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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very informative, 15 Aug 2003
By 
Kurt A. Johnson (Marseilles, IL USA) - See all my reviews
In this book, the author traces the history of man's knowledge about the planet Mars. Beginning in ancient times, he traces the evolution of theories about Mars, as it was influenced by the steady march of technological development. The reader gets to watch development of the belief in life on Mars, culminating in the humorous conjectures of Percival Lowell. Then, great detail is given on the facts learned from the Mariner, Viking and Russian Phobos missions. The final chapter is a real jewel, being an in-depth explanation on how an amateur astronomer should observe Mars.
This is a great book, the first chapters being history, and the later one providing a great deal of information about what was known about Mars in 1996. Not only are such things as the valleys and outflow channels examined, but also a whole chapter is devoted to Mars' moons, including how they would appear to an observer on the planet's surface.
The author does disparage the Imperial measurement system, and refuses to use any measurement but metric (except for temperatures for some reason), but this is not really a surprise. As such, this is a great book for those interested in the history of astronomy, but also a great book for those interested in what the planet of Mars is really like.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Planet Mars lives in your hands...and in your mind., 17 Nov 1997
By A Customer
Sheehan's The Planet Mars is a welcome break from so many astronomy texts that wobble erratically with the imbalance of inaccurate and antiquated data, conceptual difficulty and/or poor production. Other books may have more cool pictures, but few match Sheehan's in historical range and accuracy.
If you want to know about the minds behind the exploration of Mars from pre-telescopic observation through the great astronomers to today's space scientists, then this is a great resource. If you want the data that will help you in your own study of the ruddy orb, then this is a fantastic starting point.
Recommended.
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The Planet Mars: a History of Observation and Discovery
The Planet Mars: a History of Observation and Discovery by William Sheehan (Hardcover - 15 Sep 1996)
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