In 1895 Percival Lowell commissioned Alvan Clark & Sons of Massachusetts to build a state-of-the-art 24-inch refracting telescope in Flagstaff, Arizona to further his theories about intelligent life on Mars.
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