By Irvin Ehrenpreis
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Extra info for Acts of Implication: Suggestion and Covert Meaning in the Works of Dryden, Swift, Pope, and Austen (The Beckman Lectures, 1978)
Icarus (December 2004): 537–547. ” Nature. (February 25, 2005). html. Rafael Navarro-González, et al. ” PNAS (October 31, 2006): 16089–16094. Joseph D. Miller, Patricia A. Straat, and Gilbert V. Levin. ” Proceedings of SPIE Conference, 2001. htm. WHERE IS VERNE’S MARS? 3 In the two novels, Mars is mentioned a total of seven times. In Face the Flag (Face au drapeau, 1896), the Fulgurator, a new armament invented by megalomaniac scientist Thomas Roch, is said to be so powerful that a few thousand tons of it would be enough to destroy the Earth and send its fragments careening into space “like the exploded planet [that once orbited] between Mars and Jupiter” (ch.
Patrick Parrinder, Brian Aldiss, and Andy Sawyer. New York: Penguin, 2005. ROSNY’S MARS George Slusser In the wake of astronomical discoveries in the last half of the 19th century, our neighbor Mars became a blank slate for speculation. From roughly the 1860s to the late 1950s, before scientiﬁc evidence reversed the belief in signiﬁcant life on Mars, the focus of this speculation was the nature and variety of Martian life-forms. France, during this period, did not produce a work as resoundingly authoritative as Wells’s The War of the Worlds.
NASA plans a Mars Science Lab originally scheduled for launch in 2011 and the European Space Agency plans to launch Exo Mars between 2016 and 2018. Both missions plan to look for biosignatures via gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, many generations removed from the ancestral Viking instruments, although neither mission includes even a simple attempt to culture microbes from soil samples or visualize them with a high-powered microscope. It appears that the membrane between the two cultures is largely one way — science informs the ﬁction, but even the best extrapolations from the ﬁction do not seem to change the mindset of those who plan the missions.