Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Cars on Mars: Roving the Red Planet

Starred Review. In 2004, two unusual robots landed on Mars: Spirit and Opportunity. Controlled by scientists at NASA, the golf-cart-sized, remote-controlled rovers roll slowly across the planet s terrain, collect and analyze geological samples, and transfer data (including pictures) back to earth. Although the rovers were designed to last for 90 days, they continue to work more than five years later. In this well-designed book, Siy provides a clearly written overview of the rovers explorations on Mars. The inclusion of many quotes from astronomer Steve Squyres, principal investigator for the Mars rover mission, offers a scientist s point of view on day-to-day challenges and rewards of the project, which succeeded in finding traces of water in the planet s geological record. The book s fine paper quality allows for excellent reproduction of the well-captioned illustrations: photos taken on earth, color and black-and-white images from Mars, artistic conceptions of space scenes, as well as a clearly labeled diagram of a Mars rover. Appendixes include a bibliography, a glossary, a brief source note, and a page of additional information with pointers to related Web sites, including one that tracks the current status of Spirit and Opportunity. Handsome and informative. --Booklist
Product Description
Readers can follow the course of NASAs Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission as twin rovers, Spirit and Opportunity explore the Red Planet. Learn how scientists determined that there was once water on Mars and how the Earthbound NASA team resolved problems with the rovers from afar in order to prolong the mission, which continues today. The author provides insight into scientists quest to discover whether life may have or still might exist on Mars. Back matter includes glossary, source notes, and resources.

About the Author
Alexandra graduated from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh with a B.A. in biology. She was awarded a fellowship for graduate study at the State University of New York at Albany, where she received a M.S. in science education. After graduation she taught biology in a New Haven public high school. After the birth of her daughter, Alexandra left teaching and soon began writing. Her six-book nonfiction series, Circle of Life (Dillon Press/Macmillan) was published in 1991 and 1992. Three books in her four-book series, Global Villages (Dillon Press/Macmillan,1993), were named Notable Trade Books in the Field of Social Studies by the NCSS-CBC. Alexandra has also written for Adirondack Life Magazine. Alexandra lives in Anchorage, Alaska, with her family.