This idea had been inspired by the observations of astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli, who had mapped what he called oceans and channels on Mars. This was mistranslated (into English) to "canals" which set off widespread speculation about the possibility of civilizations on another planet. Can I use the term "fake news"?
Percival’s elegant writings about his research, based on his observations made with the Clark Telescope, inspired the work of both scientists, such as rocket expert Robert Goddard, and writers, including science fiction icons H.G Wells and Edgar Rice Burroughs. More here