A Red Planet Forever in the Orbit of Science and Dreams The New York Times

Mars and science fiction came of age together in the 1890’s, and ever since they have had a tight relationship, a feedback loop that has made both famous.
It began with the American astronomer Percival Lowell, who built a technically advanced telescope and through it saw straight lines on the surface of the red planet. He explained that these had to be the canals of an alien race whose planet was drying out, forcing them to convey water from the polar caps, also visible.