Cars on Mars: Roving the Red Planet

Overview

In CARS ON MARS readers can follow the course of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission as twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity explore the Red Planet. Learn how scientists determined that there was once water on Mars and how the Earthbound NASA team resolved problems with the rovers from afar in order to prolong the mission, which continues today.

The author provides insight into scientists’ quest to discover whether life may have or still might exist on Mars. Back matter ...

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Overview

In CARS ON MARS readers can follow the course of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission as twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity explore the Red Planet. Learn how scientists determined that there was once water on Mars and how the Earthbound NASA team resolved problems with the rovers from afar in order to prolong the mission, which continues today.

The author provides insight into scientists’ quest to discover whether life may have or still might exist on Mars. Back matter includes glossary, source notes, and resources.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
In 2003, two rovers were sent to the planet Mars, which was the closest to Earth that it had been in 60,000 years. In this readable and fascinating account, anyone with an interest in science and space will learn about the actual development of the rovers, their launch, the experiments they have performed, and what we have learned to date about this nearby planet. Full color pictures, artists' drawings, and black and white imagery from the rovers bring this amazing story to life. A day on Mars is called a sol, and it is just thirty nine minutes longer than a day on Earth. Was there ever running water on Mars, and is there still water hidden on this planet? Scientists have learned so much about the rocks and what has created their various layers; all of which suggest that there were cycles of wet and dry conditions on the planet. Scientists have concluded that between 3.5 and 4 billion years ago, there was underground water at Meridiani Planum on Mars, and no one has ruled out the possibility that life once existed. Originally designed to last three months and to determine if any life existed or exists on Mars, these little engines that could are still working. That means they have been at their job for nine years. They have new software, but the mechanical parts are suffering from wear and tear—no one knows how long they will keep exploring, but each sol that they are there, new information increases our knowledge about this amazing planet. Kids who want to see what the rovers are currently doing can visit http://marsrovers.nasa.gov/home/index.html where they will find even more information. In addition, the back of the book contains references to other websites, a glossary, andselected bibliography. This is a book that will fascinate the arm chair space traveler and pique the interest of budding space scientists. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8–Dubbed Spirit and Opportunity in a naming contest won by a nine-year-old, the two golf-cart-sized rovers sent to Mars in 2003 were designed to last for three months. Battered but game, they’re still inching along all these years later. Here Siy not only pays affectionate tribute to their longevity–titling her final chapter “Shake off the dust, recharge at the rest area, and continue indefinitely”–but also describes and explains in exact detail their most stirring discovery: strong evidence that water once “drenched, dribbled, dripped, doused, trickled, gushed, and poured” on the Martian surface. An array of large illustrations includes a labeled diagram that identifies all of the rovers’ scientific gear, plus color photos, photo composites, and (carefully identified) artists’ conceptions of Martian vistas, craters, rocks, and even microscopic features. Closing with plenty of useful end matter and a full-page planetary portrait, this title will sweep readers up in an exploratory mission that has come closer than any other so far to finding sure signs of extraterrestrial life.–John Peters, New York Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
Originally expected to last only 90 days, Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity have been exploring the geology of the Red Planet since they arrived in 2004. The information they send home includes striking panoramic and close-up images of the Martian landscape, the heart of this intriguing account. Organized as a series of instructions to the robot cars, the text follows their progress from an idea in the mind of geologist Steve Squyres, through launches and landings on opposite sides of the planet, to their subsequent stops and starts. Diagrams, composite images and pictures of work Earthside complement the rovers' beautifully reproduced photographs. Presented chronologically, their story is told in a conversational tone, with familiar food comparisons (the Victoria crater's layers are likened to a 15-scoop ice-cream cone). Still, readers may feel overwhelmed by the amount of information and be confused by which rover is where doing what. A series of maps would have helped. Siy's enthusiasm is evident and she includes extensive suggestions for continued exploration of this exciting, ongoing project. (further research, glossary, bibliography, photo credits, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781570914621
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/28/2009
  • Edition description: New
  • Pages: 58
  • Sales rank: 519,401
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: NC1240L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 11.20 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Alexandra Siy is the author of several award-winning nonfiction children's books, including SNEEZE!, MOSQUITO BITE, and FOOTPRINTS ON THE MOON. She lives in Fuera Bush, New York.
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2009

    Beautiful and important.

    A beautiful book. Entertaining, educational, and engrossing. This is the real WALL-E. The images from Mars are astonishing! This book transports the reader into another world.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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