| Home. | Universe Galaxies And Stars Archives. | 
Universe Galaxies Stars logo.
     | Universe | Big Bang | Galaxies | Stars | Solar System | Planets | Hubble Telescope | NASA | Search Engine |

A Traveller's Guide to Mars - Book Review.


Ten Years Since The Revolution at Amazon.

SAS Black Ops at Amazon.
Amazon Kindle EBook Reader: Click For More Information.

Guide to Mars - Book Review.
A Traveller's Guide to Mars - Book Review.

Over the last few hundred years, humans have been exploring the planet Mars - first through telescopes, and more recently from orbit and on the ground. During this time we've gone from complete ignorance to a fairly deep understanding of the Red Planet. William K. Hartmann has been a scientist on several missions to Mars, and in his latest book, "A Traveler's Guide to Mars," he details our current understanding of the geologic process that have shaped the planet.

Over the last few hundred years, humans have been exploring the planet Mars - first through telescopes, and more recently from orbit and on the ground. During this time we've gone from complete ignorance to a fairly deep understanding of the Red Planet. William K. Hartmann has been a scientist on several missions to Mars, and in his latest book, "A Traveler's Guide to Mars," he details our current understanding of the geologic process that have shaped the planet.

First, a little history about William Hartmann. He cut his Martian teeth as a scientist on the Mariner 9 mission, which was the first spacecraft to map Mars in detail. He was part of the team that discovered craters, ancient riverbeds and volcanoes. He was an early contributor to the widely accepted theory that the Moon formed when a Mars-sized planet crashed into the Earth. And he's currently studying the data retrieved by the Mars Global Surveyor.

This guy knows his Mars.

"A Traveler's Guide to Mars" traces our understanding of Mars, starting with the early sketches by Huygens and Percival Lowell (who incorrectly thought that Martians had built a complex system of canals to conserve the planet's water). When Mariner 9 arrived at Mars in the early 1970s, it complete revised our understanding of the planet, showing that it was dry and pummeled with ancient asteroid impact craters. The history section of the book is pretty short.

The bulk of the book explores the planet, feature by feature, and describes how planetary scientists arrived at their current understanding about what's going on. scientists believe certain areas of Mars are unchanged for 4.5 billion years, while others have been under constant change until recently. Hartmann presents the evidence and shows you how to spot the clues and think like a planetary scientist.

I think this is one of my favorite aspects of the book. time after time Hartmann presents the challenge: what caused this formation? what's going on in this crater? how long was this river flowing? And then he presents the evidence and the decision-making process that planetary scientists followed to arrive at their current conclusions. And if nobody has a clue, he admits that too. There are plenty of mysteries left on Mars - hopefully new spacecraft and missions to Mars will help fill in pieces of the puzzle.

The book is broken up with one/two-page sections called "My Martian Chronicles", which detail Hartmann's personal experiences exploring Mars through the eyes of Mariner 9 and Mars Global Surveyor. I really enjoyed this personal touch. Since Hartmann is an experienced fiction writer, his style is very casual and accessible. Easy reading for the amateur space enthusiast.

I was really impressed with "A Traveler's Guide to Mars". It's given me a new understanding of the planet. Definitely a handy book to have on hand as a new fleet of spacecraft are about to arrive at the Red Planet.




  Go To Print Article  


Universe - Galaxies and Stars: Links and Contacts

the web this site
 | GNU License | Contact | Copyright | WebMaster | Terms | Disclaimer | Top Of Page. |