Synopses & Reviews
Despite the fondest desires of science fiction fans, everyone knows Mars isn't inhabited by little green men. In fact, Mars is a desolate, hostile world, with unbearably cold temperatures, no atmosphere to speak of, and violent dust storms. But could there ever have been life there, in some form? And if so, what happened to it? And could life exist there again one day? Maybe even human life? Elaine Scott takes readers on a journey through history and space and then into an exciting future as she explores the growing body of evidence that water---and therefore the potential for life---was present on Mars at one time. Even more titillating, the possibility of human habitation now hovers on the horizon, maybe within the next 30 years---an exciting prospect for young readers, some of whom may be among those first colonists.
Scott (Buried Alive!) provides an approachable guide to our planet’s sole (natural) satellite invoking human and planetary history cultural lore and scientific discoveries from across the centuries. After efficiently charting the lunar theories and studies of Anaxagoras Harriot Galileo and others Scott moves on to more recent history (including the 1969 Apollo 11 mission) extremely ancient events (the “giant impact theory” behind the moon’s formation) and the possibilities introduced by current and future research (such as the 21st century confirmation of the presence of water on the moon as well as a “thin and fragile” atmosphere). Color and bamp;w photographs sidebars on topics that include logical reasoning and helio and geocentric views of the universe an extensive glossary and suggested external resources augment Scott’s presentation of how human understanding of the moon has changed and continues to do so. Ages 10–12. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
"Through engaging and child-friendly language, Scott discusses the history ... behind the discovery of the nine planets.... A great resource." School Library Journal, Starred
"Beautifully designed.... A good choice for updating astronomy collections." Booklist, ALA
Illustrations include photographs of astronomers and outer space; artists' renderings of simulations, such as a protoplanetary disk forming around a star; and diagrams of various planetary features. A glossary, recommended readings and websites, and an index round out the book.
Color photos and diagrams are both attractive and informative, and slightly oversized fonts makes the subject seem less daunting.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"This is a great example to show students the power of research...an outstanding title." LMC January 2008 Library Media Connection
"[This] handsomely designed volume displays the joys of being fascinated by one's work.and#8221; 6/1-615/2008 Booklist, ALA
and#147;Thoughtful design adds to the pleasure of this splendid invitation to explore darker corners of the universe." 5/1/08 Kirkus Reviews, Starred
"[A] sense of adventure that readers will feel as they join a team of researchers on science's biggest frontier." School Library Journal
"Getting closer looks at Mars has long been both an alluring goal of the U.S. space program and one of its most spectacular technological achievements. Here Scott recaps the progress thus far, from the invention of the telescope tot he Phoenix Mars mission that, she notes, made a successful landing just as her report was going to pass. Along with a fine array of large, composite space images, surface-level photographs and digital paintings that include pictures of all the probes currently orbiting the Red Planet, she enhances her summary of each mission's achievements and findings with a diagram that identifies every scientific instrument aboard the Spirit
rovers. The text tantalizes readers with closing profiles of upcoming Mars ventures and a quick glimpse of current efforts to reproduce Martian living conditions on this planet. Readers will come away with both a coherent historical overview and a heady sense that we are on the verge of some epoch-making discoveries."--Kirkus Reviews
"Scott, who so ably handled Plutos recent identity crisis (When Is a Planet Not a Planet?,
BCCB 10/07), now turns to Earths mysterious next-door neighbor to discuss the Marks Exploration Rover (MER) and tantalizing findings that suggest that conditions on the red planet may once have been hospitable to life. She begins with our fascination with the possibility of extraterrestrial life—both H.G. Wells and Orson Welles panic-inducing War of the Worlds
, Schiaparellis mistranslated observation of Martian “canals,” and Percival Lowells popularization of the idea of intelligent Martian beings. Narrowing the focus to the presence or absence of water, a precondition for life as we recognize it, she discusses early reconnaissance of Mars that led directly to the 2003 launch of the exploration rovers Spirit
. Not only do readers learn about evidence they uncovered that water did in fact exist on mars, but also about how mission landing sites and launch times were determined, and how the scientific instruments mounted on the rovers were selected. Sidebar information ranges from the predictably useful (Martian gravity and time) to the outright quirky (piece of the World Trade Center wreckage were incorporated into the Rock Abrasion Tool; items ranging from dropped bolts to a lost glove now orbit the Earth as space junk.) With the exception of a dismally cheesy painting of a Neanderthal clan during a Martian perigee, illustrations are arresting and clearly captioned. Reports of Martian snowfall from the more recent Phoenix mission may have stolen some of MERs wind, but the little rovers-who-could, which keep chugging along the planetary surface years beyond their original ninety-day mission, are still transmitting data that should keep labs hopping—and kids reading—for some time to come. An index, glossary, and print and online resources are included."--The Bulletin of the Center for Childrens Boo
ks "This simply designed, handsomely photographed book traces the history of earthlings biggest crush, the planet Mars. Mars has always held a special place in our collective imaginations, with the term Martian becoming nearly synonymous with extraterrestrial life. Scott opens with an account of Orson Welles panic-inspiring radio performance of H.G. Wells; The War of the Worlds, before moving into the real-life scientific inquiry into the possibility of life on Mars. Integral to life is water in liquid form, and the author does an admirable job of framing the question of whether or not there is or ever was water on Mars as the central argument around which much of the speculation and study of extraterrestrial life has revolved. Some readers may be inclined to skip the drier details of launches and spaceflight, but there won't be many who aren't fascinated by images and accounts of the rovers tooling around Mars taking pictures, or the increasingly real possibility of manned exploration of the Red Planet."--Booklist
"Scott traces the history of our fascination with the possibility of life on Mars, from the earliest misinterpretations of canal-like features to present-day planning for possible human missions to the planet. The majority of the coverage is on the successes, including the recent rover missions that have collected extensive photographic and analytic data of Mars surface features and composition. Scott explains in detail how the various geologic findings could serve as evidence for the presence of water on Mars, which could theoretically mean that the planet once had the conditions necessary to harbor life. Additional attention is focused on the technological challenges of designing and launching spacecraft capable of making it to Mars intact. Abundant color, color-enhanced, and black-and-white images give readers a real feel for the Martian surface, and artistic renderings illustrate current and future technologies that get spacecraft to Mars—and someday, hopefully, back to Earth again."-- The Horn Book
"A well-researched examination of our fascinating relationship with the Red Planet, and of the possibility of life (intelligent or otherwise) existing (or having existed) in its stark, rugged landscapes. Beginning with Orson Wellss famous War of the Worlds radio broadcast on October 30, 1938, Scotts readable and informational text follows the history of our speculations, from Giovanni Schiaparelli and Percival Lowells “canals” to the Mariner flybys, the Viking landings, and a busy stable of rovers. Deductions made from detailed photos and a variety of experiments conducted on the surface are discussed, as are the practical steps of choosing a landing site, not to mention the engineering feats of designing a launch vehicle, a spaceship, and a mechanism that will not only survive being dropped from space to an unforgiving surface, but one that will actually work after impact. Color photos, illustrations, and diagrams liberally dot the oversize pages, themselves colored like a Martian landscape-pale rusty orange fading to a gray-tinged “sky.” Sidebars offer information on such topics as “Refracting vs. Reflecting,” “Mars Time,” and “Satellites Orbiting Mars.” Teamed with such titles as the simpler, straightforward Mars (World Book, 2007) and Gloria Skurzynskis intriguing Are We Alone?: Scientists Search for Life in Space (National Geographic, 2004), this clearly written, carefully constructed book will shine like the Red Planet seen on a clear, moonless night."--School Library Journal, starred review
"Gasp-worthy photographs should fire up the most sluggish imaginations....For [science fiction fans] this title should be essential reading."and#8212;The Bulletin
"The book is filled with the amazingly clear, color-enhanced images of planets, stars, and nebulae...but Scott also explains the less showy but significant science made possible by the Hubbleand#8217;s instruments."and#8212;The Horn Book
"Scottand#8217;s tribute will leave readers with both stars in their eyes and a real appreciation for one of the most significant technological wonders of the past century."and#8212;School Library Journal
-NYPL 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing, 2012
(star) "Enthralling . . . How extraordinary to visit Mars in Spirit; readers will be very glad of the Opportunity."--Kirkus, starred review
(star) "Well documented and fully illustrated with many colorful photos and digital images, this is a book that space technology fans won't want to miss."--Booklist, starred review
(star) "This detailed look at planning, implementing, maintaining, and troubleshooting a highly complex scientific mission puts a human face on an incredible accomplishment."--School Library Journal, starred review
(star) "Rusch's account skillfully captures the exciting quest for knowledge that drives Squyres and his team through the leaps and setbacks of scientific exploration."--Horn Book, starred review
Space and planets are topics of endless fascination to kids and part of every grade-school curriculum. Yet because of the history-making reassignment of Pluto from planet” to dwarf planet” on August 24, 2006, all books on the solar system are now out of date.
Enter When is a Planet Not a Planet? The Story of Pluto by Elaine Scott, an esteemed writer of non-fiction for children. Scott is the first to put the answer to the title question into terms simple enough for a very young audience to understand, based upon the new definitions determined by the International Astronomical Union.
Well-researched and accompanied by large, awe-inspiring photographs and paintings, this exciting new book makes clear what astronomers have argued about for decades.
The universe is rapidly expanding. Of that much scientists are certain. But how fast? And with what implications regarding the fate of the universe?
Ellen Jackson and Nic Bishop follow Dr. Alex Fillippenko and his High-Z Supernova Search Team to Mauna Kea volcano in Hawaii, where they will study space phenomena and look for supernovae, dying stars that explode with the power of billions of hydrogen bombs. Dr. Fillippenko looks for black holes--areas in space with such a strong gravitational pull that no matter or energy can escape from them--with his robotic telescope. And they study the effects of dark energy, the mysterious force that scientists believe is pushing the universe apart, causing its constant and accelerating expansion.
A captivating, comprehensive, and accessible look at the Moon, illustrated with spectacular full-color photographs.
Since the dawn of human existence, people have gazed up at the night sky and wondered about the moon. Here the veteran nonfiction author Elaine Scott skillfully presents a wealth of captivating, kid-friendly information, covering everything from the newest theories on how the moon formed, to the recent, startling discovery of water on its surface and the very real possibility of future moon colonies. Illustrated with stunning, full-color photographs and packed with fun facts, this is the most complete and up-to-date book available on the moon and should find a home on every curious childandrsquo;s bookshelf. Includes glossary, bibliography, and index.
Have you ever wished you could travel back in time?and#160; Or visit a galaxy light-years away?and#160; Or see a star being born? The Hubble telescope has allowed scientists to do just that. The Hubbleand#8217;s dazzling images have transformed astronomy, shedding light on the deepest mysteries of the cosmos, sparking new discoveries and turning speculation into fact. Its gaze has helped astronomersand#160;find new galaxies, look back in time almost to the Big Bang, and verify the existence of dark energy, the mysterious force that is causing the expansion of the universe to accelerate. Through the eye of the Hubble, Elaine Scott skillfully guides readers along the evolution of our universe, investigating a question that was once unanswerable: and#8220;Where did we come from?and#8221;
An edge-of-your-seat adventure story about the relentless team who gave us our first in-depth look at the Martian landscape.and#160; Filled with awesome pictures from NASA and the author's personal collection, this is a stellar addition to the Scientists in the Field series about the planet, Mars.
On June 10, 2003, a little rover named Spirit blasted off on a rocket headed for Mars. On July 7, 2003, a twin rover named Opportunity soared through the solar system with the same mission: to find out if Mars ever had water that could have supported life.A thrilling addition to the acclaimed Scientists in the Field series, The Mighty Mars Rovers tells the greatest space robot adventure of all time through the eyesand#8212;and heartand#8212;of Steven Squyres, professor of astronomy at Cornell University and lead scientist on the mission.
This suspenseful page-turner captures the hair-raising human emotions felt during the adventures with two tough rovers.
About the Author
The award-winning freelance writer Elizabeth Rusch has published more than one hundred articles in magazines such as Muse, Smithsonian, and Mother Jones. She is the author of a number award-winning nonfiction titles for children, including: Generation Fix, Will it Blow?, The Planet Hunter, and For the Love of Music: The Remarkable Story of Maria Anna Mozart. This is her first book forand#160;Houghton Mifflin.
Elizabeth lives in Portland, Oregon, with her family. Liz has a four-inch-high scale model rover, which she kept next to her computer for inspiration while writing this book. The model rover toppled over and broke so many times that she canand#8217;t believe Spirit and Opportunity have survived roaming Mars for more than six years. You can visit Liz online at www.elizabethrusch.com.and#160;