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May 1895

Mars
by Percival Lowell

Amid the seemingly countless stars that on a clear night spangle the vast dome overhead, there appeared last autumn to be a new-comer, a very large and ruddy one, that rose at sunset through the haze about the horizon. That star was the planet Mars, so conspicuous when in such position as often to be taken for a portent … From [Mars] … of all the heavenly bodies, may we expect first to learn something beyond celestial mechanics, beyond even celestial chemistry; something in answer to the mute query that man instinctively makes as he gazes at the stars, whether there be life in worlds other than his own.

Hitherto the question has received no affirmative reply, although the trend of all latter-day investigation has been to such affirmation; for science has been demonstrating more and more clearly the essential oneness of the universe. Matter proves to be common property. We have learnt that the very same substances with which we are familiar on this our earth, iron, magnesium, calcium, and the rest, are present in the far-off stars that strew the depths of space. Nothing new under the sun! Indeed, there is nothing new above it but ever-varying detail. So much for matter. As for mind beyond the confines of our tiny globe, modesty, backed by a probability little short of demonstration, forbids the thought that we are the sole thinkers in this great universe.

Vol. 75, No. 451, pp. 594íV603

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