Is There Life on Mars? by Dennis Brindell Fradin

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A reddish object in the night sky has long been the focus of our hopes and fears about life beyond Earth. That object is the Red Planet, Mars.

The mania for Martians began when several nineteenth-century astronomers reported seeing a network of lines on the Red Planet -- and the belief spread that these were canals built by giant Martians to transport water across their dry planet.

Fantastic schemes were hatched for contacting the Martians by flashing light at them with mirrors. So strong was the belief in Martians that when H. G. Wells's novel The War of the Worlds was presented on the radio in 1938, millions of panicked people thought that Martians had really invaded Earth!

Today's astronomers are convinced that Mars has no intelligent life. Yet in recent times new questions about the Red Planet have been raised. Did Mars have intelligent life long ago when its conditions were more Earthlike? Does the "Mars rock," which scientists presented to the world in 1996, really contain the fossils of tiny Martian organisms? Do microbes live on Mars today? The answers to these questions are of vital importance; if two planets in our Solar System, Earth and Mars, have supported living organisms, then it's highly likely that the Universe is teeming with life and we just haven't found it yet! We may not have to wait much longer for the answers to these questions, for early in the twenty-first century, people are expected to visit Mars. Maybe you will be one of them!

The question of life on Mars is a subject fraught with wild speculation, controversy, hopes, and dreams. As he did in The Planet Hunters: The Search for Other Worlds, Dennis Fradin reaches back through history, discusses current knowledge with the help of eminent astronomers, and looks to the future, taking us on a fascinating and dramatic scientific journey.


About Dennis Brindell Fradin

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Published November 1, 1999 by Margaret K. McElderry. 144 pages
Genres: Children's Books. Non-fiction