Available at Bloomsbury and Amazon.
"Mars is ingrained in our culture, from David Bowie’s extra-terrestrial spiders to H. G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds. The Red Planet has inspired hundreds of scientists, authors and filmmakers – but why? What is it about this particular planet that makes it so intriguing?
Ancient mythologies characterised Mars as a violent harbinger of war, and astrologers found meaning in the planet’s dance through the sky. Stargazers puzzled over Mars’s unfamiliar properties; some claimed to see canals criss-crossing its surface, while images from early spacecraft showed startling faces and pyramids carved out of rusty rock. Did Martians exist? If so, were they intelligent, civilised beings?
We now have a better understanding of Mars: its red hue, small moons, atmosphere (or lack of it), and mysterious past. While little green Martians are now firmly the preserve of literature, evidence is growing that the now arid, frozen planet was once warmer, wetter, and possibly thronging with microbial life. Soon, we may set foot on the planet. What challenges are involved, and how are we preparing for them? Is there a future for humanity on Mars?
In 4th Rock from the Sun, Nicky Jenner reviews Mars in its entirety, exploring its nature, attributes, potential as a human colony and impact on 3rd-Rock culture – everything you need to know about the Red Planet."
Read some reviews:
"Nicky Jenner mounts a compelling case for why Mars is worth the effort. There is a chapter for everyone: The science fiction geek who spends her time thinking about laser swords and warp drive will learn about geology and the intricacies of navigating the solar system, while the hobby geologist will be introduced to a multitude of examples of pop culture inspired by the red planet. The latter is where the book really shines, as Jenner considers the influence of Mars on our history and culture. 4th Rock from the Sun is more motivational manifesto than instruction manual, offering just one chapter on the technical difficulties of going to Mars but an entire book on why we should still try. In doing so, it serves to inspire the reader to root for this next potential milestone in human history." Science magazine
"The book is an easy and thoroughly enjoyable read with a friendly chatty style, and it manages to pack in an awful lot of information." - Sky at Night magazine
"4th Rock from the Sun is both a useful and enjoyable read, especially for those interested in the planet’s cultural significance as much as the science." - Physics World magazine
"It’ll satisfy readers with factoids aplenty and even teach space nerds something new." - Publishers Weekly
"Readers can launch into any section and discover something new and fascinating about our celestial neighbor. With several missions to Mars in the works and the Curiosity rover wheeling around it as we speak, digestible works like this will find a wide audience. Earthlings who dream of Martian colonies or are simply interested in the next frontier of exploration will learn a lot from Jenner’s title." - Chad Comello, Library Journal
"An up-to-date and engaging overview for space buffs, sf fans, and anyone interested in separating the facts from the fiction." - Carl Hays, Booklist