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Life and Death on Mars: The New Mars Synthesis Paperback – March 1, 2011

4 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"An epic work of science noir” -- J. Bottaro, PhD

"a fascinating exploration of the scientific and cultural impact of Mars on Humanity” -- J. McCabe, Aerospace Engineer

About the Author

John E. Brandenburg Ph.D. is the Senior Propulsion Scientist at Orbital Technologies Corporation in Madison Wisconsin, and is well known writer and researcher into Mars and whether there is life there-or was in the past!
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Adventures Unlimited Press (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935487361
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935487364
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #730,892 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 15, 2011
Format: Paperback
John Brandenburg, PhD has gathered scientific information, mythology, astronomy, and history in a book about the planet Mars that is so completely entertaining that the reader almost forgets the premise of the author - that everything we thought we knew about Mars is wrong. 'The terrible truth: Mars was actually Earthlike for most of its geologic history. Mars held a massive and evolving biosphere. Mars was the wracked by a mysterious and astonishing nuclear catastrophe. We are, biologically and culturally, the Children of Mars. Life and Death on Mars: The New Mars Synthesis goes boldly where no human has gone before.'

On many many pages of this book that begins with ancient Egyptian and other culture's perception of the red planet, named for Mars the God of War, and progresses in a well-written way to our current discoveries that were initiated by the investigation of a meteorite from Mars that fell into Egypt in 1928. But what makes Brandenburg's book such a fine read is the manner in which he succinctly traces the history of man from ancient days through the Cold War and the concurrent exploration of space to the photographs of the planet Mars taken by our spacecraft most recently. Not only does he pause long enough at each point in history to offer insights but he also accompanies these stopovers with photographs and images that enhance the information he is sharing. In the middle of the book are beautiful color photographs of the surface of mars and its surroundings along with heat maps and graphs that explain Brandenburg's theses.

But the drama of Brandenburg's book is his discussion of the nuclear catastrophe that turned the once 'earthlike' planet into a wasteland - going so far as to discuss why we earthlings are biologically and culturally the children of Mars!
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When I placed the order for this book, I was a bit concerned it might be in the "way out there" category, with stuff about advanced Mars civilizations seeding earth with humans just before going extinct, etc. But, I was pleased to find that's not what this book is. Instead, it gives a good layman's explanation of the scientific evidence for why it is that life must have existed on Mars for most of its existence up until "recently" (i.e. a few hundred million years ago), and what processes likely happened that put an end to it. The author also goes into various Mars myths and history of how Mars relates to people on earth, which doesn't really have anything to do with the specifics of life on Mars, but it helps make the book more interesting.

If you're interested in Mars but are tired of the official academia attitude of "nothing to see here folks, move along, Mars has always been a cold lifeless dry rock", then you should like this book. Plus, it is fast reading so you're not making a huge commitment of your time by buying this.
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I had to remember that the Author is a scientist and not a Historian. If you buy this book I would skip reading Chapter 1 and maybe chapter 2. They are just full of fluff and are old school history.

A lot of the photos and sketches in the book are just funny about the history of Mars. But the technical Photos and sketches are really great. The book goes back in forth a lot between really interesting technical information and badly research history. He stresses that there was once life in some form there which is a given with recent research on Mars.The really interesting part is chapter 10, it covers uranium, thorium xenon on mars.

It seems like radiation is going to be a problem to solve going and coming and staying on mars. Information in the form of Data taken by the Mars Science Laboratory's Radiation Assessment Detector(RAD) from Curiosity's interplanetary journey to Mars shows large exposures to radiation.

This was confirmed and published in Science Magazine on May 31 2013 issue. Chapter 10 of this book touches on this problem years before that space probe Curiosity was sent to Mars. So the Author is ahead of his times predicting this Radiation Problem in Chapter 10. The Author is right on the money for this subject.

I had high hopes for this book but I was disappointed. The good thing is he does touch on a lot of scentific information that is not commonly known. For that alone the book is worth buying.

I just wish he had done a better job writting this book. His focusing on the technical information is very good. The book is touchy on the history and myths which are still important and interesting, but that part could have been better written.
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Makes you want more ! Several typos won't prevent you from truly enjoying this book. No it's not about secret bases on Mars and so forth. This book is all about this history of Mars: OUR history with this planet, our relationship with it throughout the centuries and Mars HISTORY on its own. Detailed reports of what we have found so far thanks to the different missions from NASA, PLUS intriguing reports of isotopes caused by a nuclear event. Like many I share Dr. Brandenburg's feeling that we have to fully investigate the matter and rush for it! But being so obvious [for me] sometimes at the end of the books we read that over and over: I would have wanted more but I guess that is in the Dr's other book(s) which I will read as well. There is also scientific reports at the very end of the book written by Mr. Branderburg. At the end this is a must have to start learning about Mars and it will make you think over the fact that life can be seeded everywhere and therefore can come from anywhere. I cannot thank enough men like Dr. Brandenburg who 'force' you to think outside the box...
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