Archive for The Man Who Conquered Mars

References and Links

The following books and web links may be helpful to the reader interested in a more information about Mars:

Magnificent Mars by Ken Croswell. Copyright 2003 (Free Press). An excellent source book, with photos, illustrations and information. I used this book extensively in researching the subject for my novel.

Postcards From Mars by Jim Bell. Copyright 2006 (Dutton). Fabulous pictures taken by the Spirit and Opportunity Mars rovers. The book gives you a good sense of the lay of the land on Mars.

The Planet Mars: A History of Observation and Discovery by William Sheehan. Copyright 1996 (UA Press). A great source of information concerning successive generations of discovery about Mars.

Mars as the Abode of Life by Percival Lowell. Copyright 1910 (Macmillan). Good book to get an understanding of how some astronomers were thinking a century ago. Lowell’s drawings of the canals on Mars are particularly interesting.

The Mars Project by Wernher von Braun. Copyright 1953 (Univ. of Illinois). This book presents the engineering challenges of an expedition to Mars as they appeared in the early days of space exploration.

Link to the European Space Agency’s “Mars Express”

Link to the “Solar System Live” site

Link to a diagram showing the Aldrin Cycler in action

A Modern Map of Mars

Map of Mars courtesy of Ken Croswell from Magnificent Mars.
Click on the map for more detail.


Map of the portion of Mars where the Colony is located





Areological Epochs

Noachian epoch (named after Noachis Terra): Formation of the oldest extant surfaces of Mars, 3.8 billion years ago to 3.5 billion years ago. Noachian age surfaces are scarred by many large impact craters. The Tharsis bulge volcanic upland is thought to have formed during this period, with extensive flooding by liquid water late in the epoch. An atmosphere forms and is stripped away, possibly several times. Major volcanism occurs during this period as well as bombardment by asteroids, meteorites and comets.

Hesperian epoch (named after Hesperia Planum): 3.5 billion years ago to 1.8 billion years ago. The Hesperian epoch is marked by the formation of extensive lava plains indicating that volcanism continued during this period.

Amazonian epoch (named after Amazonis Planitia): 1.8 billion years ago to present. Amazonian regions have few meteorite impact craters but are otherwise quite varied. Olympus Mons formed during this period along with lava flows elsewhere on Mars. Northern Sea is flooded. Mars colonized by humans.

Planetary Comparisons

A comparison of planetary data as it is currently accepted




Mean Distance

206,640,000 km

149,600,000 km

From Sun

11.488 light-min

8.1778 light-min


24 hrs 39 min

24 hrs


669.6 Sols

365.256 days


669.6 Sols

12 months

Axial Tilt

25.19 degrees

23.44 degrees

Orbital Eccentricity




6792.4 km

12,756.3 km

Orbital Speed

24.13 km/sec

29.79 km/sec


.38 earth


Escape Velocity

5.02 km/sec

11.18 km/sec


.43 earth


Mean Temperature

-55 degrees C

16 degrees C

Air pressure

6-10 kilopascals

1001.3 kilopascals


95% CO2, 3% N

78% N, 21% O




About Mars

Planetary Comparisons

History of the three principal epochs of Mars

Map of the portion of Mars where the Colony is located

A Modern Map of Mars

References and Links

Schiaparelli’s Map of Mars drawn in 1877

The Lowell Observatory

Photo of Phobos from ESA


Photo of Deimos from NASA

Author’s note: Every attempt has been made by the owner/author to insure that the information provided on this website is consistent with the best and current understanding of Mars planetary science; however, this is not a definitive source, only a place to start. For more accurate and in depth information, please consult some of the links in the Reference section above to access data prepared by actual scientists working in these areas of study.

More About the Book

Studying to become an areologist, or Mars geologist, Ana is the oldest person born and raised in Mars Colony and is a leader among her peers. How she answers this unwanted call to leadership is one of her many challenges. Her uncle is the “Vice President in Charge of Everything” for Mars Corporation, as well as mentor and friend to Ana and most of the young people on Mars. While playing detective, Ana balances the romantic attentions of Andy, her young Mars born friend; and Bob, a handsome young Colonist from Kansas. Wise beyond his years with a keen sense of humor, Andy is a courageous fighter in the Colony’s struggle for independence as well as a loyal friend. Equally brave and a brilliant scientist, Bob proves himself to be a steadfast friend to both Ana and Andy.

No doom or gloom here: this story takes an optimistic view of the next 45 years, during which Mars and the Moon are colonized while Earth prospers. Mars Corporation is a multi-national, interplanetary company created for the purpose of colonizing and developing Mars. The major space faring nations as well as private investors have combined their efforts to establish the Colony and finance it; and the economics of interplanetary exploration and development are an important part of the story. Intertwined with the story is a friendly introduction to areology, areography, Mars planetary science, the mechanics of interplanetary travel and the many technical problems encountered while establishing a colony on Mars. During the natural course of the story, environmental issues such as the search for water, resource utilization, the use of nuclear power, solar power, hydrogen power, the rugged climate on Mars and many other science related issues are explored by these capable, likeable and well informed characters.


Some terms used in the book

air lock: A small closet like room between two sealable doors that is used to allow passage between a pressurized space and another space having little or no air pressure. To pass from the cabin of the rover in the story to the outside, one goes into the lock, closes the inside door, and pumps the air out of the lock. One can then open the outside door and step out.

Mars rover: To see the pictures and a description click on the red button above labeled as: “The Book.” Then click on the page entitled “The Mars Rover.”

retro sequence: The sequence of events that occur as the Mars lander is approaching and eventually landing on Mars. First retro rockets fire to insert the lander on the desired flight path to a specific point on the planet, then atmospheric braking occurs during which the lander loses 90% of its kinetic energy in the form of heat, then a supersonic parachute is deployed to futher slow the craft, and finally another set of rocket engines fire to lower the craft to a safe landing.

solar flare: An eruption on the surface of the sun characterized by the discharge of large numbers of high energy particles into space. They can occur at any time, but are most frequent during the 11 year sunspot cycles. Without the protection of Earth’s magnetic field and heavy atmosphere, these storms could be deadly to life on our planet. On Mars, they would be equally dangerous if the Colonist did not seek shelter.

waldo: A mechanical arm or hand equipped with various tools so that the human operator can perform tasks remotely. The term originates from a novel written by Robert A. Heinlein entitled Waldo, in which an eccentric inventor constructs mechanical hands that come to be known as “waldos.”

Areology and Areography

She was standing near the center of a round room that she guessed to be at least ten meters across with a ceiling between four and five meters above the floor. There were two more doorways, these with closed doors, spaced around the room. Ana’s initial investigations revealed no apparent means of opening the doors. Unlike the walls of the tunnel, the room’s walls were metallic and smooth. Spaced evenly between the doors were three platforms extending approximately a meter into the room, two meters in length and positioned one and half meters above the floor. They too had the odd, rounded style of everything else in the room.

“What’s that?” Andy asked, pointing to a rectangular metal box resting on the platform nearest them. The box seemed incongruous because none of the structures in the room or the doors involved right angles or straight edges and the angles they did have were all rounded so as to appear more like curves. They walked to the platform and examined the box.

Excerpt from Chapter III: Titov Ridge

Christina took them through already well explored portions of the cave pointing out various rock and mineral formations; many of which were of particular interest to Ana, as Areology was a part of her field of study.

“This next part of the cave was just discovered a while back by Mattie. She spotted a small hole and when she moved a couple of rocks, it opened into the passage we are entering right now. Since Mattie and I are the only spelunkers here in the Colony, we are the only ones who have seen this, till now.”

The group moved single file through the narrow passage, sometimes having to duck their heads to avoid low hanging rocks. After about 20 meters, the passage opened into a larger space. Christina entered first, then Ana, followed by Bob and Andy. They looked around them, the room dimly lit by only their helmet lights. Many of the rocks in this space seemed to have sharper angles, more like big crystals. Christina switched on the lantern she had been carrying.

Excerpt from Chapter VII: Lowell Station

Illustrations by Joe Hardwick

The Mars Rover

The rover consisted of a flattened cylinder, two meters high on the inside, three meters wide with a bunk on either side, a storage area toward the rear with a rounded Plexiglas window ahead of the controls which were located in front of two bucket style seats. Above and below the bunks were mounted the oven, refrigerator, and storage bins. An airlock was positioned at the rear, with more outside storage on either side of the external door as well as along the sides of the vehicle. Eight meters long from bumper to bumper, the rover was supported by six tired wheels, each with its own suspension and steering system driven by an electric motor. Power came from a combination of 60 square meters of solar panels arrayed above the roof like giant wings, lithium ion storage batteries and a hydrogen/oxygen fuel cell. The fuel for the cell was regenerated using electricity from the solar panels when the cell was not in use. The hull and many of the parts were reused items taken from the robot transports that carried goods from Earth to Mars on a regular basis. The rover was the principal means of transportation for distances up to 250 kilometers on Mars and the main settlements of the Colony were all located within these driving distances of each other. Rovers were all of the same basic design, but could be fitted out for cargo or passenger service, as well as for exploration, as was this one.


Excerpt from Chapter II: The Rover
Illustrations by Joe Hardwick