By any measure, Hans Mark was a warrior of the Cold War. Born in Mannheim, Germany, in 1929, he spent his early childhood in Vienna before escaping the Nazi Anschluss in 1938 and eventually emigrating to the United States, settling in New York. He graduated from high school in 1947, went west to attend the University of California, Berkeley, and later earned a PhD in physics from MIT. His work in nuclear engineering soon set him on a path that would be shaped by aeronautics, space exploration, and national defense. It was through advanced technology that Mark believed the United States could win the Cold War.
In An Anxious Peace, Mark recounts in detail his life as a twentieth-century “rocket man.” Here is the inside story of one who—in a career spanning more than six decades—was on the technological front line, from long-range bombers to the space shuttle. Along the way, Mark reveals many never-before-told stories from life at NASA and more.
Readers will revel in learning the background behind the decision to place a plaque on Pioneer 10, a space probe that the NASA Ames Research Center designed to fly past the asteroid belt, Jupiter, and Saturn to collect data and images. Mark tells how he, Carl Sagan, and NASA insider John Naugle kept secret the addition of the now iconic 6x9-inch aluminum “message from humanity” until the probe had been launched. To this day Mark is pushing for a manned mission to Mars. One thing is sure: Hans Mark has left a major impact on academic and scientific communities that will be felt for decades to come.