Later in the summer of 2020, NASA will launch its latest Mars rover, Perseverance. To coincide with that important scientific occasion, Elizabeth Howell, PhD and Nicholas Booth have told the greatest scientific detective story of all time in The Search for Life on Mars. Their approach and style are unique, they break many a convention of the scientific history books to make this truly accessible read with none of the bluff and bluster of so many so-called popular-science books and all of the guts and glory of a gripping wannabe bestseller.
The world next door, otherwise known as the Red Planet, has intrigued humanity for centuries. From ancient astronomical observations to the science fiction of the modern era HG Wells’ The War of the Worlds to Andy Weir’s The Martian and to the amazing photography of the robotic rovers Curiosity and Opportunity.
For the first time in forty years, the missions heading to Mars – from the USA and China – will look for signs of ancient life. This is the latest chapter in the story of the Red Planet where fact is stranger than fiction, myths and false starts abound while red herrings and bizarre coincidences astound. Here are the triumphs and the heartbreaking failures.
This is the definitive story of how life’s extraterrestrial discovery has eluded us to date and how it will be found somewhere and sometime this century. The Search for Life on Mars is based on more than a hundred interviews with experts at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and elsewhere, who share their insights and stories.
The Search for Life on Mars: The Greatest Scientific Detective Story of All Time by Elizabeth Howell, PhD and Nicholas Booth, Arcade Publishing; On sale: 23rd June 2020 | ISBN: 9781950691395 US edition here | UK edition here
If you came looking for my cover version of Life on Mars, the Bowie song, you can find it here.