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Is Mars Habitable?

Is Mars Habitable? by Alfred Russel Wallace
By: (1823-1913)

In 1907 Wallace wrote the short book Is Mars Habitable? to criticize the claims made by Percival Lowell that there were Martian canals built by intelligent beings. Wallace did months of research, consulted various experts, and produced his own scientific analysis of the Martian climate and atmospheric conditions. Among other things Wallace pointed out that spectroscopic analysis had shown no signs of water vapor in the Martian atmosphere, that Lowell’s analysis of Mars’ climate was seriously flawed and badly overestimated the surface temperature, and that low atmospheric pressure would make liquid water, let alone a planet girding irrigation system, impossible.

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Is Mars Habitable?

A CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF PROFESSOR PERCIVAL LOWELL'S BOOK "MARS AND ITS CANALS," WITH AN ALTERNATIVE EXPLANATION

BY ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE F.R.S., ETC.

PREFACE.

This small volume was commenced as a review article on Professor Percival Lowell's book, Mars and its Canals , with the object of showing that the large amount of new and interesting facts contained in this work did not invalidate the conclusion I had reached in 1902, and stated in my book on Man's Place in the Universe , that Mars was not habitable.

But the more complete presentation of the opposite view in the volume now under discussion required a more detailed examination of the various physical problems involved, and as the subject is one of great, popular, as well as scientific interest, I determined to undertake the task.

This was rendered the more necessary by the fact that in July last Professor Lowell published in the Philosophical Magazine an elaborate mathematical article claiming to demonstrate that, notwithstanding its much greater distance from the sun and its excessively thin atmosphere, Mars possessed a climate on the average equal to that of the south of England, and in its polar and sub polar regions even less severe than that of the earth... Continue reading book >>


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