Projecting Landscapes of the Human Mind onto Another World: Changing Faces of an Imaginary Mars

Rainer Eisfeld
  • Rainer Eisfeld Email author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Science and Technology book series (PSHST)


Conjectural astronomy and science fiction have served as vehicles for succeeding generations to project their pipe dreams on planet Mars. This chapter focuses on five ‘faces’ successively attributed to an imaginary Mars by astronomers and science-fiction writers in the nineteenth and twentieth century: First, a charming ‘Arcadian Mars’ covered by continents and islands, oceans and rivers; second, an arid ‘Advanced Mars’ whose inhabitants had constructed a vast network of canals for irrigating their world; third, a forbidding ‘Frontier Mars’ where the rugged pioneer might again come into his own; fourth, a ‘Cold War Mars,’ source of an assault on the earth or haven for terrestrial refugees from nuclear devastation; and fifth, a ‘Terraformed Mars,’ again with strong frontier undertones, lending itself to human colonization and exploitation.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universität OsnabrückOsnabrückGermany

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