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Life on MarsWhat to Know Before We Go$
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David A. Weintraub

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691209258

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691209258.001.0001

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Red Vegetation and Reasoning Beings

Red Vegetation and Reasoning Beings

(p.70) 6 Red Vegetation and Reasoning Beings
Life on Mars

David A. Weintraub

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses the overwhelming consensus that had developed among the Martian cognoscenti by 1870, proving that Mars has water. It refers to astronomers in the late-nineteenth century that felt quite certain they had proven that Mars has considerable amounts of water in its atmosphere, which had been confirmed by spectroscopy. It also analyzes how astronomers were certain about two important facts pertaining to Mars: it has water, and it has vegetation. The chapter cites that the English magazine Cornhill published an anonymously authored piece entitled “Life in Mars” in 1871, which described Mars as a charming planet that is well fitted to be the abode of life. It talks about author of the Cornhill article who communicated the ideas of astronomy to lay readers with enthusiasm and turned William Huggins into something of a folk hero.

Keywords:   Martian cognoscenti, Mars, astronomers, spectroscopy, Cornhill, William Huggins

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