In the wake of a flood of new data and images from several exploratory missions, fascination with Mars has become even more intense than it was when Percival Lowell believed he had observed canals constructed by live Martians. While we know that these never existed, we do have evidence that Mars once had rivers, shallow lakes, glaciers, huge active volcanoes, and intense flooding. In this book Peter Cattermole, a geologist who has been studying the planet for many years, captures the sense of continuing excitement about Mars and its history. He builds his story on the foundations of his earlier book, Mars: The Story of the Red Planet (Chapman Hall, 1992) At that time, although a large data archive and an overall picture of Mars' geological development existed, relatively little was known of the planet's volatile history, of short-term changes in climate and weather, and of the possible existence of large bodies of surfaced water. The discovery of what might be organic remains in an Antartic meteorite from Mars was completely unanticipated as well. Since then, new studies from the Mariner 9 and the Viking probes have appeared, new Earth-based spectroscopic measurements and oservations from the Hubble space telescope have been made, the meteorite has been analyzed (inconclusively) and, of course, Mars Pathfinder and Mars Global Surveyor have arrived. An immense amount of visual, geochemical, and physical data concerning the rocks, landscape, and weather is now available. The new book draws on this wealth of new information, providing a clear account of current scientific understanding of the Red Planet.
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Peter John Cattermole, Lecturer of Geology, University of Sheffield (Emeritus).
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