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Project MARS: A Technical Tale Paperback – December 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Collector's Guide Publishing, Inc. (December 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0973820330
  • ISBN-13: 978-0973820331
  • Product Dimensions: 4 x 0.5 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,742,915 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Dr. Wernher von Braun was instrumental in developing Germany’s V-2 rocket during World War II. After the war, he emigrated to the United States and became a driving force behind America's space-launch vehicles. America's first satellite and the Apollo spacecraft that landed on the Moon were launched by rockets designed by von Braun. He is the author of The Mars Project. 

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Customer Reviews

To give you some idea, I already own this book, a 1962 edition.
"jumptozero"
Although written over fifty years ago the book evokes a sense of wonder that is missing from much contemporary science fiction.
Gilbert Huey
My husband just loves this book and said the prints were better than he had expected.
Elaine Bauder

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By "jumptozero" on November 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
Do you wonder how they did it? How they actually figured out how to get to the moon? Well, this is Von Braun's plan for getting to mars using the technologies available in the early 1950's and it shows the detailed thinking necessary to figure out how to make it all work. Lots of math and diagrams. My vote for the best book of the century. To give you some idea, I already own this book, a 1962 edition. It is getting too precious to thumb through.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Terry Sunday TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 21, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Project Mars" answers a burning question long posed by serious students of aerospace history: "What in the world did Wernher von Braun do for those five long years between 1945 and 1950 while he was cooling his heels in near-isolation at Fort Bliss, Texas?" The answer is that, among other things, he wrote this book.

"Project Mars" is a fictionalized tale about the first manned expedition to the Red Planet. As a science fiction novel, it has little to recommend it. Its stodgy style, tortured dialog passages and primitive narrative structure are even worse than most other contemporary books of the genre--which did not set the bar very high themselves. For example, have you ever heard a real person use the word "obstreperous" in ordinary conversation? Some of this may, of course, be due to its translation from German into English, but, even so, "Project Mars" is a breathtakingly bad novel. It's easy to understand why it languished in unpublished limbo for 60 years.

However, as a detailed technical description of the hardware, operational concepts and design challenges involved in mounting a massive ten-spacecraft Mars expedition, firmly grounded in the knowledge and engineering techniques available in the late 1940s, "Project Mars" is a superb and important historical document. Remember that, when von Braun wrote it, Sputnik I, the first artificial Earth satellite, was still 10 years in the future. At that time, very few people took seriously the idea of "men" journeying into space. The very thought of a mission to another planet was laughable. "Project Mars" is, in essence, a primer on elementary spaceflight concepts for readers who had never heard of such a thing before.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is a real classic. You will see how rocket wizzard and space visionary Wernher von Braun and his colleagues imagined a manned mission to Mars with the technology available in the mid 20th century. With today's knowledge and financial horizon, von Braun's vision looks pretty oversized, and the surface of Mars certainly is very different from what they believed 50 years ago. The very value of this book is that it simply showed how such an extensive mission could be made feasible -- that it is possible to send people to Mars without fancy technology of science fiction writers. The authors use some calculus and diagrams to explain the complicated flight dynamics for sending a spacecraft to another planet and landing on its surface.
Today we know that a mission to Mars will not look like von Braun's "Mars Project" but it is good to know that most of the basics haven't changed. Buy this book together with Robert Zubrin's "Case for Mars" and you'll see the progress within half a century.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Albert A. Jackson on August 13, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book probably ought to be subtitled THE MOST IMPORTANT SCIENTIFIC APPENDIX EVER PUBLISHED!
Well, its not the worst SF I have ever read, but its true I doubt if even in 1950 anyone would have published this in the US.
Strange, the preface is not signed, the translator wrote it? Anyway the preface does not mention that when von Braun submitted this to a German publisher the novel was rejected, but the publisher/editor, thought the Appendix was dynamite!

So that is how Das Marsprojekt, The Mars Project, the Colliers Series, the Disney Series and Exploration of Mars came to be. Possibly , the Colliers Series provided the lasting kick that got the Apollo program invented.

[...]

I notice a curious mix of Bonestell's in the book, some from Colliers and some from Exploration of Mars, not a good job referencing these paintings.

The 'Publisher's Introduction' seems ignorant or choose to neglect the fact that John Campbell and his boys (Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke......) had banished BEMS and Brass Bras to the realm of third string SF mags starting about 1938! Realistic scientifically accurate space flight SF was common currency in 1950.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By JC on April 23, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book will open your eyes about how difficult is to plan and carry out the trip to Mars, but that it is not impossible nor a sci-fi idea. It is not a novel, and many pages will not say much to most readers, but each chapter shows a small gem and give you the main ideas on how it should be done (with the knowledge and technologies of the 1950s). It explains in less than one hundred pages how to reach one of the biggest milestones for humanity.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Y. Juhani Westman on January 9, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Here it is at last: a translation into English of the original German text of "Das Marsprojekt", "The Mars Project", as penned down by Wernher von Braun in Fort Bliss at the end of the forties. That was the age of some belief in the coming exploration of Space, and, at the same time, a rank disbelief on the practicabilities of the "Buck Rogers stuff". The novella text was probably not meant for publication, and, mercifully, it was not published before now. One shudders when thinking of the impact it could have had if published, say, in 1960 or -61...The Rocket Sage was a lucid technical writer, but, sad to say, no sci-fi author.

The "Technical" in the title, i.e. the technical sketching of rockets, spaceships and flight trajectories, was, however, published in the early fifties, first by Heinz Gartmann in the then Federal Republic of Germany, soon after by the University of Illinois press in the US. The monster three-stager Shuttle, the gargantuan Mars Space Ships were all figuring in the background of the classical Collier's article and book series, and along with plans for rocket ships to the Moon they entered the iconography of the Space Buffs of the Fifties. Much of the awe and wonder that we felt was, of course, generated by the artists, Chesley Bonestell, Fred Freeman, Rolf Klep, but the mastermind behind those icons was always von Brauns.

Today von Braun's book is a timepiece, harking back to those bygone ages, when Mars could be seen as the abode of older and wiser men, in the tradition of Percival Lowell, and when giant rocketships would be developed and used for manned exploration of space without all the political infighting and pork barreling which has characterized the actual practice.
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