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Upcoming Books on Mars Reflect Real-Time Events on the Red Planet

By: , Posted on: June 28, 2018

Self-portrait taken by NASA’s Opportunity Mars rover during recent dust storm. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

In a recent Washington Post article, “Newest NASA discoveries could boost search for ancient life on Mars,” NASA astrobiologist Ken Williford describes Mars as a “complex, dynamic planet.” Recently, this has become especially apparent, as just in the past month we have received the aforementioned update on discoveries related to Mars life and seen the development of a severe dust storm.

According to the Washington Post, scientists have identified complex organic molecules in the gas from rocks on the Martian surface that are more than three billion years old, pointing to the possibility of the presence of some form of biology on Mars in the distant past. Meanwhile the most recent dust storm has halted communication with NASA’s Opportunity rover due to lack of sunlight to power the rover, and is a reminder of the volatility of the surface of Mars. According to an article on Space.com, “Martian storms can grow to an epic scale: The researchers said the current storm is expanding and could potentially stretch across the entire planet.” What makes dust storms on Mars especially harrowing is the unpredictability of them, something NASA is working to correct before any potential human exploration on the planet.

In the midst of all the Mars news, Elsevier is preparing to publish several books this summer covering many of the issues these events raise. Pre-order the books at the links below and use code STC317 for 30% off your purchase!

Dynamic Mars, edited by Richard Soare, Susan Conway, and Stephen Clifford | $150.00

Dynamic Mars: Recent Landscape Evolution of the Red Planet presents the latest developments in understanding the geological history of Mars. Presenting observational data and tightly-linked scientific hypotheses across a broad swath of landscapes, latitudes and geological contexts, as well as an examination of the impact of climate change mitigated by multiple geomorphological agents, the book covers a diverse array of themes and subjects. This highly illustrated book includes data from recent missions, and will be of interest to all levels of research in the geological history of Mars, as well as other terrestrial planets.

For years after the first detailed orbital and ground images of Mars were taken, it was thought that the red planet could have been wetter and warmer in its deep past than today. However, as the book demonstrates, the possible involvement of water in recent, if not contemporary, gully-like flows and slope streaks (i.e. recurring slope lineae), as well as the identification of a suite of geomorphological agents (i.e. glacial, periglacial, aeolian, meteorological, volcanic and meteoric) associated with surface and near-surface changes on a local to regional scale, suggest the history of the red planet may be much more dynamic than previously thought.

From Habitability to Life on Mars, edited by Nathalie Cabrol and Edmond Grin | $100.00

From Habitability to Life on Mars explores the current state of knowledge and questions on the past habitability of Mars and the role that rapid environmental changes may have played in the ability of prebiotic chemistry to transition to life. It investigates the role that such changes may have played in the preservation of biosignatures in the geological record and what this means for exploration strategies. Throughout the book, the authors show how the investigation of terrestrial analogs to early Martian habitats under various climates and environmental extremes provide critical clues to understand where, what and how to search for biosignatures on Mars.

The authors present an introduction to the newest developments and state-of-the-art remote and in situ detection strategies and technologies that are being currently developed to support the upcoming ExoMars and Mars 2020 missions. They show how the current orbital and ground exploration is guiding the selection for future landing sites. Finally, the book concludes by discussing the critical question of the implications and ethics of finding life on Mars.

Volatiles in the Martian Crust edited by Justin Filiberto and Susanne Schwenzer | $99.95

Volatiles in the Martian Crust is a vital reference for future missions – including ESA’s EXO Mars and NASA’s Mars2020 rover – looking for evidence of life on Mars and the potential for habitability and human exploration of the Martian crust. Mars science is a rapidly evolving topic with new data returned from the planet on a daily basis. The book presents chapters written by well-established experts who currently focus on the topic, providing the reader with a fresh, up-to-date and accurate view.

Organized into two main sections, the first half of the book focuses on the Martian meteorites and specific volatile elements. The second half of the book explores processes and locations on the crust, including what we have learned about volatile mobility in the Martian crust. Coverage includes data from orbiter and in situ rovers and landers, geochemical and geophysical modeling, and combined data from the SNC meteorites.

Need a copy? Pre-order the books at the links below and use code STC317 for 30% off your purchase!

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Earth & Environmental Science

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