An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Mars moons and Gulliver's Travels

phobos.pngThe fourth planet out from the Sun, Mars, has two moons. The are named Phobos (meaning “fear”) and Deimos (meaning “panic”); appropriate companions for Mars, the God of War.

But here is the funny thing… Over a hundred years before the moons’ discovery, in 1877, British writer and satirist Jonathan Swift “predicted” their existence in the book we now know as “Gulliver’s Travels.” There is no way Swift could have known the moons were real yet he described Phobos’ orbital period as 10 hours (very close to the real figure of 7.6) and Deimos’ as 21.5 (close to the real 30.2).

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