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Live & Virtual Life on Mars? A Short History of 19th-Century Exploration of the Red Planet

Thu 13 May, 2021 9:58 am BST

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Humans have long been intrigued by the possibility that Mars might harbor life. Planetary scientists nowadays continue to hunt for evidence of it, and space technologists even advocate settling ourselves there permanently. These are bold projects, and in this talk I suggest that we look back before we look forward, to consider how humans studied and thought about Mars before the Space Age. Investigating 19th-century arguments over whether the red planet was teeming with intelligent life, and exploring fantastical stories about what that life might do to us, reveal important lessons, I will argue, for how we understand the next century of Martian exploration.

Dr Joshua Nall, Curator of Modern Sciences at the University of Cambridge’s Whipple Museum of the History of Science

Visitors £5, Members and Students £2