The Red Planet:
A Natural History of Mars
Pegasus Books, 2022, 256 pp., Hardcover. $26.95. www.pegasusbooks.com
The history of Mars is drawn not just on its surface, but also down into its broken bedrock and up into its frigid air. Most of all, it stretches back into deep time, where the trackways of the past have been obliterated and there is no discernible trace of where they started from or how they traveled, only where they ended up. From the planet’s formation 4.5 billion years ago, through eras that featured cataclysmic meteor strikes, explosive volcanoes, and a vast ocean that spanned the entire upper hemisphere, to the long, frozen ages that saw its atmosphere steadily thinning and leaking away into space, planetary geologist and author Dr. Simon Morden presents a tantalizing vision of our nearest neighbor, its dramatic history, and its astonishing present.