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

by Robert Zubrin, Richard Wagner
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 28, 2011 145160811X 978-1451608113 Revised
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. But all that changed when leading space exploration authority Robert Zubrin crafted a daring new blueprint, Mars Direct. When it was first published in 1996, The Case for Mars became an instant classic, lauded widely for its game-changing perspective by those who would see the American space program rise to the challenge of Mars; Carl Sagan called Zubrin the man who, “nearly alone, changed our thinking on this issue.” Now, fifteen years later, Zubrin brings readers up to date in this revised and updated anniversary edition filled with spectacular illustrations, extraordinary photographs, and one-of-a-kind anecdotes.

Unlike the dead world of the Moon, the Martian landscape is filled with possibility, but humans must be able to survive there. In the grand tradition of successful explorers, Zubrin calls for a travel-light and live-off-the-land approach to Martian settlement. He explains how scientists can use present-day technology to send humans to Mars; produce fuel and oxygen on the planet’s surface with its own natural resources; build bases and settlements; and one day terraform—or alter the atmosphere of the planet in order to pave the way for sustainable life. As the landmark mission of the Mars Science Laboratory begins, Zubrin lays out a comprehensive plan to build life on a new world.

Frequently Bought Together

The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must + Entering Space: Creating a Spacefaring Civilization + How to Live on Mars: A Trusty Guidebook to Surviving and Thriving on the Red Planet
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Editorial Reviews


"Bob Zubrin really, nearly alone, changed our thinking on this issue." Carl Sagan The Denver Post

"In this thoughtful, thorough and inspiring book...[Zubrin] systematically and convincingly destroys the conventional wisdom about Mars travel." Michael D. Lemonick Newsday

"One of the most provocative and hopeful documents I have read about the space program in 20 years. -- The New York Times Book Review, Dennis Overbye

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Robert Zubrin, formerly a senior engineer at Lockheed Martin, is the founder of Pioneer Astronautics, a space-exploration research and development firm. Currently chairman of the executive committee of the National Space Society, Dr. Zubrin lives with his family in Indian Hills, Colorado.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; Revised edition (June 28, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 145160811X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451608113
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Realistic Mission, A Vision of Hope June 30, 2011
I read the first edition of Dr. Zubrin's book when it first appeared. Since then I have come to admire greatly his personal qualities of intelligence, technical acumen, commitment, and vision; what he's done to promote a sane, productive, and progressive humans-in-space program is extraordinary. His book makes a clear, convincing case for redirecting the efforts of NASA, in conjunction with private enterprise, toward mounting a "manned" mission to Mars within 10 years. He explains how this is doable and why we owe it to ourselves and our descendants to do it. Zubrin's one of those people who lead the way in human progress, and I hope that everyone who reads this book and agrees with his recommendations will write their representatives and help persuade them to take a look at them and to take action. Zubrin's showing us that we don't have to buy into the creeping paradigm of human limits, that we can use our intelligence and ingenuity to solve our environmental, social, and technological problems and create a positive world of the future. The answers are out there. Going to Mars would help spark interest in our young people to take up careers in science and engineering. Developing that human capital would do more to resolve global problems than anything else. Read this book and feel hopeful again.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A reasonable path to Mars August 19, 2011
By Learner
Interesting and informative. Zubrin has the mind of an engineer and the heart of a dreamer - exactly what this book calls for. He explains clearly what appears to be a practical, relatively low-cost route to Mars, and why Mars should be our next goal. Why haven't we done this already??

If you think the Space Shuttle and the ISS are great, this book will shatter that illusion. This book describes what we should have been doing instead with all those billions. As I write this review the future for the US space program looks bleak; a better example of America's decline cannot be found.

Zubrin makes a convincing argument that without a new frontier the historically vital spirit of America will be snuffed out by growing bureaucracy, irrationalism, and stagnation. (Any of these sound familiar?) Zubrin shows why Mars is the future frontier that America and all humanity needs, in order to continue to innovate and for democratic ideals to survive. In the solar system, Mars is the place most like earth and has the variety of resources that colonists will need.

When the first town is built on Mars they should name it after Zubrin, in recognition of his ground-work in this book. To reach Mars any time soon, maybe we should pass over bureaucratic NASA and just give Zubrin and his Mars Society the funding to make it happen.

Zubin claims we can send the first explorers to Mars for $30 billion total, spread out over 10 years. I recently read he is now saying $50 billion is more realistic. Either way, this is cheap. To put this in perspective consider that the entire US defense budget for just one year is $600 billion.

Zubrin has shown the world a cheap and reasonable path to Mars. After reading this book, I am confident Americans will one day go to the next-most-habitable planet in the solar system. Even if only to visit the Chinese colonies there.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
I bought and reviewed Dr. Robert Zubrin's original The case For Mars...5 stars see my review. I bought his second revised edition at the Aug 2011 Mars Society (I'm a life member) convention in Grape Vine Texas. The book reads well with no boring parts.

DR Robert Zubrin with the help of engineer Baker are the co inventors/sponsor of Mars Direct a low cost method of landing 3 people on Mars and after 1 1/2 years for exploration take them back to Earth. Also a more evolved later program Mars Semi Direct allows at low cost 4 people to land on Mars and back. These programs are without big expensive "Battle Star Galactica" ships built in space with the help of the ISS and no moon base needed.

Also lots of spacecraft have landed on Mars and orbited it to give us a better understanding of Mars after the first book was published. We know know that in the far past Mars was a wet, warmer world that may have had enough time for life to evolve. We now know that there is lots of frozen water under parts of the Mars regolith and occasionally liquid water for a short time may make it to the Mars surface before gassing off. Because of Mar's low atmospheric pressure liquid water can't exist on the surface today.

The revised book has some great B/W pictures and charts of the different velocities, exhaust pressures and times needed to get to Mars using the different methods discussed.The use of the Opposition and Conjunction launch methods are discussed and why the Opposition method is less desirable. Some of the charts were a little difficult for me to understand but I got the vast majority of it. Lots of easy to understand chemical formulas for making rocket fuel, plastics and other materials from the Martian atmosphere.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book I've Ever Read May 30, 2012
By Adam
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book on a whim after seeing it mentioned on cnn. I jumped in and quickly realized it was much more than I'd ever hoped for. It's basically an amazing engineering report with a bit of color commentary. Zubrin's thoroughness and quantitative analysis is truly impressive and refreshing. I really appreciated Zubrin's excellent presentation of a seemingly endless array of topics: chemistry, metallurgy, propulsion, antennas, radiation, artificial gravity, terraforming, politics, even agriculture! I found myself wondering what Zubrin doesn't know. I'm going to lend/recommend this book to everyone I know. I beat my copy up more than I'd like making notes in it, so my only complaint is that I can't get it in hardback! I'll likely buy another copy either way, and I can't want until he updates it again!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Missions to Mars
Forty years ago we last stepped foot on the Moon. Currently, with our occupation of the low-Earth orbit international space station, we are space residents. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Kevin Orrman-Rossiter
3.0 out of 5 stars I Really Wanted to Believe
I was disappointed. I love all things Mars, and really want to see us go there, and establish a colony. I would volunteer myself if given a chance. Read more
Published 1 month ago by K. Gustafson
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring
This is one of the must have's if you are really interested in space exploration. Zubrin convinced me, a born skeptic, that the Mars Direct plan is viable with the present... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Pen Ten
3.0 out of 5 stars The Red frontier
We have the technology to go to Mars right now-- we've had it for years. Mars is the most earthlike of our near neighbors. its days are only a little longer than ours. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Steve Bowers
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
I was already familiar with Dr. Zubrin's plans for sending humans to Mars, being a member of the Mars Society and The Planetary Society. Still, it was a great read. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jason B.
5.0 out of 5 stars Mars, Are We Going?
Mars has been on everybody's mind lately. Can we afford to go? Can we afford not to go? Here is the book we've been desperately waiting for. Read more
Published 5 months ago by D. Wayne Dworsky
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive, Complicated Science explained in laymen terms
I truly enjoyed this book. If we used Zubrin's plan we could (using robots) find a source of water (probably salty brine) on Mars, and then electrolyze the water to produce... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Leslie C. Coover
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Ideas presented in too technical detail
Zubrin has some great goals, strategies and tactics here, but speaking as a on-rocket scientist, the books readability gets bogged down in way too much technical fine detail for my... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Edward J. Uecker
5.0 out of 5 stars What's Better Than Reading about Mars Exploration?
well, besides colonization... just listening to Dr. Zubrin discuss with such determined enthusiasm, sophisticated critical assessment and distinct priorities provides a... Read more
Published 9 months ago by DoMeNiQuE CoE
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good book that lays out the plan for manned Mars exploration
Props to aerospace engineer Robert Zubrin on this very good book that I really enjoyed. He lays out a well thought out grand design on how we can send explorers to Mars in a way... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Chrissy Goddick
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