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Cars on Mars: Roving the Red Planet Hardcover – July 1, 2009

4 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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  • Cars on Mars: Roving the Red Planet
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 5-8–Dubbed Spirit and Opportunity in a naming contest won by a nine-year-old, the two golf-cart-sized rovers sent to Mars in 2003 were designed to last for three months. Battered but game, they're still inching along all these years later. Here Siy not only pays affectionate tribute to their longevity–titling her final chapter Shake off the dust, recharge at the rest area, and continue indefinitely–but also describes and explains in exact detail their most stirring discovery: strong evidence that water once drenched, dribbled, dripped, doused, trickled, gushed, and poured on the Martian surface. An array of large illustrations includes a labeled diagram that identifies all of the rovers' scientific gear, plus color photos, photo composites, and (carefully identified) artists' conceptions of Martian vistas, craters, rocks, and even microscopic features. Closing with plenty of useful end matter and a full-page planetary portrait, this title will sweep readers up in an exploratory mission that has come closer than any other so far to finding sure signs of extraterrestrial life.–John Peters, New York Public Library
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Review

Starred Review. In 2004, two unusual robots landed on Mars: Spirit and Opportunity. Controlled by scientists at NASA, the golf-cart-sized, remote-controlled rovers roll slowly across the planet s terrain, collect and analyze geological samples, and transfer data (including pictures) back to earth. Although the rovers were designed to last for 90 days, they continue to work more than five years later. In this well-designed book, Siy provides a clearly written overview of the rovers explorations on Mars. The inclusion of many quotes from astronomer Steve Squyres, principal investigator for the Mars rover mission, offers a scientist s point of view on day-to-day challenges and rewards of the project, which succeeded in finding traces of water in the planet s geological record. The book s fine paper quality allows for excellent reproduction of the well-captioned illustrations: photos taken on earth, color and black-and-white images from Mars, artistic conceptions of space scenes, as well as a clearly labeled diagram of a Mars rover. Appendixes include a bibliography, a glossary, a brief source note, and a page of additional information with pointers to related Web sites, including one that tracks the current status of Spirit and Opportunity. Handsome and informative. --Booklist, starred review

Starred review. Dubbed Spirit and Opportunity in a naming contest won by a nine-year-old, the two golf-cart-sized rovers sent to Mars in 2003 were designed to last for three months. Battered but game, they re still inching along all these years later. Here Siy not only pays affectionate tribute to their longevity titling her final chapter Shake off the dust, recharge at the rest area, and continue indefinitely but also describes and explains in exact detail their most stirring discovery: strong evidence that water once drenched, dribbled, dripped, doused, trickled, gushed, and poured on the Martian surface. An array of large illustrations includes a labeled diagram that identifies all of the rovers scientific gear, plus color photos, photo composites, and (carefully identified) artists conceptions of Martian vistas, craters, rocks, and even microscopic features. Closing with plenty of useful end matter and a full-page planetary portrait, this title will sweep readers up in an exploratory mission that has come closer than any other so far to finding sure signs of extraterrestrial life. --School Library Journal, starred review
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 1240L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge; New edition (July 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570914621
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570914621
  • Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 0.5 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #925,547 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm a science writer for kids and think that science is fun, artsy, and cool. I've written many books that combine science and art through imagery that reveals both microscopic and far away worlds. I've written about insects, spiders, sneezing, and outer space. I am interested in polarities and edges, and explore these themes in my work and life. I've lived in big cities including New York City; New Haven, CT; and Anchorage (which is ten minutes from Alaska); Boulder, Colorado, a small city on the edge of the Rockies; and in tiny towns nestled in New York's Adirondack Mountains. I currently live on a 73-acre sustainable family forest in New York State.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was very impressed with this book. Great photos and interesting text. Although it is aimed at kids it is suitable for anyone interested in the Mars programme. It would make a good kid's prize for our Astronomy Open nights. It complements the 'Five Years on Mars' DVD.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book on the two Mars rovers for children of all ages. While adults still differ on human versus robotic space exploration, the two rovers have sent back so much information on the Red Planet that it will take years to fully understand it. Just the findings on possible water here and there will keep researchers busy quite a while.

Meanwhile, a child can open the book and find a two-page panorama of the Rover Opportunity at Victoria Crater. Then a colorful composite photo showing the realative size of Mars and Earth. "Mars is kind of small," a young reader might say. But in the following pages there are so many vistas and closeups, all the way to the second last photo -- a smaller sun starting to sink behind the rim of Gusev Crater. Thanks to rover Spirit for that one.

The author, Alexandra Sly has written more than a dozen books for chilren, including science books, and she creatively presents the basic science of Mars, along with the careful research by the two slowly moving rovers. Just the title "Cars on Mars" will get the attention of a much wider audience.

I have tried to keep up with Mars missions for decades, but enjoyed every page of this update on the rovers which began exploration back in 2004.

For example, after Spirit's "high speed" drive of 1.6 miles in 10 weeks, the rover took a picture of a "peculiar" rock that scientists named "Pot of Gold." It was small enough to hold in your hand, but had lumps sticking out of it and stripes running through it. Was water involved? Spirit scraped out a hole on its surface, and other elements were found, including sulfur and cholorine. Scientists made the call that water had been present.
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Format: Hardcover
Sometimes I think that adult authors of children's non-fiction subjects get so wrapped up in their material that they forget (or, more likely, never knew how) to make the thing they are talking about palatable to kids. Here's a pretty good litmus test for any work of non-fiction: If you, the grown-up, fall asleep mid-sentence, then there's a pretty good chance a kid will do the same. Then they'll vow never to read non-fiction ever again. And I admit, I don't always notice this. I read a lot of children's literature, and it's easy to forget how boring a kid would find one type of writing or another. The nice thing is that when I read something really readable and child-centric, I notice. I noticed with "Cars on Mars", as it happens. Picture this: robots with extraordinary life spans exploring a planet 303,000,000 miles away. It's not science fiction, it's fact. And so kids can learn about two exploration rovers who beat the odds and withstood storms, freezing winters, and even sandpits in their efforts to explore a planet none of us have ever been to. Woot! Go, team, go!

In the summer of 2003 two little Mars Exploration Rovers named Spirit and Opportunity were launched from earth towards our distant neighbor. Both rovers landed safely and spent their time exploring their new home. Running on sunshine, the rovers were expected to last around three months. As of this book, they've covered almost six years and taken more than 217,000 photographs. They've survived several near death experiences, and yet they keep on plugging along. This is their story of what they found, with tons of photographs taken along the way.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thought it would be a book for my 5 year old grandson, but it was too advanced.
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