cover image Snows of Olympus: A Garden on Mars

Snows of Olympus: A Garden on Mars

Arthur Charles Clarke. W. W. Norton & Company, $25 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-393-03911-5

Human beings could visit Mars in the early part of the 21st century if the resources were made available, asserts science-fiction novelist Clarke. Citing a report issued by the International Space University after its annual symposium in Toulouse, France, in 1991, he outlines a three-phase Mars mission: precursor robot probes to locate suitable landing sites and resources, followed by an automatic space-freighter carrying supplies and equipment and, starting in 2018, a piloted expedition. Clarke leans toward nuclear-electric propulsion and sees the moon as a potential low-gravity base. He envisions a terraformed Mars, re-engineered for human habitation, complete with abundant vegetation, unfrozen lakes, increased oxygen in the atmosphere and the greenbelting of Olympus Mons (Mount Olympus), the giant Martian volcano. Clarke's own dramatic computer-generated images simulating a terraformed Mars, along with Viking orbiter photographs and artists' renditions (in all, 80 color and 20 black-and-white images) make the Martian future look tantalizingly real. Newbridge Book Club selection. (Oct.)