Water and the Search for Life on Mars

David M. Harland

Water and the Search for Life on MarsA century ago, the world was enthralled by Percival Lowell's vision of a Mars criss-crossed with the canals of a dying civilization distributing water from the polar caps. Later, Mars was thought to have been cold, dead and dry for eons, but striking new evidence suggests the planet was relatively warm and wet in geologically recent times, and that even now there are reserves of water frozen beneath the planet's surface.

Today, robot spacecraft maneuver across the Martian surface while others orbit overhead seeking evidence of water, past and present, and potential landing sites for further exploration. In recent years, the very possibilities for life have dramatically expanded as discoveries by biologists and oceanographers have revealed bizarre life forms where none would have been expected. And as the growing evidence that water flowed on Mars becomes indisputable, more spacecraft are soon to follow.

This highly absorbing book relates how NASA and ESA have sought evidence of life on Mars. 'Follow the water' with noted science writer David Harland as he assembles and weighs the evidence in this timely and compelling book. It contains what you need to know behind today's, and possibly tomorrow's, headlines, including details of the Mariner, Viking, and Pathfinder missions and evolving theories of Martian geology and climate. It explains how the search continues with the Mars Express orbiter and Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity. Harland sets this within the broader perspective of the likely nature of life on Mars as compared to primitive life on Earth. Finally, he analyzes the implications of there being life on both planets. Join the scientific adventure of a lifetime in this well-researched and thoroughly engrossing true account.

Table of Contents

Extent: 260 pages; 16-page colour section
Binding: Paperback
Publication Date: August 2005
ISBN: 978-0-387-26020-4

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