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Book Review – Mission: Mars – Get Ready for the Future of Space Exploration

Mission: Mars – Get Ready for the Future of Space Exploration by Pascal Lee; Scholastic Inc., New York; $6.99 (paperback); September 2013.

Looking for a link to Mars for that special Christmas present?

Here’s a book recommended for ages 9-12, but readers of all ages can find value in this fun and fact-filled publication.

The author is a “been there, done that” specialist that’s never left Earth (yet), but is a master of Red Planet domain here on our planet.

Pascal Lee is a leading Mars researcher, chairman of the Mars Institute and a planetary scientist at the SETI Institute. He is also director of the NASA Haughton-Mars Project at NASA Ames Research Center.

Indeed, what’s special about this 48-page book is that Lee has drawn upon his experience in living and exploring Mars-on-Earth analog sites, such as Devon Island, in the arctic part of Canada.

The book is founded on a multi-phase basic training course. Lee is the training director, offering tips on exploration methods, needed technology like four-wheeling on Mars, as well as risks and rewards of planting your feet firmly on the Red Planet.

At the end of your basic training phases you’ll find a Certificate of Achievement!

There are red-tinted “gems” of information throughout the book. Why wear a dark blue space suit on the Red Planet? The dark color absorbs more sunlight to help you stay warm. Also, the blue color makes you stick out in an orange landscape. Take note of one mystery Lee discusses called the Stealth Region on Mars. Won’t tell you here why it earned its name.

The book concludes with a look at what’s next – out to a 1,000 years – and asks the reader to ponder what humankind will do with Mars.

This book is loaded with colorful illustrations and formatted in an eye-catching way (a special nod of the space helmet goes to Scholastic design and production folks) and comes complete with a glossary of terms.

For more information on this book, go to:

http://teacher.scholastic.com/programs/missionmars/

Note: Check out the video clips at this site, along with a special teacher discussion guide, geared toward Common Core and STEM education surrounding material found in Mission: Mars.

By Leonard David

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