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Mapping Mars: Science, Imagination, and the Birth of a World Paperback – Sep 1 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; First Edition edition (Sept. 1 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031242261X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312422615
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,544,385 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Maps of the Earth begin a short walk from the flat where I live. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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By A Customer on Jan. 31 2004
Format: Paperback
I highly recommend Oliver Morton's Mapping Mars. Not only does it frame the debate about the likelihood of life on Mars, but also does a great job of explaning our changing understanding of the planet.
It also conveys a sense of Mars as a real place, and discusses how the meaning of Mars changes depending on our sense of whether or not we think there is life there.
Finally, it asks a crucial question: what do we mean by "nature" and how tied up is that notion with "life"?
And it has cool pictures.
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Format: Hardcover
First of all, if you have the slightest interest in the geology of Mars, or in maps, or in planetary science (and, if not, why are you here?) you *need* to read this book.
"This is a splendid book and a major achievement in the study of Mars.... A number of authors might fairly claim to have written the best Mars novel, but this is the best factual book on Mars that money can buy."
-- New Scientist, Google for online review
"When the investigator, having under consideration a fact or group of facts whose origin or cause is unknown, seeks to discover their origin, his first step is to make a guess." --GK Gilbert, Science 3(53), 1896 (which codified the method of multiple working hypotheses). Gilbert, of course, was "one of the happy generation of American geologists who...took their impressive beards and intellects to every corner of the American West."
Tidbits: Gene Shoemaker's first map of Meteor Crater, in 1957, was done for the old AEC, as part of a truly crackbrained scheme to manufacture plutonium by detonating uranium-wrapped A-bombs underground. Which, thank heavens, never got very far. Gene didn't like the idea, either, but who's to turn down funding?
No map of exotic lands is complete without exotic names, and the map of Mars is well-stocked: Noctis Labyrinthus, the Labyrinth of Night. Tithonium Chasma, Albe Patera --a volcano that occupies an area about equal to that of India --Claritas Fossae, Utopia Planita... Olympus Mons! Formerly Nix Olympica, the Snows of Olympus --and the highest mountain known to humanity. Mauna Kea, Earth's biggest volcano, would fit comfortably inside Olympus' summit caldera. OM contains some 3.5 million cubic km of rock--or the area of Texas, if excavated 8 km deep. This is one *humongous* mountain.
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By David Gill on Dec 28 2003
Format: Hardcover
When I first saw this book I was fascinated, but I held off till it came out in paperback. Mapping Mars is a very different book than Hartmann's Traveler's Guide. Morton is concerned with helping us understand the process we have gone through in the understanding of the face of Mars. As such, he interviewed many key players in the space-age study of Mars and paints his portrait of Mars through their work.
Mapping Mars is concerned more with the "big picture" of Mars than the Traveler's Guide. As such its illustrations are more concerned with showing the evolution of our maps and our mental images of Mars. Part of that "big picture" is our cultural view of Mars through our science fiction, art and exploration plans. He spends quite a bit of time on these topics - but does not sacrifice the science content.
The book reads like a series of personal vignettes of the people involved in the illumination of Mars - people like Hartmann, Michael Carr, Michael Malin and Bob Zubrin.
Mapping Mars reads well and draws the reader into the personal and scientific journey of understanding Mars.
Highly recommended.
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By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on June 24 2003
Format: Hardcover
"There's a world on my wall", writes Morton. Distant, remote, mysterious, it has been the subject of speculation, invention, misconception and investigation. Mars has provoked almost as much interest as our moon. Morton traces the early views of what this distant planet might represent and how a generation of human probing has revealed. It's a world of extremes, he declares. The highest mountains in the solar system. Immense chasms that might indicate massive water flows or something else not found in earthly canyons. The atmosphere is thin and cold, but can sustain global dust storms. In short, everything we learn about Mars raises more questions than provides answers. The world on his wall is one of several attempts to map this remote place and characterise it. Morton's account is informative and compelling as he presents what we have learned and the people who have provided the information.
Morton shows how the struggle to understand Mars is faced with limitations. The usual path of comparison with features on Earth prove feeble and vague. Antarctica is one model, the Hawaiian volcanoes another. Neither fits sufficiently to provide valid comparisons. Mars, he urges, must be understood within its own framework. That implies the picture must be built up from a fresh foundation. The foundation has only been sketched by the various probes sent to Mars during the past generation. The interpreters of data transmitted from fly-by probes, landers and surface rovers are the heroes of Morton's account.
Mapping Mars had its origins in Berlin in 1830 when two astronomers sought to establish the length of the Martian day.
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