Mars - the Red Planet - is barren, and has almost no atmosphere and a temperature ranging from near-zero to 120 degrees below. No water flows, and there is no evidence that life has ever existed there. Yet, as Earth's nearest neighbour, it has always exerted a powerful hold on man's imagination: the astronomer Lowell thought he'd discovered canals, H.G. Wells speculated on the Red Planet's inhabitants' invasion of Earth, and many other science-fiction writers have used Mars as a setting. Based on a computer program that produces near-photographic images of the topographical changes that follow climatic change, this is a description of how this virtually dead planet could be given an atmosphere, running water, and vegetation. Taking as his starting point Mons Olympus, the highest mountain in the solar system, Arthur C. Clarke creates detailed "photographs" of the Martian surface and then shows how the landscape would change as vegetation began to thrive and water to flow. He speculates about how this might happen, about the journey to Mars, and about what living on the planet might be like.
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Arthur C. Clarke was born in Minehead in 1917. During the Second World War he served as a radar instructor for the RAF, rising to the rank of flight-lieutenant. After the war, he entered King's college, London taking, in 1948, his BSc in physics and mathematics with first class honours.One of the most respected of all science-fiction writers, he has won Kalinga Prize, the Aviation Space-Writers' Prize and the Westinghouse Science Writing Prize. He also shared an Oscar nomination with Stanley Kubrick for the screenplay of 2001: A Space Odyssey, which was based on his story, 'The Sentinel'.From Publishers Weekly:
Human beings could visit Mars in the early part of the 21st century if the resources were made available, asserts science-fiction novelist Clarke. Citing a report issued by the International Space University after its annual symposium in Toulouse, France, in 1991, he outlines a three-phase Mars mission: precursor robot probes to locate suitable landing sites and resources, followed by an automatic space-freighter carrying supplies and equipment and, starting in 2018, a piloted expedition. Clarke leans toward nuclear-electric propulsion and sees the moon as a potential low-gravity base. He envisions a terraformed Mars, re-engineered for human habitation, complete with abundant vegetation, unfrozen lakes, increased oxygen in the atmosphere and the greenbelting of Olympus Mons (Mount Olympus), the giant Martian volcano. Clarke's own dramatic computer-generated images simulating a terraformed Mars, along with Viking orbiter photographs and artists' renditions (in all, 80 color and 20 black-and-white images) make the Martian future look tantalizingly real. Newbridge Book Club selection.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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