National Geographic's Mars, and HiRISE's Mars

Posted by David Eicher
on Tuesday, May 16, 2017

National Geographic’s new book on Mars, written by Leonard David, is spectacular.

The past couple of months have brought a fantastic arrival of cool books and an amazing Blu-ray that will keep Mars fans going for months. 

Many of you may have seen and marveled at Mars on the National Geographic Channel. This 6-part miniseries premiered late in 2016 and over 283 minutes delivered a story of how humans may travel to and live on Mars in the future. The series drew on several fictional time periods, beginning in 2033, when humans travel to Mars to stay. Produced by Ron Howard and based on a book by Steven Petranek, the series gave viewers a pretty realistic feel about the possibilities of future Mars exploration and inhabitation. The series not only presents a fictional future account, but supplies information about actual current happenings. We hear about SpaceX, astronauts on the space station, practicing for Mars in Antarctica, and more. 

The Blu-ray is now out as a 3-disc set (Mars, 20th Century Fox, widescreen, color, $19.47), and will be enjoyed greatly by anyone who loves Mars. 

Nat Geo’s new Mars miniseries on Blu-ray will make space enthusiasts happy as ever.

Moreover, National Geographic has published a companion book by space journalist Leonard David, with a foreword by Ron Howard. Mars: Our Future on the Red Planet (286 pp., hardcover, National Geographic, Washington, 2016, $30, ISBN 978–1–4262–1758–6). 

This is a lavish, coffee-table style book with large photographs spreading over pages and attacks the challenges of how humans will get to Mars, study Mars, and live on Mars. The images are fantastic and the reproduction terrific. The text is well presented and will make a nice addition to the collections of even seasoned astronomy enthusiasts. As it tackles both the future and current knowledge of solar system travel and martian science, the book inserts “guest” essays by psychiatrist Nick Kanas, engineer Rob Manning, mission planner Janine Cuevas, planetary scientist Chris McKay, and others. 

This will be a very enjoyable book for anyone who loves solar system exploration. 

And it’s not the only important Mars book to hit the stands in the last weeks. 

There’s also a very important planetary science book just out on the Red Planet. Mars: The Pristine Beauty of the Red Planet by Alfred S. McEwen, Candice Hansen-Koharcheck, and Ari Espinoza (452 pp., hardcover, University of Arizona Press, Tucson, 2017, $75, ISBN 978–0–8165–3256–8) is the definitive visual volume of the HiRISE camera images. What are the HiRISE camera images, you ask? 

The new HiRISE image book from the University of Arizona is a long-awaited, scientifically very important work.

The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment is the camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft, and is the most powerful camera ever sent to another planet. Led by Alfred McEwen, the camera has produced the best-ever views of the Red Planet in history, and this book shares them — some 430 altogether, culled from more than 45,000 images captured by HiRISE since 2005. To say that these images are spectacular — breathtaking — and give us our best views of the Red Planet in history, still seems like an understatement.

This is an incredible book that needs to be seen to be believed, and will be a cornerstone of planetary science collections in the future.

If you like Mars, times are good!

Go out and get some books — a a Blu-ray!


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