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The Case for Mars Paperback – 1997

4.5 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Paperback, 1997
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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Free Pr (1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684835509
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684835501
  • Product Dimensions: 21.5 x 14 x 2.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,005,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Human settlement on Mars need not await the development of gigantic interplanetary spaceships, anti-matter propulsion systems or orbiting space bases, assert the authors of this exciting, visionary report. Instead, the "Mars Direct" plan?developed in 1990 by astronautical engineer Zubrin, and presented to NASA, where it has won supporters?calls for sending a crew and their artificial habitat directly to Mars via the upper stage of the same booster rocket that lifted them to Earth orbit. Then the crew will live off the land, growing greenhouse crops, tapping subsurface groundwater, manufacturing useful materials, constructing plastic domes and brick structures the size of shopping malls. Geothermal power would be tapped from hot regions near once-active volcanoes. Zubrin, senior engineer at Martin Marietta, and Wagner, a former editor of Ad Astra, weaken their case by arguing that a nascent human civilization on Mars will revive Earth's frontier spirit and American democracy, saving Western civilization from technological stagnation. Nevertheless, their detailed blueprint makes a fast-track mission to Mars?with an estimated price tag of $20-$30 billion?seem remarkably doable.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From Amazon

"For our generation and many that will follow, Mars is the New World," writes Zubrin. This book went to press serendipitously, just as NASA was making its startling if heavily-qualified announcement that simple life may have once existed on the fourth rock from the sun. Zubrin doesn't spend an enormous amount of time arguing why Mars exploration is desirable -- we all want astronauts to go there, don't we? -- but rather devotes the bulk of this book explaining how it can happen on a sensible, bare-bones budget of $20-30 billion and a "travel light and live off the land" philosophy. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback
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"In this book...I will lay out in detail a plan for a near-term human Mars exploration...

It is my firm belief that we now possess the technology that could allow a human landing on Mars within ten years of any time a decision is made to launch the program. As I write this, it's 2011, and if we launch in October 2022, the first human crew will arrive April 9, 2023. On Mars [this will be] the height of the northern Martian spring. The weather will be at its best, with clear skies and low winds, and a landing will be called for...

The human exploration of Mars is not a task for some future generation. It is a task for ours.

We hold it in our power to begin the world anew.

Let's do it."

The above is found in this fascinating, detailed, and accessible book by Dr. Robert Zubrin with Richard Wagner. Zubrin is an aerospace engineer, president of the aerospace R&D company "Pioneer Astronautics," and the founder and president of the "Mars Society." Wagner is the former editor of "Ad Astra," the journal of the National Space Society.

When this book was first published in 1996, the late, great Dr. Carl Sagan called Zubrin the man who "nearly alone, changed our thinking on this issue." And I can see why! In this spectacular revised and up-to-date book we are shown how a manned flight to Mars can be achieved.

Zubrin's master plan for getting to Mars is called "Mars Direct." It is "the quickest, safest, most practical, and least expensive way" to do so using present-day technology. He explains this plan in detail.

Getting to the "red planet" is only the first step though. There then must be exploration and settlement of Mars.
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Format: Paperback
I loved this book and read it in a matter of days, but my wife got bored about half-way through because of the level of technical detail and the author's repetition of his guiding principles. I'm giving 5 stars because I liked those aspects. His technical details paint a crystal clear picture of how the plan would be executed and why it would work. His writing speaks to his belief that this can be done here and now, and that it should be.

If anyone's told you that we can't go to Mars, they're wrong. Here's the bullet points:
* We don't need plasma drives or any other kind of fancy propulsion. Ordinary chemical rockets can get us there and back in six months each way, with 1.5 years stay on the surface in between. That's a great mission!
* The importance placed on radiation in the media is absurd. Cosmic and solar radiation aren't going to fry these guys, they just boost cancer rates to 3% higher than the 40% chance the rest of us already have. Remember the Challenger disaster? Remember Columbia? Astronauts volunteer by the thousands to ride a highly explosive rocket into the vacuum of space. Cancer is not high on their list of worries.
* We don't need to go to the moon again. It has no worthwhile resources. It's just a gravity well that you have to burn fuel to land on and then burn more fuel to get off of.
* We don't need any more space stations. It's orders of magnitude cheaper to build a large rocket on Earth and launch straight to Mars then it is try building anything in Earth orbit.
* We don't need more research on micro-gravity and bone loss. There have been astronauts that lived in space for more than a year and they're doing just fine.
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Format: Hardcover
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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