On a day like today (September 5), 1877, the Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli begins to design the first map of the planet Mars.
Giovanni Virginio Schiaparelli was born in Savigliano on March 14, 1835, he was an Italian astronomer and historian of science.
Giovanni worked on the observation of the so-called binary stars as well as how he discovered the asteroid Hespería.
But his most popular work for the public was his telescope observations of the planet Mars. He observed the planet's surface with a large number of linear structures which he called "channels".
These canals on Mars became famous, giving rise to much speculation. Much of this speculation went to the possibility of intelligent life on Mars.
This speculation about intelligent life on Mars was due to, among other things, a mistranslation in Giovanni's work. It turns out that the term "canals" was translated into English as "canals" and not as "channels".
"Canals" implies an artificial construction. And "channels" implies a natural shaping of the terrain. So, between a mistake in the translation and the popular taste for the surprising, the hypothesis of intelligent life on Mars gained strength.
It was not until 1965 when the first photos taken by the Mariner 4 space probe that the controversy ceased to make sense and came to an end since it showed that the surface of Mars was arid and desertic and that the channels were an optical illusion from Earth.
- what are you doing Giovanni?
- a map of Mars
- what for?
- so that when you go you won't get lost
- oh, thanks...
- and now go down to Earth, we are going to have dinner...