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Exploring Mars: Chronicles from a Decade of Discovery Paperback – February 1, 2012

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Exploring Mars: Chronicles from a Decade of Discovery + 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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: University of Arizona Press (February 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816528969
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816528967
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,081,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"It's high time somebody revealed the underbelly of why and how we travel to the Red Planet. Leave it to NASA's 'Mars Czar' Scott Hubbard to tell this story. Yes, we're all explorers, but every mission to space is enabled by financial, political, and cultural forces that you never hear about--without which there'd be no enterprise of discovery at all." --Neil deGrasse Tyson

"Mars is not a friendly place--and neither is Washington. Scott Hubbard knows how to navigate deftly in both places--and the end result is a Mars exploration campaign that emerged like a Phoenix from a pair of smoking holes in the rusty red soil. His story is filled with outsized egos, undersized budgets, and nail-biting tension as he performs mission impossible: turning an epic failure into a space-age triumph." —Miles O'Brien

 "Space-exploration and Mars enthusiasts will find much here to whet their appetites." —Booklist

 "Hubbard's strong suit is his yearning for good science at the service of education and public outreach. He outlines the program's balance as regards orbital and land-based exploration, the systems-engineering approach, the expected high level of return, the budgetary consideration and the program's probes into ancient Mars and current Mars. The author closes with an impressive list of the program's successes over the last decade. A lucid, concentrated appreciation of the technological, political and scientific imperatives that guide the nation's approach to Mars." —Kirkus Reviews

"Exploring Mars is Hubbard's absorbing story of how he [helped NASA], starting by creating teams of talented scientists and engineers inside a headquarters building that is, as he writes, "a combination of alphabet soup and numerology" that was rife with internal politics and power trips."--The San Francisco Chronicle

About the Author

Scott Hubbard is a professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University. He has been engaged in space-related research as well as program, project, and executive management for more than 35 years. He spent 20 years at NASA, including serving as director of NASA’s Ames Research Center and received NASA’s highest award, the Distinguished Service Medal.

More About the Author

Scott Hubbard has been recognized as an innovator and leader in science, technology and management for more than 35 years - including 20 years with NASA.

He currently is a Professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University where he focuses on planetary exploration, especially Mars and also serves as the Director of the Stanford Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation.

From 2002 to 2006 Hubbard was the director of NASA's Ames Research Center. In 2003 he served full time as the sole NASA representative on the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB), where he directed impact testing that demonstrated the definitive physical cause of the loss of the Columbia.

In 2000 Hubbard served as NASA's first Mars program director and successfully restructured the entire Mars program in the wake of mission failures. His book entitled, "Exploring Mars: Chronicles from a Decade of Discovery", describes his work on NASA's Mars Program.

Scott is the founder of NASA's Astrobiology Institute, establishing it in 1998. He conceived the Mars Pathfinder mission with its airbag landing and was the manager for NASA's highly successful Lunar Prospector Mission. Earlier in his career, Hubbard led a small start-up high technology company in the San Francisco Bay Area and was a staff scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Hubbard has received many honors including NASA's highest award, the Distinguished Service Medal. He was elected to the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA), is a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and also was awarded the Von Karman medal by the AIAA. He has published more than 50 research papers. Hubbard received his undergraduate degree in physics and astronomy at Vanderbilt University and his graduate education in solid state and semiconductor physics at the University of California at Berkeley. Prof. Hubbard regularly serves on both National Research Council and NASA Advisory committees. He continues his 40-year interest in music by regularly playing guitar in a jazz group.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By jdliv on August 30, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You won't learn much about Mars from reading this book - or much about the exploration of Mars, although the last chapter does quickly review some of the highlights of Mars missions of the past decade, while Hubbard was "Mars Czar." Most of the book is a fairly tedious review of Hubbard's activities navigating the bureaucracy of NASA and Congress, including endless meetings and negotiations. That said, Mars missions have been quite successful under Hubbard's leadership, so those interested in the details of how things get done in Washington might find the book of interest.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mary Ann Liebert on September 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
Scott Hubbard has written a very comprehensive and readable book that chronicles over a decade of discovery. Whether you have always been interested in NASA's space program or are a newbie who is enthralled with the Mars Science Laboratory and its phenomenal Rovers, you will find something fascinating in every chapter. The launch and landing of the Mars Rovers always makes headlines, but the back story is as interesting, if not more so.
Scott Hubbard was asked to restructure NASA's Mars Program in 2000 after some very public and costly failures. His responsibilities encompassed both the technical program and navigating the political waters in Washington, DC. Budget considerations are always front and center, and at the same time the technical and engineering decisions must be those that ensure the missions success. Hubbard who had served as director of NASA's Ames Research Center, and set up NASA's Astrobiology Institute, became known as the Mars Czar, and the expectations of turning the Mars project from failure to success were huge.
From it's earliest days, sample return from The Red Planet was a goal, but enormous effort was first needed to determine the best sites for a sampling return mission. Earth and Mars must be in the right alignment for a launch approximately every 26 months, so if things go wrong with a mission, a two year wait for the next one is hard for Washington to live with, especially given NASA's budget, which has been constantly diminished, while at the same time, the work that goes into science, engineering, rocketry, computer programs, communication equipment, robotics, and remote operations cannot be less than absolute! Orbiters, which get little media coverage must be able to perform flawlessly as well.
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By Amazon Customer on August 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Sometimes we take the accomplishments of NASA and all those involved with explorations for granted. And to think it all began with a simple question: "is there life out there".
Just getting past all the bureaucracy and individual fifedoms can be a daunting task even before solving the math of how do we get there
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