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For anyone who is interested in Mars, a few names stand out as major figures in Terran science or imagination. We must also remember that many others, often barely recorded, have worked and continue to work to improve our understanding of Mars. This list identifies those individuals, some less well known than others, who have moved us closer to Mars in important ways.

Entries are organized by last name.

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Bonistell, Chesley - (b. 1888 d. 1986) American artist, probably the best known of the illustrators of Mars. His work onthe book Exploration of Mars, written by Willy Ley and Wernher von Braun, captured the dreams of generations of those interested in the planet. He did numerous other works about Mars, as well as other space art and a wide variety of oter illustrations as well.

Bradbury, Ray (b.1920) - Noted author of the Martian Chronicles, stories about human exploration and colonization of the red planet which had a powerful impact on science fiction and world imagination.

Brahe, Tycho (b. 1546 d. 1601) - one of the greatest observational astonomers, Brahe's extremely accurate decades-long observations of Mars laid the foundation for Johann Kepler's work on elliptical orbits and the structure of the solar system.

Burroughs, Edgar Rice (b.1875 d.1950) - author of the John Carter Warlord of Mars series of books, as well as others which take place on the planet. Mixing fantasy and science fiction, Burroughs increased interest in the planet, building on popular but fanciful extrapolations by overeager amateur astronomers lead by Percival Lowell.


Clarke, Arthur C. (b.1917) - British -born Sri Lankan author and scientist who has been a long-time advocate of Mars exploration. His book Sands of Mars is seen as one of the first realistic novels about the planet






Heinlein, Robert - American science fiction author and one of the masters of the genre. His works about Mars, juvenile books as well as adult novels, looked more at Humans than the red planet, but his enthusiasm, talent and adventurous nature has inspired both readers and writers ffor decades.





Lowell, Percival (b.1855 d.1916) - Noted philanthropist and uneven amateur astronomer who took Schiaparelli's observations about canali (Italian for channels) and his own to extremes. He was the first to envision Mars as a dry, dying planet with an advanced civilization. His books on Mars fired the imagination of the world at the turn of the century, influencing H.G. Wells and many others. He was among the first persons to suggest putting observatories on mountain tops to improve viewing, and was the first to do so.


Matsunaga, "Spark" (b. 1916 d.1990) - United States Senator (D-Hawaii) and author who was the first elected official to advocate cooperation between the Soviet Union and the United States in space in the 1980's, especially in regards to the exploration of Mars and the creation of space stations.

Moore, Patrick (b.1923) - Though his primary research interest was in the Moon, Dr. Moore wrote several science and juvenile science fiction books about Mars and has been a tireless advocate of exploration, manned and otherwise, of the red planet. A former president of the British Astronmical Association, his thoughts about Mars are best collected in Patrick Moore on Mars.

Murray, Bruce - Geologist and Planetary Scientist. Eminent scientist of Mars studies and leading advocate of Martian exploration. His more conservative expectations about Mars during the era of the early probes were also more accurate than most.






Robinson, Kim Stanley (b.1952) - Science fiction author whose series of books on Mars (Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars) met with great success and stands as perhaps the most realistic look at the colonization and terraforming of Mars in science fiction literature thus far.


Sagan, Carl (b.1934 d.1996) - Astronomer and scientist involved with the Mariner and Viking missions to Mars. He was an advocate of extensive searches for primitive life or evidence of past primitive life on Mars, while also concerned about contamination of Mars from the Earth through unsterile probes. A popular author and speaker, he had and continues to have a great impact on the popular imagination of space and its exploration.





Wallace, Lord Alfred Russell (b.1823 d.1913 ) - Colleague of Darwin who, with him, suggested evolution. His short review of Percival Lowell's books on Mars turned into a book itself. Wallace was the most visible early proponent of Mars as a lifeless planet, one extremely dissimilar to Earth.Though not as popular in the public imagination as views of Lowell, Burroughs and Wells, his practical predictions were borne out by the Mariner and Viking probes, some 70 years later.

Wells, H.G. (b.1866 d.1946) - Along with Jules Verne, he is considered the father of modern science fiction. In his work War of the Worlds (based on the popular non-fiction works by Percival Lowell), desperate, technologically advanced Martians attack Earth, and in the process create the standard alien invasion story redone with variations for the next 100 years. In turn, his work was adapted some 40 years later by Orson Welles, whose radio play caused a panic across America the night before Halloween, 1938.


Zubrin, Robert - A leading advocate of both manned Mars missions and colonization, Dr. Zubrin's book The Case for Mars and his efforts at organizing the Mars Society not only increased awareness about Mars, but advocated new strategies for missions that use the resources fo the planet itself to help sustain and return the expedition.


last updated 25 Aug 2003 jea