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A Traveler's Guide to Mars [Paperback]

William K. Hartmann
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 21 2003 0761126066 978-0761126065 1
In this extraordinary Baedeker—accessible, up-to-date, and prodigiously illustrated with photographs from Mariner 9, Viking, Pathfinder, the Hubble Space Telescope, and the ongoing mars Global Surveyor spacecraft—visitors will encounter:
  • Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in the solar system, rising three times as high as Mount Everest and covering an area the size of Missouri
  • Tharsis Planitia, the "high plains of Mars," with plains rising 29,000 feet—wide enough to cover Europe.
  • Valles Marineris, an equatorial canyon so vast that America's Grand Canyon would be a mere tributary.

Plus: the "face" on Mars, the White Rock, the "Canals" of Xanthe—and the first possible evidence of an ancient Martian life-form.

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From Amazon

A Traveler's Guide to Mars revitalizes the Red Planet, leaving readers with the urge to don a spacesuit and take a long trip. With the look and heft of a guide to someplace you might actually go, the book presents Mars as a place of canyons and volcanoes, mesas, and barren plains, not that dissimilar from parts of Earth. Author William K. Hartmann, who participated in the Mars Global Surveyor mission, uses all the photos and data collected by scientists in decades of research to give a thorough, yet not boring, overview of the planet. The most exciting stuff is about water--whether it ever flowed on Mars, where it went, why it's hard to find. Beyond that, there are the rocks, dust, and weather to talk about, and Mars has lots of all three. Sidebars, maps, and chronologies help keep the regions and geology of Mars organized. Hartmann never forgets he's writing for the lay reader, and his style is personable and clear. When answering claims of NASA cover-ups, ancient civilizations, and hidden structures on Mars, he calmly lays out the facts and pictures, urging readers to simply examine the evidence. Hartmann offers a tourist's-eye view of one of our most intriguing planetary neighbors and does more to polish NASA's tarnished image than a thousand press releases. --Therese Littleton

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-A perfect choice for students who are interested in Mars or space exploration. Following an opening chapter discussing what humans have believed and have come to verify about the red planet, the author discusses the three major eras of its 4.5 billion year history. He describes various regions, offering a geological tour of the craters, volcanoes, and the face of Mars, making it easy for readers to "visit," much as any travel book would. Interspersed throughout are boxed inserts highlighting weather, hazards, financial considerations, geology, etc. Also appearing periodically are sections called "My Martian Chronicles" in which the astronomer describes his own work and experiences in his quest to learn more about this unusual planet. His writing style will make teens want to keep reading. Hundreds of outstanding photographs and digital images clarify concepts and sharpen subtle landscapes. Many are close-ups reproduced from the work of landing craft; most are in color. If you can have only one title about Mars, this is the one to buy.
Claudia Moore, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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First Sentence
One hundred years ago, the mention of Mars called forth visions of unearthly blue-green vegetation, canals built by unknown civilizations, and malevolent invaders bent on colonizing our planet. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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5.0 out of 5 stars THE book on Mars Jan. 7 2004
Format:Paperback
This book may very well be the best popular science book I've ever read. The story of what we know about Mars and how it was discovered unfolds in an exciting progression that leaves one convinced that not only has there been a lot of water on Mars in the past, but there is almost certainly still a lot of it underground all over the planet.
The story is lavishly illustrated with many amazing high-resolution images from the Mars Global Surveyor and other orbiter missions, along with a dozen or so of the author's own paintings.
The book answered all of the nagging quesitons I had about whether or not there's really evidence of water on Mars, and several times a question that formed in my mind (like "ok, maybe it was some fluid other than water like liquid CO2") was explicitly answered on the next page.
This book is a real gem, and if you want quick fun way to pick up the appropriate background for enjoying and understanding the results from the Spirit and Opportunity rover missions then this is it.
Sadly The Brittish Beagle 2 lander seems to have followed the Simplified Planetary Local Approach Trajectory that was favored by many previous attempts to land on Mars, but with the success (so far) of Spirit and high hopes for Opportunity landing soon, there will be plenty of exciting new information about Mars available soon, and I can only hope that the author of this book sees fit to give us a second edition in a year or so that summarizes all the new knowlege.
But for now, this it *the* book to get up to speed on Mars.
G.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful tour with a great guide Dec 28 2003
Format:Paperback
If I were to take a guided trip to Mars, there are a handful of people that I'd like to choose my guide from - people who have spent their careers trying to understand Mars from the Mariner, Viking and Mars Global Surveyor missions. Bill Hartmann is certainly one of the members of that pool. He cut his geological teeth on the moon with Gerard Kuiper in the early 60's, and made wonderful, major contributions to our understanding of the moon. Then he has been involved in all the major Mars missions since the start. He is an artist as well as a scientist, so he informs this book with the soul of an artist as well as the mind of a scientist.
When I first saw the promotional literature for this book, I was struck by the beauty of the images in it. The book itself did not disappoint. It is a paperback, in the format of a field guide, but it is richly illustrated with color and black and white images. The book has two large fold-out maps - one of the best pre-space probe maps showing the Mars that can be seen with a telescope, and a topographic maps from the Mars Global Surveyor mission.
Hartmann uses his "Traveler's Guide" format to take us on a tour of Mars. The organization of the tour is based on the geological history of the Red Planet. So along the way, in addition to seeing the most fascinating places on Mars, we learn their geological context in chronological sequence.
Although it would be easy to bury the reader in geological jargon, Hartmann succeeds in making the study of Mars accessible and exciting. It is clear from reading the text that Mars is a world that still harbors many surprises for us. He is not afraid to share his thoughts with the reader - but he is careful to point out where they depart from the main stream.
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5.0 out of 5 stars So when does the first flight leave? Oct. 22 2003
Format:Paperback
Some of us who saw the lunar landing in 1969 are still wondering why we haven't gotten to Mars yet. Shouldn't that have been next?
Well, it still could be, and you can get more information on the possibilities by checking out the Mars Society and Red Colony websites. (I can't post the URLs here but in each case your first guess will be correct.)
And if you want more information on the planet Mars itself, this is the book you want.
Packed with gorgeous photos from the various Mars missions (and some from Earth for purposes of comparison and inference), this book is a garden of delights for areophiles: the very latest information and theories about the red planet, interspersed with the reminiscences and personal views of the author, astronomer William Hartmann, all in a very high-quality glossy paperback designed for long shelf life -- and, one hopes, for interplanetary travel.
If you've ever wondered what gives Syrtis Major its dark color, or even if you've just looked at the night sky once in a while wondering what the heck might be _out there_, you'll find something to engage you in this volume.
Have a look. Then let's start getting ready to go.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Even if you don't plan to go to Mars... Aug. 18 2003
Format:Paperback
As an astronomy junkie and a web surfer, I've often marveled at the amazingly sharp photos obtained by the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. The Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) has both wide-angle and telephoto capabilities and has revolutionized knowledge of Mars since it went into orbit in 1997. As I've browsed those photos, and even visited Malin Space Science Systems (MSSS) website to surf the archive, I've idly wished that someone would put together a book of those photos, along with explanations by planetary scientists.
Quite by accident, I stumbled upon Hartmann's Traveler's Guide to Mars recently, a 2003 publication by one of the scientists who's been involved with Mars since Mariner 4 in 1965. At 468 pages in length, with nearly every page containing photographs, this book is a gem. I regard it as the best book on Mars over the last few years (which is saying a lot if you read my reviews last month).
Hartmann gives us forty short chapters, each devoted to a single feature or geographic region. Each chapter is between 2 and 10 or so pages in length. Lavish use of photos is the standard, usually a Viking mosaic for context and then a series of MOS or Odyssey Themis photos illustrating unusual geology, the search for water, etc. There are also many examples of the Global Surveyor's other primary instrument, the laser altimeter, which beautifully illustrates relative elevations of the features, and has added immeasurably to our understanding of the landforms studied. Hartmann also makes frequent use of Earth landscape photos that are close analogs to the Martian features he's showcasing. Hartmann's explanations of the features are clear and easy to understand.
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