Is There Life on Mars?

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9780689820489: Is There Life on Mars?

IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE?

A reddish object in the night sky has long been the focus of our hopes and fears about life beyond Earth. That object is the Red Planet, Mars.

The mania for Martians began when several nineteenth-century astronomers reported seeing a network of lines on the Red Planet -- and the belief spread that these were canals built by giant Martians to transport water across their dry planet.

Fantastic schemes were hatched for contacting the Martians by flashing light at them with mirrors. So strong was the belief in Martians that when H. G. Wells's novel The War of the Worlds was presented on the radio in 1938, millions of panicked people thought that Martians had really invaded Earth!

Today's astronomers are convinced that Mars has no intelligent life. Yet in recent times new questions about the Red Planet have been raised. Did Mars have intelligent life long ago when its conditions were more Earthlike? Does the "Mars rock," which scientists presented to the world in 1996, really contain the fossils of tiny Martian organisms? Do microbes live on Mars today? The answers to these questions are of vital importance; if two planets in our Solar System, Earth and Mars, have supported living organisms, then it's highly likely that the Universe is teeming with life and we just haven't found it yet! We may not have to wait much longer for the answers to these questions, for early in the twenty-first century, people are expected to visit Mars. Maybe you will be one of them!

The question of life on Mars is a subject fraught with wild speculation, controversy, hopes, and dreams. As he did in The Planet Hunters: The Search for Other Worlds, Dennis Fradin reaches back through history, discusses current knowledge with the help of eminent astronomers, and looks to the future, taking us on a fascinating and dramatic scientific journey.

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 5-9-In this fascinating, well-researched book, readers are treated to a wealth of detailed and unbiased information about the Red Planet. The author begins with a short summary about the history of humankind's interest in Mars, previewing the content of the entire book. While defining terms such as planet and constellation, he reveals what Mars meant to ancient civilizations and discusses the origin of the planet's name, important figures in the development of astronomy, and how Mars and the idea of Martians have affected the psyche of both scientists and average citizens of Earth. From Orson Welles's 1938 radio broadcast of H. G. Wells's War of the Worlds to 1996 when several pieces of Mars were found on Earth, the author takes readers on a journey through all the discoveries about our neighboring planet via telescope, actual flybys, and landings. Perhaps the most interesting chapters are the last two in which Fradin imagines human "aliens" landing on and colonizing Mars in the 21st century. While the black-and-white photographs scattered throughout are very good, the 8-page insert containing 18 beautiful, full-color photos and illustrations is dazzling and adds depth to the text. The author's genuine enthusiasm for his subject is contagious. There is much captivating information here-for research projects and for dreaming about the future.
Linda Wadleigh, Oconee County Middle School, Watkinsville, GA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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