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.