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Mapping Mars

Science, Imagination, and the Birth of a World

Oliver Morton

Picador

Who are the extraordinary individuals that will take us on the next great space race, the next great human endeavor, our exploration and colonization of the planet Mars? And more importantly, how are they doing it? Acclaimed science writer Oliver Morton explores the peculiar and fascinating world of the new generation of explorers: geologists, scientists, astrophysicists and dreamers. Morton shows us the complex and beguiling role that mapping will play in our understanding of the red planet, and more deeply, what it means for humans to envision such heroic landscapes. Charting a path from the 19th century visionaries to the spy-satellite pioneers to the science fiction writers and the arctic explorers -- till now, to the people are taking us there -- Morton unveils the central place that Mars has occupied in the human imagination, and what it will mean to realize these dreams.

A pioneering work of journalism and drama, Mapping Mars gives us our first exciting glimpses of the world to come and the curious, bizarre, and amazing people who will take us there.

BOOK EXCERPTS

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Greenwich
And then, as they sat looking at the ships and steamboats making their way to the sea with the tide that was running down, the lovely woman imagined all sorts of voyages for herself and Pa.
—Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend
Maps of the Earth begin a short walk from the flat where I live. Go down the High Road, up Royal Hill toward the butcher’s, left along Burney Street and then right onto Crooms Hill. At the corner, if you care for such things, you can see a blue plaque of the sort with which London marks houses where people who have made a significant contribution
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REVIEWS

Praise for Mapping Mars

"I couldn't stop reading this book! Fascinating, truly fascinating."—Douglas Preston, author of Dinosaur in the Attic and The Cabinet of Curiosities

"If you are, like me, curious about Mars, then you will be enthralled by Oliver Morton's wonderfully readable and authoritative Mapping Mars. This book is a landmark in the history of space exploration; it is meticulously researched yet it is a most human book free of biased science and hype—a space flight in first class prose. Oliver Morton maps the legends, the history, and the personalities onto the contemporary exploration of Mars by instruments. It is a tale of adversity, failure and triumph as the explorers endure vicariously the pain and peril of their robot craft as they map that most awful of all deserts."—Jim Lovelock, author of Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth

"Mapping Mars is a wonderful work of intellectual history and a permanent addition to the Mars bookshelf."—Kim Stanley Robinson, author of The Mars Series and The Years of Rice and Salt
"I couldn't stop reading this book! Fascinating, truly fascinating."—Douglas Preston, author of Dinosaur in the Attic and The Cabinet of Curiosities

"If you are, like me, curious about Mars, then you will be enthralled by Oliver Morton's wonderfully readable and authoritative Mapping Mars. This book is a landmark in the history of space exploration; it is meticulously researched yet it is a most human book free of biased science and hype—a space flight in first class prose. Oliver Morton maps the legends, the history, and the personalities onto the contemporary exploration of Mars by instruments. It is a tale of adversity, failure and triumph as the explorers endure vicariously the pain and peril of their robot craft as they map that most awful of all deserts."—Jim Lovelock, author of Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth

"Mapping Mars is a wonderful work of intellectual history and a permanent addition to the Mars bookshelf."—Kim Stanley Robinson, author of The Mars Series and The Years of Rice and Salt

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Oliver Morton

  • Oliver Morton is a contributing editor at Wired, as well as a contributor for The New Yorker, Science, and The American Scholar. A former science editor at The Economist, he holds a degree in history and philosophy of science from Cambridge University, and lives with his wife in Greenwich, England.
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Available Formats and Book Details

Mapping Mars

Science, Imagination, and the Birth of a World

Oliver Morton

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Picador

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