The Search for Life on Mars (Hardcover)

The Greatest Scientific Detective Story of All Time

By Elizabeth Howell, Nicholas Booth

Arcade, 9781950691395, 400pp.

Publication Date: July 7, 2020

List Price: 27.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Published to coincide with the launch of NASA’s Mars 2020 rover mission, the definitive account of our quest to find life on the Red Planet.

From The War of the Worlds to David Bowie to The Martian, and to the amazing photos sent by the rovers Curiosity and Opportunity, Mars has excited our imaginations as the most likely other habitat for life in the solar system. Now the Red Planet is coming under scrutiny as never before. As a new set of missions are scheduled to launch from the United States and Kazakhstan, this book tells in full the greatest scientific detective story ever.
For the first time in forty years, the missions heading to Mars will look for signs of ancient life on the world next door. It is the latest chapter in an age-old quest that encompasses myth, false starts, red herrings, and bizarre coincidences—as well as heartbreaking failure and remarkable triumphs. This book, by two journalists with deep experience covering space exploration, is the definitive story of how life's discovery has eluded us to date, and how it will be found somewhere and sometime this century. Based on more than a hundred interviews with experts involved in the exploration, it looks back to the early Mars missions such as Viking 1 and 2, but its focus is on the revelations from the most recent ones as well as on recent experiments, such as the simulated Mars habitation on Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano and in the Utah desert, where Elizabeth Howell was embedded for two weeks.
And the book looks forward to the newest, most exciting frontier of all: the day, not too far away, when humans will land, make the Red Planet their home, and look for life directly.

About the Author

Elizabeth Howell, PhD, is one of the few people who lived in a simulated Mars base. An award-winning journalist, she regularly contributes to, Sky & Telescope, Forbes, and the Canadian Broadcast Corporation. Now president of Science Writers and Communicators of Canada, she holds an undergraduate degree from Carleton University and two postgraduate degrees in space studies from the University of North Dakota. She's witnessed five human space launches—three from Florida and two from Kazakhstan. She lives with her husband in Ottawa Canada.
Nicholas Booth has worked for Astronomy Now magazine, wrote about science for British newspapers, and was a technology editor on The Times (London). He is the author of true-life detective stories about spies and fraudsters, including Zigzag: The Incredible Wartime Exploits of Double Agent Eddie Chapman, published by Arcade, and The Thieves of Threadneedle Street. His first thriller, Messiah, was published in 2019. He lives in Cheshire, England, with his wife and their two cats.