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.
Fredric W. Taylor is Halley Professor of Physics at Oxford University, and has spent many years in the Space Science Division of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. In addition to Mars projects, he has worked on missions to Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Titan and on Earth observation space experiments. He has received numerous awards and honours, including the Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement from NASA and the Bates Medal of the European Geophysical Society for Excellence in the Planetary Sciences.
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.