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Destination Mars: New Explorations of the Red Planet [Paperback]

by Rod Pyle, Robert Manning
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 24, 2012 1616145897 978-1616145897
In the next decade, NASA, by itself and in collaboration with the European Space Agency, is planning a minimum of four separate missions to Mars. Clearly, exciting times are ahead for Mars exploration. This is an insider’s look into the amazing projects now being developed here and abroad to visit the legendary red planet. Drawing on his contacts at NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the author provides stunning insights into the history of Mars exploration and the difficulties and dangers of traveling there. After an entertaining survey of the human fascination with Mars over the centuries, the author offers an introduction to the geography, geology, and water processes of the planet. He then briefly describes the many successful missions by NASA and others to that distant world. But failure and frustration also get their due. As the author makes clear, going to Mars is not, and never will be, easy. Later in the book, he describes in detail what each upcoming mission will involve. In the second half of the book, he offers the reader a glimpse inside the world of Earth-based "Mars analogs," places on Earth where scientists are conducting research in hostile environments that are eerily "Martian." Finally, he constructs a probable scenario of a crewed expedition to Mars, so that readers can see how earlier robotic missions and human Earth simulations will fit together. All this is punctuated by numerous firsthand interviews with some of the finest Mars explorers of our day, including Stephen Squyres (Mars Exploration Rover), Bruce Murray (former director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory), and Peter Smith (chief of the Mars Phoenix Lander and the upcoming OSIRIS-REx missions). These stellar individuals give us an insider’s view of the difficulties and rewards of roaming the red planet. The author’s infectious enthusiasm and firsthand knowledge of the international space industry combine to make a uniquely appealing and accessible book about Mars.

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Destination Mars: New Explorations of the Red Planet + The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Destination Mars brings to life an extraordinary part of human exploration—the preliminary reconnaissance of the planet of dreams over the last fifty years. Enlivened by interviews with many of the participants, Destination Mars makes you feel as if you are exploring the planet with them."
-Steven J. Dick, Former NASA chief historian

"The enigmatic Red Planet does not easily give up its secrets. Yet Destination Mars takes the reader on a first-class journey to this new world, one that continues to be a magnet for inquisitive scientists and space engineers. This is a superb, fact-filled, up-to-date book that portrays the legacy of spacecraft and personalities—from cheerleaders to unsung heroes—that have opened up the terra incognito that is Mars to extraordinary exploration."
-Leonard David, Space Insider columnist, SPACE.com

"Mars has long held a special fascination for Americans, perhaps it might even be a planet that harbors life. Rod Pyle has written a fine account of this fascination, outlining the history of the robotic space probes sent to the Red Planet and the knowledge gained through these expeditions."
-Roger D. Launius, Senior curator, Division of Space History, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

"[A]n optimistic, enthusiastic survey of humanity’s ongoing duel of wits with our neighbor planet. Interviews with some of the people involved in Mars missions show the thread of curiosity and wonder connecting the Mars exploration projects of the last fifty years. Getting to Mars has been really difficult, but for Rod Pyle the problems just make it more interesting and worthwhile."
-Stephen Fentress, Director, Strasenburgh Planetarium, Rochester Museum & Science Center

About the Author

Rod Pyle is the author of the widely praised books Destination Moon and Missions to the Moon, as well as the popular audiobook In Their Own Words: The Space Race. He has written and produced numerous documentaries for the History Channel and Discovery Communications, including the acclaimed Modern Marvels: Apollo 11 and Mars: 100 Years of Discovery. Pyle has been an assistant professor at the University of La Verne, California, and frequently lectures at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 348 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (April 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616145897
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616145897
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #177,762 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Few of us have a chance to do what we really love and get paid for it. After years of working in many industries, including television, new media, academia and others, I have been blessed with the rare opportunity to write books. I hope you enjoy them.

Like many of my generation, I was enthralled by the flights of Mercury, Gemini, and especially Apollo. As those ghostly images came down from the moon, improving on each flight, I stayed home from high school to savor every moment the networks were willing to show us (at the expense of the daytime soaps, which eventually won the airtime battle). The Viking landings and journey of the Pioneers and Voyagers to the outer planets followed shortly thereafter. As I grew older and matured into a career and family life, fond memories of NASA's "Golden Years" stayed with me. And then came the opportunities to write first "In Their Own Words: The Space Race" (an 8-hour audiobook), and later, "Destination Moon" and "Missions to the Moon," which includes facsimiles of important and rare documents from the space race.

"Destination Mars," a survey of the US Mars exploration program from its origins to the Curiosity rover was released in 2012, and I am writing two more space exploration titles for 2013. Please stay tuned for updates.

This is a thrilling time for planetary exploration and I hope to share this excitement with many more readers.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Written, Captivating, and Highly Recommended! April 7, 2012
By decor8
Format:Paperback
As a child during early 60's, I remember how captivating our early voyages into space were. We sat glued in front of the television each time a mission of any kind went into space, and everyone, children and adults alike understood that space exploration was an incredibly important milestone in the history of humankind. In the last twenty years or so it seems that space exploration has taken a back seat to many other forms of technological advancement and the public in general has lost its passion for, and interest in, space ...that is until Rod Pyle and his amazing research and delightful narrative has reminded us what it's like to be captivated by the drama and magnificence of space exploration.
Destination Mars rekindles our love affair with space exploration by reminding us of the incredible amount of knowledge, daring, and limitless curiosity that propels scientists to reach out into the unknown. Pyle's comprehensive explanation of Mars exploration past, present, and future, coupled with fascinating information about the Red Planet itself, makes for an exciting, informative, and entertaining read. This is a book that will appeal to armchair astronauts, space enthusiasts, and anyone else interested in learning more about our closest planetary neighbor and the incredible scientific efforts put forth to find out more. Highly recommended!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You feel like you were part of the team April 4, 2012
Format:Paperback
This is a truly impressive effort, documenting a part of history that few experienced, yet that all should know about. Even if you are not a space enthusiast, Rod Pyle will take you into a world where the passion to know what's out there rules the day, where exploration and discovery are important. Space exploration has lost the attention of the media - and therefore the public - for a long time and the consequences are showing. Fewer kids are being inspired to study science and the U.S. is losing its leadership in space. This book's attention to the details of the human need to explore just might start us back on track.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific read! April 4, 2012
Format:Paperback
I fell into this book by accident at a book store, picked it up and after turning a few pages couldn't put it down. I'm formally not a "space fanatic" but this little book grabbed me and wouldn't let go. It's a breezy, engaging and thought-provoking read and I learned so much (author Pyle knows a ton). For anyone not or even remotely interested in Mars or space, it's a joy to read. And for anyone who is a "space fan," it's a MUST read!

Kudos to author Pyle for "Destination Mars"!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cannot recommend it highly enough August 1, 2012
By Mikster
Format:Paperback
A bit about me, I'm a planetary science and space exploration nerd and even with all that I was a bit concerned that not enough detail would be provided for me, yet too much provided to turn off the general public. This book struck the right balance and knocked it right out of the park.
The chapters themselves are only a few pages long yet contain interviews with those who are involved with the missions as well as fascinating info about the personalities, the spacecraft, the results of the missions themselves that will draw in the reader and encourage them to find out more. Cannot recommend it highly enough.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Rod Pyle has written the best summary about the history of our exploration of the Red Planet. Pyle starts with the fanciful pre-Space Age beliefs about Mars especially those like Percival Lowell who proposed that Mars was covered with intelligently engineered canals. Then we find out the many difficulties the US and former Soviet Union has had in successfully orbiting and landing probes on Mars. There seems to be a 'Great Galactic Ghoul' that has caused the failure of many attempts to explore the secrets of Mars including the infamous back-to-back failures of our Mars Climate Orbiter and the Mars Polar Lander in the late 90's. But Pyle's book isn't about the failures of our missions to Mars but rather the amazing successes we have had in ferreting out the secrets that had been hidden for so long. Pyle writes in very accessible language for the layman while still providing commentary from several of the scientists who participated in these missions for their unique perspective. The biggest successes in exploring Mars have come over the past decade with the prolific data gathered by the Energizer Bunny rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, the Mars Global Surveyor, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Phoenix Lander. We now know that there is water on Mars which means there could be life. Pyle discusses the Mars Science Laboratory which is on its way to Mars as I write this scheduled to land in August. It is the Cadillac of landers with a host of sophisticated tools on board to search for the elusive evidence of life. It will be a risky landing and let's hope it is successful because it can really advance our understanding of Mars' history and present. It would be a huge discovery to finally prove that life exists (or did exist) on Mars or to prove that life has not existed on Mars in Gale Crater. Read more ›
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hooked me right in from the start... April 4, 2012
By Guan
Format:Paperback
This was a good read. The amount of detail Rod Pyle was able to access and more importantly, write compellingly about, made for a documentary-story that would satisfy hardcore space exploration fans and even more casual readers like myself. Pyle writes with passion, focus and heart, and you can see how clearly in love he is with the subject.

I personally love the chapter titles as well. They depict, in broad strokes, the breadth and variety of human effort, focus and desire in the history of Mars exploration, and how, as Manning describes in his foreword, each discovery builds on the foundations laid by earlier revelations. It is truly about standing on the shoulders of giants!

As we head into a new era of Red Planet discovery with impending planned missions, I'd see this as required reading for anyone involved in or interested in space exploration.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Rip off
It's a copy of another book! Amazon should do more to stop this kind of thing !
In hard bound books this wouldn't happen.
Published 4 months ago by Joyce C. Hinds
5.0 out of 5 stars A Mars Odyssey
Rod Pyle delivers an in-depth, clear recollection of the Mars' topology, geology and its importance in the Solar System, including similarities it shares with Earth. Read more
Published 5 months ago by D. Wayne Dworsky
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book on Mars exploration
This is one of the best books on the Mars explorer projects. Full of facts and inside information only someone who was there could know. This book is worth the money.
Published 6 months ago by J. Hite
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive and compelling
Pyle's "Destination Mars" is a fantastic go-to book for anyone interested in Mars, Mars exploration, and the broader context for understanding the planet in human terms. Read more
Published 8 months ago by David Valentine
5.0 out of 5 stars Rod Pyle loves all things Mars, and it shows
Wonderful, fun, informative and intelligent book by a fine writer. Recommended to anyone interested in Mars and/or space travel. Fine job by Rod Pyle.
Published 8 months ago by Sherry Baker
5.0 out of 5 stars Good!
I bought this for my husband who is not an avid reader usually. A book has to really capture his attention t get him t read it. He read this one in just a few days!
Published 9 months ago by Carolyn Stein
4.0 out of 5 stars it is interesting book
if you like to know information and history of space explorations, this is quite good choice. writers who wrote this book are working in NASA. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but informal style can be jarring
This is a breezy summary of Mars exploration. Good points - interviews with some key scientists and engineers, and the overall sweep of the story which nicely captures some of the... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Ralph Lorenz
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
I got this for my nephew who is into space exploration. I also read it and found it to be very well written, informative and extremely interesting. I highly recommend it.
Published 11 months ago by Sanjay Aggarwal
4.0 out of 5 stars Good and nice book
Good and nice book. Should have some technical background on space exploration to understand the terms used in book.
I will give 4/5
Published 12 months ago by Vivvy
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