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The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must [Paperback]

Robert Zubrin , Richard Wagner , Arthur C. Clarke
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)


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Book Description

November 3, 1997 0684835509 978-0684835501 1st Touchstone Ed
Since the beginning of human history Mars has been an alluring dream-- the stuff of legends, gods, and mystery. The planet most like ours, it has still been thought impossible to reach, let alone explore and inhabit.

Now with the advent of a revolutionary new plan, all this has changed. Leading space exploration authority Robert Zubrin has crafted a daring new blueprint, Mars Direct, presented here with illustrations, photographs, and engaging anecdotes.

"The Case for Mars" is not a vision for the far future or one that will cost us impossible billions. It explains step-by-step how we can use present-day technology to send humans to Mars within ten years; actually produce fuel and oxygen on the planet's surface with Martian natural resources; how we can build bases and settlements; and how we can one day "terraform" Mars-- a process that can alter the atmosphere of planets and pave the way for sustainable life.



Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"For our generation and many that will follow, Mars is the New World," writes Zubrin. This book went to press serendipitously, just as NASA was making its startling if heavily-qualified announcement that simple life may have once existed on the fourth rock from the sun. Zubrin doesn't spend an enormous amount of time arguing why Mars exploration is desirable -- we all want astronauts to go there, don't we? -- but rather devotes the bulk of this book explaining how it can happen on a sensible, bare-bones budget of $20-30 billion and a "travel light and live off the land" philosophy. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Human settlement on Mars need not await the development of gigantic interplanetary spaceships, anti-matter propulsion systems or orbiting space bases, assert the authors of this exciting, visionary report. Instead, the "Mars Direct" plan?developed in 1990 by astronautical engineer Zubrin, and presented to NASA, where it has won supporters?calls for sending a crew and their artificial habitat directly to Mars via the upper stage of the same booster rocket that lifted them to Earth orbit. Then the crew will live off the land, growing greenhouse crops, tapping subsurface groundwater, manufacturing useful materials, constructing plastic domes and brick structures the size of shopping malls. Geothermal power would be tapped from hot regions near once-active volcanoes. Zubrin, senior engineer at Martin Marietta, and Wagner, a former editor of Ad Astra, weaken their case by arguing that a nascent human civilization on Mars will revive Earth's frontier spirit and American democracy, saving Western civilization from technological stagnation. Nevertheless, their detailed blueprint makes a fast-track mission to Mars?with an estimated price tag of $20-$30 billion?seem remarkably doable.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; 1st Touchstone Ed edition (November 3, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684835509
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684835501
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #308,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Robert Zubrin is a long-time advocate of space colonization and a former CEO of the National Space Society. He knows what he's talking about. "The Case for Mars" sets out the technological, economic, and -- most intriguingly -- political reasons for expanding human civilization off this planet. Zubrin's plans for terraforming Mars into a near-earthlike climate are the part of the book that has gotten the most attention. But his political rationale for Mars settlement -- that ultimately, freedom requires a frontier and the values that a frontier cultivates -- are the most inspirational part of the book from my perspective. An absolute must-read for space, or freedom, enthusiasts.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very convincing! April 4, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
As an aerospace engineering student highly interested in space exploration (and wishing to go professional with this also) , I really found this book to be a real treat. Definitely was inspiring coming from an author that wishes to advance mankind technologically into the realm of space.. A view that I have concurred with ever since I was in grade school. The book was not just some bored rocket engineer's (or scientist's) science fiction memo, I found his plan extremely plausible and do-able. I especially liked the historical allusions he made throughout the account proving that the grand majority of the technologies used in Mars Direct have been done before in the past(and many for thousands of years). If they have done before, there is no reason why they can not be done again. I loved the clear explanation of his plan. He did not go into too much math , but he gave a clear picture in my mind the concepts involved. Zubrin is very knowledgable and while I was reading this book I knew that what he was saying was well-founded. A MUST READ for those interested in space exploration, astronomy, or aerospace engineering!
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forceful, clear, thoughtfully argued. June 21, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
When I first saw the book, I was surprised by its size - it's so thick! It took me two weeks to finish the book, and I love it. I have read many books about space exploration, especially on human Mars exploration, but it is the one which I admire the most. Dr Zubrin is so creative for coming up with a plan called "Mars Direct". This plan is very different from the NASA's "90-Day Report", it involves no orbital assembly, no orbital infrastructure, no orbital rendezvous, and it doesn't need advanced propulsion or any other technology that we don't have, and basically what the approach takes is to explore Mars the way we explore the Earth, which is "travel light, and live off the land". Dr Zubrin explains that we can use this technology by using the resources that can be found on Mars rather than entirely Earth-supplied. I believe "Mars Direct" is the only way to get to Mars, because not only it is the cheapest, but also it is easier to accomplish. Dr Zubrin also explains why a moon base is not needed before the human Mars mission, which many people believe it is a necessary first step toward Mars. I agree, in fact I think his answer is quite convincing.
Later in the book Dr Zubrin explains that we will start colonizing Mars once a region is chosen. Things like carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, and oxygen which are very useful for human colonization are very common on Mars. Also there are plenty of chemical substances in the soil of Mars which can be used to make metals, or even nuclear reactors for the energy supplies. Compare to the moon, Mars has more useful resources for human colonization, and that's one of the reason why we should go to Mars, not the moon.
Finally Dr Zubrin said in the far future we may "terraform" Mars.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I changed careers because of this book! January 1, 2000
Format:Hardcover
I was frustrated and burned out running a bookstore when I read through this book in less than two days. Right then and there I decided to change careers with the sole purpose of getting humanity to Mars. Now I work in technology and am learning whatever I can to help get us to Mars, not a flag-and-footprints mission like we did for the moon, but a permanent branch of humanity. NASA would have us go slow and leave it to the hands of the "experts," where Zubrin argues that if experts were in charge of Earth colonization we would all still be feeding off each other in Europe.
The science aspects interested me less than the Vision Thing, the idea that we are entering a Golden Age for the Earth at large, in which the problems are solved, the borders are thrown down, and we gradually withdraw into ourselves into decay. The same has happened to Rome and Greece and every other "world"-conquering nation. The day the last challenge was met was the beginning of the end.
We need a Frontier! The challenges of the Frontier will push us, drive us, force us to break stagnate molds and outdated methods. The Earth has run out of frontiers -- Mars beckons!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling April 21, 2001
Format:Paperback
In his excellent "The Case for Mars", Robert Zubrin makes a thorough, thoughtful argument about the need for the exploration of Mars. In a very well rounded, easy to read work, he lays out both the scientific and humanistic reasons for a trip to the Red Planet. While his science is excellent (he is a former Lockheed engineer), what is most compelling about this book is what Zubrin sees as the primary reason for Mars exploration: it is there. He correctly asserts that humans are at their most creative and productive when they pit themselves against a major challenge. He sees the exploration and colonization of Mars as a means of injecting the human race with fresh vitality and drive. After reading this excellent book, I'm inclined to agree.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is really great!
In 1989, in response to President George Bush’s call for a manned mission to Mars, NASA produced a plan, a plan so expensive and unwieldy, it never had the chance to become... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Kurt A. Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars The most rational and realistic mission to Mars.
It is human destiny to explore the stars.

Robert Zubrin's Mars Direct plan is the most rational, realistic and affordable mission architecture, and I have read all the... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Steven
4.0 out of 5 stars COULD BE BETTER
COULD BE BETTER - FACTS ARE STRETCHED OUT - LIKE THE BOOK BUT SCIENCE IS TOO FAR FETCHED MORE LIKE FICTION- NEEDS IMPROVEMENT FOR NEXT EDITION
Published 7 months ago by MAXR
5.0 out of 5 stars Let's Do It !
A must read for the naysayers. I would love to feel that sense of pride for my country (and the human race ) as I did during Apollo.
Published 10 months ago by Meatweasel
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a style jewel, but a thorough work, with a strong argument for...
Definitively a book worth reading. I guess the best part is at the end of the book, where Zubrin presents the Frontier-hypothesis as a strong argument in favor of space exploration... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Folkert
5.0 out of 5 stars A book as fresh as two decades ago
A superb book about exploration, settling and terraforming Mars.

I have read it quite thoroughly and have checked several calculations. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Olev Toom
5.0 out of 5 stars This is an absolutely incredible book.
If you have any interest in Mars exploration this is the book to read. It is very readible and covers all aspects and how the exploration could be done cheaper and quicker than... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Leo
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes the ideas seem real
If 100 years from now Zubrin is known for nothing else, it will be for making the idea of exploring and settling the planet Mars seem feasible, almost inevitable. Read more
Published on September 14, 2011 by Gregory A. Tucker
4.0 out of 5 stars An exciting vision of a possible future
I picked up this book, even though it was 15 years old, as I mourned the last flight of the Space Shuttle. Read more
Published on August 8, 2011 by JMP
5.0 out of 5 stars We can be the Martians
Dr Robert Zubrin is arguably the best qualified and strongest advocate for making Mars the destination of choice in a realistic and affordable program of regular Mars travel,... Read more
Published on August 1, 2011 by Will Menary
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There's a place in Southern California about 50 miles inland of LA called "Moreno Valley". Up until about 20 years ago it was a sparsely populated place with a couple of unincorporated towns, March AFB (the reason for the towns), cattle farms, and vineyards. Then developers came in... Read More
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