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Book Reviews


Mars 3D -
A Rover's-Eye View of the Red Planet
Author: Jim Bell

Publisher: Sterling

ISBN: 978-1402756207

Price: £14.99 (Hb), 160pp


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Jim Bell is a planetary scientist working on those intrepid Martian rovers Spirit and Opportunity. But just like you and especially me he has that childlike love of everything 3D. This
passion for Mars is rolled out over 160 pages in this beautiful and well-captioned book, with over 60 images in anaglyphic stereo, some in full colour.

Scheduled to last just 90 days after  touching down in January 2004, the rovers are still exploring today five years on, having survived several computer glitches, extreme Martian winters, energy sapping dust storms, faulty drive wheels and getting stuck in thick Martian dust traps. For all this, their discoveries have been simply amazing. They have seen first-hand evidence of past episodes of Martian water, flooding the plains in which they are exploring. They have revealed much about theweather and how the bedrock has been laid down over the millennia. They have even seen space-borne meteorites lying on the surface of Mars. And all of this recorded by their colour stereo cameras.

Whilst the book looks trite and childish, Jim Bell's intimate knowledge of the rovers gives us a depth of understanding that no ordinary writer can provide, and the book's design and feel are correct. The 3D vistas within the pages will inspire a new and younger audience to the unfolding drama.

The book's cover has an integral 3D viewer, allowing the reader to instantly see Martian surface features in fabulous stereo, safe in the knowledge that the blue-red glasses will never be lost. This great idea might, however, have its pitfalls for those that need to wear glasses for close up work.

Easy reading, easy captions, easy 3D.

Greg Smye-Rumsby

 

2009 Yearbook
This 132-page special edition features the ultimate observing guide for 2009, a review of all the biggest news stories of 2008, in depth articles covering all aspects of astronomy and space missions for 2009, previews of International Year of Astronomy events and much, much more.
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Infinity Rising
This special publication features the photography of British astro-imager Nik Szymanek and covers a range of photographic methods from basic to advanced. Beautiful pictures of the night sky can be obtained with a simple camera and tripod before tackling more difficult projects, such as guided astrophotography through the telescope and CCD imaging.
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Exploring Mars
Astronomy Now is pleased to announce the publication of Exploring Mars. The very best images of Mars taken by orbiting spacecraft and NASA's Spirit and Opportunity rovers fill up the 98 glossy pages of this special edition!
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Mars rover poster
This new poster features some of the best pictures from NASA's amazing Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity.
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