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The Case for Mars [Paperback]

Robert Zubrin; Richard Wagner
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The planet Mars is a world of breathtaking scenery, with spectacular mountains three times as tall as Mount Everest, canyons three times as deep and five times as long as the Grand canyon, vast ice fields, and thousands of kilometers of mysterious dry riverbeds. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Today's Visionary March 13 2004
I have had the unique opportunity to meet Robert Zubrin at a couple of conferences. He is a brilliant, funny, visionary, cantankerous engineer who has become a serious leader in the space advocacy community. His personal style comes across in his writing. He's a bright guy with a serious ax to grind about Mars, how we should get there, and how NASA is screwing up.
Most of his criticism is based upon NASA's handling of "the 90-Day Report," the report the agency submitted to President Bush after he called for a manned mission to Mars. What the scientists at NASA came up with was a huge, visionary program that would require every new technology known to manned space activity, from solar power to zero-gravity construction to cold fusion. Oh yeah, a lot of that hasn't been invented yet, will take 30 years to accomplish, and will cost taxpayers $450 billion. It is the bureaucratic mindset that sets Zubrin off.
Mixed in with all the specific technical information are history lessons about exploration and its difficulties, as well as insights on why we need to explore and the value of Mars itself. Since the release of "The Case for Mars," Dr. Zubrin has formed his own space advocacy group called The Mars Society, which is already setting up its own Mars habitat simulator in an arctic desert of Canada.
He has also taken to describing ways in which the government can best fund the mission, such as offering a "Mars Prize" of $30 billion that would only be awarded to a successful mission. Zubrin shamelessly invokes Kennedy, Lindbergh, Frederick Jackson Turner, and others, and jumps in with a "can-do" attitude that will remind the reader of NASA or "Star Trek" in their better days.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A good read, but the ideas are not his Dec 8 2003
By A Customer
I'm a strong proponent of Mars travel, and the U.S. really needed a book like this one. The book is well written and brings the audience in. I could only dream of writing such a coherent book on this subject.
But, here's a big issue that I have with the book. Many people have come to believe that Mr. Zubrin came up with these ideas for ISRU, and other Mars propulsion related topics. In actuality, these great ideas came from a series of conferences called "the case for Mars" ('80's) and published work prior to that ('70's); all of which came about without his input.
All of the engineering and scientific ideas detailed within the book are not his by any means. He's simply an Engineer with charisma that voiced the ideas of others and tried to apply them. I thank Zubrin's predecessors for their ingenuity.
On another note, I must mention my admiration for NASA. NASA ended up receiving harsh criticism from Zubrin, but they later supported his proposals because it was important to their overall goal. It's tough for any organization to do that, but NASA would never let it's mission be stopped by criticism. Go NASA!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Inspiring Oct. 14 2003
I have been interested in the space program for years, and after several years of wondering if Mars would ever be within human reach, I am thoroughly convinced. Contrary to readers who apparently skimmed the book, Zubrin does indicate a variety of launch vehicles, including the Saturn V but also a number of Russian and recent American developments. He also calculates the costs of restarting the Saturn V program and figures them into his equations. He gives weight to monetary concerns that NASA officials seem to have neglected, concerns that deter some politicians and solutions that could make believers of them.
His reasons for going to Mars also make sense. One element, found in five times the abundance on Mars as on Earth, sells on the free market at thousands of US dollars to the kilo. Scientific research is also a benefit, and the discovery of possible Martian life would provide insights into what genetic elements are universal to all life, and which are native to Terra Prima. The medical implications for the global community are staggering.
And contrary to belief, the discovery of life off of the Earth does not discount religion, it is simply a blow to certain, and then only some, Creationists. As a religious person, a born-again Christian, in fact, I would not find the implications of alien life deterring, but exciting, and possibly, should there be intelligent life, an opportunity for evangelism. The religious argument is without merit.
The book is wholly inspiring, and the Mars Direct and Mars Semi-Direct programs needs to be heard in the halls of Congress. An excellent read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Economics, Economics, Economics. Cold War is Over. Sept. 11 2002
Great Read. Dr. Zubrin is a true scientist and engineer and knows his subject. I read the book with breathless attention all through the night. Kept me up all night. Dr. Zubrin describes how to get there, who should go, how to "live off the land" when on Mars, and why Mars is so special and different than any other planet.
The first half of the book is a must read for any space enthusiast. The Space Shuttle, Space Station are earth orbits, non-exploration projects. We have not gone any further since Apollo 11 . Who gets excited about circulating around the Earth studying MicroGravity.
There are bigger fishes. Dr. Zubrin explains why Mars and only Mars has potential to have harbored life and may in the far future offer a second home for mankind. Dr. Zubrin goes into technical details in book.
However, Dr Zubrin like all smart scientist and engineers, they need to deal with lowly things like politics and economics. Economics is reason we are not going to Mars. The Cold War sent us to the moon because we did not want to sleep under a "Communist Moon" Dr. Zubrin, all space enthusiast out there, need an economics reason. The Cold War is over. Emotional arguments like, exploration, knowledge and curiosity does not cut it anymore.
In the 21st. century we will only go to Mars for one simple reason: Economics. We need a economic way to go there. Estimates range from $500 billion to $30 Billion. Range is too wide. What the hell are we going to do there besides kicking rocks and taking pictures. Are there mineral deposits we can bring back. Dr Zubrin was on the radio recently. All the callers "Joe Six Pack" are asking "what for me". Fortunately or Unfortunately, if we are able to answer this question to the public: we will then have a Missions to Mars. Science is great for Einstein and fellow scientist. The man, woman, child on the street wants to know "whats for me". If Dr. Zubrin can answer this question, we will go to Mars.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Too self-congratulatory
Zubrin is a bit too self-congratulatory. The time he takes in each chapter to pat himself on the back drags down an otherwise interesting, if unrealistic, study of human space... Read more
Published on July 16 2004 by Sarah Sammis
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read
I have always had a fascination with astronomy. After reading this book, that fascination turned almost into an obsession with Mars. Read more
Published on April 21 2004 by Jason Pugh
5.0 out of 5 stars A Variety of Mars Data in One Place
Dr. Zubrin did a great job of bringing a lot of research about a variety of Mars related subjects into one place. Read more
Published on March 27 2004 by Richard J. Gould
3.0 out of 5 stars Burns Out Fast.
It's easy to get caught up in Zubrin's excitement as he describes a way to send humans to Mars within 10 years, leapfrogging NASA projects and cutting NASA cost estimates by 90%. Read more
Published on Aug. 13 2003
2.0 out of 5 stars Not enough Science
The polyanish attitude of Zubrin to dismissing real hurdles to a Mars mission makes this book more of a cheerleading manual than a science treatise. Read more
Published on May 18 2003 by Cab Stewart
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is really great!
In 1989, in response to President George Bush's call for a manned mission to Mars, NASA produced a plan, a plan so expensive and unwieldy, it never had the chance to become... Read more
Published on July 15 2002 by Kurt A. Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like Mars, read it
This grabbed my eye one day in a Boulder bookstore, I read a few pages and was immediately hooked. I've read like 15 Mars-related books since then and the end is not in sight. Read more
Published on July 1 2002 by Justin Feeney
5.0 out of 5 stars The Red Planet minus Van Damme
Kiddies, put your sci fi books away. This is not your parent's Mars.
In this deep and enthralling book, Robert Zubrin lays out, point by point, his method of madness for... Read more
Published on March 8 2002 by J. Edmonson
2.0 out of 5 stars Half good, half bad
The first half of "The Case for Mars" convincingly describes an economically viable, technically sound and scientifically relevant plan for a manned mission to Mars. Read more
Published on Feb. 7 2002 by LUCIO DE S COELHO
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