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Mission to Mars Hardcover – November, 1990

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

An insider's exciting view of U.S. plans to land on--and even colonize--the Red Planet, this well-written account includes the author's blueprint for a 22-month mission to Mars that would depart Earth in June 2004. Collins, who piloted the Apollo moon mission in 1969, envisions the deployment of two mother ships (one for backup), plus two landing craft, and speculates on the possibility of a joint Soviet-U.S. mission, or a multinational cooperative effort. Despite an estimated pricetag of $200 billion for his scenario, "we'd still be spending more on cigarettes if the cost is spread over 15 years," he calculates. Going to Mars, in his opinion, "would be the salvation" of NASA, giving the agency a unifying vision and sense of purpose, while providing alleged spiritual benefits to the populace ("It is a humbling experience to see the Earth from afar"). Photos.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

YA-- Space flight to Mars is possible with today's technology--if various systems and procedures can be perfected, modified, or adapted. The list of changes goes on and on, as will the excitement of challenge to current and future scientists and engineers. Collins examines the benefits and obstacles of a Mars landing and concludes that it would re-energize NASA, increase numbers of doctoral degrees granted in science and engineering, and promoteour national proficiencies in these areas. His detailed examination of such an exploration, ending in a 2004 case study, provides questions and imagery helpful to both personal insight and classroom inquiry into our space program. Science teachers may want to devote class time to discussing specific ideas, chapters, perhaps the entire book. Debate and creative-writing students will find a gold mine of "what if's," and science fiction fans can be directed to this perspective on tomorrow.
- Barbara Hawkins, West Potomac High School, Fairfax County, VA
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 307 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Pr; 1st edition (November 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802111602
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802111609
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,286,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Gerald Black on March 13, 2011
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Michael Collins (the command module pilot for Apollo 11) did a superb job describing the challenges to be faced by the first human mission to Mars. He also did a fine job in describing why a human mission to Mars is important, and why it should take priority over first going back to the moon. The author obviously has extensive knowledge of the technical issues involved, such as what propulsion systems might be used, and he does a great job explaining these issues to the reader.

The only problem is that this book was published in 1990 and thus does not have any information about more recent Mars mission architecture plans. For instance, the book was written just prior to the Mars Direct plan, which was developed in the early 1990s. The Mars Direct plan was a breakthrough in reducing the the cost of a Mars mission, since it was the first plan to utilize in situ propellant production in an effective way. NASA later also came out with their own plans for human missions to Mars that expanded on the Mars Direct plan (the NASA reference missions), which are also not included in this book. The author was also too optimistic in his thinking about when a Mars mission might be accomplished, thinking that it might occur as early as 2005. This can be forgiven though, since the reason that a human Mars mission wasn't accomplished by 2005 has nothing to do with the technology not being ready, but rather with a lack of funding and a lack of political will.

Although this book is a bit out of date, the reader can still learn a lot from this book about Mars and about spaceflight. The arguments presented are as current today as they were back in 1990, and I found myself agreeing with just about everything that the author said.
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Lovely book. It is great to compare Collin's Mission with the recent book on this same subject by Buzz Aldrin. How the technology has changed . . .
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