Chinese Association of Idaho State University (CAISU)
The strange tale begins in the last quarter of the 19th century when weird lines on the Martian surface were reported by a respected Italian astronomer, Giovanni Schiaparelli, who saw what appeared to be, in his own small telescope, razor-straight cuts along the surface of the planet. He termed them "canali" in his published account in 1877. The Italian word "canali" was mistranslated into English as "canals," though "canali" actually means "channels." Magnifier EngineReview The distinction is crucial, for "channels" are the work of weathering and nature (or can be) while "canals" are made only by men. Edward Morse, a dilettante astronomer himself, was a dear friend of Percival Lowell and often his houseguest in Arizona and Massachusetts. Morse is an easier read than Lowell for he is both dispassionate and reasonable. He presents both sides of every argument. Percival Lowell, though a delightful writer, was a man gripped by an idée fixe, a preoccupation held so intensely it could not be rationalized. Percival Lowell thus became a zealot, and zealots too often make for tough reading, especially when their errors, years later, have been starkly and incontrovertibly revealed.