Title: THE MIGHTY MARS ROVERS
Author: Elizabeth Rusch
Publication Info: Houghton’s Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2012
Source: Library copy
Intended audience: ages 9 and up
Genre: nonfiction, picture book (80 pages)
Themes/topics: Mars, space, science
Opening and synopsis: “Are Martians real? As silly as it may seem, this question has driven Mars exploration for decades. People all over the world yearn to know: Is there life on Mars? If not, has there ever been life on Mars?”
As part of the “Scientists in the Field” series, Rusch follows the development of the Spirit and Opportunity Mars rovers, as well as their years of exploration on Mars.
Why I like this book: Other wonderful books about the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity exist, notably Alexandra Siy’s CARS ON MARS. However, Rusch focuses much of her book on the team behind the Spirit and Opportunity Mars rovers. She shines the spotlight on Steven Squyres, the principal science investigator, who dreamed up the rovers as “rolling geologists.” It was Squyres’s sheer grit and determination that brought this mission to fruition, after NASA turned down his proposals for eight years. Rusch shows how scientists see the rovers as extensions of themselves on Mars, truly as “scientists in the field.” Rusch also previews the Curiosity rover, which landed on the Red Planet last month, kicking off a planned two-year mission.
- Spirit and Opportunity are known as the Mars Exploration Rovers. Check out NASA’s Web site here.
- My uncle recommended this fantastic panoramic video of Mars courtesy of Opportunity.
- Rusch has some fun activities on her page, including eating like an astronaut and making a Mars crater cake. What a tasty way to experience the Red Planet!
- Curiosity fact, figures, educational activities and GAMES! Your children can drive Curiosity on Mars using Freedrive. Learn about the rover in a virtual martian environment. If you have an XBOX 360, you can download Mars Rover Landing for free.
- Watch the Curiosity landing.
Every Friday bloggers review “Perfect Picture Books.” Find a complete list of book reviews organized by topic, genre and blogger at author Susanna Leonard Hill’s site.