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A Traveler's Guide To Mars

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the 30-alterian-dollars-a-day dept.

Space 119

Mar's closest visit to the earth for a while may be over -- but while that reddish speck is still far brighter than usual, you might want to brush up on your Martian knowledge. Read on below for honestpuck's review of A Traveler's Guide To Mars.

With all the noise and kerfuffle about Mars recently I thought I should take a look at the Red Planet. I'm not well educated about astronomy, have to think hard to get the order of the planets right, but still wanted something with some depth. I found a great little guide for the uninformed visitor, "A Traveler's Guide to Mars" by William K Hartmann. This fairly inexpensive volume is full of all the information you're going to need, a large number of pictures, several maps and a great deal of information about previous voyagers to the planet. Indeed Hartmann was one of the scientists for the Mars Global Surveyor mission.

This book really does look like a typical traveler's guide with large print, bold headings, a good use of colour and text boxes. The style is light enough that when it gets scientific you don't notice too much. It is broken up into seven sections

  1. Introducing Mars: Past and Present.
  2. Noachian Mars: Exploring The Oldest Provinces
  3. Interlude: Landing on Mars
  4. Hesperian Mars: A Time of Transition
  5. Interlude: Rocks From Mars
  6. Amazonian Mars: The Red Planet Today
  7. Where Do We come From, Where Are We Going

The first section is a quick overview of the planet and a look at the history of Martian research. Section three looks at the various landings and what they discovered. Section five is a single chapter explaining the Martian meteors and what they might mean. Section seven is also small and looks at future Martian research. The other three sections look at the geography and geology of various parts of the Red Planet.

I found the whole book fascinating. I particularly liked the way Hartmann kept almost all his own tale in small sidebars called "My Martian Chronicles", 15 of them scattered through the book. These were interesting and meant that he could push his own barrow in a way that didn't intrude into the rest of the book, you could read them when you wanted. Throughout the book you get a huge amount of information about Mars and how the various bits were likely formed and what further exploration is likely to find.

All that said, it's not a book that can be taken in huge gulps. It took me several weeks to read it, picking it up and reading a few chapters then putting it down for a day or so, then perhaps another hour or two just looking at pictures, maps and reading sidebars. The layout does lend itself to this, however, so I'm not quite certain I'd call this a flaw, it seemed like a good way of making a 450 page book on Mars that much easier to digest. It also doesn't seem like a book that you need to read cover to cover, in order. I certainly didn't, reading bits about the meteors and landings and the last section before reading the section on Hesperian Mars.

The Workman Publishing web page on the book is not much use, with only a tiny excerpt from the book and while the book does have a selected reading list at the end it would have been nice to have a list of recommended web sites for further information as most of us don't have access to the sort of library likely to carry advanced astronomy journals or books.

If you're not an astronomy geek and want to know more about Mars then you may well find this book ideal. I certainly enjoyed my visit to the Red Planet.


You can purchase A Traveler's Guide To Mars from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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Cheaper at Amazon! (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6860247)

Re:Cheaper at Amazon! (1)

justinstreufert (459931) | more than 11 years ago | (#6861727)

Here's a link that doesn't give a commission to the above Coward ;)

A Traveler's Guide to Mars at Amazon [amazon.com]

Justin

Re:Cheaper at Amazon! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6861945)

So, you'd rather give that $1 to Big Corporate Amazon than to some loser who posted a link after checking to see that it was cheaper? What are you, a Republican or something?

Who is Mar? (1, Funny)

jkwatson (201667) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860251)

And why is she visiting Earth?

Re:Who is Mar? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6860307)

I think it's time the slashdot editors were paid a visit by an angy flower [angryflower.com] ...

Re:Who is Mar? (1)

danormsby (529805) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860464)

The next book will be a "Guide to Visiting Grandma's".

What good is this ? (-1)

Zork the Almighty (599344) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860253)

Damn, we should have blasted those Martians while we had the chance!

Or, for those who don't like reading... (1, Funny)

mopslik (688435) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860264)

...you can try to keep abreast with a copy of Total Recall.

(ba dum ching)

Re:Or, for those who don't like reading... (1)

sTalking_Goat (670565) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860693)

Unless you're in California where its illegal for local stations to show movies/shows that contain certain Gubernatorial candidates I will not mention by name (mostly because I can't spell it)

I HAVE A GREASED UP YODA DOLL SH..... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6860282)

ah, to hell with it.

What (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6860293)

No review of the hotels, restaurants, beaches, clubs, local customs etc. This book is no use to me for my vacation. I'm sticking with my Rough Guide to Saturn.

Re:What (4, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860572)

Beaches? You want beaches?

I told my travel agent that I wasn't much into water sports, but that I did like to spend hours just walking the beach.

She told me she had just the place, miles and miles of beach with unique red sand.

She didn't tell me there was no frickin' water. Oh, a little frost line on the ground maybe, but that's it. I don't think that counts. I may not swim or surf, but I do think the beach is kinda defined by the water.

Next year I'm going back to the Jersey Shore.

KFG

Re:What (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6862837)

New Yorkers say "Beach"
Philadelphians say "Shore"

Re:What (1)

FileNotFound (85933) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860583)

Worse yet, when I last visited Mars, it was nothing like that book describes. It's alright though, they give out guide books at the customs.

Don't forget the dropbear repelent..

Re:What (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6860906)

Rough Guite to Saturn, eh?
Hmm... probably better than the Rough Guide to Uranus too... I didn't like that one too much

Re:What (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6861112)

well, your rough guide to Saturn may not help you if you're going to Mars...

Me, I prefer the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy myself. Has all the planets, and some great recipes for Pangalactic Gargleblasters.

Re:What (1)

randito (159822) | more than 11 years ago | (#6861242)

It is better than "Mostly Harmless".

Screw the Rough Guide to Saturn (1)

kevlar (13509) | more than 11 years ago | (#6861278)

I prefer "The Lubricated Guide to Uranus" myself...

Foder's Mars on $42million a day was much better (1)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 11 years ago | (#6861764)

Their maps were a little more detailed, and included a tipping chart for the various regions as well as a buyer's guide for environment suits.

Both are a little stale on travel an accomidations. I have a pretty good deal with an agent named "Klatoo."

Re:What (1)

The_Corsair (704100) | more than 11 years ago | (#6863746)

Have ever tried the Hitchicker's Guide to the Galaxy? I can't find any useable information about Mars on my guide...

Could somebody either (-1)

Genghis Troll (158585) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860298)

a) explain what implementation difficulty Haskell's so-called "monomorphism restriction" alleviates, or b) give me some ideas for new and interesting things to jam in my ass?

Re:Could somebody either (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6861951)

So you're saying you didn't buy these arguments?
  • Rule 1 prevents computations from being unexpectedly repeated. For example, genericLength is a standard function (in library List) whose type is given by

    genericLength :: Num a => [b] -> a

    Now consider the following expression:

    let { len = genericLength xs } in (len, len)

    It looks as if len should be computed only once, but without Rule 1 it might be computed twice, once at each of two different overloadings. If the programmer does actually wish the computation to be repeated, an explicit type signature may be added:

    let { len :: Num a => a; len = genericLength xs } in (len, len)

  • Rule 1 prevents ambiguity. For example, consider the declaration group

    [(n,s)] = reads t

    Recall that reads is a standard function whose type is given by the signature

    reads :: (Read a) => String -> [(a,String)]

    Without Rule 1, n would be assigned the type forall a. Read a =>a and s the type forall a. Read a =>String. The latter is an invalid type, because it is inherently ambiguous. It is not possible to determine at what overloading to use s, nor can this be solved by adding a type signature for s. Hence, when non-simple pattern bindings are used (Section 4.4.3.2), the types inferred are always monomorphic in their constrained type variables, irrespective of whether a type signature is provided. In this case, both n and s are monomorphic in a.

    The same constraint applies to pattern-bound functions. For example, in

    (f,g) = ((+),(-))

    both f and g are monomorphic regardless of any type signatures supplied for f or g.

Offtopic - Spammer's Contact Information (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6860302)

Bill Rapanos
65 Thorncliffe Park. Dr.
Toronto, ON
M4H1L6
416-467-6585
416-467-8986

Need Proof? - http://www.spamhaus.org/rokso/search.lasso?evidenc efile=1968

Hmm (2, Funny)

yoshi1013 (674815) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860315)

I guess I should go out and get this book if I'm ever thinking of visiting Mars to see the ashen remains of Tim Robbin's corpse. Or better yet, that history of the world temple run by skinny CG aliens.

Re:Hmm (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860853)

I don't like Mars. Newton's laws of motion don't work there.

Hotels? Restaurants? Nightlife? (1, Funny)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860319)

I'm not flying all the way to Mars and camping for crying out loud.

Also, is it accurate to say the Mars Needs Guitars?

Re:Hotels? Restaurants? Nightlife? (0, Funny)

rwven (663186) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860415)

mars went out of business chain wide... if they suddenly had guitars i'd be a REALLY happy person right now.

Re:Hotels? Restaurants? Nightlife? (2, Funny)

DG (989) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860422)

Hmmm....

-------------------
'Cause the man from Mars won't eat up bars where the T.V's on.
And now he's gone back up to space where he won't have a hassle with the
human race .
And you hip hop.
And you don't stop .
Just blast off, sure shot .
'Cause the man from Mars stopped eating cars
And eating bars
And now he only eats guitars .
Get up!
------------------

I guess so.

DG

Good work. (1)

Jonas the Bold (701271) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860563)

Disecting a joke is like disecting a frog. Nobody really likes it, and in the end all you have is a dead frog. :)

Actually, I was more thinking of ... (1)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 11 years ago | (#6861165)

this [tripod.com] , but that does also fit the bill.

That used to be my favorite song (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6861803)

I listened to that album sooooo many times in the '80s (usually while astoundingly drunk). Still have it in fact.

Article Text in case of Slashdotting (-1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6860320)

With all the noise and kerfuffle about Mars recently I thought I should take a look at the Red Planet. I'm not well educated about astronomy, have to think hard to get the order of the planets right, but still wanted something with some depth. I found a great little guide for the uninformed visitor, "A Traveler's Guide to Mars" by William K Hartmann. This fairly inexpensive volume is full of all the information you're going to need, a large number of pictures, several maps and a great deal of information about previous voyagers to the planet. Indeed Hartmann was one of the scientists for the Mars Global Surveyor mission.

This book really does look like a typical traveler's guide with large print, bold headings, a good use of colour and text boxes. The style is light enough that when it gets scientific you don't notice too much. It is broken up into seven sections

Introducing Mars: Past and Present.
Noachian Mars: Exploring The Oldest Provinces
Interlude: Landing on Mars
Hesperian Mars: A Time of Transition
Interlude: Rocks From Mars
Amazonian Mars: The Red Planet Today
Where Do We come From, Where Are We Going

The first section is a quick overview of the planet and a look at the history of Martian research. Section three looks at the various landings and what they discovered. Section five is a single chapter explaining the Martian meteors and what they might mean. Section seven is also small and looks at future Martian research. The other three sections look at the geography and geology of various parts of the Red Planet.

I found the whole book fascinating. I particularly liked the way Hartmann kept almost all his own tale in small sidebars called "My Martian Chronicles", 15 of them scattered through the book. These were interesting and meant that he could push his own barrow in a way that didn't intrude into the rest of the book, you could read them when you wanted. Throughout the book you get a huge amount of information about Mars and how the various bits were likely formed and what further exploration is likely to find.

All that said, it's not a book that can be taken in huge gulps. It took me several weeks to read it, picking it up and reading a few chapters then putting it down for a day or so, then perhaps another hour or two just looking at pictures, maps and reading sidebars. The layout does lend itself to this, however, so I'm not quite certain I'd call this a flaw, it seemed like a good way of making a 450 page book on Mars that much easier to digest. It also doesn't seem like a book that you need to read cover to cover, in order. I certainly didn't, reading bits about the meteors and landings and the last section before reading the section on Hesperian Mars.

The Workman Publishing web page on the book is not much use, with only a tiny excerpt from the book and while the book does have a selected reading list at the end it would have been nice to have a list of recommended web sites for further information as most of us don't have access to the sort of library likely to carry advanced astronomy journals or books.

If you're not an astronomy geek and want to know more about Mars then you may well find this book ideal. I certainly enjoyed my visit to the Red Planet.

mirror of parent in case of /.ing (-1, Troll)

Savatte (111615) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860830)

here it is, just in case you can't access this post's parent comment.

With all the noise and kerfuffle about Mars recently I thought I should take a look at the Red Planet. I'm not well educated about astronomy, have to think hard to get the order of the planets right, but still wanted something with some depth. I found a great little guide for the uninformed visitor, "A Traveler's Guide to Mars" by William K Hartmann. This fairly inexpensive volume is full of all the information you're going to need, a large number of pictures, several maps and a great deal of information about previous voyagers to the planet. Indeed Hartmann was one of the scientists for the Mars Global Surveyor mission.

This book really does look like a typical traveler's guide with large print, bold headings, a good use of colour and text boxes. The style is light enough that when it gets scientific you don't notice too much. It is broken up into seven sections

Introducing Mars: Past and Present.
Noachian Mars: Exploring The Oldest Provinces
Interlude: Landing on Mars
Hesperian Mars: A Time of Transition
Interlude: Rocks From Mars
Amazonian Mars: The Red Planet Today
Where Do We come From, Where Are We Going

The first section is a quick overview of the planet and a look at the history of Martian research. Section three looks at the various landings and what they discovered. Section five is a single chapter explaining the Martian meteors and what they might mean. Section seven is also small and looks at future Martian research. The other three sections look at the geography and geology of various parts of the Red Planet.

I found the whole book fascinating. I particularly liked the way Hartmann kept almost all his own tale in small sidebars called "My Martian Chronicles", 15 of them scattered through the book. These were interesting and meant that he could push his own barrow in a way that didn't intrude into the rest of the book, you could read them when you wanted. Throughout the book you get a huge amount of information about Mars and how the various bits were likely formed and what further exploration is likely to find.

All that said, it's not a book that can be taken in huge gulps. It took me several weeks to read it, picking it up and reading a few chapters then putting it down for a day or so, then perhaps another hour or two just looking at pictures, maps and reading sidebars. The layout does lend itself to this, however, so I'm not quite certain I'd call this a flaw, it seemed like a good way of making a 450 page book on Mars that much easier to digest. It also doesn't seem like a book that you need to read cover to cover, in order. I certainly didn't, reading bits about the meteors and landings and the last section before reading the section on Hesperian Mars.

The Workman Publishing web page on the book is not much use, with only a tiny excerpt from the book and while the book does have a selected reading list at the end it would have been nice to have a list of recommended web sites for further information as most of us don't have access to the sort of library likely to carry advanced astronomy journals or books.

If you're not an astronomy geek and want to know more about Mars then you may well find this book ideal. I certainly enjoyed my visit to the Red Planet.

Save me some time please?? (1)

TheNecromancer (179644) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860323)

Where's the URL for the website? I don't have the time to read a *gasp* book, so please help me out here!

Re:Save me some time please?? (1)

Anonym1ty (534715) | more than 11 years ago | (#6861838)

Now I know what they mean when they say "You can't grep a dead tree".

At least... (4, Funny)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860371)

At least it isn't two simple words:

Mostly harmless.

Re:At least... (-1, Troll)

pope1 (40057) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860437)

My Improbability Engine just turned Darl McBride into HOT GRITS and dumped them down NATALIE PORTMAN's pants! Top that soviet russia, you think you're so cool with your Beowulf Cluster of Nigerian Spam's..



Wow.. that thing is powerful.. may it never be unleashed on slashdot again!

one question. (1)

mschoolbus (627182) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860410)

If anyone is actually going, can I go with you?! =P

Re:one question. (2, Funny)

ChozCunningham (698051) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860443)

I'm driving, but ya gotta pay the gas.

Was anyone impressed? (3, Interesting)

Otter (3800) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860421)

What was the big deal about with Mars? I'm no astronomy buff but do enjoy the things that pop up (meteor showers, Hale-Bopp, that really big Y2K moon). But Mars seems to have been marginally brighter than usual, with nothing special visible. It struck me as less impressive than when Mars and Venus were next to each other a few years ago and you could really see how one is red and one is blue.

So, did anyone see anything really cool? It seemed to me that most of the people getting excited don't realize that you can see Mars all the time.

Re:Was anyone impressed? (1, Insightful)

Anemomenous Cowherd (702822) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860503)

What was the big deal about with Mars?

So, did anyone see anything really cool? It seemed to me that most of the people getting excited don't realize that you can see Mars all the time.


It's just one of those things that people make a big fuss over just because they're statistically rare even though there isn't anything tangible that happens. Kinda like birthdays. Or baseball stats. It made for some good Hubble pictures though.

Re:Was anyone impressed? (1)

br4dh4x0r (137273) | more than 11 years ago | (#6863288)

... because they're statistically rare even though there isn't anything tangible that happens. Kinda like birthdays.

Birthdays are rare?

I'm pretty sure someone has a birthday every day.

Re:Was anyone impressed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6863579)

I'm pretty sure someone has a birthday every day.


Whoever that is, he or she must be really old by now!

Re:Was anyone impressed? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6860619)

See Mars in an astronomical telescope dude.
The big deal is Mars is in a favorable opposition and this occurs 15-17 yrs.

What's cool is you can the the polar caps and some dark surface markings.

The obserable size remains much the same a couple of weeks on either side of closest approach. So there was a lot of hype for that one day.

Re:Was anyone impressed? (2, Interesting)

klubkatz (704018) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860674)

If you had a telescope to view it I think you would have been much more impressed. The view I got through my 8-inch newtonian with a 9mm eyepiece was increadible.

You can't see mars all the time ... it's lost in the suns glare for a large part of every year. A view like the one we just had doesn't happen very often.

Re:Was anyone impressed? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6860718)

I was impressed. I'm not a big astronomy buff either. However, I decided that I was interested enough in astronomy that I purchased a telescope for the event. I enjoyed looking at Mars through the scope, and Mars *was* brighter. At the time of opposition, Mars had a magnitude of -2.9. Next April, Mars will be at a magnitude of 1.44. While I'm not an astronomer, I do know that the more negative the magnitude, the brighter the object. There's also the historical fact that this is the closest we will be to Mars in our lifetime, indeed for a couple of lifetimes. When one ponders the heavens, it just absolutely blows the mind. ;-)

Re:Was anyone impressed? (1)

PD (9577) | more than 11 years ago | (#6861002)

Answer: Lots of land, no pesky Indians. Also, no water and no air. That about sums it up.

Re:Was anyone impressed? (2, Interesting)

p3d0 (42270) | more than 11 years ago | (#6861414)

Mars was ok, but the most impressive thing I saw was around a year ago when about four planets were all close to each other. Looking out my window, I could mentally connect them and see the ecliptic, and it really gave me a visceral sense of being on a planet travelling with other planets around the sun.

Re:Was anyone impressed? (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 11 years ago | (#6862278)

Mars was ok, but the most impressive thing I saw was around a year ago when about four planets were all close to each other.

Yup, /that/ I thought was very impressive.

By the way, for the people chiding me -- I'm not in any way anti-Mars. 1) Anything that gets people interested in science and nature is good and 2) I hadn't realized that there was anything unusual to see through telescopes. I just hadn't seen anything impressive and was curious as to what I'd missed.

Re:Was anyone impressed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6861693)

Well I don't know about you, but I'm living out in the country; and Mars was a hell of a lot more that just a little brighter than normal. I've never seen a star or planet as bright as Mars was.

Re:Was anyone impressed? (1)

pestel (22040) | more than 11 years ago | (#6861753)

Um, naked eye, all you can expect to notice is that Mars is brighter.

It struck me as less impressive than when Mars and Venus were next to each other a few years ago and you could really see how one is red and one is blue.

Venus is _not_ blue. I don't know what you were looking at, but the only blue things in the solar system are Neptune and Uranus and they're only barely visible to the naked eye.

If you had used a telescope you could have easily seen a number of features that are not regularly visible. Examples - Hellas Planetia, the southern polar cap in pretty good detail, etc.

Re:Was anyone impressed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6862434)

I don't know what you were looking at, but the only blue things in the solar system are Neptune and Uranus and they're only barely visible to the naked eye.


Uhhhh.... there is at least one other mostly-blue object in the solar system - I'm standing on it!

Re:Was anyone impressed? (1)

snake_dad (311844) | more than 11 years ago | (#6861770)

Mars is the god of war [wikipedia.org] . It's all a big gubmint conspiracy to make The War Against Terror more popular ;)

Re:Was anyone impressed? (1)

theolein (316044) | more than 11 years ago | (#6862190)

Yes, me.

Re:Was anyone impressed? (1)

murdocj (543661) | more than 11 years ago | (#6863370)

I saw it a couple of different nites, and I was absolutely blown away by how spectacular it was. I've done a fair amount of casual stargazing since I was child and I don't ever recall seeing a planet that bright. I've seen all the naked eye planets except Mercury (sigh) and this viewing of Mars really stands out.

One small problem (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6860433)

The author has NEVER BEEN TO FUCKING MARS! The average Slashdot nerd could write a better Traveler's Guide to the Vagina than this outright fraud.

If only I had mod points (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6860499)

nt

Re:One small problem (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6860586)

Obviously you missed the Geek Guide to Hacking Pussy [amazon.com]

My own mini Traveler's Guide to Mars (4, Funny)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860785)

Okay, my recent trip to Mars didn't go so well, so let me gift you with some advice gleaned by my mistakes.

1) How to get there (and back).

Answer: A rocket. Reallllly big. Lots of fuel, lots of food and water. DON'T forget the zero-g toilet and about a zillion barf bags. It's a bumpy ride, so take some seat cushions for the ascents and descents. Also take some sunglasses and SPF-1000000 sunblock.
2) Money.

Answer: You'll want to exchange currency at Mars Customs, located on Deimos. Avoid Phobos altogether - it's just a tourist trap. Martians have but 3 fingers on their 'hands' (okay, tentacles), so their math is a little funky. I'd advise taking a calculator for doing conversions both into their currency, and their math. Prices on Mars are generally reasonable, but you don't want to pay too much! Shop around. Oh yeah, bring a moneybelt. The natives are lightfingered little bastards, not that I'd want to generalize. Some of my best friends are Martians. Honest.

3) The weather.

Answer: Enroute is normal, unless you have a breach in the spacecraft. If that happens, it won't matter what you packed. On Mars itself, the air is somewhat thin, so pack a pressure suit. It's also somewhat chilly, so layer! Bring plenty of oxygen. It doesn't rain, so no umbrella is needed, but you may experience something the "Red Planet" is famous for: a sandstorm. Trust me on this - just stay in the spaceship during one. If caught outside, determine which way the sand is blowing, then get in the shadow of a rockface. Leave your galoshes at home.

4) The sights.

Answer: Lots of rocks and dirt. Some sand and dust, as well, plus two moons in the sky and a bright dot for the Sun. Don't miss the 'Face' on Mars. Inside is a typical Martian funhouse, full of those funny distorting mirrors. Those are a blast. A side-trip to the North Pole is full of frozen fun, but make sure to take a native guide to get the most out of your time.

5) The food.

Answer: Kind of bland, but worth the experience. Dried Martian dust-mite on a bed of Martian cabbage is the classic dish. Get used to dust on everything. It is safe to drink the water on Mars (Yes, it's there, but expensive!), as non-native microbes can't effect the Human body.

6) The natives.

Answer: As seen on TV! Little green guys with big eyes, and three tentacles per 'hand'. They used to be big on invading other planets back in the 50s and 30s, but they've mellowed out a lot since Perestroika.

7) The nightlife.

Answer: They like to boogie. Martian-tossing is the latest fad you'll find in all the nightclubs. They're real big on karaoke, as well, and classic Earth cinema is all the rage. "Santa Claus vs the Martians" is still #1 at the box office.

8) The beer.

Answer: They import it from Canada. Labatt Red is the drink of choice.

Don't forget to buy souvenirs for all your friends!

oops: forgot something! (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 11 years ago | (#6861765)

You may think the two moons make for a really romantic atmosphere, but some things to think about:

1) Mars...Needs...Women!

2) Alcohol & 1/3 Earth gravity do NOT mix well.

Re:Things slashdot could comment on... (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 11 years ago | (#6861625)

Lets not go overboard here...

We're so glad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6860458)

...that Mar has come back to visit!

Mars is NOT "far brighter" (5, Informative)

HeXetic (627740) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860482)

Good grief, sometimes it's getting a little ridiculous with this whole "WOW MARS IS SO MUCH CLOSER OMG WTF LOL BBQ"

Mars is all of 1% closer this year than it has ever been in the last 600 years. This is an almost insignificant amount. "Even with a good telescope and a camera", writes "Bad Astronomy" [badastronomy.com] debunker Phil Platt in on a page about the closeness of mars and a variety of bad astronomy being spread about it [badastronomy.com] , "you'd have a hard time seeing the difference. In fact, the difference is so small it would just barely be detectable using Hubble."

Re:Mars is NOT "far brighter" (1)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860593)

Yeah yeah, and the year 2000 was just another year which would have been completely unremarkable if people used a non-base-10 counting system. Let us have our fun, will ya? At least it gets people talking and thinking about Mars, as opposed to, say, Ah-nold's sex life.

Re:Mars is NOT "far brighter" (1)

alexre1 (662339) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860658)

I know what you mean. A co-worker of mine said that she heard tell on the news that Mars was so close to Earth that there was danger that it might collide with the moon. And this was a person who (apparently) did a minor in physics at university. Hehe can you imagine what tides would be like if Mars was that close?! That would make living in Florida REALLY suck!

I'm also sick of reporters saying that this is "the closest Mars has been to earth in the past 60,000 [or whatever the date was] years." This is not the case. This is the closest Mars has been to Earth while at conjuction! There is a rather large difference between the two statements. I wish that media representatives would actually research the materials they're reporting on before shooting off their mouths on T.V. God forbid they should actually know what they're talking about...

Re:Mars is NOT "far brighter" (1)

alexre1 (662339) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860757)

Whoops I meant "opposition" not "conjunction"!

Re:Mars is NOT "far brighter" (2, Insightful)

f97tosc (578893) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860907)

Mars is all of 1% closer this year than it has ever been in the last 600 years. This is an almost insignificant amount

Yes and no. Mars brightness varies very much over a cycle of around 2 years. Right now is the peak, which makes a great time for Mars observations. In addition, this particular peak is slightly stronger than it has been for a long time, but as you say that effect is quite insignificant.

But why so negative about the buzz? While it makes little difference for observations and travel, isn't it great that people from all walks of life can feel excitement and wonder over our red neighbor. This is the type of public interest needed to make travel there possible.

Tor

Re:Mars is NOT "far brighter" (4, Informative)

operagost (62405) | more than 11 years ago | (#6861160)

You read wrong. It's 1% closer than it was in its last opposition in 1971. However, it can be as far 400 million Km away. It is currently 56 million Km away. That's much closer.

OR: read "Red/Green/Blue Mars" instead... (5, Informative)

TheTranceFan (444476) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860496)

Those three books, by Kim Stanley Robinson, describe the colonization and terraforming of Mars. But there's so much exploration and description, by the end, you'll swear you've been there. Not a fast-paced read, but very good indeed. At least that way you'll get a nice dose of sci/tech, Mars politics, and space elevators along with your geographic descriptions.

Proper use of apostrophes... (-1, Offtopic)

Colz Grigor (126123) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860505)

Editor: just for your reference: Apostrophe Grammar Guide [vt.edu] .

Conclusion... (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860507)

Mostly harmless?

A typical traveler's guide (2, Funny)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860509)

This book really does look like a typical traveler's guide with large print, bold headings, a good use of colour and text boxes.

Does it have any good ideas on how to get there and back?

Re:A typical traveler's guide (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860612)

Really, really big ACME potato guns?

KFG

Re:A typical traveler's guide (5, Funny)

Fryed (205364) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860661)

No, for that information you'll have to turn to intro to The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide. For those of you who don't own this essential book, I'll reprint the relevant bit below:


How to Leave the Planet

1. Phone NASA. Their phone number is (713) 483-3111. Explain that it's very important that you get away as soon as possible.

2. If they do not cooperate, phone any friend you may have in the White House -- (202) 456-1414 -- to have a word on your behalf with the with the guys at NASA.

3. If you don't have any friends at the White House, phone the Kremlin (ask the overseas operator for 0107-095-295-9051). They don't have any friends there either (at least, none to speak of), but they do seem to have a little influence, so you may as well try.

4. If that fails, phone the Pope for guidance. His telephone number is 011-39-6-6982, and I gather his switchboard is infallible.

5. If all these attempts fail, flag down a passing flying saucer and explain that it's vitally important you get away before your phone bill arrives.

Re:A typical traveler's guide (2, Funny)

TimeForGuinness (701731) | more than 11 years ago | (#6861154)

Don't forget your towel.

Re:A typical traveler's guide (2, Informative)

dart27 (155109) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860747)

Well this book itself does not. However the author, who presented last month at the Mars Scoiety Convention [marssociety.org] does know how to do it. Primarily because he read this book The Case for Mars [amazon.com] . You will too after you read it.

I guess you could say... (0)

Anemomenous Cowherd (702822) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860548)

that no one is more experienced with traveling to Mars than William K. Hartmann.

WHAT THE FUCK IS A HONSTEPUCK???!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6860570)

Is it made up for the two words: honste and puck?
Is honste related to goatse?
Is honstepucking some kind of disgusting sexual act?

I really want to know. Won't someone tell me pleeeze!!!?

I just don't get it. I didn't even know there was a word "honste" in the english language.

Re:WHAT THE FUCK IS A HONSTEPUCK???!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6860761)

OVERRATED!!!!!??? WTF!? I was just asking a simple question! The fucking word honstepuck just doesn't make any fucking sense to me. It relates to nothing and as far as I can tell is a non-existant word! I can't even find honste in the dictionary. Is it German? Dutch? Swiss? What is it? Can some just fess up and tell me what the fuck that name is supposed to mean? Or is it just some made up crap meant to irk people like me who demand that everything be logical and correct? I'll bet it was some /. fuck who modded me down. That's the only time I've seen overrateds. Only the owners of /. can do that, not regular mods. You are all a bunch of stinking asshats.

OH SURE YOU MOTHER FUCKERS!!!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6861996)

You can take the fucking time to mod me down you worthless shits, but you can't take the fucking time to reply to me. Real nice! Someone needs to throttle you fuckers.

"The Case for Mars" by Robert Zubrin (3, Interesting)

WhiteBandit (185659) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860574)

Well, I imagine the reviewed book will be pretty useful once we get there. In the meantime, how will we get there?

I definitely recommend people to check out The Case for Mars [amazon.com] by Robert Zubrin.

It is a pretty intriguing book explaining how we could basically use "off-the-shelf" technology to get there and live off the land once we get there.

In the meantime, how will we get there? (2, Interesting)

MikShapi (681808) | more than 11 years ago | (#6861905)

Like this [www.isr.us] , in less than 20 years given adequate funding.

Re:In the meantime, how will we get there? (1)

tmortn (630092) | more than 11 years ago | (#6863701)

Critical technology which is yet to be viable in a lab environment much less a space mass production facility. But more importatly this timeline does not appear to account for the source of material to build the cable. Surely they are not suggesting ligting a million plus kg to orbit the old fashioned way ? THe ability to move a near earth object of the proper composition is also another technology that is yet to be developed as well that is pretty key. 20 years with one break through... phunny there is more than one roadblock for that timeline.

I would love to see an elevator but I have yet to hear a convincing argument. Instead of touting what might be possible IF IF IF IF lets get about the buisness of actually making the key material a reality before going hog wild about what we could do with it. There are other uses for such a strong material other than space elevators. When we have carbon nano tubes strong enough and the ability to mass produce at the needed quality is demonstrated I will get a little more excited about this possibility. Till then lets hatch the eggs before we count chickens.

A better choice (3, Funny)

kfx (603703) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860590)

Why would I want to buy the Traveler's Guide to Mars when I can get the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy?

I mean seriously, there are a lot more interesting places to visit in the galaxy than Mars. There's no reason why I should want a book telling me all about going there and paying to see the sights, when I can get a guide that tells me how to get around the whole galaxy for free!

Re:A better choice (1)

teemu.s (677447) | more than 11 years ago | (#6861384)

i think its not for free - its less den 25$ a day if you do it the hitchhikersguide way :)

Amazons - Chapter 6 (3, Funny)

sssmashy (612587) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860597)

The title of Ch. 6, "Amazonian Mars: The Red Planet Today", totally sold the book for me. Who are these Martian Amazons, and where did they come from?

I can't think of anything more arousing than the thought of lonely Martian/Amazon girls who have grown to heights of 7-8 feet in the lower gravity environment, and who could snap me in half like a twig.

Re:Amazons - Chapter 6 (1)

MisanthropicProggram (597526) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860699)

Yeah! Especially if they have three hooters! Mmmmmmmm, hoooooters .....

Re:Amazons - Chapter 6 (1)

HarveyBirdman (627248) | more than 11 years ago | (#6860812)

I don't usually nitpick erotic fantasies about sexy alien space vixens, but if they were tall, skinny and evolved in a lower gravity, I think you'd be the one having to worry about snapping them in half.

I'd try doggy style. But that's me.

Re:Amazons - Chapter 6 (1)

sssmashy (612587) | more than 11 years ago | (#6861016)

I don't usually nitpick erotic fantasies about sexy alien space vixens, but if they were tall, skinny and evolved in a lower gravity, I think you'd be the one having to worry about snapping them in half.

You haven't seen my body, have you?

Nice review, but there's two problems with it. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6860617)

All that said, it's not a book that can be taken in huge gulps. It took me several weeks to read it

Two things timothy:
One, what exactly can be taken in huge gulps? I think you mean penis.

Two, it took you that long to read it because you're a fecking idiot!

lonely planet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6860742)

when searching a publisher for a work like this there is one obvious option, but no, nothing to be found there:

lonely planet [lonelyplanet.com]

even worse: all the books mentioned on the site above provide information about places on earth, the least lonely planet known to mankind!

Welcome ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6860904)

I for one, welcome our new Martian overlords. Next time you see that ol' tripod-of-death strolling by, give our masters a friendly wave! And by all means, do not cough. You never know what little Earth germ might wipe them all out.

*ahem* (1)

superdan2k (135614) | more than 11 years ago | (#6861198)

Shouldn't this book have been published by Lonely Planet [lonelyplanet.com] ?

Obligatory Douglas Adams Reply...... (1)

caffeinex36 (608768) | more than 11 years ago | (#6861299)

I'll stick with the Hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy.

Why can't we see "canals" by squinting at photos? (3, Interesting)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 11 years ago | (#6861398)

Something that's been bothering me for years.

Why can't I see "canals" by looking at high-quality photographs of Mars from a distance, and/or squinting?

Percival Lowell and his team at Flagstaff published detailed drawings in which there was a veritable spiderweb of canals, dozens and dozens of them spanning the whole planet.

It's now accepted that these long, linear features were a kind of optical illusion.

But why can't I experience the optical illusion for myself?

An interesting near-contemporary account is givenin this article in the Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica [1911encyclopedia.org] "Of the reality of the better marked ones there can be no doubt, as they have been seen repeatedly by many observers, including those at the Lick Observatory, and have actually been photographed at the Lowell Observatory. The doubt is therefore confined to the vast network of lines so fine that they never certainly have been seen elsewhere than at Flagstaff. The difficulty of pronouncing upon their reality arises from the fact that we have to do mainly with objects not plainly visible (or, as Lowell contends, not plainly visible elsewhere). The question therefore becomes one of psychological optics rather than of astronomy. When the question is considered from this point of view it is found that combinations of light and shaded areas very different from continuous lines, will, under certain conditions, be interpreted by the eye as such lines; and when such is the case, long practice by an observer, however carefully conducted, may confirm him in this interpretation. "

Re:Why can't we see "canals" by squinting at photo (1)

HeXetic (627740) | more than 11 years ago | (#6863595)

I heard that some of the canal lines he claimed to see were actually cataracts and other defects of his own eyes.

Correct the first word of the article please (1)

saints-in-hell (515258) | more than 11 years ago | (#6862104)


"Mar's closest visit to the earth..."

Come on. It should read: "Mars' closest visit to the earth...".

Favorite pet peeve (1)

Montreal Geek (620791) | more than 11 years ago | (#6863506)

NO!

It should read "Mars's [...]". The possessive s is only ommited when the noun is plural, not when it otherwise ends with an s. You know, one does look a bit foolish when pointing out an editor's obvious typo by suggesting a gramatically incorrect correction.

Unless you are under the impression that there is more than Mars. :-)

-- MG

Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars (1)

aimon (696104) | more than 11 years ago | (#6862697)

Anybody read Kim Stanley Robinson's series 'Red Mars', 'Green Mars' and 'Blue Mars'? It is quite an extraordinary representation of what the colonization of mars might be. Definately worth the read.

Observing Mars from Russia? (-1, Troll)

weeboo0104 (644849) | more than 11 years ago | (#6864279)

"With all the noise and kerfuffle about Mars recently I thought I should take a look at the Red Planet"

In Soviet Russia, the Red Planet looks at YOU!
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