Mars is a world of contrasts. Much of the southern hemisphere is cratered highlands and much of the northern hemisphere is a low-lying plain that might once have held an ocean. There are volcanoes and canyons much larger than those on Earth, and broad channels cut by vast floods - all formed early in the planet’s history. Mars has suffered extreme climate change. Did life develop there when the planet was warm and wet? Did it adapt to the current arid and cold conditions? We looked for microbes in the soil with indeterminate results. Soon, we hope to drill to seek evidence of microbes living beneath the surface. The implications of finding life on Mars are profound, because if life can develop independently in several places in the solar system then it is probably ubiquitous across the universe. The Mars Owners' Workshop Manual chronicles this story of discovery and looks forward to the time when we will join our robots in exploring the intriguing Red Planet.