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A Traveler's Guide to Mars Paperback – August 21, 2003

ISBN-13: 001-9628126061 ISBN-10: 0761126066 Edition: First Printing

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A Traveler's Guide to Mars + How to Live on Mars: A Trusty Guidebook to Surviving and Thriving on the Red Planet + The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 450 pages
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company; First Printing edition (August 21, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761126066
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761126065
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #323,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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.

Customer Reviews

Anyone with an interest in Mars will find this book fascinating.
Thomas Erickson
Of all the places in the Solar system besides Earth, Mars is the one which has the most resources that would support manned exploration and colonization.
David Christhilf
Hartmann also makes frequent use of Earth landscape photos that are close analogs to the Martian features he's showcasing.
John Rummel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By John Rummel on August 18, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Gavin Scott on January 7, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David Gill on December 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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