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Exploring Mars: Chronicles from a Decade of Discovery Paperback – February 1, 2012
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"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
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.
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More About the Author
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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
This book - which is a fantastic read for anyone interested in Mars or space exploration in general - tells the step-by-step story of a brilliant (and almost blindly optimistic) scientist who stepped up to rescue NASA's Mars program, and maybe even NASA as a whole. Virtually everyone on Earth watched as the twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity sent back amazing pictures and data from a mission that succeeded beyond anyone's wildest dreams. And the entire world held it's breath as the Curiosity rover set down in August of 2012 in a terrifying and picture-perfect landing. These are some of the missions that are the fruit of Scott Hubbard's labor as NASA's "Mars Czar." And these are the missions that have recaptured humanity's interest in Mars and in space exploration as a whole.
"Exploring Mars" pulls back the curtain on NASA's process. It shows how one articulate and persistent person can build consensus, change cultural behaviors and make huge things happen. Important things. And these things - traveling to and landing on another planet - are about as difficult as it gets.
Needless to say, I loved this book. It reawakened my belief in our ability to continue exploring space. And it's simply a great story. If you want to know exactly how we go to Mars and WHY we go to Mars, check it out. In fact, check it out if you just want to be reminded of the amazing things humans can do when they focus, put petty issues aside, and work together.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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... Read morePublished on August 11, 2013 by Amazon Customer
Dr. Hubbard is a great inspiration for younger generations for the work, passion, and the out-of-this-world goals he has accomplished. Read morePublished on May 26, 2013 by Dragos Bratasanu