The Millions

The Literature of Mars: A Brief History

Though Venus is more like Earth in size, Mars is the planet that regularly makes headlines. New ice under its sandy cliffs has been caught on camera, causing more hope that life may have been present at some point in the past. Prominent people like Elon Musk are talking about going to Mars in the near future.

Scientists are once again planning sustainable living quarters for the colonization of the fourth planet from our sun. This is not the first time humanity has endeavored to send a manned mission there. For more than a century this planet has been popularized in the news as well as in pop culture. Mars has especially held a rich place in world literature.

In 1877, the Italian astronomer said he saw channel-like structures in his observations of the Martian surface. Partially through mistranslation, some scientists further agreed wholeheartedly with Schiaparelli’s so-called findings. Years later, when better telescopes were more readily available, the scientific community for the most part dismissed the concept of the channels for they were not present on the planet’s surface. However, Lowell was no fool. He predicted that another planet in our solar system existed outside Neptune’s orbit.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Millions

The Millions15 min read
Is There A Poet Laureate Of The Anthropocene?
As far back as the 17th century, authors have been capturing the era of humankind's impact on the natural environment. The post Is There a Poet Laureate of the Anthropocene? appeared first on The Millions.
The Millions5 min read
The Best Book You’ve Never Read
In the decades since Richard Yates's death, Revolutionary Road has kept his reputation alive. The Easter Parade, by contrast, sold just more than 10,000 copies. The post The Best Book You’ve Never Read appeared first on The Millions.
The Millions7 min read
Why Do Found Texts Fascinate Us So Much?
We don’t know the writer, nor the intended recipient, nor the intention. The text comes from nowhere and finds us as much as we find it. It haunts us. The post Why Do Found Texts Fascinate Us So Much? appeared first on The Millions.