ISLR022 Nima Khak - Empire Over MatterIn 1877, an Italian astronomer, Giovanni Schiaparelli, claimed to have seen Canali on the surface of Mars. This was later misinterpreted in English as canal, a word implying intelligent design. This fueled a great interest in space and the question of life on Mars. In 1897, H.G Wells released the science fiction classic "War of the worlds". In 1938, one year after the birth of american astronomer and astrophysicist Carl Sagan, Orson Welles narrated a radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds, that created a mass panic in America due to its authentic news bulletin like style. Through out the second half of the twentieth century, Carl Sagan spent his life researching and teaching, allowing many people a better understanding of the cosmos, the values of the human race as well as the relative insignificance of the Earth in comparison to the universe. In 1976, the Viking 1 lander touched down on the surface of Mars and instantly began transmitting video images back to Earth. The lander conducted scientific experiments and was able to dig with its robotic arm into the martian soil. However, the results initially showed no signs of life. Sagan later argued in his famous TV show Cosmos a Personal Voyage that by realizing the thoughts of canal systems on Mars, water from the polar caps could be led to the warmer equatorial regions to enable life on Mars. In 1996 Carl Sagan passed away and on July 5, 1997, the landing site of the unmanned Mars Pathfinder spacecraft was renamed the Carl Sagan Memorial Station. On April 12, 2012, an international team of scientists reported studies, based on experiments of the 1976 Viking Mission, that may suggest the detection of "extant microbial life on Mars."
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