What I’m Reading: Wizard-The Life and Times of Nicola Tesla

Communicating With Mars

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Besides being the guy who figured out a way to harness AC electricity, which proved preferable to DC because it could be transmitted long distances, unlike DC which had a limit of a handful of miles, Tesla also experimented in long range communications.

One of his more outrageous claims was that his system could be used to communicate between planets. In fact, Tesla claimed that while experimenting with this long range communication he received a message from Mars. The message was nothing mind-altering or earth-shattering (although Tesla also claimed that by achieving a resonance with the vibration of earth he could shatter the entire planet and demonstrated this on a small scale by nearly bringing down a construction site)–just a simple “1,2,3,” Tesla was sure he had communicated with intelligences on the red planet.

Though I personally would prefer to believe he did contact Mars (and will probably write a story about it at some point) another explanation is that Marconi, who is generally credited with the invention of radio) was simultaneously running some experimentation of his own using equipment based on Nicola’s own patents (though Marconi adamantly denied this the evidence seems to show patent-infringement) and was sending an SOS signal via Morse code, which plausibly could have been interpreted by Tesla as a simple count from one to three.

This is a very interesting book about a very interesting guy. I’m about halfway through and doubtless I’ll have a few more observations to make in a future post.

-Joel Jenkins
Author of Weird Action & Adventure Fiction

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