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The Martian moons Phobos and Deimos described 150 years before their discovery.

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posted on Nov, 13 2011 @ 11:06 PM
In Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift describes the orbital periods of the Martian moons Phobos and Deimos.

They [the Laputians] have likewise discovered two lesser stars, or satellites, which revolve about Mars, whereof the innermost is distant from the center of the primary planet exactly three of its diameters, and the outermost five; the former revolves in the space of ten hours, and the latter in twenty-one and a half; so that the squares of their periodical times are very near the same proportion with the cubes of their distance from the center of Mars, which evidently shows them to be governed by the same law of gravitation that influences the other heavenly bodies.

Moons of Mars and their discovery

Phobos’ orbital period is actually 7.6 hours, Swift predicted 10 hours.
Deimos’ orbital period is actually 30.2 hours, Swift predicted 21.5 hours.

This is a pretty good guess seeing they weren’t discovered for another 150 years. These are the only moons in orbit around Mars just as Swift described.

Gulliver’s Travels - 1726
Astronomical observation - 1877

Sometimes fantasy reveals truth. The Laputians were a people who inhabited a floating island that traveled through space. They learned the science of levitating heavy bodies. This is how Laputa is described in Gulliver's Travels.

Laputa is a fictional flying island or rock, about 4.5 miles in diameter, with an adamantine base, which its inhabitants can maneuver in any direction using magnetic levitation. Its population consists mainly of educated people, who are fond of mathematics, astronomy, music and technology, but fail to make practical use of their knowledge (the rest are their servants).

I think these two moons have an interesting story to tell once we can get onto their surfaces.

posted on Nov, 13 2011 @ 11:18 PM
It may be that the discoverer was inspired by the book when naming them. It sounds like 'Adamantine' inspired the authors of X-Men with their 'Adamantium' as well. It is a popular book after all. Strange how the number of moons was correct though

posted on Nov, 13 2011 @ 11:22 PM
What I find most interesting is the use of the term "Satellite"

Honestly didn't think it was used that far back.


posted on Nov, 13 2011 @ 11:29 PM
reply to post by Planet teleX

My thoughts exactly. I just watched X-Men First Class last night and I felt compelled to post this today. I couldn't believe Wolverine told Magneto and Professor X to F-off when they first approached him in the early days.

posted on Nov, 13 2011 @ 11:35 PM
reply to post by jude11

I didn't think about that.

Did you know they named one of the craters on Deimos after Swift?

posted on Nov, 13 2011 @ 11:52 PM
Maybe the asteroids are highly magnetic which would explain the fictitious material called adamantine in Swift's story. When the satellite probes get too close they come crashing down.
edit on 14-11-2011 by lostinspace because: spelling

posted on Nov, 14 2011 @ 12:08 AM
reply to post by lostinspace

The point is: Are we to consider this an unusual feat of premonition, or evidence of prior knowledge of astronomy on earth?

We know that there is considerable evidence that ancient groups knew all sorts of things that were only officially "discovered" later.

Readers should be aware that this book, written circa 1730 and generally considered to be a political satire, is FULL of magic, esoteric references, and a lot of just plain weird stuff.

We can only assume that something was happening back then that was connecting planetary memory to aspects of the most distant past. It seems that by the time of the American Revolution, this connection was beginning to be closed down. Secret societies, such as the Illuminati in Germany had to form (1776) to escape extremely dogmatic suppression from the Vatican; fully supported, it seems, by most governments of that time. This is one reason why the "colonies" grew so fast, but also the reason why their history was tainted from the beginning by practices like slavery and dope smuggling.

This is the first time my attention has been directed to Swift's writings due to what they contain. I think it is significant that men were writing of such things in those days, as "fiction." long before so many of the things they thought of were considered "fact."

posted on Nov, 14 2011 @ 12:26 AM
reply to post by l_e_cox

Thanks for the added contribution I_e_cox.

I also wondered if Swift had access to ancient documents that described the Martian moons. It's interesting to note that Jonathon Swift did not publish under his real name. For some reason he wanted to remain anonymous. Someone told me he did that because he was a doctor and writing was not socially acceptable for a person of that kind of education. I'm not too sure about that.

Swift originally published all of his works under pseudonyms—such as Lemuel Gulliver, Isaac Bickerstaff, M.B. Drapier—or anonymously.

posted on Nov, 14 2011 @ 01:03 AM
Jonathan Swift was inspired by Kepler.

"Some cult literature has sprung up to address how Swift could have known about the Martian moons, since they weren't discovered until 1877. Some have suggested that Swift himself was a Martian!

In reality, the idea that Mars might have two satellites goes back to Johannes Kepler's 1610 memoir, in which he misconstrued Galileo's anagram to his friends announcing his discovery of Saturn's rings. The anagram was:

s m a i s m r m i l m e p o e t a l e u m i b u n e n u g t t a u i r a s

the correct solution of which was:
Altissimum planetam tergeminum observavi. "I have observed the highest (most distant) planet [Saturn] to have a triple form." (rings)

Kepler, a born riddle solver, made strenuous efforts to decipher Galileo's string of characters, but he misconstrued the scrambled message to mean:

Salue umbistineum geminatum Martia proles. "Hail, twin companionship, children of Mars", or "I greet you, double knob, children of Mars".

When Kepler originally learned of Jupiter's four moons, and compared this with the Earth's one Moon, he had already predicted from mathematical progression that Mars must have two moons (by the geometrical progression 1,2,4...). Now Kepler surmised that Galileo had discovered two Martian moons exactly as he had predicted!"

Kepler got lucky. Jonathan Swift was inspired by Kepler. There is no conspiracy. The moons Swift describes are very similar, but they are not similar enough to pretend that we had some sort of astronomical secret data. Or else the data would be correct, I would think. besides, why would Jonathan Swift of all people have this data? I am reading a book about the scientific revolution right now and the people who would have actually had access to this data, the people in the Royal Society of England of the Academie Royale of France (Halley, Flamsteed, Newton, Huygens, Wren, Cassini, Galileo, Kepler, etc) would have published this data, because they were all very ravenous about discussing their new discoveries.

posted on Nov, 14 2011 @ 02:56 PM
Isn't is just amazing that they didn't mention anything about a magnetically propelled steerable floating island fashioned from adamantium while Jack Black was playing Gulliver. I thought Hollywood was here to educate us

On a serious note, I now have a reason to check out Swift's work. Thanks for your post!

posted on Nov, 14 2011 @ 04:46 PM
Yet, there is always the possibility that Swift might have been abducted on a rather friendly basis and learnt all this from his 'travels'.

We kinda believe that most abductions, if real, leave the abductee with very little to no memory of what just happened. It could be that bits of info erupted from Swifts memory years later and gave him the creative freedom to write Gullivers travels.

Unfortunately, we may never know exactly how Swift came up with this data, unless he was involved in some secret cult or following that knew all this in the first place... Perhaps alchemists or similar???

Great thread!!

posted on Nov, 14 2011 @ 05:15 PM
reply to post by spacekc929

Star for you, makes some sense, 1,2,4 progression of known moons. They must be small since yet undetected, likely relatively close, and orbital dynamics even at that time would approximate orbital periods. A great deal was known then about Mars's rotation, and orbit (similar to earths rotation). A lot of these authors were not only inspired by science but scholars of science in their times, if not professionally, but in research for ideas and depicting what can and may be more convincingly in literature.

posted on Nov, 15 2011 @ 01:07 AM
reply to post by spacekc929

Thanks for the contribution spacekc929. I enjoyed reading the gullivercode link you provided.

So an error on Kepler’s part made him believe in something that wasn’t true. His theoretical progression of orbiting moons was his own belief. Let’s give credit to Kepler for the two moon idea and lets give credit to Swift for the orbital period idea. Astronomers gave more credit to Swift than to Kepler when naming geological formation and craters on Phobos.

Geological features on Phobos are named after astronomers who studied Phobos and people and places from Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels. There is one named regio, Laputa Regio, and one named planitia, Lagado Planitia; both are named after places in Gulliver's Travels (the fictional Laputa, a flying island, and Lagado, imaginary capital of the fictional nation Balnibarbi). The only named ridge on Phobos is Kepler Dorsum, named after the astronomer Johannes Kepler.

There are eight craters on Phobos named after characters from Gulliver’s Travels.
Seven are named after various astronomers who searched for the moons and two are named after Asaph Hall and his wife.

Gulliver’s Travels are forever memorialized onto Phobos because of Swift’s good guess. Now I’ve got to get my hands on book III to see what other mysterious gems lie hidden in plain site.

posted on Nov, 15 2011 @ 07:57 AM

Originally posted by l_e_cox
The point is: Are we to consider this an unusual feat of premonition, or evidence of prior knowledge of astronomy on earth?

The point is, are you so closed-minded and unimaginative that these are the only two possibilities you are capable of imagining?

This question has been widely speculated on, in the traditional literature of astronomy. Don't stay trapped in your intellectual ghettoes behind walls of self-imposed ignorance. Free yourselves.

Now spacekc929 has shown the way. WHO among the original misled and mistaken posters will follow him/her into the light?

edit on 15-11-2011 by JimOberg because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 15 2011 @ 03:23 PM

Originally posted by jude11
What I find most interesting is the use of the term "Satellite"

Honestly didn't think it was used that far back.


Oh yes..


Middle French, from Latin satellit-, satelles attendant
First Known Use: circa 1548

Satellite: Merriam Webster

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