Mars is a world long imbued with possibilities.
At the end of the 19th century, the Italian astronomer, Giovanni Schiaparelli, noted markings running down the planet. He connected them in a vast global network. He imagined they were immense structures designed to carry melting snow from the poles to the dry interior. The American astronomer Percival Lowell saw in these canals the future of Earth. Here was a dying civilization trying to rescue itself from a global ecological crisis.
What was the planet like up close? The author H.G. Wells sought to fill in the blanks with an article, “The things that live on Mars”… based upon “scientific reasoning, in conformity with the very latest astronomical revelations.”
We now know that surface temperatures average -50 degree Celsius. Its thin atmosphere is dominated by Carbon dioxide.
And yet Mars remains a world imbued with possibilities. We now scour its surface for water that may have once spawned living organisms, for potential landing spots for future astronauts, and for minerals to support a permanent human presence.
But our leaps of the imagination are not limited to Mars… as we scour the galaxy for sun-like stars, with solar systems, and earth-like planets.
We scan these distant worlds for radio signals that may have leaked into space… or were deliberately beamed across the void by intelligent creatures trying to connect with us. Are these aliens curious like us or are they searching, like the Martians of Schiaparelli and Lowell for a way to survive?