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The quest to understand the Red Planet

Man’s perception of Mars has changed greatly over 5,000 years.
Mars
In my August article, “The Red Planet’s colorful past,” I cover man’s research of Mars and its use in popular culture from ancient times up to the first spacecraft mission to the planet in the 1960s. That’s 5,000 years, which wasn’t easy to squeeze into six pages. So, of course, some interesting “tidbits” didn’t make the cut. For example, did you know a Capuchin monk claimed to have observed two martian moons in 1643 (nearly 235 years before the discovery of Phobos and Deimos)? Or that a prize for communication with extraterrestrial life in the 1900s excluded Mars because the sponsor figured such a task was too easy?

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