Who was Percival Lowell?
Lowell Crater is named after the US mathematician, astronomer and writer Percival Lowell. A member of the Boston elite, in 1894 he founded the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, for purposes including research into the planet Mars. Inspired by Giovanni Schiaparelli’s theories about canali (canals) on Mars, Lowell advanced the idea that these were drainage channels built by an intelligent civilisation. In 1905 he predicted the existence of a 'Planet X' beyond the orbit of Neptune. His theory proved to be correct, although Pluto was only discovered in 1930, some years after his death.