Mars globe on a black wooden stand, 1892.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This small printed globe of Mars was produced by J Lebeque and Company, Brusels. The features on the globe are based on the observations made by Louis Niesten (1844-1920) in 1877 at the observatories of Milan, Italy and Brusels, Belgium. The delineated Marian features are labelled with the nomenclature of both the Italian and English astronomers, Giovanni Schiparelli (1835-1910) and Dr S M Green. The globe is marked with linear features, which Schiparelli first called 'Canali' (canals). Later, the American astronomer Percival Lowell thought these features were evidence of intelligent life on the Red Planet. Niesten presented the globe to the Royal Astronomical Society in 1903, and it was acquired by the Science Museum in 1931.