Europe´s Mars Express satellite has started returning detailed color images of the red planet. The first of the current armada...
Does Mars have canals?
A hot debate topic of the late 1800s, several prominent astronomers including Percival Lowell not only claimed to see an extensive system of long straight canals on Mars, but used them to indicate that intelligent life exists there.
The relatively close opposition of 1894 was used to make drawings like the one digitally re-scaled on the above left.
Comparison of the two images shows that large features were impressively recorded, but that an extensive system of long and straight canals just does not exist.
Satellites orbiting Mars have now shown conclusively that the red planet does indeed have surface features similar to canals, but that these are usually smaller, curved, and less extensive than that previously claimed.