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The Scientific Exploration of Mars


  • 128 b/w illus. 54 colour illus.
  • Page extent: 362 pages
  • Size: 246 x 189 mm
  • Weight: 1.1 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521829564)

What do we know about Mars? What remains to be understood? Is there evidence of life there? Will humans ever travel there? The dream of exploring Mars has been around since the early days of human civilization and still forms part of our vision of the future for the human race. Today, we send unmanned spacecraft to explore this neighbouring world to examine its climate, search for evidence of past or present life, and learn how conditions there relate to those on Earth. Plans are now being prepared for a manned mission to Mars, set against an uncertain background of political, practical, technical and financial considerations. This unique book provides a complete description of the past, present and future of Mars exploration. Written by a scientist intimately involved with missions to Mars, it provides a personal firsthand account. It will appeal to anyone interested in this fascinating planet.

• A personal firsthand account from a scientist intimately involved with missions to Mars • Provides a complete description of the past, present and future of Mars exploration • Written at a level that is understandable to interested non-scientists, as well as researchers in astronomy, planetary sciences, and physics


Part I. Views of Mars, From the Beginning to the Present Day: 1. The dawn of Mars exploration; 2. The first space missions to Mars; 3. After Viking: the 20-year hiatus; 4. The modern era; Part II. The Big Science: Motivation to Continue the Quest: 5. The origin and evolution of planet Mars; 6. The changing climate of Mars; 7. The search for life; Part III. Plans and Visions for the Future: 8. The future of the unmanned programme; 9. Towards human expeditions; 10. The first footfall on Mars; Appendixes; Index.


'The comparison of the first drawings done by Huygens in the XVIIth century with the imagery of the XXIst century is extraordinary … very well documented …' l'Astronomie

'Taylor … proves to be an engaging and amusing guide, discussing the scientific outcomes of missions such as the Mars Exploration Rovers with as equally a light touch as he describes the political wrangling which brought the mission into being. The Scientific Exploration of Mars is something between a reference book and popular science writing; detailed enough to tell you all the necessary facts, yet entertaining and insightful enough to make you want to read from cover to cover. For those interested in finding out how we came to know what we do about Mars, this is a fine place to start.' Euan Monaghan, Planetary and Space Sciences Research Institute, The Open University

'This is a brilliant book. Professor Fred Taylor of Oxford University … has chronicled our exploration of the red planet in erudite and accessible fashion. … This is a terrific book for any students of the red planet …' Astronomy Now

'Highly recommended both to the specialist Mars researcher and the casual reader.' The Observatory

'Written for a broad audience of interested scientists, amateur astronomers and general readers, the volume steers a judicious course that carefully combines scientific insight and accessibility. Where it is at its strongest is in the identification and explanation of the key scientific objectives that have driven the exploration of Mars by spacecraft, as well as in the authoritative assessment of the extent to which such objectives have been achieved with regard to our understanding of the Martian surface, atmosphere, climate and potential to support life, either now or in the past … this volume is beautifully produced and engagingly written. It may be read with profit by all interested in the ongoing study of Mars.' Bill Leatherbarrow, Journal of the British Astronomical Association

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