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Roving Mars: Spirit, Opportunity, and the Exploration of the Red Planet Paperback – May 10, 2006
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
I have felt some lingering jealousy watching the videos of the rover control center at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. I support spacecraft for a living, but somehow what I've been doing hasn't seemed quite as exciting or sexy as working with rovers on Mars (and particularly not now, with Goddard's heyday apparently in the past.)
Squyres' book both dulls and enhances the glamor. He spends some time talking about the long, hard slog he took to become Principal Investigator for a Mars mission, starting in 1989 with an effort to develop a camera to fly on a NASA Mars mission. He proposed sticking it on a mission called MESUR Pathfinder in the early 90's and was turned down. He tried again to develop a science package to go to Mars in 1998, and that was turned down. NASA expressed interest again a few years later, he resubmitted, and it was turned down again. He put a lot of work into a complex set of missions set to start going to Mars in 2001, a program that was killed when Mars Climate Orbiter and Mars Polar Lander failed in quick succession.
By 2000, though, NASA was looking for a glamorous mission to redeem its Mars reputation, and Squyres' rover seemed to fit the bill. Not only was his mission chosen, but he was asked for two of them.
The schedule ended up being brutal, having to develop a complex mission inside of three years with the unforgiving, inflexible 2003 Mars launch window looming up ahead.Read more ›
Dr. Squyres answers questions we didn't see in media interviews - like:
-who is that EDL guy who looks like Elvis' younger brother?
-what does Dr. Steve hope for the Rovers centuries from now?
-how was beer involved in the MER project?
-how do smart, strong, stubborn people come together to do something so challenging?
Technical details abound - including stories about getting the airbags right, making it to the launchpad, and the INIT_CRIPPLED command that saved the day. The technical details remind me a bit of Tracey Kidder's Soul of the New Machine. So, I think it would be a fun read for fans of Kidder's book.
There are some press release images in the two sets of mostly color pictures, but there are also some fun surprises.
There is also an Appendix listing over 4,000 names - the best effort to name the entire MER team - wow.
story not only of the construction and operation of the rovers,
but also all the politics that led to the project in the first
place. It's a pretty gripping read, and makes the personalities
involved come to life, as well as the rovers themselves. Tech
fans will not be disappointed with the details of software,
grounding, parachute design and all of the nitty-gritty
problems that had to be fixed. I loved it.
Is this a fair complaint? That depends on who there book was "written for." Unquestionably it was written for a lay audience, not the scientific community. But which lay audience?. If Squyres set out to write a book for people who are thrilled by the tiniest technical details about how many watts this resistor can bear versus that resistor, or how to wheedle your way through the labyrinth of NASA project approval, then he has succeeded brilliantly. But if he intended his book for people interested in the planet Mars, in thoughtful musings about why man explores and the significance of what he finds, or even just in some broader geological hypotheses around what the rovers are looking at, then he has fallen way short.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a important work about the two rovers Spirit and Opportunity. Steve Squyres gives an honest assessment of what it took to get to Mars and even admits Gusev may have been... Read morePublished 12 months ago by RedHeadEd
This is a great book because it is easy to read and interesting for a technical topic. Recommended.Published 13 months ago by jjsharkbait
Great book on the science and engineering of what it takes to get something to Mars. Fantastic!Published 14 months ago by schism76
By virtue of his role as PI for this mission, it's evident that Steve Squyres must be an accomplished scientist who is also highly skilled in engineering, program management,... Read morePublished 15 months ago by J. D. Maloy
Who thought that the description of scientific research over a period of years would be so exciting. I had trouble putting it down. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Annette Warden
Squyres makes the history of the Mars rover read like an exciting novel!
Having only seen the national news coverage, the rovers seemed like an easy, done deal. Read more