From Publishers Weekly
Readers will thrill to this slightly offbeat firsthand account of scientific determination and stubborn intellect. Kessler, producer of a Discovery Channel documentary on Mars and the self-professed winner of "the space-nerd lottery," was allowed to shadow the 2009 Phoenix Mars Lander mission, which would make the groundbreaking discovery of water and ice on Mars. A product of NASA's 1990s "faster, cheaper, better" mantra, Phoenix had none of the space program's usual bells and whistles, with a recycled lander and a mission control with a decided "church basement aesthetic." But there was free ice cream. Offered this unique opportunity, Kessler felt some self-doubt and had trouble adjusting to a work schedule set by the long Mars days. But along with his own witty personality, he captures the lively scientists behind the project, from Peter Smith, "world's greatest Martian Photographer," to Matt Robinson, a robot arm expert. Kessler also captures the frustrations and triumphs of a project in which a 15-minute communications lag between Mars and Earth meant anything could go wrong. This behind-the-scenes look delivers a fascinating journey of discovery peppered with humor. (Apr.)
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Readers will thrill to this slightly offbeat firsthand account of scientific determination and stubborn intellect...This behind-the-scenes look delivers a fascinating journey of discovery peppered with humor. (Publishers Weekly)
A candid and precise account of the ups and downs of a space mission. This book shows what it is to participate in a short and intense landed Mars expedition. It gives the feel of the pressure and excitement at mission control, where engineers, managers and scientists work together while trying to satisfy contradictory requirements, showing the human side of science with refreshing honesty. (Nilton Renno, Professor of Atmospheric and Space sciences, University of Michigan)
It is as if I imagined Holden Caulfield writing about the mission. Martian Summer
is a riot. (Peter Smith, Professor, Lunar and Planetory Laboratory, University of Arizona, and Principal Investigator of the Phoenix Project)