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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: 8.7 x 6.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,197,515 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Terry Sunday TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 21, 2007
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"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 It's easy to understand why it languished in unpublished limbo for 60 years.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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Albert A. Jackson on August 13, 2007
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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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Y. Juhani Westman on January 9, 2007
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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gilbert Huey on March 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
Project Mars: A Technical Tale will not win a Hugo or a Nebula Award but it is a very entertaining novel. Although written over fifty years ago the book evokes a sense of wonder that is missing from much contemporary science fiction. Von Braun's expedition to the red planet is described realistically and meticulously. There are no warp drives, worm holes, or other short cuts, just basic rocket science. The Bonestell illustrations alone are worth the price of the book.
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