September 21, 2017

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Pick of the Day: The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity

Book cover The Might Mars RoversRUSCH, Elizabeth. The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity. 80p. (Scientists in the Field Series). bibliog. further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. CIP. Houghton Harcourt. 2012. RTE $18.99. ISBN 978-0-547-47881-4. LC 2011012159.
Gr 7-9–Rusch covers not only the scientific aspects of Mars exploration but also the personalities of the people who made it happen, and profiles the rovers themselves, Spirit and Opportunity. Her comprehensive research shines through in her detailed style as she zeroes in on the behind-the-scenes efforts of launching a scientific mission. Full-color photographs on every page in this picture-book-size volume illuminate the Mars surface and the faces of the scientists as they agonize over communication difficulties and computer glitches and exult over the thrill of discovery. The lists of websites, archives, multimedia, and sources may inspire readers to follow in the footsteps of Steve Squyres–mission leader. The glossary is brief but helpful in unscrambling some of the “alphabet soup” of acronyms and nicknames (e.g., ATLO–Assembly, Test and Launch Operations and Pancam–Panoramic Camera) as well as scientific terms (e.g., Sol–one Martian day, or 24 hours, 39 minutes, and 35 seconds in Earth time) used throughout. Terms and photographs are indexed. This detailed look at planning, implementing, maintaining, and troubleshooting a highly complex scientific mission puts a human face on an incredible accomplishment.–Frances E. Millhouser, formerly at Chantilly Regional Library, Fairfax County, VA