Since the beginning of human history Mars has been an alluring dream—the stuff of legends, gods, and mystery. The planet most like ours, it has still been thought impossible to reach, let alone explore and inhabit.
Now with the advent of a revolutionary new plan, all this has changed. Leading space exploration authority Robert Zubrin has crafted a daring new blueprint, Mars Direct, presented here with illustrations, photographs, and engaging anecdotes.
The Case for Mars is not a vision for the far future or one that will cost us impossible billions. It explains step-by-step how we can use present-day technology to send humans to Mars within ten years; actually produce fuel and oxygen on the planet's surface with Martian natural resources; how we can build bases and settlements; and how we can one day "terraform" Mars—a process that can alter the atmosphere of planets and pave the way for sustainable life.
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.
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A very good book. Explains why humans MUST land and eventually colonize Mars.
Changing the Course of History
This is one of the few books that may have changed the course of history. Its release the late 1990s made many people aware that the colonization Mars was a very real possibility. Zubrin's passionate arguments for a new approach to reaching and exploring the planet Mars caused thousands of serious space enthusiasts and even NASA to reconsider the priorities of the world's space programs. It prompted the founding of the Mars Society in 1998.
In time, I think that this book may rank with the Colliers Magazine articles in the 1950s by Wernher von Braun and others that explained to the general public how man would conquer space. The is a must read for any serious student of space exploration.