The following article has appeared in the daily newspaper La Suisse, on July 2, 1954, page 1.
Mars is very close to us, at 56 million kilometers, which, for an astronomer, is equivalent - all things considered o three times nothing or almost.
For a layman naturally, things are a bit different and a similar distance would be far enough to discourage even the most stuborn sportsmen and the most "supersonic" planes.
We may well try to figure this out, in vain: 56 million km put end to end, do you see that? Me, I confess that it seems to be a rather large ribbon, too arge even for the St-Pierre towers, don't you believe?
It is not very probable that even with this quite relative "proximity", one can this time again solve the problem which torments the watchers of the sky: is the planet Mars inhabited, yes or not?
Up to now, it was denied with bold confidence, a confidence which appears even a little too absolute to me: under the pretext that there is no atmosphere worthy of this name up there and that the conditions are not similar to that which reign on Earth, it was decided once and for all that life is impossible up there. Such as we know it, it is improbable, indeed, but why not admit that other beings, as alive as we are but manufactured a little differently - of course - can adapt?
It will be known some day for sure, when astronautic rockets will make it possible for every single soul to indulge in a short Martian weekend trip for a price defying any competition.
In waiting, since we are left with mere assumptions, it appears wiser not to deny with the confidence of Mr I-know-it-all, the possibility of a Martian life. Moreover, when the flying saucers - by the way where have they gone? - came to visit us, some scientists, as erudite as others, put forward the idea that it was our celestial "neighbor" who sent them to us. Thus, it was quite necessary that somebody manufactured them and directed them. It would be silly all the same to imagine that they are a spontaneous creation and would fly without anybody to take the initiative of it.
Lastly, we will see, some day or later, rather later undoubtedly. While waiting, the astronomers are glued with their glasses like asteries to their rock, but it would be sad that the clouds made them miss this occasion to face our celestial sister. On 56 million kilometers, much clouds can gather, even if there are no cloud beyond our atmosphere.
THE PASSER BY