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The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity (Scientists in the Field)

4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  178 ratings  ·  69 reviews
On June 10, 2003, a little rover named Spirit blasted off on a rocket headed for Mars. On July 7, 2003, a twin rover named Opportunity soared through the solar system with the same mission: to find out if Mars ever had water that could have supported life.A thrilling addition to the acclaimed Scientists in the Field series, The Mighty Mars Rovers tells the greatest space r ...more
Hardcover, 80 pages
Published June 19th 2012 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published June 18th 2012)
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Barb Middleton
My husband talked me into taking a geology class while attending University. I lasted two weeks. I say this because I really liked the first part of this book and the focus on robotics, but I lost interest when it shifted toward the study of rocks on Mars. I'm a tech geek. I love the guts of metal contraptions moreso than silica and pyllosilicates. See why I dropped my class? Rock names like that can lull or tangle a brain in minutes. While I thought this book was well researched and well-writte ...more
Kyra Calnan
The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity written by Elizabeth Rusch; was a fascinating non-fiction story about the space rovers that were launched onto Mars in 2003. The rovers were designed with a number of different tools that allowed them to function on Mars as a sort of robotic geologist. The creator Steven Squyres wanted to take his passion for physically exploring our planet to Mars by developing a robot/rover that would be able to not only take pictures ...more
Cory Mccune
Audience: Intermediate
Genre: Non-fiction
Remembering - Who is Steve Squyres?
Understanding - Why was the timing of the mission to Mars so important?
Applying - If you were to meet Steve Squyres, what one question would you ask him?
Analyzing - Compare the missions of Spirit and Opportunity.
Evaluating - What is the greatest discovery made by the rovers on Mars? What is the significance of the discovery you chose?
Creating - What do you predict for the future of the Mars project and for other
1.) The Lost Planet by Rachel Searles, copyright 2015

2.) In The Lost Planet, Chase is struggling to figure out who he really is, what happened to him, and how he is going to navigate danger on the planet Trucon. In The Mighty Mars Rovers readers are taken along on Steven Squyres (and countless other scientists/engineers) journey to land rovers on Mars and learn more about the planet. Readers can connect the two texts by examining the different planetary and outer space environments that Chase e
Becky B
Follows the Mars Rovers projects from the time Steven Squyres dreamed them up to their acceptance as a mission, then development, and then on Mars soil for several years. Illustrated by pictures taken by the rovers.

This is kind of a biography of Spirit and Opportunity, the two Mars rovers from 2000 to 2010. I was actually pleasantly surprised by the time covered. Kids books like this tend to get rushed to print and leave you right after the project finally got started, but this one covers till 2
Amber Bush

Rusch, E. (2012). The mighty Mars rovers: The incredible adventures of spirit and opportunity. HMH Books for Young Readers.

NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Books 2012


This was a fascinating non-fiction journey of the highly anticipated and debated question on if there has ever been life on Mars. This book follows the two rovers as they went on a space mission to find out the answers to this puzzling theory. With a combination of both visually appealing illustrations and riveting textua
Wendy Loewenstein
Twin Text: There's Nothing To Do On Mars by Chris Gall, @2008

Rationale: I selected this picture book about a family who moved to Mars because of the connections between the story and what the rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, discovered when they landed on Mars. In the book, a bored little boy is sent outside to play, wearing his space helmet. The author/illustrator tells of dry riverbeds, canyons, craters, volcanoes and the lack of water on Mars. All these geographical features are recorded in my
Taylor Melum
Citations: Rusch, Elizabeth. (2012). The mighty mars rovers: the incredible adventures of spirit and opportunity. New York, NY. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children.
Genre: Non-Fiction
Format: Picure book
Reading level: 5
Theme/topic: Space

Summary: The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity, by Elizabeth Rusch is a nonfiction chapter book about America’s mission to go to space. She begins by explaining the people involved and their dreams of one day creating somethin
Shannon Jacob
Rusch, E. (2012). The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventure of Spirit and Opportunity. New York: HMH Books for Young Readers.

ALSC 2013 Notable Children’s Book


This exciting book tells the true story of two rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, that soared into space on a mission to find out if there was ever water on Mars that could have sustained life. The adventures of these rovers are shared through the eyes of Cornell University's professor of astronomy, Steven Squyres. Rusch cl
Maddie Sharp
In the story Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity the incredible true story of the Mars rovers is brought to life again in the form of an educational storybook. Through pictures and the written word the story of the two Mars rovers “Spirit” and “Opportunity” is told again providing the reader an experience like seeing the mission first hand. The Mars rovers were sent to Mars in 2003 in search of water on the red planet. The pictures provided for this book are i ...more
Edward Sullivan
Another outstanding book in the always reliable Scientists in the Field series. Excellent information, great storytelling, superb illustrations, and attractively designed.
This narrative nonfiction book tells the story of the twin Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, which were launched in 2003 for a three month mission. It begins by introducing the lead scientist, Steven Squyres, and explaining how he first became interested in Mars. Then background information on the development of the rovers, including their scientific instrumentation, is explained. Finally, the rovers blast off, and details of their big discoveries and major troubles are discussed, including t ...more
Kellie Eckert
Genre: Information
Age Range: 3rd-8th grade
Summary: The book follows the story of two rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, who were sent to Mars to search for evidence of life. Curriculum connection: This book could be used for a variety of reading lessons including text features and summarizing. It could also be used in a science unit on space.
I enjoyed this book. I particularly like learning how the different scientist contributed to the overall mission. The pictures helped with understanding and
The Mighty Mars Rovers describes the six year mission of Spirit and Opportunity. Steven Squyres's tough rovers were meant to last just three months, but they were able to battle though treacherous terrain, mechanical errors and long sandstorms to send back valuable data proving the existence of water on Mars. As Rusch states, the rovers "did the work of geologists, meteorologists, chemists, photographers, mountain climbers, and crater trekkers." What The Mighty Mars Rovers does well is show that ...more
”Are Martians real? As silly as it may seem, this question has driven Mars exploration for decades. People all over the world yearn to know: Is there life on Mars? If not, has there ever been life on Mars?”
As part of the “Scientists in the Field” series, Rusch follows the development of the Spirit and Opportunity Mars rovers, as well as their years of exploration on Mars.

Why I like this book: Other wonderful books about the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity exist, notably Alexandra Siy’s CARS O
Jim Erekson
Because the mission was so heavy on photographs, it was interesting to look at all the images in one place. I've seen the odd image with a news story, but haven't looked at all of this visual information in one place. It was exciting to see the tracks where they accidentally discovered silica.

The story uses the narrative thread of how the team's estimates of the rovers' performance were always outshone. They spoke of the rovers anthropomorphically, but it was obvious that this was a way of cele
This could be a good read aloud to 4-6th grade students - even 7th/8th. Fascinating, fascinating how a team of engineers and scientists can design, create and send a small rover to Mars to explore and learn more than we've ever known about the planet. If you're exploring the Next Generation science standards with students - this book is the perfect illustration of what the standards mean by science and engineering, by scientific and engineering practices, by true collaboration - over time that i ...more
This was a great introduction to the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity. The book really showed the work and excitement that team had during these missions. Amazing. These rovers are truly little machines that could. I loved the pictures of the teams on Earth as well as the photos from Mars. I really appreciated the captions telling about how the picture was created - there are some pictures that are "photoshopped" to give the reader the view of being able to see the rovers on Mars. This is a pe ...more
In the eleven chapters in this book (part of the Scientists in the Field series), readers are drawn into the world of a team of scientists responsible for sending two rovers to Mars back in 2003. Readers follow the mission from its inception through lift-off and then as the two rovers, launched a month apart, explore Martian terrain at the behest of the men and women on the ground. Spirit and Opportunity were expected to last only three months, but both explored Mars for six years in search of c ...more
Summary: This is an information text about the 2 Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity and their extraordinary journey to and work on the red planet.

Critique: Photographs. Set up like a textbook, this books has excellent photos of Mars, the rovers, and the creators. The "inside look" provided by this book is amazing.

For example: There are even pictures of the "clean room" where the rovers were built and the fake Mars landscapes that the engineers used to work Spirit and Opportunity out of snags.
Audience: Primary (3rd-5th grades) and Intermediate (6th-8th), could use with 1st or 2nd grade for the photographs with judicious summarizing by teacher.
Genre: Informational Non-fiction
Twin Text:
Mousetronaut by Astronaut Mark Kelly
The nonfiction book is very heavy with informational text as well as beautiful, primary photographs depicting the rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. While this book looks wonderful, and provides a in-depth timeline of these rovers and the people who worked on them, young
Ms. Yockey
Jun 28, 2012 Ms. Yockey marked it as to-read
Shelves: nonfiction
June 2012
Ask Ellen

Booklist starred (June 1, 2012 (Vol. 108, No. 19))
Grades 5-8. After briefly discussing the search for life on Mars, Rusch introduces Steven Squyres as a 13-year-old boy watching the Apollo 11 moon landing. Later, while studying geology at Cornell, he came across Viking mission photos that inspired his career as a planetary scientist and astronomy professor. This handsome volume from the Scientists in the Field series spotlights Squyres’ work at NASA as “principal science inv
Elizabeth Kysa Sedivy
The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventure of Spirit and Opportunity is a non-fiction book written by Elizabeth Rusch about two scientists in 2003 who created designed and created two Rovers which they sent to space to find out more information about Mars and if it was capable of having water, if it ever had water, and if either were true could Mars ever support life. This is based on a true story and has a lot of very interesting pieces of information and facts about the process of what w ...more
This book is two stories in one book. A short biography of Steve Squyres and his involvement in building and directing the rovers on Mars is printed in small text. Pictures of the building of the rovers, the landscape of Mars, and the rovers in action are also included on each page. Text about the rovers and the Martian landscape is printed in a larger font. A teacher and/or student can choose to read the biography of Steven Squyres or only the information about the rovers or both.

This book with
The mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible adventures of Spirit and opportunity by Elizabeth Rusch

Ms Rusch puts science back in the fun corner giving the reader an adventure to root for the little guys! Both rovers opportunity and spirit take us on a tour of the planet Mars way beyond their three-month life expectancy and more.

As the little rovers chug along completing mission after mission Ms Rusch's descriptive words puts the reader in the driver's seat. Add both the beautiful images and diagram
Grace Willits
This is a fascinating non-fiction story about the space rovers that launched onto Mars in 2003. The rovers were designed with a number of different tools that allowed them to function on Mars and collect research. Steven Squyres created these robots based on his passion for physical exploration from Earth to Mars. The robots have the ability to take pictures of the Mars, crack open rock, X-Ray the soil and discover things about the planet that are impossible to do from only images. Primarily, th ...more
Sandi Rossman
I reviewed this book for the informational category. The source was the Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students, K-12: 2013.

This book chronicles the story of two rovers, Spirit and Odyssey, from their creation to their journeys to Mars. What will inspire readers most is the attention to details concerning Steven Squyers and his amazing and emotional journey to make sure these rovers worked well and kept going despite facing obstacles on Mars.

The organization of this book is interesting beca
Apr 28, 2014 Ekassel added it
Shelves: 642-shelf
Age: 3rd-8th

Genre: Informational

Summary: This book follows the journey of the Mars Rovers Spirit and Opportunity, having the reader become one of the team members to experience the mission firsthand.

Curriculum Connection: This book can be used in science during a unit on space, specifically Mars. It could also be used in a discussion on astronauts.

Personal Reaction: My favorite part of this book was all the pictures and the quotes from people actually working on the mission.
In the summer of 2003 NASA launched two identical robot probes towards Mars. Named Spirit and Opportunity they landed successfully on opposite sides of the red planet to begin their three month mission. Unlike previous probes they were mobile vehicles designed to move about the surface and take rock samples. They discovered evidence that water once existed on the Martian surface. Tougher than expected their three-month mission was extended into years and covered far more of the planet’s surface ...more
Lady Lioness
I picked this off the Stars So Far list because the rover Curiosity had recently landed successfully on Mars. I admit to being teary-eyed while reading The Mighty Mars Rovers because while it does present a factual look at the creation and life of the rovers Spirit and Opportunity, it's also a testament to humanity's ingenuity and determination.

All of the illustrations are photographs, presumably publicity stills from NASA and shots taken by the rovers on Mars. The photos could almost be taken
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ELIZABETH RUSCH is an award-winning children's book author and magazine writer. She writes both fiction and nonfiction in the areas of science, art, sports, waves, jokes, crayons, and mud — anything that catches her fancy.

Her recent title, The Mighty Mars Rovers The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), a Junior Library Guild selection, has garnered starred r
More about Elizabeth Rusch...

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