History, pop culture and science look to Mars Orlando Sentinel

Jupiter has its enormous size, Saturn has its rings and Pluto has its distance from the sun. But when it comes to planetary popularity, perhaps no other planet than Mars has inspired human imagination for so long. As far as historians know, Babylonians were the first to mention the planet, identifying it with the god of conflict and battle. The Egyptians also made references to the planet, as did the Greeks and the Romans. Even in more-scientifically enlightened times, Mars retained a strong allure, thanks in part to humankind’s incessant desire to discover extraterrestrial life in the void of space.