As students prepare to head out for summer vacation, World Book is inviting them to do a little space exploration with its newest special feature, Mars: Exploring the Red Planet, available on the comprehensive World Book Online Reference Center (http://www.worldbookonline.com) as well as on the World Book Concise Encyclopedia (http://www.worldbook.com).
The special feature includes contributions by Steven W. Squyres, a professor of astronomy at Cornell University and principal investigator for the Mars Exploration Rover Mission. World Book, which is a NASA partner in helping educate the public about space exploration, also collaborated with the space agency to develop the feature segment on the proposed Aerial Regional-Scale Environmental Survey (ARES) Mars scout mission.
The Mars feature provides students with a comprehensive overview of the red planet, from how it got its name to the description of such physical features as its surface and temperature, and details on the exploration of Mars from the first through the most recent endeavors, including Spirit and Opportunity.
The feature also includes a discussion of NASA's long-term Mars exploration program using "scout" missions to explore the planet, such as the proposed ARES mission, which will use a robotic, rocket-powered low-flying aircraft to provide the first direct measurements of the near-surface of the Martian atmosphere. The aircraft will travel over hundreds of miles to collect information crucial to better understanding Mars and the potential for life on the planet. An ultimate goal of Mars exploration is to send manned missions to Mars by the mid-to late 2000's.
The Mars feature also provides students with a variety of editor-reviewed links allowing them to explore further, including links to universities, government agencies, NASA, and space societies.
Source: World Book, http://www.worldbook.com