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The Mars Project [Paperback]

Wernher Von Braun , Henry J. White
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 29.12 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

Oct. 1 1962
This never-before-printed science fiction novel by the original "rocket man," Wernher von Braun, combines technical fact with a human story line in the way that only a true dreamer can realize. Encompassing the entire story of the journey, this novel moves from the original decision for a Mars mission, through the mission planning, the building of the mighty space ships, the journey, the amazing discoveries made on Mars, and the return home. The author's attention to the actions and feelings of the characters—both those who went and those who stayed behind—makes this an adventure of human proportions, rather than merely another fanciful tale. This exclusive von Braun treasure comes complete with an appendix of his original technical drawings, made in the late 1940s, on which the story's plot is based.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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About the Author

Dr. Wernher von Braun was instrumental in developing Germany’s V-2 rocket during World War II. After the war, he emigrated to the United States and became a driving force behind America's space-launch vehicles. America's first satellite and the Apollo spacecraft that landed on the Moon were launched by rockets designed by von Braun. He is the author of The Mars Project. 
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic! Aug. 23 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book is a real classic. You will see how rocket wizzard and space visionary Wernher von Braun and his colleagues imagined a manned mission to Mars with the technology available in the mid 20th century. With today's knowledge and financial horizon, von Braun's vision looks pretty oversized, and the surface of Mars certainly is very different from what they believed 50 years ago. The very value of this book is that it simply showed how such an extensive mission could be made feasible -- that it is possible to send people to Mars without fancy technology of science fiction writers. The authors use some calculus and diagrams to explain the complicated flight dynamics for sending a spacecraft to another planet and landing on its surface.
Today we know that a mission to Mars will not look like von Braun's "Mars Project" but it is good to know that most of the basics haven't changed. Buy this book together with Robert Zubrin's "Case for Mars" and you'll see the progress within half a century.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A book for the true space junkie. Nov. 29 1999
Format:Paperback
Do you wonder how they did it? How they actually figured out how to get to the moon? Well, this is Von Braun's plan for getting to mars using the technologies available in the early 1950's and it shows the detailed thinking necessary to figure out how to make it all work. Lots of math and diagrams. My vote for the best book of the century. To give you some idea, I already own this book, a 1962 edition. It is getting too precious to thumb through.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for the true space junkie. Nov. 29 1999
By "jumptozero" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Do you wonder how they did it? How they actually figured out how to get to the moon? Well, this is Von Braun's plan for getting to mars using the technologies available in the early 1950's and it shows the detailed thinking necessary to figure out how to make it all work. Lots of math and diagrams. My vote for the best book of the century. To give you some idea, I already own this book, a 1962 edition. It is getting too precious to thumb through.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly Rated, but Not for Everyone Nov. 21 2007
By Terry Sunday - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Project Mars" answers a burning question long posed by serious students of aerospace history: "What in the world did Wernher von Braun do for those five long years between 1945 and 1950 while he was cooling his heels in near-isolation at Fort Bliss, Texas?" The answer is that, among other things, he wrote this book.

"Project Mars" is a fictionalized tale about the first manned expedition to the Red Planet. As a science fiction novel, it has little to recommend it. Its stodgy style, tortured dialog passages and primitive narrative structure are even worse than most other contemporary books of the genre--which did not set the bar very high themselves. For example, have you ever heard a real person use the word "obstreperous" in ordinary conversation? Some of this may, of course, be due to its translation from German into English, but, even so, "Project Mars" is a breathtakingly bad novel. It's easy to understand why it languished in unpublished limbo for 60 years.

However, as a detailed technical description of the hardware, operational concepts and design challenges involved in mounting a massive ten-spacecraft Mars expedition, firmly grounded in the knowledge and engineering techniques available in the late 1940s, "Project Mars" is a superb and important historical document. Remember that, when von Braun wrote it, Sputnik I, the first artificial Earth satellite, was still 10 years in the future. At that time, very few people took seriously the idea of "men" journeying into space. The very thought of a mission to another planet was laughable. "Project Mars" is, in essence, a primer on elementary spaceflight concepts for readers who had never heard of such a thing before. The exhaustive, excruciatingly detailed descriptions of the spacecraft, the orbital trajectories, the mission timelines, the mass budgets and so on were thus necessary to convince readers that such an expedition was technically feasible. Unfortunately, we'll never know if it would have had the intended effect, since it did not see the light of day until long after spaceflight became "routine."

All things considered, I rate "Project Mars" with four stars because of its depth, scope and historical significance. Its magnificent, exquisitely printed Chesley Bonestell paintings alone are nearly worth the price of admission. It should appeal to readers with a real interest in finding out what one of the two greatest rocket engineers of the 20th century (the other being Sergei Korolev) thought about the future of the technology he developed. But "Project Mars" is pretty deep and very technical, so casual readers will probably want to give it a pass.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic! Aug. 23 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is a real classic. You will see how rocket wizzard and space visionary Wernher von Braun and his colleagues imagined a manned mission to Mars with the technology available in the mid 20th century. With today's knowledge and financial horizon, von Braun's vision looks pretty oversized, and the surface of Mars certainly is very different from what they believed 50 years ago. The very value of this book is that it simply showed how such an extensive mission could be made feasible -- that it is possible to send people to Mars without fancy technology of science fiction writers. The authors use some calculus and diagrams to explain the complicated flight dynamics for sending a spacecraft to another planet and landing on its surface.
Today we know that a mission to Mars will not look like von Braun's "Mars Project" but it is good to know that most of the basics haven't changed. Buy this book together with Robert Zubrin's "Case for Mars" and you'll see the progress within half a century.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars for the appendix! Aug. 13 2007
By Albert A. Jackson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book probably ought to be subtitled THE MOST IMPORTANT SCIENTIFIC APPENDIX EVER PUBLISHED!
Well, its not the worst SF I have ever read, but its true I doubt if even in 1950 anyone would have published this in the US.
Strange, the preface is not signed, the translator wrote it? Anyway the preface does not mention that when von Braun submitted this to a German publisher the novel was rejected, but the publisher/editor, thought the Appendix was dynamite!

So that is how Das Marsprojekt, The Mars Project, the Colliers Series, the Disney Series and Exploration of Mars came to be. Possibly , the Colliers Series provided the lasting kick that got the Apollo program invented.

[...]

I notice a curious mix of Bonestell's in the book, some from Colliers and some from Exploration of Mars, not a good job referencing these paintings.

The 'Publisher's Introduction' seems ignorant or choose to neglect the fact that John Campbell and his boys (Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke......) had banished BEMS and Brass Bras to the realm of third string SF mags starting about 1938! Realistic scientifically accurate space flight SF was common currency in 1950.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a sci-fi novel! April 23 2010
By JC - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book will open your eyes about how difficult is to plan and carry out the trip to Mars, but that it is not impossible nor a sci-fi idea. It is not a novel, and many pages will not say much to most readers, but each chapter shows a small gem and give you the main ideas on how it should be done (with the knowledge and technologies of the 1950s). It explains in less than one hundred pages how to reach one of the biggest milestones for humanity.
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