Percival Lowell, at the beginning of the 20th century, saw canals on the surface of the planet Mars. These canals, Lowell said, had been made by intelligent beings.
He gazed through the 24-inch refracting telescope at the observatory he founded in Flagstaff, Arizona and created a legend.
The canals were built by Martians to carefully conserve the little water they had. At the crossroads of these canals were oases. Surely, the Martians had created settlements of some kind near their precious water sources.
The public in those first few years of the 20th century began to wonder if perhaps there were Martians, just there, in the sky. H.G. Wells had already enticed the public with his novel, “The War of the Worlds”, with such ideas.
The canals of Mars became a legend, only to be disproved by advancements in science and technology.
And what of the Face on Mars? Richard Hoagland, who was a science advisor to the famous journalist Walter Cronkite, claimed this face was certainly evidence of past civilization on Mars.
In July of 1976, the spacecraft Viking I sent back an image of one of the Cydonia Mesas on Mars surface. The image, with its dark and light contrasts, appears to have the features of a humanoid face. Certainly, Hoagland reasoned, this is evidence of civilization. Perhaps he had Mt. Rushmore in mind.
This spurred Randolfo Rafael Pozos to write a book entitled, “The Face on Mars: Evidence for a Lost Civilization?” Published in 1986 by the Chicago Review Press, the book provides a good read on the subject. Pozos also addresses the Pyramids of Mars and the remains of a lost city residing relatively close to the big face.
If fact, a good portion of Pozos book is devoted to a conference held in December of 1983. It was a computer conference, quite revolutionary at the time, and it was called The Martian Chronicles. They discussed the Face of Mars, the Pyramids of Mars, and The Lost City of Mars.
The Face of Mars is featured in the first episode of the television show, The X-Files. The Power Rangers get help from the Martian Face when searching for a relic on Earth. And of course, in the classic episode of Futurama, “Where the Buggalo Roam,” the Face of Mars is the entrance to the Martian Reservation.
The Face of Mars is quite a legend, for actually only being a hill.
Mars, with its canals and craters, its windstorms and ever changing topography, will always invite speculation and wonderment. The Romans named this planet Mars, after their god of war. They believed the planets were gods, influencing the lives of humans. To this day, humans are staring at the heavens, wondering, and letting Mars take their imaginations to places beyond this small planet.