Percival Lowell, from Martian Dreams
Astronomer Percival Lowell (1855-1916) is the leader of the 1893 expedition to Mars, and the brain behind its inception.
He was, in Lt. Dibbs' words, "a fine commander," until he used the dream machine found at Elysium and had his body taken over by Tekapesh. Prior to this, he had been communicating with Earth using the lens towers to transmit Morse code, and was keeping the construction of a new space cannon on schedule.
When the Avatar discovered Lowell during Martian Dreams, he was still trapped in the Dream-World, attempting to discover the ninth planet of the Terran Solar System. The Avatar was able to aid with Lowell's in-dream tasks, defeating the canal worm which blocked his path on Neptune, and traveled to the ninth planet, signaling Lowell with a small hand mirror. With this task completed, Lowell was freed from his nightmare, and was eventually restored to his body once Tekapesh was convinced of another way the trapped Martians could live.
Lowell proved to know a great deal of the lens towers, and how to make use of them to melt the polar caps, thus restoring water to the Martian canals.
|“|| Lowell, an American astronomer and leader of the 1893 expedition to Mars, was born to one of America's oldest and wealthiest families. After graduating from Harvard University, he managed his family's cotton mills and utility companies. For a time, he served as a diplomat, notably in the Far East. Upon learning of the controversy over the Martian canals, he turned a life-long interest in astronomy into a career. Using his inherited wealth, he built an observatory in Arizona specifically for the observation of Mars. He mapped 184 canals, each so regular that no natural phenomenon could explain their existence -- clear evidence, he thought, that some intelligent lifeform was responsible. Dark patches on either side of the canals were clearly vegetation, growing close to the only apparent source of water and shifting with the seasons. The canals, he hypothesized, ended in 63 oases -- collection and transfer stations 120-150 miles wide. In later years, he predicted the existence of a ninth planet in the solar system. Though Lowell never saw Pluto, his pioneering work led to a successful search for it.|
- In the real world, it was Percival Lowell who originated the Planet X theory.
- Even though Percival Lowell sent an SOS signal from Mars in 1893, it was not until 1905 that SOS was introduced as a distress call, and that was by the German navy.
- Percival Lowell on Wikipedia.