Twenty years after the Viking missions of the ’70s, we are finally going back to Mars. No fewer than ten missions are planned for the period between 1996 and 2003, and it is likely that human explorers will follow soon after--perhaps by the middle of the twenty-first century. When they do, they will owe much to the Mars of romance, to the early pioneers whose discoveries aTwenty years after the Viking missions of the ’70s, we are finally going back to Mars. No fewer than ten missions are planned for the period between 1996 and 2003, and it is likely that human explorers will follow soon after--perhaps by the middle of the twenty-first century. When they do, they will owe much to the Mars of romance, to the early pioneers whose discoveries and disappointments are brought to life in The Planet Mars: A History of Observation and Discovery. In this timely and vividly written account, William Sheehan traces human fascination with Mars back to the naked-eye observers of the planet. He recalls the early telescopic observers who first made out enigmatic markings and polar caps on its surface. Through lively historical anecdotes, he describes in detail the debate over the so-called canals of Mars, which encouraged speculation that the planet might be inhabited. Finally, Sheehan describes more recent theories about the planet, leading up to the present, when unmanned spacecraft have enabled us to make giant strides in exploration. Well documented and sparked with human interest, this book will be a useful companion and guide in interpreting the barrage of headlines about Mars that is sure to come over the next few years. Amateurs will appreciate the contributions that have been made to Martian studies by people like themselves, and professionals will find much original material that has never before been published. The American Mars Global Surveyor is scheduled for launch in November 1996, and soon after the American Mars Pathfinder will make its way toward the red planet. A Russian mission consisting of an orbiter and two landers will be launched in October 1997. These space travelers will write a whole new chapter in the dramatic story of Mars, a planet whose exploration has only just begun. Astronomy Book Club main selection and selections of Book-of-the-Month Club and Quality Paperback Book Club....
|Title||:||The Planet Mars: A History of Observation and Discovery|
|Number of Pages||:||270 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Planet Mars: A History of Observation and Discovery Reviews
William Sheehan's 'The Planet Mars' is a well written history of the human beans fascination and dread of our planetary neighbour. From the Egyptian Red One and the Babylonian Nergal to the Greek war god Ares and the Roman god whose name we retain today. The author travels through the last two thousand years from Plato and Ptolemy to Copernicus, Brahe and Kepler. Fortunately Brahe calibrated the positions of Mars for Kepler to formulate his theories of planetary motion. Fortunate because Mars has an elliptical orbit. If Brahe had logged the motion of Venus, with it's near circular orbit we could still be in the dark ages. Once Christian Huygens and Galileo peered through their new fangled telescopes Mars was high on the list of celestial attractions. As each century passed, the attraction and mystery gathered momentum, as the magnification powers increased and optical qualities improved. The fever really took hold once Schiaparelli made drawings that showed canali on the surface of the planet. Percival Lowell picked this up and ran with it. Now there had to be intelligent life out there. Signals and messages were coming through from the Martians. Enter H.G. Wells and Edgar Rice Burroughs. The Martian moons weren't discovered until 1877, even though Jonathan Swift's 'Voyage to Laputa' gave mankind the low down in 1726! Barsoon was with us well into the twentieth century, and it took NASA in the 1960's and 1970's to go and spoil it all with their Mariner and Viking probes to reveal the lifeless cold reality.Mr Sheehan is an amateur astronomer and science historian from Minnesota (where all the cool people come from). The book contains a wealth of interest for astronomer, historian, scientist or lay reader. Highly entertaining.
This books is not for the curious or anyone new to the stars. As both the above I found it a bit overwhelming. A lot of technical terms, and the author assumes you are well versed on space. The overview of the history of Mars in the 1700s 1800s is detailed though cluttered with what telescope was being used. Little attention was given to after space travel began. The facts given were interesting. It was amazing to learn how our beliefs and understanding of Mars developed along with technology. There were illustrations which were a good touch. I rated only 3 stars because whilst it was factual and interesting, it read like a Uni textbook. Bland and monotone and not very inspiring or exciting. If it was jazzed up a bit I think it would attract a wider audience.