The best books about Mars 📚

Browse the best books on Mars as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of The War of the Worlds

The War of the Worlds

By H.G. Wells

Why this book?

I first experienced The War of the Worlds on screen, with the movie from 1953 and then the incredibly obscure TV series in the late 1980s. I didn’t read the book until I was well into my 30s, but when I did, I was captivated. Wells told a story that was so difficult to accept that no one has even tried to accurately represent it on screen. But it’s brilliant: a tale about the horrors of war, written before any of the wars of the 20th century that would make people realize he was right.

From the list:

The best books for the end of the world

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Book cover of The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must

The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must

By Robert Zubrin, Richard Wagner

Why this book?

Robert Zubrin is the foremost authority on how to get to Mars, and in addition to his engineering expertise, he is one of the most prominent advocates of colonizing it. This classic book, now in its updated 25th Anniversary edition, should be read by everyone interested in the future of humankind. It contains more technical detail about space travel than some people will care to learn, but that can be skimmed; the section about colonization, and the concluding chapter explaining why going to Mars is important, are what I chose it for. In Zubrin's opinion and my own, Mars is…
From the list:

The best books about colonizing Mars of interest to young adults

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Book cover of Roving Mars: Spirit, Opportunity, and the Exploration of the Red Planet

Roving Mars: Spirit, Opportunity, and the Exploration of the Red Planet

By Steven Squyres

Why this book?

Zubrin’s book proposes a tantalizing what-if. Steve Squyres’ Roving Mars presents readers with an exciting and suspenseful blow-by-blow account of an awesome thing that actually happened: the successful landing on Mars of the rovers Spirit and Opportunity, and the jaw-dropping success of those lovable little robotic beetles. It was hoped that the rovers might function for as long as 90 days. Opportunity performed for 15 years. (Spirit, that slacker, phoned it in for only 6 years.) Squyres, an astronomer, was the principal investigator for the mission, and he proves to be an enormously appealing guide: enthusiastic, excitable, grateful, humble.…
From the list:

The best books about exploring the galaxy

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Book cover of Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover

Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover

By Markus Motum

Why this book?

This nonfiction picture book takes an unusual approach in presenting the story of the Curiosity rover. Curiosity tells the reader about her extraordinary journey to Mars. I was fascinated and enlightened reading details about the construction, launch, and landing of this complex robot. The illustrator’s earthy palette compliments the subject matter. The last illustration of the tiny rover on the red planet left me in awe. It reminded me of standing at the rim of the Grand Canyon and gazing at a scene so vast I couldn’t possibly take it all in. Check out the rover’s path here!

From the list:

The best robot books for little kids with big-tech taste

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Book cover of The Sirens of Mars: Searching for Life on Another World

The Sirens of Mars: Searching for Life on Another World

By Sarah Stewart Johnson

Why this book?

This book provided me with a way to think of another planet as a real planet—not some abstract spot in the sky. In it, Sarah Stewart Johnson interweaves her own personal story of becoming an astronomer with the science of Mars, the planet she studies, and the efforts of some humans who came before her. Reading it, the philosophical and personal and scientific mixed together in ways that made all three lenses more focused and powerful for me—and made me see the Red Planet in a new way.

From the list:

The best books to make night sky your new BFF

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Book cover of The Mars Challenge: The Past, Present, and Future of Human Spaceflight

The Mars Challenge: The Past, Present, and Future of Human Spaceflight

By Alison Wilgus, Wyeth Yates

Why this book?

The first three books on this list are focused on the history of space exploration; The Mars Challenge is all about the future. Told us a conversation between an ambitious student and a more experienced space professional mentor, The Mars Challenge explores just that – the numerous challenges humanity will have to overcome before we can take the first steps on the Red Planet. In doing so, it threads a needle brilliantly – doing justice to the complexity of these challenges, but presenting them in a way that a lay reader can understand. The book is perfect for inspiring the…

From the list:

The best books for a graphic-novel exploration of space

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