Encyclopedia of Planetary Landforms

2015 Edition
| Editors: Henrik Hargitai, Ákos Kereszturi

Canal (Mars)

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-3134-3_30

(Obsolete, Historic)

Description

Linear features on Mars observed through telescopes by some observers in the late nineteenth to early twentieth century.

Formation

Majority of canals were determined to be false observations, that is, not related to actual linear features on Mars, even though the observers were convinced they saw such features.

History of Investigation

Percival Lowell theorized that these features were artificial and formed a network of single and double canals and oases (dark patches, presumed to be vegetation, at canal intersections) made by an advanced civilization on Mars. The seasonal changes in the Martian polar caps and the albedo changes (now known to be caused by katabatic winds that scour the planet’s surface and reveal comparatively darker rock underneath transient “sand” or “dust”) led to the almost universal acceptance that Mars harbored at least primitive vegetative life. Lowell maintained that the canals transported scarce water resources “fed from the...

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References

  1. Barrie JW (2008) Mars before the space age. Int J Astrobiol 7(2):143–155Google Scholar
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  3. Gifford FA (1964) The Martian canals according to a purely aeolian hypothesis. Icarus 3:130–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Lowell P (1895) Mars. Macmillan, New York. http://www.wanderer.org/references/lowell/Mars/
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  6. Morton O (2002) Mapping Mars: science, imagination, and the birth of a world. Picador, New YorkGoogle Scholar
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  8. USAF (United States Air Force) (1965) Mars. MEC-1 prototype. St. Louis: Aeronautical Chart and Information Center, US Air Force, 1965Google Scholar
  9. Wallace AR (1907) Is Mars habitable? A critical examination of Professor Percival Lowell’s book “Mars and its canals”, with an alternative explanation. Macmillan, London/New YorkGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EnglishUniversity of IllinoisUrbanaUSA