IS THERE LIFE ON MARS? by Dennis Brindell Fradin


Age Range: 9 - 12
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In a meandering account of almost everything “earthlings” have thought about the Red Planet, Fradin (We Have Conquered Pain, 1996, etc.) explores such topics as the canals on Mars (signs that past inhabitants irrigated their dry planet?), and speculation on its vegetation, rock formations, and fossil microbes. Fradin opens with a discussion of the night sky, and how it was viewed by ancient people; he writes of the centuries in which Mars has influenced people on earth, from the naming of deities, a month, a day of the week, and babies; of the planet’s study through telescopes; and the launching of various probes, along with the revelatory photographs from the Mariner missions. Early planetary theory comes under discussion, as do such turn-of-the-century astronomers as Camille Flammarion and Percival Lowell, and more recent scientists, such as Carl Sagan. The author enlivens the text with quotes, photographs, or references to Mars from popular culture, e.g., Welles’s infamous “War of the Worlds” broadcast. The final section speculates on a Mars colony in the 25th century and travel beyond this solar system at speeds greater than light. Fradin may lose browsers; his enthusiasm for the topic allows him to leap from subject to subject with grace, but readers must follow him closely or they’ll lose the thread. This is an exhaustive catalog of the author’s areas of interest and study; those who share his sensibilities won’t mind going along for the ride. (full-color photographs, bibliography, index, not seen) (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-689-82048-8
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: McElderry
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1999