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Water and the Search for Life on Mars

Overview

"Why explore Mars? The simple answer is, we’re going to Mars to search for life. We’re following the water because on Earth where you find liquid water, organic material, and energy, you find life." u find life"

Ed Weiler, NASA's Associate Administrator for Space Science

Ear where you find liquid water,

A century ago, the world was enthralled by Percival Lowell’s vision of a Mars criss-crossed with the canals of a dying civilization ...

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Overview

"Why explore Mars? The simple answer is, we’re going to Mars to search for life. We’re following the water because on Earth where you find liquid water, organic material, and energy, you find life." u find life"

Ed Weiler, NASA's Associate Administrator for Space Science

Ear where you find liquid water,

A century ago, the world was enthralled by Percival Lowell’s vision of a Mars criss-crossed with the canals of a dying civilization distributing water from the polar caps. Later, Mars was thought to have been cold, dead and dry for eons, but striking new evidence suggests the planet was relatively warm and wet in geologically recent times, and that even now there are reserves of water frozen beneath the planet’s surface.

Today, robot spacecraft maneuver across the Martian surface while others orbit overhead seeking evidence of water, ice, and landing sites for further exploration. In recent years, the very possibilities for life have dramatically expanded as discoveries by biologists and oceanographers have revealed bizarre life forms where none would have been expected. And as the growing evidence that water flowed on Mars becomes indisputable, more spacecraft are soon to follow.

This highly absorbing book relates how NASA and ESA have sought evidence of life on Mars. ‘Follow the water’ with noted science writer David Harland as he assembles and weighs the evidence in this timely and compelling book. It contains what you need to know behind today’s, and possibly tomorrow’s, headlines, including details of the Mariner, Viking, and Pathfinder missions and evolving theories of Martian geology and climate. It explains how the search accelerates with the Mars Orbiter and Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity. Harland sets this within the broader perspective of the likely nature of life on Mars as compared to primitive life on Earth. Finally, he analyzes the implications of there being life on both planets. Join the scientific adventure of a lifetime in this well-researched and thoroughly engrossing true account.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
From the reviews:

"David Harland’s book is well times, as he succinctly sums up the history of Mars exploration, linking together the early telescopic observational stuff with the modern, represented by the wildly successful Sprit and Opportunity rovers…There’s also a highly informative section on the chemical basis of life, in which we learn about the extremophiles that live next to hot thermal vents on the Earth’s sea bed… Approximately 230 well-labelled and informative pictures and dozens of diagrams alone make the book good value, and one feels again some of the excitement when reading over the last 60 pages about the landings and explorations of the US Spirit and opportunity… His fine interpretations of how it all hangs together to paint a picture of an ancient Martian history in which large standing bodies of water almost certainly exited on the planet makes a book that anyone interested in Mars should have." Steve Tidey (Astronomy Now)

"This is a typical David Harland book - lots to praise … . Narrowly focussed, it covers man’s progress in understanding the nature of the red planet, Mars, and whether it has, or once had, liquid water and perhaps life. It is written in an easy style and flows nicely in spite of the comprehensive detail. … The book is well illustrated with monochrome drawings and sketches, especially of spacecraft." (Roger Feasey, AAS Journal, September, 2006)

"The book is organized as an historical review of observations and theories about Mars from telescopic observation, followed by a chronological description of Mars exploration from space probes. The historical section is full of fascinating information, with many stories … that give a detailed background as to the state of knowledge of Mars up to the start of the space race and how it was obtained. … there is a wealth of detail and many interesting anecdotes." (The Observatory, Vol. 126 (1195), December, 2006)

"The prolific Mr Harland has come up with a real winner in this slim but highly readable volume. … The book is profusely illustrated with maps and photos from the various missions, and there is even a very nice selection of colour plates, particularly of the spectacular views from the rovers. This really is a very fine book, and anyone interested in Mars exploration would get much out of it." (Liftoff, Issue 233, May/June, 2006)

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Peering at Mars.- A close look.- The Vikings.- What is life?.- A multiplicity of missions.- The water dilemma.- Spirit.- Opportunity.- Future prospects.

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