Monday, 3 November 2008

Mars book by Kevin Nolan, IAA Meeting, IAA Lecture Programme


Hi all,

1. A notable new book on Mars by Kevin Nolan from Dublin, "Mars - A Cosmic Stepping Stone" has just been published. Many of you will know Kevin, as he has been the Irish Representative for The Planetary Society for many years, and has given lectures to many amateur astronomy groups throughout Ireland. In fact, he is booked to give one on this very subject to the Irish Astronomical Association on 4 March.

It has been published by Praxis/Copernicus Books of New York, and is a very good quality production. I haven't read it all yet, but am very impressed but what I have seen so far!

Kevin writes: "The book provides an insight into Humanity’s legacy with the planet Mars and examines how Mars may soon play a critical role in uncovering the origin of life on Earth and its cosmic abundance; with important consequences for humanity. With chapters examining the origin and universal context for life, our chequered history of engagement with Mars, current and imminent far-reaching programs for Mars and their results, and their political consequences and impact on planetary biological protection; this book is a comprehensive work on the subject.

My motivation for writing this book stems from responses to public lectures and articles about Mars exploration, where many remain unconvinced by the value of such exploration. This book strives to correct this by revealing the scientific and sociological relevance of such endeavours. And, while the book was thoroughly researched, refereed and provides in-depth and up-to-date science of Mars exploration, it also informs about the many critical issues beyond the core science.

I believe the book to be relevant to a wide readership, most importantly for the general public young and old, but also for educators, media experts, artists, writers, science communicators, entrepreneurs and policy makers considering issues of space exploration; and of course science enthusiasts, undergraduates and graduates and astronomers and scientists seeking a succinct overview."

The production seems to be of the good quality one would expect from this publisher, and Kevin writes with an easy but authoritative style. The coverage is extremely comprehensive, and includes some of the very latest data from the various spacecraft at or on Mars. It's very well illustrated, with 53 colour and 112 monochrome plates, and has a comprehensive index.

“Mars – A Cosmic Stepping Stone” is now available at these (and other) outlets:

Amazon; Books-A-Million; Barnes&Noble; Blackwells; WHSmithEasons;; the_book_depository_; Harvardubookstore; Woodys-books; BUYALLBOOKS

   The official web site for the book is:

    The Table of Contents, Extracts, and the Index can all be viewed on-line at; while a description of the book can be found on

Congratulations to Kevin on this excellent piece of work!

2. The next IAA Meeting will be on Nov 12: It will be a 'Hands-On Telescopes' evening, covering all practical aspects of choosing & using telescopes & binoculars.

3.  There is a mistake in the IAA Programme Card: the lecture by Gerry Doyle should be on December 10, instead of December 12.

Clear Skies,

Terry Moseley

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