The Salt Lake Tribune speculates about "vast thinking vegetable" on Mars

Back in 1912, The Salt Lake Tribune shared this awesome piece of crazy speculation with its readers. An enormous eyeball plant on the surface of Mars!

Jumping off the theories of Percy Lowell, who believed that the canals of Mars were created by giant pieces of biomass, the author of this article postulated a huge eyeball plant rising up over the surface of Mars. This would explain why the canals appeared to move every year. The eyeball plant's movements were dramatic that we could see them all the way from Earth. Writes John Ptak on Ptak Science Books:

Of course, the whole "living planet" deal doesn't work out so well physically and biologically, though it is a smashing good idea for a scifi story, especially one appearing in 1912. Lowell had a very difficult time explaining the movements of these figures, because—according to his theory—the Martians would've been constructing positively enormous canals that stretch across the planet which were also wide enough to be visible via telescope from Earth—with changing positions, that would mean, possibly, that the Martians would fill these things back up again at the turn of the season, and then build and fill the next, and so on. It would be an interesting calculation to see how much real estate was being moved on Mars every year.

Lowell did come up with an explanation for this seeming motion—turgidly, he felt that the canals themselves didn't actually moved; rather, it was a huge movable biomass on the canals at were changing so much the activity could be seem from space.

As for the claim that this idea was pioneered by the astronomer WW Campbell, Ptak notes, "Campbell was not pleased by this—not at all. And I can well imagine why."

Read more at Ptak Science Books!

The Salt Lake Tribune speculates about "vast thinking vegetable" on Mars