On Earth, lakes provide favorable environments for the development of life and its preservation as fossils. They are extremely sensitive to climate fluctuations and to conditions within their watersheds. As such, lakes are unique markers of the impact of environmental changes. Past and current missions have now demonstrated that water once flowed at the surface of Mars early in its history. Evidence of ancient ponding has been uncovered at scales ranging from a few kilometers to possibly that of the Arctic ocean. Whether life existed on Mars is still unknown; upcoming missions may find critical evidence to address this question in ancient lakebeds as clues about Mars’ climate evolution and its habitability potential are still preserved in their sedimentary record. Lakes on Mars is the first review on this subject. It is written by leading planetary scientists who have dedicated their careers to searching and exploring the questions of water, lakes, and oceans on Mars through their involvement in planetary exploration, and the analysis of orbital and ground data beginning with Viking up to the most recent missions. In thirteen chapters, Lakes on Mars critically discusses new data and explores the role that water played in the evolution of the surface of Mars, the past hydrological provinces of the planet, the possibility of heated lake habitats through enhanced geothermal flux associated with volcanic activity and impact cratering. The book also explores alternate hypotheses to explain the geological record. Topographic, morphologic, stratigraphic, and mineralogic evidence are presented that suggest successions of ancient lake environments in Valles Marineris and Hellas. The existence of large lakes and/or small oceans in Elysium and the Northern Plains is supported both by the global distribution of deltaic deposits and by equipotential surfaces that may reflect their past margins. Whether those environments were conducive to life has yet to be demonstrated but from comparison with our planet, their sedimentary deposits may provide the best opportunity to find its record, if any. The final chapters explore the impact of climate variability on declining lake habitats in one of the closest terrestrial analogs to Mars at the Noachian/Hesperian transition, identify the geologic, morphologic and mineralogic signatures of ancient lakes to be searched for on Mars, and present the case for landing the Mars Science Laboratory mission in such an environment. First review on the subject by worldwide leading authorities in the field New studies with most recent data, new images, figures, and maps Most recent results from research in terrestrial analogs
Growing evidence, based on observations from orbiters, landers and telescopes, indicates that Mars may still have numerous hidden water reservoirs. "Water on Mars and Life" surveys recent advances made in research into water on Mars together with its astrobiological implications. Addresses not only scientists working in the field but also nonspecialists and students in search of a high-level but accessible introduction to this exciting field of research.
From Habitability to Life on Mars explores the current state of knowledge and questions on the past habitability of Mars and the role that rapid environmental changes may have played in the ability of prebiotic chemistry to transition to life. It investigates the role that such changes may have played in the preservation of biosignatures in the geological record and what this means for exploration strategies. Throughout the book, the authors show how the investigation of terrestrial analogs to early Martian habitats under various climates and environmental extremes provide critical clues to understand where, what and how to search for biosignatures on Mars. The authors present an introduction to the newest developments and state-of-the-art remote and in situ detection strategies and technologies that are being currently developed to support the upcoming ExoMars and Mars 2020 missions. They show how the current orbital and ground exploration is guiding the selection for future landing sites. Finally, the book concludes by discussing the critical question of the implications and ethics of finding life on Mars. Edited by the lead on a NASA project that searches for habitability and life on Mars leading to the Mars 2020 mission Presents the evidence, questions and answers we have today (including a summary of the current state of knowledge in advance of the ESA ExoMars and NASA Mars 2020 missions) Includes contributions from authors directly involved in past, current and upcoming Mars missions Provides key information as to how Mars rovers, such as ExoMars and Mars 2020, will address the search for life on Mars with their instrumentation
This stunning collection of poems is a characteristic mix of thoughtful reflection and precise imagery of landscape. Each piece captures an ordinary moment with a visual clarity but always pushes the descriptions further, broadening the intellectual and moral meaning. Finding a true balance, they re-create historical moments with vividness while evoking the gifts and loss of the past. From the Wellington hills to the light art of Bill Culbert, the poetry displayed here is distinctive, scrupulous, and splendid.
Award-winning journalist Stephen Petranek says humans will live on Mars by 2027. Now he makes the case that living on Mars is not just plausible, but inevitable. It sounds like science fiction, but Stephen Petranek considers it fact: Within twenty years, humans will live on Mars. We’ll need to. In this sweeping, provocative book that mixes business, science, and human reporting, Petranek makes the case that living on Mars is an essential back-up plan for humanity and explains in fascinating detail just how it will happen. The race is on. Private companies, driven by iconoclastic entrepreneurs, such as Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Paul Allen, and Sir Richard Branson; Dutch reality show and space mission Mars One; NASA; and the Chinese government are among the many groups competing to plant the first stake on Mars and open the door for human habitation. Why go to Mars? Life on Mars has potential life-saving possibilities for everyone on earth. Depleting water supplies, overwhelming climate change, and a host of other disasters—from terrorist attacks to meteor strikes—all loom large. We must become a space-faring species to survive. We have the technology not only to get humans to Mars, but to convert Mars into another habitable planet. It will likely take 300 years to “terraform” Mars, as the jargon goes, but we can turn it into a veritable second Garden of Eden. And we can live there, in specially designed habitations, within the next twenty years. In this exciting chronicle, Petranek introduces the circus of lively characters all engaged in a dramatic effort to be the first to settle the Red Planet. How We’ll Live on Mars brings firsthand reporting, interviews with key participants, and extensive research to bear on the question of how we can expect to see life on Mars within the next twenty years.
This book describes the most complex machine ever sent to another planet: Curiosity. It is a one-ton robot with two brains, seventeen cameras, six wheels, nuclear power, and a laser beam on its head. No one human understands how all of its systems and instruments work. This essential reference to the Curiosity mission explains the engineering behind every system on the rover, from its rocket-powered jetpack to its radioisotope thermoelectric generator to its fiendishly complex sample handling system. Its lavishly illustrated text explains how all the instruments work -- its cameras, spectrometers, sample-cooking oven, and weather station -- and describes the instruments' abilities and limitations. It tells you how the systems have functioned on Mars, and how scientists and engineers have worked around problems developed on a faraway planet: holey wheels and broken focus lasers. And it explains the grueling mission operations schedule that keeps the rover working day in and day out.
“Sarah Stewart Johnson interweaves her own coming-of-age story as a planetary scientist with a vivid history of the exploration of Mars in this celebration of human curiosity, passion, and perseverance.”—Alan Lightman, author of Einstein’s Dreams NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • Times (UK) • Library Journal “Lovely . . . Johnson’s prose swirls with lyrical wonder, as varied and multihued as the apricot deserts, butterscotch skies and blue sunsets of Mars.”—Anthony Doerr, The New York Times Book Review Mars was once similar to Earth, but today there are no rivers, no lakes, no oceans. Coated in red dust, the terrain is bewilderingly empty. And yet multiple spacecraft are circling Mars, sweeping over Terra Sabaea, Syrtis Major, the dunes of Elysium, and Mare Sirenum—on the brink, perhaps, of a staggering find, one that would inspire humankind as much as any discovery in the history of modern science. In this beautifully observed, deeply personal book, Georgetown scientist Sarah Stewart Johnson tells the story of how she and other researchers have scoured Mars for signs of life, transforming the planet from a distant point of light into a world of its own. Johnson’s fascination with Mars began as a child in Kentucky, turning over rocks with her father and looking at planets in the night sky. She now conducts fieldwork in some of Earth’s most hostile environments, such as the Dry Valleys of Antarctica and the salt flats of Western Australia, developing methods for detecting life on other worlds. Here, with poetic precision, she interlaces her own personal journey—as a female scientist and a mother—with tales of other seekers, from Percival Lowell, who was convinced that a utopian society existed on Mars, to Audouin Dollfus, who tried to carry out astronomical observations from a stratospheric balloon. In the process, she shows how the story of Mars is also a story about Earth: This other world has been our mirror, our foil, a telltale reflection of our own anxieties and yearnings. Empathetic and evocative, The Sirens of Mars offers an unlikely natural history of a place where no human has ever set foot, while providing a vivid portrait of our quest to defy our isolation in the cosmos.
Are humans a galactic oddity, or will complex life with human abilities develop on planets with environments that remain habitable for long enough? In a clear, jargon-free style, two leading researchers in the burgeoning field of astrobiology critically examine the major evolutionary steps that led us from the distant origins of life to the technologically advanced species we are today. Are the key events that took life from simple cells to astronauts unique occurrences that would be unlikely to occur on other planets? By focusing on what life does - it's functional abilities - rather than specific biochemistry or anatomy, the authors provide plausible answers to this question. Systematically exploring the various pathways that led to the complex biosphere we experience on planet Earth, they show that most of the steps along that path are likely to occur on any world hosting life, with only two exceptions: One is the origin of life itself – if this is a highly improbable event, then we live in a rather “empty universe”. However, if this isn’t the case, we inevitably live in a universe containing a myriad of planets hosting complex as well as microbial life - a “cosmic zoo”. The other unknown is the rise of technologically advanced beings, as exemplified on Earth by humans. Only one technological species has emerged in the roughly 4 billion years life has existed on Earth, and we don’t know of any other technological species elsewhere. If technological intelligence is a rare, almost unique feature of Earth's history, then there can be no visitors to the cosmic zoo other than ourselves. Schulze-Makuch and Bains take the reader through the history of life on Earth, laying out a consistent and straightforward framework for understanding why we should think that advanced, complex life exists on planets other than Earth. They provide a unique perspective on the question that puzzled the human species for centuries: are we alone?
Astronomy is written in clear non-technical language, with the occasional touch of humor and a wide range of clarifying illustrations. It has many analogies drawn from everyday life to help non-science majors appreciate, on their own terms, what our modern exploration of the universe is revealing. The book can be used for either aone-semester or two-semester introductory course (bear in mind, you can customize your version and include only those chapters or sections you will be teaching.) It is made available free of charge in electronic form (and low cost in printed form) to students around the world. If you have ever thrown up your hands in despair over the spiraling cost of astronomy textbooks, you owe your students a good look at this one. Coverage and Scope Astronomy was written, updated, and reviewed by a broad range of astronomers and astronomy educators in a strong community effort. It is designed to meet scope and sequence requirements of introductory astronomy courses nationwide. Chapter 1: Science and the Universe: A Brief Tour Chapter 2: Observing the Sky: The Birth of Astronomy Chapter 3: Orbits and Gravity Chapter 4: Earth, Moon, and Sky Chapter 5: Radiation and Spectra Chapter 6: Astronomical Instruments Chapter 7: Other Worlds: An Introduction to the Solar System Chapter 8: Earth as a Planet Chapter 9: Cratered Worlds Chapter 10: Earthlike Planets: Venus and Mars Chapter 11: The Giant Planets Chapter 12: Rings, Moons, and Pluto Chapter 13: Comets and Asteroids: Debris of the Solar System Chapter 14: Cosmic Samples and the Origin of the Solar System Chapter 15: The Sun: A Garden-Variety Star Chapter 16: The Sun: A Nuclear Powerhouse Chapter 17: Analyzing Starlight Chapter 18: The Stars: A Celestial Census Chapter 19: Celestial Distances Chapter 20: Between the Stars: Gas and Dust in Space Chapter 21: The Birth of Stars and the Discovery of Planets outside the Solar System Chapter 22: Stars from Adolescence to Old Age Chapter 23: The Death of Stars Chapter 24: Black Holes and Curved Spacetime Chapter 25: The Milky Way Galaxy Chapter 26: Galaxies Chapter 27: Active Galaxies, Quasars, and Supermassive Black Holes Chapter 28: The Evolution and Distribution of Galaxies Chapter 29: The Big Bang Chapter 30: Life in the Universe Appendix A: How to Study for Your Introductory Astronomy Course Appendix B: Astronomy Websites, Pictures, and Apps Appendix C: Scientific Notation Appendix D: Units Used in Science Appendix E: Some Useful Constants for Astronomy Appendix F: Physical and Orbital Data for the Planets Appendix G: Selected Moons of the Planets Appendix H: Upcoming Total Eclipses Appendix I: The Nearest Stars, Brown Dwarfs, and White Dwarfs Appendix J: The Brightest Twenty Stars Appendix K: The Chemical Elements Appendix L: The Constellations Appendix M: Star Charts and Sky Event Resources
Research into the geological processes operating on Mars relies on interpretation of images and other data returned by unmanned orbiters, probes and landers. Such interpretations are based on our knowledge of processes occurring on Earth Terrestrial analog studies therefore play an important role in understanding the geological features observed on Mars. This 2007 book presents direct comparisons between locales on Earth and Mars, and contains contributions from leading planetary geologists to demonstrate the parallels and differences between these two neighboring planets. Mars is characterized by a wide range of geological phenomena that also occur on Earth, including tectonic, volcanic, impact cratering, eolian, fluvial, glacial and possibly lacustrine and marine processes. The book provides terrestrial analogs for data sets from Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey, Mars Exploration Rovers and Mars Express, and will therefore be a key reference for students and researchers of planetary science.
An asteroid transformed Mars from a lush planet with rivers and oceans into a bleak and icy hell. Is Earth condemned to the same fate, or can we protect ourselves and our planet from extinction? In his most riveting and revealing book yet, Graham Hancock examines the evidence that the barren Red Planet was once home to a lush environment of flowing rivers, lakes, and oceans. Could Mars have sustained life and civilization? Megaliths found on the parched shores of Cydonia, a former Martian ocean, mirror the geometrical conventions of the pyramids at Egypt's Giza necropolis. Especially startling is a Sphinx-like structure depicting a face with distinguishable diadem, teeth, mouth and an Egyptian-style headdress. Might there be a connection between the structures of Egypt and those of Mars? Why does NASA continue to dismiss these remarkable anomalies as "a trick of light"? Hancock points to the intriguing possibility that ancient Martian civilization is communicating with us through the remarkable structures it left behind. In exploring the possible traces left by the Martian civilization and the cosmic cataclysm that may have ended it, The Mars Mystery is both an illumination of our ancient past and a warning--that we still have time to heed--about our ultimate fate.