The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity

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Overview

On June 10, 2003, a little rover named Spirit blasted off on a rocket headed for Mars. On July 7, 2003, a twin rover named Opportunity soared through the solar system with the same mission: to find out if Mars ever had water that could have supported life.A thrilling addition to the acclaimed Scientists in the Field series, The Mighty Mars Rovers tells the greatest space robot adventure of all time through the eyes—and heart—of Steven Squyres, professor of astronomy at Cornell ...

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Overview

On June 10, 2003, a little rover named Spirit blasted off on a rocket headed for Mars. On July 7, 2003, a twin rover named Opportunity soared through the solar system with the same mission: to find out if Mars ever had water that could have supported life.A thrilling addition to the acclaimed Scientists in the Field series, The Mighty Mars Rovers tells the greatest space robot adventure of all time through the eyes—and heart—of Steven Squyres, professor of astronomy at Cornell University and lead scientist on the mission.

This suspenseful page-turner captures the hair-raising human emotions felt during the adventures with two tough rovers.

A 2013 Orbis Pictus Honor Book for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
-NYPL 100 Titles for Reading & Sharing, 2012

(star) "Enthralling . . . How extraordinary to visit Mars in Spirit; readers will be very glad of the Opportunity."—Kirkus, starred review

(star) "Well documented and fully illustrated with many colorful photos and digital images, this is a book that space technology fans won't want to miss."—Booklist, starred review

(star) "This detailed look at planning, implementing, maintaining, and troubleshooting a highly complex scientific mission puts a human face on an incredible accomplishment."—School Library Journal, starred review

(star) "Rusch's account skillfully captures the exciting quest for knowledge that drives Squyres and his team through the leaps and setbacks of scientific exploration."—Horn Book, starred review

Children's Literature - Amy McMillan
The question of life on Mars has fueled space research and imagination for years. Steven Squyres watched the Apollo moon mission on television as a teenager and grew up to be lead scientist on the mission sending his self-designed rovers to Mars. Readers watch as his team brings the rovers to life and follows their journeys into space. The two robots seem to take on personalities of their own as they survive years past their initial three month assignment and defy countless odds and near calamities to gather information to send back to earth. The next step is using all of that information to help put people on Mars; a thrilling prospect! Full of rich photos of Steve and the other scientists and astronauts, the rovers and the red planet itself, this book is sure to re-ignite interest in an ever-changing space exploration program. Part of the "Scientists in the Field" series, this volume would be a valuable addition to any school or classroom library. Reviewer: Amy McMillan
School Library Journal
Gr 7–9—Rusch covers not only the scientific aspects of Mars exploration but also the personalities of the people who made it happen, and profiles the rovers themselves, Spirit and Opportunity. Her comprehensive research shines through in her detailed style as she zeroes in on the behind-the-scenes efforts of launching a scientific mission. Full-color photographs on every page in this picture-book-size volume illuminate the Mars surface and the faces of the scientists as they agonize over communication difficulties and computer glitches and exult over the thrill of discovery. The lists of websites, archives, multimedia, and sources may inspire readers to follow in the footsteps of Steve Squyres-mission leader. The glossary is brief but helpful in unscrambling some of the "alphabet soup" of acronyms and nicknames (e.g., ATLO-Assembly, Test and Launch Operations and Pancam-Panoramic Camera) as well as scientific terms (e.g., Sol-one Martian day, or 24 hours, 39 minutes, and 35 seconds in Earth time) used throughout. Terms and photographs are indexed. This detailed look at planning, implementing, maintaining, and troubleshooting a highly complex scientific mission puts a human face on an incredible accomplishment.—Frances E. Millhouser, formerly at Chantilly Regional Library, Fairfax County, VA
Kirkus Reviews
What's it like to explore Mars? Did life ever exist on Earth's red neighbor? To find out, readers need only soar along with this enthralling account of the adventures of two rovers designed to seek evidence on Mars of water that could have once supported life. Expected to last three months, the indefatigable Spirit and Opportunity incredibly carried out their missions for more than six years. In the process, lead scientist Steve Squyres and his team learned more about and probed more terrain on Mars than anyone before. Readers are carried aloft by Rusch's exciting, clear prose and the rovers' exceptional photos sent Earthside. Along with the team, young people celebrate every thrilling moment of success--yes, there once was water on Mars!--and accept failures and disappointments. This is edge-of-your-seat reading as the author explains how setbacks were handled. Readers are not only drawn in by the dedication, hard work and emotions of the people involved, but they will also, like the scientists themselves, feel proprietary toward the rovers--and, fortunately, there's an update about them. One quibble: the ample backmatter has little specifically for children. Another stellar outing in the consistently excellent Scientists in the Field series. How extraordinary to visit Mars in Spirit; readers will be very glad of the Opportunity. (sources, chapter notes, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547478814
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 6/19/2012
  • Series: Scientists in the Field Series
  • Pages: 80
  • Sales rank: 112,936
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 950L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

The award-winning freelance writer Elizabeth Rusch has published more than one hundred articles in magazines such as Muse, Smithsonian, and Mother Jones. She is the author of a number award-winning nonfiction titles for children, including: Generation Fix, Will it Blow?, The Planet Hunter, and For the Love of Music: The Remarkable Story of Maria Anna Mozart. This is her first book for Houghton Mifflin.

Elizabeth lives in Portland, Oregon, with her family. Liz has a four-inch-high scale model rover, which she kept next to her computer for inspiration while writing this book. The model rover toppled over and broke so many times that she can’t believe Spirit and Opportunity have survived roaming Mars for more than six years. You can visit Liz online at www.elizabethrusch.com. 

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 3, 2012

    "Five...four...three...two...one...Blastoff into an Exciting Adventure"

    Five... four... three... two... one... blastoff into an exciting adventure in Elizabeth Rusch’s The Mighty Mars Rovers. Rusch explores one of the greatest scientific missions of our time through the eyes of its captain, Steve Squyres of the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL). Page after page of crisp, full page color photos transport the reader onto the surface of Mars and into the world of the JPL scientists. Rusch recreates the experience of roving Mars so precisely that your heart will drop every time a rover hits a bump in the road. Her passion for Steve and the rovers transfers to the reader - expect to get lost on this beautiful, harsh, and unknown planet. Captions, sidebars, and photos help to bring this information-rich book to life. Not only is it well-written, but it is visually appealing and well laid-out - exceptionally accessible to a wide range of readers. We need more non-fiction like this for young adults. I can’t wait to add The Mighty Mars Rovers to my home and classroom libraries! Erin Dees, 5th grade teacher

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