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The jameson satellite, p.1
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       The Jameson Satellite, p.1

           Neil R. Jones
 
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The Jameson Satellite


  Produced by Greg Weeks, Stephen Blundell and the OnlineDistributed Proofreading Team at https://www.pgdp.net

  THE JAMESON SATELLITE

  By NEIL R. JONES

  _The mammoths of the ancient world have been wonderfully preserved in the ice of Siberia. The cold, only a few miles out in space, will be far more intense than in the polar regions and its power of preserving the dead body would most probably be correspondingly increased. When the hero-scientist of this story knew he must die, he conceived a brilliant idea for the preservation of his body, the result of which even exceeded his expectations. What, how, and why are cleverly told here._

  PROLOGUE

  _The Rocket Satellite_

  In the depths of space, some twenty thousand miles from the earth, thebody of Professor Jameson within its rocket container cruised upon anendless journey, circling the gigantic sphere. The rocket was asatellite of the huge, revolving world around which it held to itsorbit. In the year 1958, Professor Jameson had sought for a plan wherebyhe might preserve his body indefinitely after his death. He had workedlong and hard upon the subject.

  Since the time of the Pharaohs, the human race had looked for a means bywhich the dead might be preserved against the ravages of time. Great hadbeen the art of the Egyptians in the embalming of their deceased, apractice which was later lost to humanity of the ensuing mechanical age,never to be rediscovered. But even the embalming of the Egyptians--soProfessor Jameson had argued--would be futile in the face of millions ofyears, the dissolution of the corpses being just as eventual asimmediate cremation following death.

  The professor had looked for a means by which the body could bepreserved perfectly forever. But eventually he had come to theconclusion that nothing on earth is unchangeable beyond a certain limitof time. Just as long as he sought an earthly means of preservation, hewas doomed to disappointment. All earthly elements are composed of atomswhich are forever breaking down and building up, but never destroyingthemselves. A match may be burned, but the atoms are still unchanged,having resolved themselves into smoke, carbon dioxide, ashes, andcertain basic elements. It was clear to the professor that he couldnever accomplish his purpose if he were to employ one system of atomicstructure, such as embalming fluid or other concoction, to preserveanother system of atomic structure, such as the human body, when allatomic structure is subject to universal change, no matter how slow.

  It glowed in a haze of light, the interior clearlyrevealed.]

  He had then soliloquized upon the possibility of preserving the humanbody in its state of death until the end of all earthly time--to thatday when the earth would return to the sun from which it had sprung.Quite suddenly one day he had conceived the answer to the puzzlingproblem which obsessed his mind, leaving him awed with its wild, uncannypotentialities.

  He would have his body shot into space enclosed in a rocket to become asatellite of the earth as long as the earth continued to exist. Hereasoned logically. Any material substance, whether of organic orinorganic origin, cast into the depths of space would existindefinitely. He had visualized his dead body enclosed in a rocketflying off into the illimitable maw of space. He would remain in perfectpreservation, while on earth millions of generations of mankind wouldlive and die, their bodies to molder into the dust of the forgottenpast. He would exist in this unchanged manner until that day whenmankind, beneath a cooling sun, should fade out forever in the chill,thin atmosphere of a dying world. And still his body would remain intactand as perfect in its rocket container as on that day of the far-gonepast when it had left the earth to be hurled out on its career. What amagnificent idea!

  At first he had been assailed with doubts. Suppose his funeral rocketlanded upon some other planet or, drawn by the pull of the great sun,were thrown into the flaming folds of the incandescent sphere? Then therocket might continue on out of the solar system, plunging through theendless seas of space for millions of years, to finally enter the solarsystem of some far-off star, as meteors often enter ours. Suppose hisrocket crashed upon a planet, or the star itself, or became a captivesatellite of some celestial body?

  It had been at this juncture that the idea of his rocket becoming thesatellite of the earth had presented itself, and he had immediatelyincorporated it into his scheme. The professor had figured out theamount of radium necessary to carry the rocket far enough away from theearth so that it would not turn around and crash, and still be not sofar away but what the earth's gravitational attraction would keep itfrom leaving the vicinity of the earth and the solar system. Like themoon, it would forever revolve around the earth.

  He had chosen an orbit sixty-five thousand miles from the earth for hisrocket to follow. The only fears he had entertained concerned the hugemeteors which careened through space at tremendous rates of speed. Hehad overcome this obstacle, however, and had eliminated thepossibilities of a collision with these stellar juggernauts. In therocket were installed radium repulsion rays which swerved allapproaching meteors from the path of the rocket as they entered thevicinity of the space wanderer.

  The aged professor had prepared for every contingency, and had set downto rest from his labors, reveling in the stupendous, unparalleledresults he would obtain. Never would his body undergo decay; and neverwould his bones bleach to return to the dust of the earth from which allmen originally came and to which they must return. His body would remainmillions of years in a perfectly preserved state, untouched by the hoarypalm of such time as only geologists and astronomers can conceive.

  His efforts would surpass even the wildest dreams of H. Rider Haggard,who depicted the wondrous, embalming practices of the ancient nation ofKor in his immortal novel, "She," wherein Holly, under the escort of theincomparable Ayesha, looked upon the magnificent, lifelike masterpiecesof embalming by the long-gone peoples of Kor.

  With the able assistance of a nephew, who carried out his instructionsand wishes following his death, Professor Jameson was sent upon hispilgrimage into space within the rocket he himself had built. The nephewand heir kept the secret forever locked in his heart.

  * * * * *

  Generation after generation had passed upon its way. Gradually humanityhad come to die out, finally disappearing from the earth altogether.Mankind was later replaced by various other forms of life whichdominated the globe for their allotted spaces of time before they toobecame extinct. The years piled up on one another, running intomillions, and still the Jameson Satellite kept its lonely vigil aroundthe earth, gradually closing the distance between satellite and planet,yielding reluctantly to the latter's powerful attraction.

  Forty million years later, its orbit ranged some twenty thousand milesfrom the earth while the dead world edged ever nearer the cooling sunwhose dull, red ball covered a large expanse of the sky. Surroundingthe flaming sphere, many of the stars could be perceived through theearth's thin, rarefied atmosphere. As the earth cut in slowly andgradually toward the solar luminary, so was the moon revolving evernearer the earth, appearing like a great gem glowing in the twilightsky.

  The rocket containing the remains of Professor Jameson continued itsendless travel around the great ball of the earth whose rotation had nowceased entirely--one side forever facing the dying sun. There it pursuedits lonely way, a cosmic coffin, accompanied by its funeral cortege ofscintillating stars amid the deep silence of the eternal space whichenshrouded it. Solitary it remained, except for the occasional passingof a meteor flitting by at a remarkable speed on its aimless journeythrough the vacuum between the far-flung worlds.

  Would the satellite follow its orbit to the world's end, or would itssupply of radium soon exhaust itself after so many eons of time,converting the rocket into the prey of the first large meteor wh
ichchanced that way? Would it some day return to the earth as its nearerapproach portended, and increase its acceleration in a long arc to crashupon the surface of the dead planet? And when the rocket terminated itscareer, would the body of Professor Jameson be found perfectly preservedor merely a crumbled mound of dust?

 
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