I recently went in person to the largest bookstore in my state,went item by item though the towering shelves of books on astrononyand space, and simply could not find a more worthwhile book on space than Barry DiGregorio's. The amount of detailed and painstakingly compiled information it contains makes even the most highly-touted popular works on space pale by comparison.
More importantly, this book isn't mere space trivia. This is an amazingly clear and thorough look into what will ever remain a major historical even in human history, but even more importantly, this is a rare in-depth look at the background behind one of the most pressing issues of our time.
While Barry's detractors (and there are many, frequently being self-professed "debunkers" lurking the internet, ready to denounce anything and everything, even the works of Nobel nominees whose discoveries weren't part of these detractors' own dated eductions) are demonstrably willing to subject him to the same "pariah process" that has somehow gotten Dr. Levin branded with the "has-been" nonsense that no one who played a participatory role in our historic space exploration would be subjected to had they not embraced ideas that do not conform to the emasculated tastes of their detractors. (For perspective here, imagine the audacity of levelling this same slur of "has-been" at our astronauts simply because they have not flow a mission in decades! They have been, and rightly remain, heroes. The targeting of Levin for this kind of treatment should be a warning sign in itself.)
Disturbingly, what DiGregorio's detractors stand to "gain" is to help obscure the folly of a planned frightening and reckless return of potentially living and potentially virulent material from Mars.
While the plans for this material following landing require it to be considered as and treated as a potential biological hazard, demonstrating that in practice even our space agencies do not embrace the fashionable dismissal of Dr. Levin's viewpoint, we face the paradox that in spite of these concerns and precautions, the planned manner of sample return poses many opportunities for the escape of this material prior to landing.
Particularly now in light of the incompetence implied by the inexplicable loss of the Mars Climate Orbiter (to name only the latest) and the cloud of misinformation that remains to dissipate around the matter, any promises from space agencies that we can be assured of a perfect and safe landing of this material on its way into quarranteen ring particular hollow, and the reckless and unnecessary gamble with human safety becomes even more patently obvious.
Barry's authority and sincerity in the matters of Martian life are readily visible in his involvement with ICAMSR- International Committee Against Mars Sample Return- and I enthusiatically urge everyone to explore these highly important aspects of Barry's career and their appropriate representation on the internet, as well as this most remarkable book.
It is alarming to see what Barry has been subjected to simply for asking for perfectly sensible and perfectly viable alternatives to be employed in order to elimate the risks of a Mars sample return, just as it is to see the tenuous, dated and speculative science that has been used to argue in favor of taking a wholly needless risk.
Knowing something of Barry through his communications on internet forums, where he patiently and deftly demonstrates his sincerity, knowledge, and confident patience in the face of endless juvenile abuses, I am even more impressed to see that rare author who has taken their own work deeply to heart and been willing to consistenly practice exactly what they preach, and go far beyond the call of duty to see that their message is shared.
"Mars: The Living Planet" deserves to be called an essential work in the truest sense of the phrase. No matter what may be said, I encourage everyone to discover this for themselves, as well as Barry's work with ICAMSR.