Today, NASA announced that they’ve found proof of liquid saltwater on Mars. It’s an announcement that makes one day finding living microbes on the surface more likely than ever before. With the movie adaptation of The Martian by Andy Weir coming out soon it seems like a good time check out what science has to say about the red planet, and through fiction discover what our preoccupation with the red planet says about us.
All of the books below are available to check out of the library. This list includes both new and classic science fiction, as well as a guide to all the questions a person might have about space travel.
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive–and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old ‘human error’ are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills–and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit–he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him? Now a major motion picture!
In The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury, America’s preeminent storyteller, imagines a place of hope, dreams, and metaphor— of crystal pillars and fossil seas—where a fine dust settles on the great empty cities of a vanished, devastated civilization. Earthmen conquer Mars and then are conquered by it, lulled by dangerous lies of comfort and familiarity, and enchanted by the lingering glamour of an ancient, mysterious native race. In this classic work of fiction, Bradbury exposes our ambitions, weaknesses, and ignorance in a strange and breathtaking world where man does not belong.
Jere Gutierrez is bucking the trend at the dying art of ‘linear’ entertainment–what we know today as TV shows. His combinations of astounding stories, captured in the moment, captivate millions. Of course, every one of his stories are fabricated and engineered and orchestrated, even though they’re sold as ‘real.’ Unfortunately fore Jere, his backers have begun to see through his tricks. Desperate for another story, one large enough to capture the attention of the world, he teams up with a retired TV executive to create an ad-supported mission to Mars, complete with corporate sponsors and extreme sports events. What Jere doesn’t know is just how captivating his Winning Mars will be.
The author of Stiff and Bonk explores the irresistibly strange universe of space travel and life without gravity. Space is a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh produce, privacy, beer. Space exploration is in some ways an exploration of what it means to be human. How much can a person give up? How much weirdness can they take? What happens to you when you can’t walk for a year? have sex? smell flowers? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a space walk? Is it possible for the human body to survive a bailout at 17,000 miles per hour? To answer these questions, space agencies set up all manner of quizzical and startlingly bizarre space simulations. As the author discovers, it’s possible to preview space without ever leaving Earth. From the space shuttle training toilet to a crash test of NASA’s new space capsule (cadaver filling in for astronaut), she takes us on a surreally entertaining trip into the science of life in space and space on Earth.
A tale beloved by many fans of Robert A. Heinlein, Podkayne of Mars tells the story of a young Marswoman and her inter-planetary adventures with her uncle and her genius brother. Told largely through Podkayne’s diaries, the story details her travel to Earth with her two companions. Podkayne has very definite plans on what to do and how to do it, but not everything is as it seems. She is suddenly thrust into the middle of life and death situations when the liner they are travelling on makes a stop at Venus.
For eons, sandstorms have swept the barren desolate landscape of the red planet. For centuries, Mars has beckoned to mankind to come and conquer its hostile climate. Now, in the year 2026, a group of one hundred colonists is about to fulfill that destiny.
John Boone, Maya Toitavna, Frank Chalmers, and Arkady Bogdanov lead a mission whose ultimate goal is the terraforming of Mars. For some, Mars will become a passion driving them to daring acts of courage and madness; for others it offers and opportunity to strip the planet of its riches. And for the genetic “alchemists, ” Mars presents a chance to create a biomedical miracle, a breakthrough that could change all we know about life…and death.