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Magnificent Mars. Ken Croswell
In Magnificent Mars, Ken Croswell explores the science, the culture, and the romance of the red planet. So thorough is Ken's treatment that, at times, I felt as though Mars had written its own autobiography. Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and director, Hayden Planetarium

A Traveler's Guide to Mars: The Mysterious Landscapes of the Red Planet. William Hartmann
A Traveler's Guide to Mars revitalizes the Red Planet, leaving readers with the urge to don a spacesuit and take a long trip. With the look and heft of a guide to someplace you might actually go, the book presents Mars as a place of canyons and volcanoes, mesas, and barren plains, not that dissimilar from parts of Earth. Author William K. Hartmann, who participated in the Mars Global Surveyor mission, uses all the photos and data collected by scientists in decades of research to give a thorough, yet not boring, overview of the planet.

Mapping Mars: Science, Imagination, and the Birth of a World. Oliver Morton
Well-known British science writer Morton, a contributor to Wired, the New Yorker and Science, traces scientists' efforts to map and understand the surface of Mars. Because much of the planet's surface material is basalt, which is porous, Morton explains, it is very probable that water from Mars's now dry canyons long ago sank into underground aquifers and froze. Mars has often been regarded as the planet most similar to Earth, but the author describes graphically how startlingly different its topography is. Publishers Weekly

The Smithsonian Book of Mars. Joseph Boyce
From 1985 to 2000 Joseph Boyce provided scientific leadership to NASA as its Mars exploration program scientist. He has lived much of the history of the planet's exploration, and his findings have helped to determine what we know about Mars today. The Smithsonian Book of Mars is truly a firsthand account. Boyce draws his clear explanations of Mars's atmosphere, climate, surface, and interior from the monumental findings of the different NASA missions. Publishers description