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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Space history, and a look at what we missed, October 30, 2001
This review is from: Mars: The NASA Mission Reports: Apogee Books Space Series 10 (Includes CDROM: Mars Movies and Images) (Paperback)
It's hard to get more technical, but it's exactly what you need if you want to have a look at the technology that was used to conquer that "final frontier", starting about 40 years ago. It was definitly a time where exploration was risky, and NASA was actually willing to risk it.
Those little probes were so rudimentary compared to what we can do now, and yet, they were state-of-the-art machines that were launched one after another to the planets... with equally deceiving and surprising results. When you think that the Viking data is still being used (and the new results are still controversial), it's hard not to be impressed.
Ironically, this book, which may have been a tribute to NASA creativeness, ends up with the Mars Observer, Mars Polar Lander and Mars Climate Orbiter reports, three probes that failed. The failure is definitly not the problem, because most of the Mars probes failed. But NASA attitude has dramatically changed since the first Mariner. A failure was merely a plausible outcome, but now, it's a catastrophy that invokes a complete Mars programme reeavaluation...
And to kill it completely, this invaluable little book includes the Werner Von Braun infamous roadmap to Mars... envisionned for the 1980's. Another sad hint that NASA failed to its destiny, and will probably never recover.
This book shoudl definitly be read with some other good space history books, that will help put the technical prowess in perspective. I would recommend the following:
- Failure is Not An Option, by Gene Kranz
- Korolev, by James Harford
- Russia In Space, by Brian Harvey
- Moon Hunters, by Jeffrey Kluger
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Joan Roch
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Location: Montréal, Qc Canada

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