GALLERY OF SPACE FICTION BOOKS FOR OLDER READERS

MAD IN ORBIT (circa 1962)

MAD IN ORBIT COVER

Copyright, 1958, 1959, 1962 by E.C. Publications, Inc.


DISCUSSION

The depiction of a "cubic Earth" bears discussion with regard to the scientific accuracy of the cover of MAD IN ORBIT. The astronaut launched from Florida in the United States wears a green space suit which lacks an oxygen source for respiration. His life in the enironment of airless space will be limited to the consumption of the atmosphere contained within his helmet. Perhaps, a tank of air is hidden from view and attached to the hose from the base of his helmet.

Most puzzling is the depiction of the Earth as a cube. Even prior to the time of Columbus, many in the scientific world had believed the Earth to be a sphere. Of course, the cover artist wishes to capture readers' attention with such an absurd depiction of our planet. Yet, there were those who steadfastly rejected the concept of a spherical Earth throughout the middle ages. Without the evidence of Columbus's journey, what facts might be sited to prove the spherical nature of Earth in the year 1492?

Among the evidence of the Earth's globular nature are these concepts. First, one need only observe the Sun by day and the Moon by night to realize that these heavenly bodies relate to Earth and have a circular disk shape. This bears witness to the interpretation that celestial bodies are usually round (circular) or spherical. Next, there is the evidence of the horizon. As a ship sails from port toward the horizon, it becomes invisible to an observer's line of sight. This observation is a result of the curvature of the Earth. If the Earth's surface were flat, the line of sight and path of the sailing vessel would remain on the same geometric plane of view. Are you able to cite other evidence that a scientist of the year 1492 might use to convince others that the Earth is a sphere?


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