIFIED I can never forget the rirst it dawned upon me that I had incalculable consequences to \vere present at the birth of tx tion of at great trttth. Even recall the incident, und see my apparatus as though tt were actually before tue. My iirst observations positively terrified me, as there wits present in them something mysterious, not to say supernatural, and I wtxs alone in my laboratory at night; but at that time the idett of these disturbances being intelligently controlled signals did not yet present itself to tne. The changes I noted \vere taking place periodically, and with such a clear suggestion of number and order that they were not traceable to any cause then known to me. I was familiar, of course, \vith such electrical distttrbttnces as are produced by the sun, Aurora Borealis and earth currents, and I was as sure us I could be of any fact that these vnriations were due to none of these causes. The nature of my expert ments precluded the possibility of the changes being produced by atmospheric disturbances, as has been rrtshly asserted by some. It was some time afterward when the thought Hstshed upou my mind that the disturbances I had observed might be due to nn intelligent control. Although I could not decipher their meaning, it was impossible for me to think of them as having been entirely accidental. The feeling is constantly growing on me that I had been the Bret to hear the greeting I El_ECTR’CAl_ OSCILLATOR DELLVERING EHEISY AT A RATE OF T5,000 HOFl5E~F'O’/ViR oi one pittnet to rutother. .\ purpose uns behind these elec~ tric:tl signttls; stud it was with this cottviction that I sn- uounued to the Red Cross Society, when it asked me to indi- cztte one of the great possible achievements oi the next hun~ dred years, that it would probably be the condrmation and interpretation of this planetary challenge Lo us. Since my return to New York more urgent work has con~ sutned all my a.teution; but I have never ceased to think of those experiences and of the observations made in Colorado. I am constantly endeavoring to improve and perfect my ap- pttratus, und just :ts soon as prtteticable I shall nuttin take up tlte thread of my inrestigzttions nt the point where I have been forced to ltty it dntvn for tt time. CONIMUNICAIING WITH Tl-IE MARTIANS At the present stagv of progress, there would be no insur- ntottntztble obstacle in cot|stt'ttctiug it machine capable of con- veying; tt message to Mars, nor would there be any gtettl. diHi~ culty in recording signals transmitted to us by the inltnbitunts of that planet, if they he skilled electricians. Communication once esttthlislted, even in the simplest way, as by a mere inter- change of numbers, the progress totvttrcl more intelligible com- municntintt would be rapid. Absolute cettitude as to the re- ceipt and interchange of messages would be reached as soon ns we could respond with the number “fout," say, in reply to the signal “one, two, three." The Martitttts, or the inltabis tauts ol whatever planet had signalled to us, would under- stand at once that we hnd caught their message across the gulf of space and had sent back a response. To conveys knottletige of form by such menus is, tvltile very diBicuIt, tio: intpI»ssilile_ and I have altcatly fuuttd a way of doing it. What a tremendous stir this would make in the world! Hotv soon will it come? For that it ttill some time be accom- plished must be clear to every thoughtful being. Something, at least, science has gained. But I hope that it will also be demonstrated soon that in myexpetiments in the West I was not merely beholding a vision, but had caught sight ofa great and profound truth. ._ ____ :Qi or __ _ _ eg i. _*___ _F _ __ _, _. 1 l __ ~ . ___7_,; , _ I.. -t 5 __ ___t__5_,:.‘~ __ _ _ ._ _ _ - _ I ___ il 71 A. ' ~-.=»=e'- ~1' i--=-'Z-` `:~' l'__ _Nu -ef - " _ \' I ' " #MH ‘ ‘iw -' =-*`7”~'{ I VP" P” "F if ' Q » »- '~ u » ~-' _ - _ w * ,_ _ ' .;_-~‘- _ _ ~ ‘ t _ IH - =.» t yy? ill. 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