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Mars Before the Space Age

Imported: 23 Jul '16 | Published: 14 Jan '09

Barrie W Jones

Astrophysics

Abstract: Mars has surely been scrutinised since the dawn of humankind. In the 16th century Tycho Brahe made accurate observations of the position of Mars that enabled Johannes Kepler to obtain his first two laws of planetary motion. In the 17th century the first telescope observations were made, but very little surface detail could be discerned. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries telescopes improved, revealing many dark areas on the red tinted surface. After the close opposition of 1877 Giovanni Schiaparelli announced about 40 canali on Mars. This led to the saga of the canals of Mars, laid to rest in 1971 when Mariner 9 made observations from Martian orbit showing that the canali/canals of Mars do not exist. Belief that... Read More

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