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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
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
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In thruth, I can add little more to the other Amazon reviews other than to say that they are right. William Hartmann's "A Traveler's Guide to Mars : The Mysterious Landscapes... Read morePublished on Dec 26 2003 by Bruce Trinque
This is book is simply amazing!! I wish I could give it ten stars - off the scale. The author has captured the majesty and mystery of Mars, clearly and concisely. Read morePublished on Oct. 21 2003 by Brian Enke
This is one of the greatest science books for the lay reader I have ever owned. Dr. Hartmann lays out in perfect detail what the history and topography of Mars appears to be and... Read morePublished on Sept. 22 2003 by John Stricklen