Is there life on Mars?

A century ago, on August 27, 1911, headlines of the New York Times announced that Martians had completed stunning feats of engineering and construction: two 1000-mile-long canals built on Mars in a two-year period.  These canals had not only been seen and sketched by astronomers, but also had been captured photographically, appearing in the photos as “the most marked features on that part of the planet”.

At the time, it was widely believed that aliens existed – four years earlier the Wall Street Journal had reported that the biggest news of 1907 had been the discovery of intelligent life on Mars.

See, and read, the original article directly from the New York Times.

1 Comment

Filed under History of Astronomy, Humour

One response to “Is there life on Mars?

  1. JonDWhite

    I just came across your blog and am enjoying it – Thanks! In my travels I came across the apparent fact that at least as recently as the 1700’s, science – at least as embodied in the French Academy of Sciences, denied the reality of meteorites. When country folk reported finding a still-hot stone that had fallen aglow from the sky, they were dismissed by the French Academy as ignorant, gullible peasants – even if they presented said stone. In at least one instance, a regional bishop accepted the peasants’ story along with their stone, and stored both in his cathedral’s archives. This is another reason that all true scientists preface their pronouncements with, “Based on our current level of ignorance, the following is what we THINK we know…”

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